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Non league club relegated after spectacularly winning their league

There was one particular non league club who ended up getting relegated after spectacularly winning their league, which got people talking.

So if you’re a football club playing in the 10th tier of English football and you win the league title finishing on 91 points, 12 points ahead of the second place team, you win 29 of your 36 matches, achieved an 81% win record, you would think you would be promoted up to the 9th tier the following season wouldn’t you?

No, wrong, because this team were actually relegated down to the 11th tier despite achieving all of those brilliant things. This is the surprising story of Worcester Park from back in 2018.

Watch a video of YouTube Channel NLYT talking through what happened below or scroll on to read more…

The club found in 1921 a part of a wider athletics club called Worcester Park Athletics Club, they’ve played at their home Skinners Field since their formation that year. The Surrey side’s ground is very basic, has no floodlights, no seating, there is not enough car parking spaces for the level and these regulations have been a lot tighter in the last couple of years. Clubs up until last season have been able to have below the regulations that are required for their ground but were still able to carry on in that league. But now they have been made a lot harsher and Worcester Park are one of the many victims of this.

Despite their storming season last season in the Combined Counties Division One where they raced to the title, they are not allowed to rightfully be promoted, those players have earned that promotion quite emphatically, to get 91 points in 36 games is absolutely crazy. But instead, they’re not even being allowed to stay in the 10th tier because of those regulations. They’ve been relegated to the 11th tier just to add insult to the injury.

Back in the 2015/16 season, all the clubs in the 10th tier level were told of all the different upgrades that they have to make to their grounds. It was actually enforced recently, at the start of the 2017/18 season clubs were made aware that if they didn’t comply with these new rules, then they would be relegated.

Worcester Park were aware of what needed to be met but essentially chose not to meet them. The ground they play on is also used for cricket, so installing floodlights around the pitch would make it awkward to play cricket. According to a spokesperson, “The amount of money that would be needed to be spent on the ground would totally prohibit cricket being played. Another requirement is a 100 capacity stand. I can’t remember the last time we had 100 people in the club watching football let alone sitting down.

This is similar to what happened at North Ferriby United a couple of seasons ago. They were in the National League, had to make a number of upgrades, if they didn’t then they knew they would be relegated. But because of the investment needed to make those changes and with the crowds being low anyway, they pretty much accepted relegation before the season began.

Go back to Worcester Park, they are an amateur club playing in a semi-professional league. Their players still pay subs to play. However others in their league get paid to play. It shows they are a club that don’t have a lot of finance behind them, so how can they afford ground upgrades.

The spokesperson again added, “We’re not prepared to spend about £40,000 or £50,000 because we don’t have the income streams to support that section”.

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Another option would be for them to move to another ground, they did look but said it ‘wasn’t workable’ as they wanted it to be in the same place as it’s at an athletics club.

Three other teams in the Combined Counties League Division One were also relegated to the 11th tier for the same reason.The team that finished bottom of the league on 17 points avoided the drop. Crazy.

It opens up a debate, should ground grading issues have that much of an impact? To the point where the whole league season is invalidated.


2014/15: Combined Counties Division One – 9th place (43 points from 30 games)
2014/15: Combined Counties Division One – 4th place (59 points from 30 games)
2015/16: Combined Counties Division One – 4th place (59 points from 32 games)
2016/17: Combined Counties Division One – 4th place (65 points from 34 games)
2017/18: Combined Counties Division One – Champions (91 pts from 36 games) (Demoted due to ground-grading)
2018/19: Surrey Elite Intermediate League – 11th place (28 points from 28 games)
2019/20: Surrey Elite Intermediate League – 4th place (31 points from 14 games) (Season abandoned)
2020/21: Surrey Elite Intermediate League – 10th place (6 points from 8 games) (Season abandoned)

There was a lot of reaction with the non league club relegated after spectacularly winning their league…

@elayne_mullen: Good Club and people – scandalous but very sadly not the only Club that doesn’t fit in with the FA’s forward planning department. All the best @worcesterparkfc

@darthscrote: @FA Another tweet which highlights just how out of date and badly run you are. While you fill your coffers, you let decent, successful clubs get relegated, all because of some floodlights. It’s just not good enough. #againstmodernfootball

@SurreyWyvern: @worcesterparkfc won the title and can celebrate in big style by being relegated. Well done to the FA. My very best wishes go to Worcester Park FC, not forgetting a host of other clubs under threat of demotion. The FA doesn’t really care. “

@TimGale8: Cant understand why the @FA deem having floodlights & a car park more important than a half decent playing surface. They disregard whether your stand & clubhouse facilities are actually habitable. @worcesterparkfc have survived without floodlights for yrs,they’re so out of touch

@Ollie_Bayliss: It does seem like the FA are determined to organise #nonleague based on facilities rather than on pitch performances. The treatment of successful clubs like you, @Penn_football & @LammasStaines seems to make league position all very pointless.

@Ollie_Bayliss: Might as well just list every club in order of their ground’s floodlight output and never worry about kicking a ball again. Save everyone all the trouble!

@GRTourist: Really sad to see that the FA actually went through with this. As a club you’re a absolute credit to nonleague and @ComCoFL will be worse off without you.

@andysharratt: You could come fifth and get promoted!

@barrywils: Couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that!! 5th!!!!!! Seriously!

@BrianBone6: FA don’t give a crap. Disgusting decision.

@grumpywat: Totally agree with all of you at your club, even worse they allow teams to groundshare to progress & demote clubs with their own facilities

SEE MORE: Non league match halted as sent off player turns off floodlights

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