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Vanarama Conference Premiership

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Bulls hit financial trouble

Relegation from League 2 to the Conference has produced financial challenges for Hereford United and part-time football is one of the options being considered.  However, most Conference sides are now full time and such a move could undermine a push for promotion.   The Bulls are currently 12th out of 24 teams.

When does prudent become stingy?

When does prudent become unwisely stingy?   That is the question being posed about new Conference outfit Hyde United.   They were 33-1 outsiders to go up last year and it seems that their own game plan was to avoid relegation.

A certain financial caution is understandable.   The club was wound up because of tax debts of about £120,000 in September 2009.  But then £8,000 was raised in a bucket collection at Manchester City.  This funded an appeal and the judge found in their favour.

Kettering quit Conference

Kettering Town's debts have led them to resign from the Blue Square Bet North where they had been relegated.  They will play in the Southern League Premier next season.

The club's debts total £1.2m.   Former chairman Imraan Ladak and other directors owed money have agreed to write off their loans and to leave £402,000 outstanding.   Creditors will get about 10p in the pound as part of a three year company voluntary arrangement.    

Minstermen on the up

York City languished in the Conference for eight years, showing what a difficult league it is to get out of. But now they have escaped in some style, winning the FA Trophy and promotion through the play offs from the Blue Square Bet Premiership.

New shirt deal for Kiddy

Kidderminster Harriers have signed a new shirt deal with tool hire firm Hire-It! based on the Worcester Road.   The firm will replace OGL Computer on the front of the shirt until the end of the 2013-14 season after a five figure deal was secured.

Darlo to play at Shildon

Darlington are to ground share with Northern League Shildon next season.   This will involve a ten mile journey from Darlington for fans.   The other venue considered at Bishop Auckland would have involved a similar journey.

The worst drop of all

In some ways the drop that clubs fear most is that from League 2 to the Blue Square Premiership.  Half of the clubs in the Conference this season had been Football League clubs at some point in their history. Luton were once in the top flight and Grimsby Town and Stockport County were in the second tier.   There are only two promotion places out of the division, as distinct from four from League 2, and one of those is decided by play offs.

The cost of not getting promoted

Wrexham, who are in the play off places in the Conference, calculate that failure to get promoted will cost them heavily.   This year's losses are forecast at £157,000 which is a great improvement on the £700,000 talked of earlier in the year and shows that the Supporters' Trust have made substantial progress towards balancing the books.

What's in a name?

The winner of a raffle competition to re-name Bath City's Twerton Park ground will be announced at half time in their Easter Bank Holiday match.   167 entries for the competition at £50 a go raised £8,350 for the club who have already been relegated to the Blue Square South.

No fewer of the 22 entries came from Norway with the most unusual one being 'Hot Dog in a Waffle Park'. However, 16 entrants were happy to stay with the current name.

The cost of relegation to League 2

Any relegation is difficult for a club.   It's a blow to morale and a big financial setback as well.  But the costs of relegation from League 2 to the Conference are particularly heavy.   Just look at the clubs who have found it difficult to return to the Football League: among them Grimsby, Lincoln, Luton, Mansfield and York (who have had the longest stay at the lower level).