So the breaking news today, confirms that AFC Mansfield will be playing in the EVO-Stick Northern Premier League East next season. After narrowly missing out on promotion by 7 goals in the league season promotion looked unlikely. However, Andover Town have decided not to take their place in step 4 next season and therefore left the door open for a promotion slot for the Bulls.
Chairman Andy Saunders, received an email asking the club to confirm if they would be happy to take a place at step 4 for next season if one was to become available. Of course this was a natural decision to accept any place and then the confirmation came at around 10.45 this morning that we had been accepted into the Northern Premier League East for the 2018/19 season.
This is a great achievement for all at the club and confirms our position now as the highest placed local non-league club. That does not mean that the Bulls will be sitting back and relaxing. There is lots to do to engage the local public into this venture now we have moved up a level and we should look at the likes of Cleethorpes Town and Alvechurch as to how to adapt to life at Step 4 and make a success of the first season.
There is work to do both on and off the field and ground upgrades will start in the near future to ensure that the ground meets the ground grading requirements before the 31st March 2019. There will be lots to do in terms of off the field activities which will include trying to entice new sponsors to come on board with the club and developing other sources of income within the club.
Importantly the club would not have achieved this without the support of our loyal supporters and the volunteers who spend hours of their time ensuring that the club runs in an efficient manner. There is room for more volunteers to help in a number of different areas both on matchday and at other points during the week. If anyone would like to get involved then please contact us through facebook or the website and we will be happy to discuss what you would be able to offer us.
So who will we be playing in the Evo-Stick Northern Premier League East next season. For me one game stands out and that is the prospect of again locking horns with Tadcaster Albion who we met in the FA Vase a few years ago.
The teams we will come up against are listed below.
There is the old foes from last season in Pickering and Pontefract Collieries who we will come up against again next season and l am sure they will be just as hard fought as the games this season. We have other good local games against Lincoln United, Loughborough Dynamo and Sheffield FC. We will also visit Belper Town and Carlton Town.
There will be a trip to Stamford who beat us in the FA cup two years ago when we reached the 3rd Qualifying round. They went on to make the first round proper that year losing away at Hartlepool United.
Some of the longer trips of the season will be to Wisbech Town, Morpeth and Marske United. There is some traveling to do but l am sure the Bulls will take to it like a duck to water.
I am sure whatever is thrown at the Bulls next season we will be up for the challenge. Roll on August. Also the club will play in the FA Trophy. Hopefully another first for the Forest Town Arena in the coming months.
Hopefully later on l will bring you the distances for travelling for next season. Calculator and google maps at the ready.