Southwell City FC will kick-off the 2017-18 season in a new competition as the club looks to move forward and improve.
City have successfully applied to join the Notts Senior League (NSL) Premier Division, remaining at Step 7 of the National League pyramid, after many years in the Central Midlands League (CML) South Division.
The move will save travelling time, but joint manager Jonny Upton explained there were other reasons behind the switch.
“We didn’t want to compromise the level of football we would be playing at — that was the paramount thing. We wanted to ensure we remained at Step 7,” he said.
“But then we had to assess realistically where we were at.
“We are probably one of the only clubs at Step 7 that can’t raise income from gate receipts as we play on a public park, so we had to work out how we could compete at that level in the best and most-efficient way possible.
“Moving over to the NSL means travelling is shorter. We can then look towards ground redevelopment — either at our current location or elsewhere — within the next couple of years to make our facilities up to Step 6 level... and hopefully take off.”
'Let’s hope the next few years are exciting'
Last season City, who returned to pre-season training on Saturday, finished 10th.
“If you look at the level of the CML last year it was probably the best it has ever been since I have been involved, especially the South Division which was considerably stronger than the North,” Upton said.
“The South top four, for instance, was Hucknall, who need no explanation; Sherwood, who are well backed; Selston, who are well drilled; and Eastwood whose facilities are probably at Step 3 level.
“That’s before you consider the likes of Matlock Reserves and South Normanton, who are good young sides
“There are six or seven very strong teams in there and it only took four or five bad results to find yourself in ninth or tenth.
“We had a pretty decent side and played well, but the league was so strong that we had to assess where the best opportunity was to progress in the short-term. Realistically that was at a similar level but in a more local league.”
In a statement the club said: “The time is right for us to end our proud relationship with the CML.
“We would like to thank the CML for all their hospitality and assistance over the past few decades and wish everyone behind the scenes there all the best for the future.
“Even through the tougher times in recent years, they have been superb with us.
“We also want to thank the NSL for welcoming us. We can’t wait to get going and let’s hope the next few years are exciting.”