News From The 2024 AGM

Sat 15th June 2024 | Announcements
By Martin Fallon

The League's Annual General Meeting took place today at the Imperial Hotel in Blackpool.  Representatives of 58 of the 60 member clubs were in attendance as well as the six new member clubs that have been allocated to the league for the new season.

To open the meeting, League Chairman Paul Lawler welcomed all delegates at 11.00am prompt. After apologies were given, the minutes from the previous AGM were raised and adopted prior to moving on to the Chairman's Report. 

The report from the Chairman said it was an eventful, fixture packed campaign which was not without its controversies. He said that average gates were again up, showing how popular non-league football is with clubs giving value for money and improving their fan experiences. 

The rise in crowds also brought additional issues, with some spectator behaviour falling below the standards expected. One club received a two game stadium closure from the FA, and this will continue unless clubs can tackle the issue.

He then ran through successes of clubs. Wythenshawe won the Premier, with Wythenshawe Town also achieving promotion through the Play-Offs. Credit also to Charnocok Richard for a well publicised end of season run that took them into the Play-Offs. In the First Division North, FC St Helens took the crown from Atherton LR, with South Liverpool promoted in the Play Offs. In the First Division South it was Brocton who won it from Stockport Town, with Cheadle Town promoted in the Play Offs after also seeing off Stockport. Lady luck did shine on Stockport Town though as they were promoted as one of the best Step 6 Play Off Runners Up on Points Per Game.

National competitions were strangely nothing to write home about. First time since 2020 we have failed to get sides through to the latter stages. Perhaps this is indicative of the number of games that our teams play compared to other leagues.

Congratulations to Barnoldswick Town in the Macron Cup and Bacup Borough who successfully defended the Edward Case Cup. Colne won the Lancashire Trophy, with Cammell Laird 1907 winning the Wirral Senior Cup. 

Sadly we do lose clubs. We wish both Wythenshawe and Wythenshawe Town the best of luck as they join the Northern Premier League. We also say goodbye to Kendal Town, Shelley and Ilkley Town who have been laterally moved to other leagues, although the latter two were at the clubs' own request. To replace these we have six new clubs, three promoted from the County Feeder League, three laterally moved into us.

Maghull and Foley Meir are former clubs that we welcome back to the league, along with Thornton Cleveleys. Allscott Heath, Shawbury United and Wolverhampton Sporting Community join us from the Midland League. He wished the new clubs all the best on their new journey,. There are also lateral movements within the divisions, with Runcorn Town going North to South, and Droylsden and Maine Road moving South to North.

The issue of League structure is one that we raised several times with the FA last season and in other regional meetings. Our proposals were dismissed out of hand. Extremely disappointing to hear the FA are not acknowledging the problem that exists in our area. We will continue to express our dissatisfaction but the FA don't seem to want to acknowledge the damage they are doing. He warned clubs in Cheshire, Cumbria, South Manchester and East Lancashire that there is a risk of lateral movement, as the maths in our area simply do not add up based on 24 teams.

Paul said behaviour on the field continues to be a problem, verbal abuse and incidents . Also record number of dismissals from the technical area. He asked clubs to read and digest the Respect and Fair Play reports produced by Stewart Taylor. The standard of administration from some clubs is poor and creates significant work. Our league is about respect and friendship which some clubs seem to have forgotten.

The League received a lot of criticism last season for points deduction. He noted that all were due to errors on clubs behalf and that NLS rules are that the league HAS to deduct points. Our role is to adhere to the rules outlined by the FA's National League System. Paul closed by thanking the League Management Committee for their work.

Administrative procedures were carried out which included adopting of standing orders, adopt the accounts for the financial year as well as reviewing the auditors report produced by Steve Conway. This technically concluded the league business for the 2022-23 season.

Next was the exclusion of clubs, which in a long-standing tradition at the NWCFL, was a chance to say goodbye. Similiarly the new clubs coming in had the opportunity to say hello and outline to the room who they are. 

The constitution of the league was then agreed, with 24 clubs in the Premier Division, 18 in the First Division North and 18 in the First Division South. As Paul pointed out, we have no choice these days but to accept it as it is decided nationally by the FA! The full make up of all three of our divisions for 2024/25 at this present time is as follows:


AFC Liverpool, Abbey Hey, Barnoldswick Town, Burscough, Bury FC, Chadderton, Charnock Richard, Cheadle Town, Colne, FC Isle of Man, FC St Helens, Glossop North End, Irlam, Longridge Town, Litherland Remyca, Lower Breck, Padiham, Pilkington, Prestwich Heys, Ramsbottom United, South Liverpool, Stockport Town, Squires Gate, West Didsbury & Chorlton


AFC Blackpool, Ashton Athletic, Ashton Town, Atherton LR, Bacup Borough, Daisy Hill, Darwen, Droylsden, Euxton Villa, Garstang, Holker Old Boys, Maghull, Maine Road, Nelson, Route One Rovers, Skelmersdale United, Steeton, Thornton Cleveleys


Abbey Hulton United, Allscott Heath, Alsager Town, Ashville, Barnton, Cammell Laird 1907, Cheadle Heath Nomads, Eccleshall, Foley Meir, Market Drayton Town, New Mills, Runcorn Town, Sandbach United, Shawbury United, Stafford Town, Stockport Georgians, Winsford United, Wolverhampton Sporting Community

The next item was the Life Members and the Election of Management Committee members. With no new persons nominated, the Management Committee remains unchanged for the forthcoming season.

Administration for the new season was addressed with the FA Standardised rules reviewed and agreed. John Deal explained that we don't really have a lot of choice these days.

The fees tariffs was agreed. The one change from last season being a small increase in assistant referee's fees. The fines tariff was agreed, with no changes made.

Next was confirmation of the League Insurance Scheme. There was a debate concerning insurance and the differences between our current insurers Tysers and the current insurance scheme, or cover via County FA. and there have been no proposals for change there. This was followed by the re-appointment of auditors which was agreed.

The meeting closed with an announcement from John Deal. He reiterated Paul's comments earlier concerning lateral movements and said that the numbers in the North West simply do not add up. We are asking for opinions from clubs. These need to be done from a national perspective.


The meeting then closed with something of a double whammy. John Deal then announced that he intends to stand down his Secretary role at the end of this season, mainly due to eyesight conditions and age. He said he has been involved with the league since 1986 in a variety of roles, including Newsletter Editor back in the day! He has enjoyed his time, particularly clubs progressing. He looks forward to continuing his involvement with the league in a less demanding role.

The Chairman Paul Lawler then announced his intention to stand down at the end of the season also. After 10 years as Chairman and 40 years involved in the game, it seems an appropriate time with John departing to have a full 'changing of the guards' in charge of the League.

Paul then closed the meeting at 12.02pm.

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