Football / Non-League Notebook: Merthyr stay in Conference but future is under threat

Click to follow
MERTHYR TYDFIL have chosen to remain in the GM Vauxhall Conference, rather than bid farewell to English football and join the Konica League of Wales. Their decision means that there will be no reprieve from relegation for Farnborough Town.

Merthyr, like the three Welsh clubs in the Barclays League, were stunned by the Uefa decision to ban them from the European Cup-Winners' Cup, should they win the Welsh Cup next season. That ban was subsequently suspended for two years, but Merthyr had already decided to stay in the English pyramid - for the time being.

Merthyr still face an uncertain future, for John Reddy, their chairman and managing director, is to retire at the end of next season. 'If no successor is found by December,' he said last week, 'it is possible that the club will fold.'

Another south Wales club, Barri, have been obliged to join the Abacus Welsh League following their unexpected decision to resign from the Beazer Homes League. Barri, who will revert to their former name, Barry Town, had hoped to join the League of Wales - which they refused to join last summer - but the Football Association of Wales have only allowed them back in to the Welsh pyramid at a lower level.

Ton Pentre, who won the Abacus League last term, have been promoted to the Konica League, along with Llansantffraid, the champions of the Manweb Cymru Alliance.

As well as Barri, Andover have resigned from the Beazer Homes League, so no clubs have been relegated. Three teams have been admitted to the Beazer: Clevedon, the champions of the Great Mills League, Tonbridge (Winstonlead Kent League) and Armitage (Ansells Midland Combination). Moor Green have escaped relegation from the Beazer Premier Division as Salisbury have been denied promotion. Their Victoria Park ground was deemed inadequate, and they were refused permission to share Bashley's stadium.

Another club to lose out to a ground-grading ruling are Atherton Laburnum Rovers, the champions of the Bass North West Counties League. Their place in the Northern Premier League goes to the runners- up, Bamber Bridge. Also promoted are Spennymoor (Northern Counties East League), but Whitby's elevation from the Northern League is in doubt because that league is unhappy about not gaining a club from the Northern Premier in return.

Rossendale have been relegated from the Northern Premier to the North West Counties League, while Shepshed have resigned to join the Midland Combination. The Diadora League has welcomed back two former member clubs: Cheshunt and Oxford City.

Halifax Town have turned to an experienced non-League man following their relegation to the Conference: Peter Wragg, the former Macclesfield Town manager, becomes general manager at The Shay, while Mick Rathbone, in charge last season, stays on as first-team coach.