FA decide next season's pyramid

By David Watters

The EVO-STIK Northern Premier League’s fans, players and officials can start getting ready for next season after the Football Association announced the make-up of the 2016-17 Non-League pyramid.

The 68 clubs set to compete in the EVO-STIK NPL's Premier, North and South divisions were confirmed on Thursday following the annual end of season reshuffle at Steps 1-4 by the FA’s Leagues Committee at Wembley.

Like those of the Football Conference, EVO-STIK League Southern and Ryman League, the league’s constitution, listed below, is subject to appeal and will be confirmed at the EVO-STIK NPL's AGM which takes place on Saturday 18 June at the Hilton Hotel in Blackpool.

The arrival of AFC Rushden & Diamonds in the EVO-STIK NPL and the double switch of Northwich Victoria and Witton Albion to EVO-STIK NPL First Division South and Goole coming the other way are the headline news with the rest of the shake-up panning out roughly as expected by most pundits.

Following their relegation from National League North, Corby Town and Hednesford join the EVO-STIK NPL's top flight, the Pitmen returning after a three year absence after going up as play-off champions in 2013, to make up the division's 24 clubs alongside the promoted quartet of Coalville Town, Stafford Rangers, Spennymoor Town and Warrington Town.

Next season's EVO-STIK NPL First Division South table will feature AFC Rushen & Diamonds after the phoenix club was moved sideways from the EVO-STIK League Southern's Central Division following a fifth-placed finish in April. After switching back to the EVO-STIK League Southern before relegation last season, Bedworth United are back, along with relegated Stamford and Northwich Victoria and Witton Albion.

Their switch south and sideways helped to make room for two clubs new to the league, Tadcaster Albion and Colne entering EVO-STIK NPL First Division North as Northern Counties East League and North West Counties Football League champions respectively. The Vikings and the relegated EVO-STIK NPL Premier Division trio of Colwyn Bay, Hyde United and Ramsbottom United complete next season's 22 club line-up.

EVO-STIK Northern Premier League 2016-17 Constitution

Premier Division
Ashton United, Barwell, Blyth Spartans, Buxton, Coalville Town, Corby Town, Frickley Athletic, Grantham Town, Halesowen Town, Hednesford Town, Ilkeston FC, Marine, Matlock Town, Mickleover Sports, Nantwich Town, Rushall Olympic, Skelmersdale United, Spennymoor Town, Stafford Rangers, Stourbridge, Sutton Coldfield Town, Warrington Town, Whitby Town and Workington.

First Division North
Bamber Bridge, Brighouse Town, Burscough, Clitheroe, Colne, Colwyn Bay, Droylsden, Farsley Celtic, Glossop North End, Goole AFC, Hyde United, Kendal Town, Lancaster City, Mossley, Ossett Albion, Ossett Town, Prescot Cables, Radcliffe Borough, Ramsbottom United, Scarborough Athletic, Tadcaster Albion and Trafford.

First Division South
AFC Rushden & Diamonds, Basford United, Bedworth United, Belper Town, Carlton Town, Chasetown, Gresley, Kidsgrove Athletic, Leek Town, Lincoln United, Loughborough Dynamo, Market Drayton Town, Newcastle Town, Northwich Victoria, Romulus, Rugby Town, Sheffield, Shaw Lane Aquaforce, Spalding United, Stamford, Stocksbridge Park Steels and Witton Albion.

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Where next?

Paxton adds experienced coach Prescot Cables manager Andy Paxton has added to his touchline team for the 2016-17 EVO-STIK Northern Premier League campaign.
Dynamic duo return as managers Matlock Town have appointed Glenn Kirkwood and Craig Hopkins as joint managers for the 2016-17 EVO-STIK Northern Premier League season.

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