LANCASHIRE K.O. PROPOSAL – EFFECTIVE FROM 2019
Preamble: At the moment leagues (and participating clubs) have to reserve six Sundays for the Lancs KO, and half the teams will exit in the first round. As in any KO competition there are opportunities for ‘giant killing’ but the occasions this occurs are far outweighed by miss-matches which are a waste of everyone’s time. Also the luck of the draw can mean a very strong team can depart in the early stages – Northern in 2017 being just one example. I feel the competition would be stronger if it were played on a league basis with promotion and relegation. Clubs would be guaranteed a set number of matches (five in the example below, although seven would work equally well), and teams would be playing others of roughly the same standard throughout. At the moment I am assuming there will be six ‘professional’ leagues; Liverpool Competition, Northern League / Palace Shield, Bolton League, Greater Manchester League, Lancashire League and Ribblesdale League. Should this change before 2019 the changes can be absorbed in the structure.
How It Could Work:
- The top six clubs in each league would form the top tier. I am going to suggest five tiers, but there could be more or fewer. The second placed teams would form the second tier etc.
- Three teams from the top tier would be relegated and replaced by the three top teams from the second tier, so by 2020 there may be two teams from one or more leagues and none from others in the top tier, the ratios could be even more pronounced with the passage of time.
- From the second tier three clubs would be relegated to be replaced by three clubs from the third tier.
- From the third tier three clubs would be promoted and three relegated.
- From the fourth tier three clubs would be promoted and three would exit the competition.
- From the fifth tier three clubs would be promoted and three would exit the competition.
- The six clubs exiting the competition would be replaced by the leading club in the six leagues not already in the competition. This will ensure the competition does not become a closed shop, and over time will ensure the stronger leagues have more than the original five entrants, and the weaker leagues fewer.
Competition Rules: Few changes should be needed, player eligibility for the existing competition seems to be acceptable, although possibly deputy professional could be permitted. With some minor tweaking to the GMCL bonus points, their match rules seem very suited.
Administration: The competition could be run centrally by the County, or independently by the six leagues, with a County appointed Chair or administrator, with sub committees covering grounds and discipline. Leagues / clubs may wish to play a mixture of Saturdays and Sundays, or Bank Holiday Mondays.
Additional KO’s: Many clubs from the leagues in existence before 2016 who frequently qualified for the Lancs KO now find themselves in the lower divisions of the new structures. There could still be a County KO champion by approaching the ECB to see if the clubs from the former leagues in Lancashire could band together in adjacent National KO groups to obtain a County winner during the Area stages of the NKO.