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Story posted: Friday, 10th January 1986

Now Rovers are set for Southern League bid
Story courtesy of
Gresley Rovers are preparing to take one of the boldest steps in their 104-year history. Rovers’ chief Frank Northwood revealed last night that the club had applied for promotion to the Southern League Midland Division.
And Northwood believes that Rovers have more than an even chance of taking a significant step up the non-league ladder.

He said: “We’ve been assured by the Southern League that they will give us serious consideration providing we finish in the top three in the in the West Midlands League.

“We’re being deadly serious about this. Gresley Rovers are an ambitious club and it is the next logical step forward.”

Gresley claim they have no fears about their Moat Ground home getting the Southern League’s stamp of approval.

The club secretary invited league officials to visit them last season and say the ground only failed to receive a necessary grading because minor dressing room alterations were required.

“That work has now been done,” said Northwood “so we don’t anticipate any problems on that score.”

Nor is it likely that the extra cost involved would prove a major obstacle for the Moatmen.

Gresley now operate a hugely successful tote that is thought to be raising as much as £200 a week and their social club has also poured considerable amounts of money into the football club.

Additionally, Rovers are generating much more money at the turnstiles and there is tantalising talk of a major sponsorship deal next season.

In any event, travelling costs are not likely to prove outrageously high in comparison to those incurred in the West Midlands League.

The majority of clubs in the Southern League Midland Division are within a 50-mile radius of the Moat Ground.

On the basis of the division’s current membership the only long journeys would be to Forest Green Rovers, near Stroud, Gloucester, and Merthyr Tydfil.

The evidence suggests, therefore, that it is out on the pitch that Gresley’s toughest battle lies.

Their indifferent performances since their brilliant early season form deserted them as probably put the title well out of reach, although Northwood believes the championship can still be won.

And even a top three spot may prove beyond Rovers, such is the quality of the West Midlands League this season.

The whole issue is confused, however, by the promotion prospects of Halesowen Town and Harrison’s who are currently neck-and-neck at the top of the table.

Halesowen’s magnificent playing record over recent seasons counted for nothing last year when the Southern League rejected them because of their poor facilities.

And it is doubtful whether emergent Harrison’s would yet be in a position to move upwards for similar reasons.

Those factors could let another club into the Southern League, but Gresley would have to finish above both Atherstone and Tamworth and, possibly, Lye Town to give themselves a chance of getting the vote.

Whatever the remainder of the season brings, Gresley have stated their case and it will at least add a dash of spice to the second-half of their campaign.
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League Position
  Team P GD Pts
2 Belper Town 0 0 0
3 Brighouse Town 0 0 0
4 Carlton Town 0 0 0
5 Cleethorpes Town 0 0 0
6 Frickley Athletic 0 0 0
7 Gresley 0 0 0
8 Lincoln United 0 0 0
9 Loughborough Dynamo 0 0 0
10 Marske United 0 0 0
11 Morpeth Town 0 0 0
12 Ossett United 0 0 0

Full Table

Forthcoming Fixtures
Pre-Season Friendly
Tue, 17th Jul 2018, 7.45pm (Away)
Kettering Town
Pre-Season Friendly
Thu, 19th Jul 2018, 7.45pm (Home)
AFC Hinckley
Pre-Season Friendly
Sat, 21st Jul 2018, 3.00pm (Home)
South Normanton Athletic
Pre-Season Friendly
Tue, 24th Jul 2018, 7.30pm (Away)
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