Old Steps, New Steps, and How the New League System Will Work

Old Steps, New Steps, and How the New League System Will Work

The ups and downs of life below League Two demystified by our resident expert, Chairman Stuart Fuller

Stuart Fuller
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A few seasons ago you may remember there was a complicated promotion/relegation situation between Step 3 and Step 4, which saw us finish runners-up in the Isthmian League South and still be promoted, whilst Corinthian-Casuals managed to lose the play-off final and come up too.

This was all down to the creation of a new Step 3 division, run by the Southern League, and a new Step 4 division run by the Isthmian League.  However, this meant a further Step 4 league would be required to create a true pyramid from Step 1 downwards.  That will happen for the start of the 2020/21 season and so a few changes to the end of season promotion/relegation/play-offs will be put in place for one season which are summarised below.

Step 1 – National League Premier Division

Two clubs will be promoted – Champions plus the play-off winner

Bottom 4 relegated to Step 2

Step 2 - National League North and South

Two promoted from each division – Champions plus the play-off winners

Bottom 2 relegated from each division to Step 3

Step 3 – Northern, Southern (x2) and Isthmian Premier League

Two promoted from each division – Champions plus the play-off winners

The Bottom two sides from each division will be relegated to Step 4. Another two ‘third bottom’ clubs (from the four Premier Divisions) will be relegated on a PPG basis. If there are any reprieves available then one of the relegated PPG sides will get that reprieve. The bottom club of each division will not be eligible for a reprieve.

Step 4 – Northern League x 2, Southern League x 2, Isthmian League x 2

Two promoted from each division – Champions plus the play-off winners

The bottom side from each of the seven leagues will go into a playoff against a Step 5 side (see below). The match will be hosted by the Step 4 side and the winner will play at Step 4 the following season with the loser playing at Step 5.

Step 5 – 14 x County Leagues

At Step 5, due to the expansion of Step 4 in 2020/2021 with one more league being created, more sides than usual will be promoted. Every Step 5 Champion will be promoted to Step 4. In the North West Counties, Northern League and Northern Counties East, the top 3 sides will be promoted. In the other 11 divisions, the four runners up with the best PPG will be promoted. The other seven runners up will playoff against the seven bottom sides at Step 4 to see who will play at Step 4 and 5 the following season.

The bottom side from each of the fourteen divisions will be ranked on a PPG basis. The two sides with the best PPG will be reprieved, the other 12 will be relegated.

We hope that clears the picture up for the end of this coming season!













A few seasons ago you may remember there was a complicated promotion/relegation situation between Step 3 and Step 4, which saw us finish runners-up in the Isthmian League South and still be promoted, whilst Corinthian-Casuals managed to lose the play-off final and come up too.

This was all down to the creation of a new Step 3 division, run by the Southern League, and a new Step 4 division run by the Isthmian League.  However, this meant a further Step 4 league would be required to create a true pyramid from Step 1 downwards.  That will happen for the start of the 2020/21 season and so a few changes to the end of season promotion/relegation/play-offs will be put in place for one season which are summarised below.

Step 1 – National League Premier Division

Two clubs will be promoted – Champions plus the play-off winner

Bottom 4 relegated to Step 2

Step 2 - National League North and South

Two promoted from each division – Champions plus the play-off winners

Bottom 2 relegated from each division to Step 3

Step 3 – Northern, Southern (x2) and Isthmian Premier League

Two promoted from each division – Champions plus the play-off winners

The Bottom two sides from each division will be relegated to Step 4. Another two ‘third bottom’ clubs (from the four Premier Divisions) will be relegated on a PPG basis. If there are any reprieves available then one of the relegated PPG sides will get that reprieve. The bottom club of each division will not be eligible for a reprieve.

Step 4 – Northern League x 2, Southern League x 2, Isthmian League x 2

Two promoted from each division – Champions plus the play-off winners

The bottom side from each of the seven leagues will go into a playoff against a Step 5 side (see below). The match will be hosted by the Step 4 side and the winner will play at Step 4 the following season with the loser playing at Step 5.

Step 5 – 14 x County Leagues

At Step 5, due to the expansion of Step 4 in 2020/2021 with one more league being created, more sides than usual will be promoted. Every Step 5 Champion will be promoted to Step 4. In the North West Counties, Northern League and Northern Counties East, the top 3 sides will be promoted. In the other 11 divisions, the four runners up with the best PPG will be promoted. The other seven runners up will playoff against the seven bottom sides at Step 4 to see who will play at Step 4 and 5 the following season.

The bottom side from each of the fourteen divisions will be ranked on a PPG basis. The two sides with the best PPG will be reprieved, the other 12 will be relegated.

We hope that clears the picture up for the end of this coming season!