VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE 2018/19
Barnet - relegated from League Two
Braintree Town - promoted from Vanarama South
Chesterfield - relegated from League Two
Dagenham & Redbridge
FC Halifax Town
Harrogate Town - promoted from Vanarama North
Havant & Waterlooville - promoted from Vanarama South
Salford City - promoted from Vanarama North
bold denotes 3G pitch
Twenty four clubs are now set to compete in the 2018/19 Vanarama National Division as non-league football waves goodbye to Macclesfield Town and Tranmere Rovers who are promoted to the football league. Salford City, Harrogate Town, Braintree Town and Havant & Waterlooville are promoted from Step Two of the non-league who replace Woking, Torquay United, Chester and Guiseley who move in the opposite direction. In our early preview and news round we feature the new clubs joining the division.
It's all change at The Hive as John Still moves from Dagenham and Redbridge to take over as manager following the departure of Martin Allen after their relegation from the football league. Still is no stranger to The Bees as he was their boss between June 1997 to November 2000 where he took them to the then Division Three play-offs on two occasions. He moved to be Director of Football when Tony Cottee came in to be manager but moved back into the hot-seat in March 2001 but was unable to prevent Barnet's relegation that season. He remained the Director of Football at Underhill under the end of the 01/02 season. He is no stranger to non-league's top division having lead Dagenham & Redbridge, Luton Town and Maidstone United to promotion in his long distinguished career. There hasn't been much movement IN on the play front as yet but two players have left being defender Michael Nelson and midfielder Curtis Weston who have been announced as moving to Chesterfield (see below).
It was only one season away from the top table for The Iron as club legend Bradley Quinton came in to build a squad which were promoted back from the Vanarama South at the first time of asking via a play-off final victory on penalty kicks at Hampton and Richmond Borough. Quinton has invited back his entire squad from last season and extended the playing contracts of defenders Jon Muleba and Christian Frimpong.
A near 100 year association with the football league ended for The Spireites with two successive relegations in as many seasons from both League One and League Two. It's been two years to forget for the 1997 FA Cup semi-finalists who last played in non-league football in 1920/21 when members of the midland league. It was somewhat of a surprise when the club announced Martin Allen as their new manager for the 2018/19 season who had only departed from his short spell with Barnet at the end of the 2017/18 campaign. Allen has been busy signing players for the forthcoming season with Shwan Jalal (goalkeeper from reigning Champion's Macclesfield Town), Sam Wedgbury (midfielder from Wrexham) along with the aforementioned two players who have followed Allen from Hertfordshire.
This will be the first time in Town's history that they will ever play in non-league's top division. The club will be one of the many teams in the division now to have a 3G pitch. Town's first pre-season fixture comes on Tuesday 10th July when they visit Knaresborough. It's a real family affair at the Yorkshire club with Simon Weaver as manager since 2009 with father Irving Weaver being Chairman since 2011.
HAVANT & WATERLOOVILLE
The Hawks are a shining example of sticking with a manager and showing some stability is surely the right way of how to run a football club. Relegated from Step Two at the end of the 2015/16 season they stuck with Lee Bradbury as boss and have since achieved back to back league titles allowing the club to compete at the top level of the non-league game for the first time in their history. Bradbury has stated he intends to keep the nucleus of the squad from 2018/19 for the forthcoming season.
Lot's has been written about Salford's transformation and rise up the pyramid since the take over of the club by former Manchester United players in 2014. Successful joint manager's Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson have left the club this summer to be replaced by former Preston North End, Fleetwood Town and Scunthorpe United manager Graham Alexander. 33 year old defender Nathan Pond has signed from Fleetwood Town and brings with him a massive amount of experience having made over 400 appearances for The Cod Army. Goalkeeper Chris Neal (32) has also followed from Fleetwood with over 200 league games under his belt. Kieran Glynn, a highly rated 20 year old midfielder, has joined from FC United of Manchester where he had played over 50 games for The Red Rebels. Another midfielder Danny Whitehead has also signed having played a key role in Macclesfield Town's title winning success last season.
It's set to be another exciting season in non-league's top division with plenty more signings to come before August.