Wednesday 11th May 2005

Please credit article to Stephen McCartney - www.kentishfootball.co.uk

Ramsgate's relief

RAMSGATE manager Jim Ward spoke of his relief as the Kent League double winners were FINALLY promoted into the Ryman League Division One today, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Southwood Stadium outfit will join Lymington & New Milton and Walton Casuals in a 23 club division next season and will look forward to money spinning games against former Conference clubs Dover Athletic and Kingstonian and Kent derbies with Ashford Town, Cray Wanderers and Tonbridge Angels (as the league currently stands).

"What a roller coaster ride," Ward said tonight.  "We won the double, which was a great achievement by the boys and really it would have been a sin if we weren't promoted.

"We got told a week ago that we were promoted and then of course we weren't and then we were - there was relief for everyone concerned today."

Ward can now prepare for their Ryman League campaign which gets underway on Saturday 20th August  - but the Rams are preparing for it just like any season.

"We get back on July 2nd," he announced.  "We always start training on the first Saturday, I'm not going to change that now we're in a bigger league. 

"We've already got a lot of pre-season friendlies lined up, we won't be doing anything different from what we've done previously."

Ramsgate are relishing the opportunity to take on some of the division's bigger clubs and having beaten Kingstonian 2-0 in the FA Cup last season at Kingsmeadow, Ward admits his side are going for a place in the play-off - following in the footsteps of former Kent League rivals Cray Wanderers.

"The biggest thing we've got to prove this year is we've always done well against clubs in the league above us - such as the FA Cup. 

"Now we've got the opportunity of playing in a 23-club league just to see how we can now perform on a week to week basis.

"I won't be a manager who gets enough points to survive.  Our target will be getting two points a game and if we can have two points a game that will get us into the play-offs."

The Rams are celebrating their success when their presentation night takes place on Friday and Ward revealed he is retaining everyone of his double winning squad but he will be looking further afield from Thanet to bolster his squad.

"I won't be letting anyone go," he revealed.  "They will all be told Thursday night that everybody will be welcomed back in pre-season and to give it a go.  That will be their choice but I cannot release any players because they won me the double.

"We've got 44 league games next year, we will have to case the net a bit wider."

Ward admitted his management team of his brother Danny and Mark Horrop are a "sound base with plenty of experience in the management level,"  but he wants more fans to flock through the turnstiles at the improved stadium.

"That's what we are hoping.  I spoke to the chairman today, let's hope we can get more bums on seats.  We are really playing against some big clubs next year."

Welcome aboard Ramsgate!

Who goes where? FA Statement:

Following a meeting of the Alliance Committee today, it was agreed to recommend to the Leagues Committee that the nine champion clubs from the Step 5 Leagues be promoted to Step 4 for Season 2005/06. This alleviates the necessity for play-off matches.

These clubs will be joined by Enfield FC who finished as runners-up in the Isthmian League Division Two.

This additional place allocated to the Isthmian League Division Two is as a result of an agreement between the Isthmian League and its former feeder leagues which allowed for two promotion places, this being the final Season for this agreement.

Subject to ratification by the Leagues Committee the promoted clubs have been placed in the following competitions:

Northern Premier League Division One

  • Goole
  • Fleetwood Town

Southern League Division One West

  • Rushall Olympic

Southern League Division One East

  • Enfield
  • Enfield Town
  • Ilford
  • Potters Bar Town

Isthmian League Division One

  • Ramsgate
  • Lymington & New Milton FC
  • Walton Casuals

Whilst this exceeds the number of promotion places available, in the opinion of the Committee, the decision to promote all champion clubs was in the best interests of the game.