Daventry face some long trips

Ryan Howell closes down Richard Gregory during the last meeting between Daventry Town and Rugby Town
Ryan Howell closes down Richard Gregory during the last meeting between Daventry Town and Rugby Town

Eyebrows will be raised at the Football Association’s shock decision to move Daventry Town and neighbours Rugby Town into the Northern Premier League.

It also begs the question as to whether or not the Purple Army’s Home Counties-based manager Allan Smart will feel able to continue to take charge of a club which will play as far a field as the Potteries, Peak District, south Yorkshire and on the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Daventry’s switch to the NLP’s Division One South means that clubs will be drawn from eight counties with Northamptonshire joining Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Yorkshire.

Shaw Lane Aquaforce (Barnsley), Basford United (Nottingham) and Derbyshire’s Belper Town also feature among the five new teams in the revamped step four division.

Daventry have never been beaten by nearby Rugby in ten Southern League fixtures and also won 3-1 at Belper en route to that never-to-be-forgotten FA Cup first round tie at Chesterfield in 2013.

Although geographically further south than Rushden, the Communications Park outfit has been shunted north rather than UCL champions Diamonds. An appeal to FA Non-League supremo Mike Appleby could yet be launched.

At least the Town will now be spared frequent journeys down the M40 to face poorly-supported north London clubs but instead many long hours await travelling up the M1 and the M6.

Surprisingly though, total mileage distances remain relatively static at around the 2,700 miles mark despite forthcoming 200-mile round trips to Goole, Barnsley and Stocksbridge.

Kidsgrove Athletic, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Leek Town, Stafford Rangers and Market Drayton await in Staffordshire while Tividale and Romulus will almost qualify as derby clashes.

Of deeper historical significance will be the games against the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield, who now play their home matches over the county boundary at Dronfield in Derbyshire.

For the time being anyway the Town will sever all ties with a Southern League which has seen the Browns Road club reach the play-offs twice in only five seasons.

Meanwhile, the Southern League’s own Division One Central will itself contain five new faces in newly-promoted AFC Rushden and Diamonds, Flackwell Heath and Kings Langley as well as relegated teams Arlesey and Burnham.

Such are the implications of Daventry’s unexpected move north, that club officials must act swiftly to arrange the long-overdue annual general meeting and financial statement of accounts.