Vanarama National League North club Worcester City have announced that they will be playing in the Midland Football League next season.
The club explained the reasons behind the decision, stating that they believe that it is “impossible for the Club to remain competitive whilst operating within its means” at step two of the non-league pyramid.
The club also insisted that the move will give them “the best chance of survival”.
That now means that Worcester will drop three divisions and will ply their trade at step five from next season.
The Blue and Whites have spent the last four years playing outside of their home city and “home” games are currently held at Bromsgrove Sporting’s Victoria Ground.
Last week the club began preparations for next season by appointing former West Bromwich Albion striker Lee Hughes and John Snape as their management team.
Now they will prepare to face the likes of Sporting Khalsa, Coventry United and Westfields, rather than facing some of non-league’s biggest names in next season’s National League North.
A club statement said “Worcester City have announced that due to the excessive costs attached to retaining National League North status, and despite a battle to the end of the season, a decision was made to resign from the National League.
This decision was made collectively by the Board of Directors, with input from the management team, to ensure the future survival of the Football Club.
This season in particular has seen significant playing budgets being available to many other clubs at Step 2, making it an elite tier of non-league football with over-inflated player wages, and impossible for the Club to remain competitive whilst operating within its means”
The club also stated the impact of their struggles to return to their home city was behind their reason to resign from the National League North.
They said “The identification of a ground that is affordable and deliverable in the City of Worcester has been of the highest priority for the Directors of the Club over the past 3 years and a number of sites reviewed through the Council Working Party. With the continuing delays of the Perdiswell Project, both for Planning, but more importantly confirmation of a Land Transfer from the Council, the Board of Directors concluded that there was no alternative but to resign from the National League in order to give the Club the best possible chance of survival for forthcoming seasons.
Attentions will now turn to next season for Hughes and Snape, as they look to help the club make their first steps back towards non-league’s upper reaches.
It is understood that the duo have began negotiations with a number of players now that the club’s future has been resolved.
That could mean a number of younger players getting their chance when City begin life in next season’s Midland League.
Hughes and Snape will spend the summer working within a more “reduced playing budget”, with the club stating that the move has been neccassary to give them the best chance of bringing the Blue and Whites back to their home city in the future.
The statement concluded “Playing at a lower level of football will enable the Club to operate a reduced playing budget to ensure that the Club’s remaining funds are protected to help support its return to Worcester at the earliest opportunity. It will also provide locally developed players with more chance of progressing and representing Worcester City Football Club. Regardless of the Step at which we were to be placed the new Management Team was set a playing budget for next season and it is intended to announce player news shortly.
We have sympathy with supporters who will be disappointed with this news, however this action is aimed at being a pragmatic and sensible approach to ensure the Club is given the best possible chance of survival until the goal of bringing the Football Club back to a new home in Worcester has been achieved”
City finished in twentieth position in this season’s National League North, with a 4-2 final day defeat at champions AFC Fylde sealing their place in the bottom three.
Article: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily) Image: Reuters Media