It has been considered before, but Malvern Town might be making the transition over to the Hellenic League First Division next season should they fail to win promotion this season.
With forthcoming changes being made to non-League at Step 6 of the game, the Hill Men are one of a number of teams who may be moved over from the West Midlands (Regional) League in order to balance out the Hellenic League First Division which is running as one complete league next season instead of East and West leagues.
An FA Spokesman, April Foley, commented: “On current projection, the new Hellenic League First Division needs balancing out; currently we have Holyport and Tadley Calleva potentially in the same division as Cheltenham Saracens and Newent Town which means that teams will have to travel crazy distances for these games.
“Our thinking is to move Holyport, Chalvey Sports and Tadley Calleva to the Combined Counties 1st Division, as Worcester Park, Farleigh Rovers and Staines Lammas will definitely be demoted from this league due to not having the proper grading (Sheerwater will be reprieved if they agree to a ground-share at Woking FC), as well as to move Thame Rangers to the Spartan South Midlands League 1st Division once St. Neots Town Reserves have been relegated to the Spartan South Midlands League 2nd Division.
“This would mean that three of the following clubs; Hereford Lads Club, Pegasus Juniors, Wellington (Herefordshire), Malvern Town, Littleton and Pershore Town would be in line for a move across to the Hellenic League 1st Division. Our favoured three to move, for convenience’s sake, would be Hereford Lads Club, Pegasus Juniors and Malvern Town. All three have good links with Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire and we are confident that traveling times would be much reduced for these teams overall.
“We will, of course, liaise with the clubs in due course and hopefully we will be able to deliver a sensible, fair and balanced Step 6 across the board from 2018/19.”
Should Malvern Town not secure promotion and move across to the Hellenic League 1st Division, their opponents for season 2018/19 could include (league limited to a maximum of 22 teams):
Hereford Lads Club, Pegasus Juniors, Cheltenham Saracens, Newent Town, Milton United, Cirencester Town Development, New College Academy (Swindon), Burnham, Virginia Water (currently ground-sharing with Windsor FC), Clanfield 85 (Oxfordshire), North Leigh United, Sandhurst Town, Kidlington Reserves, Easington Sports (Banbury), Didcot Town Reserves, AFC Aldermaston, Chinnor, Shrivenham, Wallingford Town, Highmoor Ibis and Woodley United (Reading; both Highmoor Ibis and Woodley United use the same ground for home games).
The final decision on whether Malvern Town move across to the Hellenic League 1st Division or remain in the West Midlands Regional League will be made by the FA this summer, though Club Officials will definitely have the chance to have their say as well.
The following teams are expected to leave the current Step 6 Hellenic Leagues, at the end of the season, in order for the new 20-team Hellenic League 1st Division to come to fruition:
Ardley United (to Hellenic Premier League), Pewsey Vale (to Western/Wessex League 1st Division), Letcombe (to North Berks. Senior League – no floodlights), Woodstock Town (Oxfordshire Senior League – no floodlights), Tytherington Rocks (Western League 1st Division), Bicester Town (to Hellenic Premier League, ground-sharing with Ardley United), Penn & Tylers Green (to Hellenic League Division 2 East), Chalfont Wasps (to Spartan South Midlands 2nd Division), Shortwood United (to Hellenic League Division 2 West), Henley Town (Thames Valley Premier League, should they reform) and Wokingham & Emmbrook (ground-sharing at Henley Town until new ground is built, would also play in Thames Valley Premier League).