Louis Bouwers rises above Ian Davies as Ascot United and Binfield clash. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com

What’s happening with step 5 promotion in 2019/20

A reminder of what the promotion situation will look like at the end of the season
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Louis Bouwers rises above Ian Davies as Ascot United and Binfield clash. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com

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Just before Christmas 2019, it occurred Football in Berkshire that we couldn’t remember how promotion would work at step 5 at the end of the 2019/20 season.

We were then reminded we’d remembered we’d forgotten when the list of step 7 promotion applicants came through last week so we thought we’d take a few minutes to remind ourselves that it is likely to be another bumper season of promotions after 2017/18 after Thatcham Town, Bracknell Town and Highworth Town were promoted from the Hellenic League Premier Division.

Last season, it was back to just the champions with Wantage Town edging over the line by two points. So how and why will there likely be extra promotions from the Uhlsport Hellenic League and Cherry Red Records Combined Counties League this season?

Simple, the Football Association are adding an additional division at step 4 (as well as two at step 5 – but that doesn’t affect this piece) which will be administered by the BetVictor Northern Premier League.

According to the FA, there will therefore be an additional 24 places at step four in 2020/21 which need to be filled by clubs from step 5 (Hellenic League, Combined Counties League etc.)

There are some complications, but in short:

  • The 14 step 5 champions will all be promoted (14)
  • The second and third placed teams in the North West Counties League, Northern League and Northern Counties East League will all be promoted (20)
  • The four best (by points per game (PPG)) second placed teams from the rest of the step 5 divisions (including Hellenic and Combined Counties) will also be promoted (24)
  • The remaining seven second placed clubs will play off against one of the seven clubs that finished bottom of a step 4 league in a winner takes all one off game

A big thanks to the Non League Papers piece that has allowed us to distill this down to focus on step 5! Read it in full here.

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