The Pitching In Isthmian League South Central Division One will, at the time of writing, be a club light after it was announced that Whyteleafe had withdrawn from the competition.
The ‘Leafe were due to line up against Berkshire sides Bracknell Town, Binfield and Thatcham Town in competition next season but have been forced to withdraw after the new owners of the clubs ground refused to negotiate a new lease or license agreement.
A statement on the Whyteleafe FC website said: “It is with deep regret and sadness that we informed the Isthmian League earlier today that Whyteleafe FC will not be playing in next season’s Isthmian South Central League.
“The club has been forced to give up its Step 4 status after new owners of the Church Road ground refused to negotiate a new lease or licence agreement with the club for the 2021-22 season.
“Home to the Leafe for more than 60 years, Church Road was purchased by Irama last year at auction after the previous owners went into administration.
“Despite numerous attempts by the Trustees, current management committee and an independent fan led group to discuss a way forward, Singapore based property development company Irama – the new landlords – activated a break clause to terminate the club’s lease on July 31st this year.”
Whyteleafe had been members of the Isthmian League – apart from two seasons at step 5 between 2012 and 2014 – since 1984 but will now give up their position in the competition.
The Isthmian League South Central Division One will now run with 19 teams (subject to full ratification). It is pure speculation on our part but the FA could invite another side to step in to the space – though it is worth noting that at the time of the restructure announcement the step 4 Northern Premier League East and Southern League South divisions were all set to run with 19 teams.
The division as it stands is:
- Ashford Town (Middlesex)
- Basingstoke Town
- Bedfont Sports
- Bracknell Town
- Chalfont St Peter
- Chertsey Town
- Hanwell Town
- South Park
- Staines Town
- Sutton Common Rovers
- Thatcham Town
- Tooting & Mitcham United
Spotters badge: Steve Gabb.