The Isthmian North’s new teams – part one

Promotions, relegations and lateral moves meant that there will be eight new teams in the Isthmian Division One North this season. Here’s part one of our look at these few faces.

Cambridge City

How did they get here?

Since relegation from the Southern Premier in 2017, Cambridge’s geographical position means they’ve been bumped around from division to division. They spent a year in the Southern Eastern Division, then one in Southern Central. The two unfinished Covid-affected seasons were spent in the Isthmian North, before three seasons in the Midland division of the Northern(!) Premier League. Last season, they were one of four teams to finish the season on 32 points, but avoided the drop on goal difference.

What’s the pedigree? 

City were one of the founder members of the new Conference South in 2004 and finished that first season in second place, losing the play-off final 3-0 to Eastbourne Borough. Four seasons at step two were followed by demotion on ground grading issues, and then almost a decade at step three. Multiple play-off appearances came and went, they have spent the last seven seasons being fairly safe mid-table mainstays.

City played at Milton Road for almost 100 years until 2013, when the ground was sold. According to Wikipedia, “the club was in a legal dispute with their landlords over the ground, which was sold by a previous board of directors for less than its market value. The High Court ruled that the club had been fraudulently misrepresented, and the club will receive 50% of the development profits on the site.” For the last 11 years, City have flitted between sharing at Histon’s Bridge Road ground, and St Ives Town’s Westwood Road, but the club are quietly optimistic about moving into their new ground in time for the start of this season.

Any aggro?

Both sides were in the Athenian League in the 1950s, but the last time we met was in the 1992-93 FA Cup, when we won 3-0.

Concord Rangers

How did they get here?

After 14 years away, Concord Rangers return to the Isthmian North after suffering back-to-back relegations.

What’s the pedigree?

Their rise to step two of the pyramid put Concord, and managers the Cowley brothers on the map. The Cowleys have gone on to bounce around the Football League, while Concord’s presence in the National League South was pretty slow and steady. But crowds were relatively low, and it was always going to be a challenge to stay at step two. Their relegation last season was perhaps more surprising, finishing second-bottom of the Isthmian Premier after winning just five games.

Any aggro?

We’ve played Concord six times in our history…  and lost them all. Four of those meetings came in the league between 2008 and 2010 (the 2009 trip pictured above), with an aggregate score of Stow 1-13 Concord Rangers. Time to change that?

Haringey Borough

How did they get here?

When Boro’s 2018 FA Cup first round tie against AFC Wimbledon was featured on the BBC, the club proudly claimed that pretty much the whole enterprise was supported by boot sales in the car park. Those boot sales mustn’t be what they once were, because after finishing third that season, the North London Club finished 17th, 15th and then 20th in the Isthmian Premier, confirming their relegation back to step four after six seasons.

What’s the pedigree?

Haringey Borough, as they’re currently known, have a history almost as complicated as our own. Going back 100 years, they were formed as Tuffnell Park, before merging with Edmonton Borough to play as Tuffnell Park Edmonton. Then it was Edmonton, then Edmonton & Haringey and finally Haringey Borough (with one season back as Tuffnell Parkin 1995). Those early years were spent in the Athenian League and lower divisions of the Isthmian, but the 90s and 2000s were largely spent in the Spartan League. A switch to the Essex Senior in 2013 sparked a mini-revival, finishing second and then winning it in 2015. They spent three seasons in the Isthmian North, winning the play-offs at the third attempt and getting promoted to step three for the first time in their history.

Any aggro?

We’ve been playing the club in their various guises since 1913, but with the two sides only ever a few miles apart, relationships have been fairly cordial. Much like us, Haringey were woefully undersupported for a long time, but have turned the curve recently and averaged 500 last season. Stow’s trips to Coles Park last season (one friendly (pictured above), two games against New Salamis) were enjoyable, so we’ll be looking to build a friendly rivalry this season.

Mildenhall Town

How did they get here?

It was all rather straightforward for Mildenhall last season. They lost only twice and conceded just 16 goals, winning the Eastern Counties Premier by 14 points.

What’s the pedigree?

Mildenhall had been mainstays of the Eastern Counties Premier from 1999 until 2016, when they were promoted to the Isthmian Division One North. In their two seasons at step four, they finished third bottom, and then bottom, winning only five games in the season they were relegated. But this allowed them to regroup, and after finishing third and sixth, they were Eastern Counties Premier winners last season. Other notable moments for the club include winning the Cambridgeshire Invitation Cup three times, and the Suffolk Junior Cup in 1900.

Any aggro?

We’ve only met once in our history. That was in the 2001-2 FA Vase, when Mildenhall robbed us of a place in the fourth round with a 2-1 victory at Wadham Lodge. We played with midfielder Neil Tilley in goal for almost an hour after Russell Ling was injured by a Mildenhall player, but were cruelly beaten in extra time. For that reason, and that reason only, “The Hall” will be our main rivals this season.

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