PETITIONS have been launched on behalf of Northwich Victoria and Winsford United in the battle to prevent The FA moving both clubs into The Midlands Football League, as was revealed on Monday.

As many signatories as possible are sort for petitions that will form part of the appeal process as both Vics and Blues bid to stay in the North West Counties League top flight.

And Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury has joined the campaign too – as he plans to raise the issue in Parliament as well as provide a letter of support in Vics’ appeal document.

Northwich Guardian: Northwich Victoria fansNorthwich Victoria fans (Image: Angela Buckley)


Northwich Guardian: Winsford United fansWinsford United fans (Image: Gary Moore)


At the time of writing, 689 had signed the Vics petition and 706 the Winsford one.

Both clubs fear for their financial viability if their lateral move is ratified, with Vics chairman Brian Turner also revealing they are likely to lose 90 per cent of their players and the newly installed management team just as pre-season is about to get underway if the league switch goes ahead.

The Midlands shift is a result of the FA’s National League System allocations published on Monday for Steps 1-6.

But the potential costs involved with further travelling and lost revenue from four less home league games in the smaller Midlands League are a major concern to both Vics and Blues.

“We've registered our appeal and now we're pressing on putting the document together,” said Vics chief Turner.

“That's got to be submitted by Monday by a personal appearance rather than through correspondence and then we have to wait until we’re called to the hearing.

“We’ll hear in early June as to whether we were successful or not. It's just a matter of waiting after submitting the appeal which puts a lot of pressure on everybody.

“Because at the moment we plan to retain as many players as we can from last season, but the manager (Steve Pickup) indicated that 90 per cent or more of them will not commit to Northwich Victoria if we’re in the Midlands League - and probably the back-room staff, including the manager, so we might not have anybody.

“The manager travels from Preston and for some of the matches in the Midlands League he's talking about five hours travelling in total which is not feasible for him.

“The biggest one for us is the financial implications of it all.

“In the 2015-16 season, we were in the Evo-Stik North and we were moved to the South. And of course, within three months the owner put the club into administration, the manager walked out shortly after and took some of the players. We had to get a new manager, we had some new players and we finished up bottom of that league and were moved to the North West Counties.

“I know the Midland League is not like the South, but it's just as bad and the implications all round are immense on the pressure for the club.

“Last season we played 21 at home, 42 matches altogether, while in the Midland League next season it would be 17 at home and 34 in total. It's just nonsense.

“And the fact that we finished fifth as well in the league makes no odds to them. They’ve increased the league to 24 now, but Winsford, Congleton and ourselves had to come out. “I’ve spoken with Winsford and we’re looking at doing a joint approach. We’re supposed to be doing a programme on Tuesday hopefully with Granada Television at Wincham Park to further highlight the situation.

“The MP for Northwich, Mike Amesbury, he’s been in touch this morning and will raise it in Parliament for us and also put a letter in with our appeal as well.

“We’re getting support but the biggest thing is will the FA see sense in all of this? It’s a worrying time for us and Winsford. “It's a time frame, it's all this waiting. We should be starting our pre-season training in the first week of June. But until we get the result of the appeal we won’t know whether we will have players or the staff. We may have to start all again from scratch.

“But the FA don’t take that into account, they just do what they think is right by looking at the numbers and geographics.”