With pre-season well and truly underway, the excitement for the start of the 2022/23 season is building. With the first promotions and relegations since 2019 taking place last season, we’ll be looking at how each league will look for next term, Starting with the Isthmian League Premier Division.
Aveley – 1st (Isthmian League North)
The Millers return to the Isthmian League Premier Division for the first time since 2009/10, having finished top of the North Division last season. During that [09/10] season, Aveley finished 3rd and made the play-offs, but were undone by Boreham Wood, who won 1-0 in the semi-finals. Their stay at Step 3 only lasted three seasons as they were relegated following a disappointing 2011/12 campaign, despite having a reprieve the previous season.
Aveley managed to build on their almost-success of the 2019/20 season as they won the Isthmian League North Division by a whisker. 24 wins over a 38-game season was enough for them to finish top of the tree, ahead of Canvey Island by 2 points. They will be hoping to replicate their form from previous seasons as they look for an extended stay at Step 3.
Billericay Town – 21st (National League South)
Ricay had a tough season in the National League South, finishing bottom and facing relegation to the Isthmian League Premier Division. The Blues won this division back in 2010/11 but their stay in the Conference was short lived as they were relegated back the following year. Following the take over, Billericay were promoted back to the National League in 2017/18, where they stayed until now.
Billericay Town had finished towards the bottom end of the National League in three of their four seasons since 2018, which last season being the tipping point as they finished 9 points off Braintree Town and safety, winning just 9 games all season. They will hope to put that poor season behind them as they look to get straight back to Step 2.
Bishop’s Stortford – 2nd
Bishop’s Stortford will go into their fourth season in the Isthmian League Premier Division as they look to get back to former glory and a place in the National League South. Stortford were relegated to the Premier Division following a difficult season at the end of the 2016/17 season after finishing second-from-bottom of the renamed National League South.
The club will be hoping to build on the success of last year, finishing second behind Worthing. The Blues finished 10 points behind the Champions, but it was enough to see them make the play-offs before they lost to eventual play-off winners Cheshunt. Stortford will hope they can go one better this time around and seal promotion back to Step 2.
Bognor Regis Town – 9th
Bognor Regis will prepare for their 5th consecutive season in the Isthmian Premier Division, following relegation from the National League South back in 2018. The club had finished runners-up behind Havant & Waterlooville during the 2016/17 season, narrowly missing out on automatic promotion by 2 points but triumphed in the play-offs, beating Wingate & Finchley & Dulwich Hamlet.
The Rocks will hope they can emulate their form of seasons past and hope they can get back to the National League. They will look to improve of last seasons finish, hoping they can find themselves at the top of the table or within the play-offs.
Bowers & Pitsea – 16th
Under the new management of James Collins, Bowers will look to improve on last seasons final league position, as they challenge for a place in the National League South for the first time in their history. Having been promoted to the Isthmian League North in 2015, the club earned promotion to the Premier Division just four years later as they won the North Division during the 2018/19 season.
Bowers have finished 13th, 13th and 16th in their first three seasons at Step 3, so will hope to achieve at least a top-half finish, although a challenge for the play-offs would certainly be a bonus.
Brightlingsea Regent – 18th
Brightlingsea Regent are preparing for their sixth season at Step 3, following their promotion to the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2017. The 2016/17 season saw Regent secure a huge haul of 103 points, beating Maldon & Tiptree to automatic promotion by 12 points.
The R’s narrowly avoided relegation last season as the appointment of Brett Munyard inspired the club to pull themselves out of the relegation zone, and surviving by just 3 points. They will hope to have a far better season this time around and under the safe management of Munyard, the club will certainly be in a better position to compete for a mid-table finish or be a surprise package and find themselves higher.
Canvey Island – 2nd (Isthmian League North)
Canvey Island return to the Isthmian League Premier Division for the first time since the 2016/17 season, having spent five seasons in the Isthmian League North. After finishing third-from-bottom in the Premier Division, the Gulls finished 6th, 9th, 10th and 15th in their previous four campaigns before leaping to 2nd last season.
The Islanders missed out on automatic promotion by just two points, but sealed promotion through the play-offs, beating Felixstowe & Walton United and Brentwood Town respectively. The club will hope to be as competitive in the Premier Division as they were previously, and will hope to have an extended stay in the Isthmian League Premier Division.
Carshalton Athletic – 12th
Carshalton Athletic last featured at Step 2 during the 2005/06 season, but their century season wasn’t one to remember as they were relegated back to the Isthmian League, having won just 4 of their 42 games that season.
Athletic had a secure mid-table finish last term, never really threated to go down although they were narrowly closer to the bottom side than they were to the champions, giving them a target of being closer to the league-leaders. While they dream of a return to the National League South, a top-half finish would be a step in the right direction.
Corinthian-Casuals – 14th
Corinthian-Casuals head into their fifth season at Step 3 this term. The Amateurs sealed promotion to the Premier Division back in the 2017/18 season. Despite losing to Walton Casuals in the play-off final, results in other divisions meant they were the play-off finalists at Step 4 with the highest points per game from the season.
Last season was a consolidating mid-table finish for Casuals as they found themselves 14th. Just 13 wins and draws was enough to secure their place in the Premier Division, finishing 13 points above the relegation zone, although they will be hoping for a better season this time around, looking to finishing closer to the top of the table and securing promotion to Step 2.
Cray Wanderers – 19th
Cray Wanderers returned to the Isthmian League Premier Division for the first time since the 2013/14 season in 2019/20, having had a five season omission from the Step 3 division.
The Wands avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth as they stayed in the Premier Division by a +19 goal difference over Leatherhead, with both sides finishing the season on 36 points. The club will be hoping for a far better season this time around as they look for a more comfortable survival campaign. A challenge towards the top of the table may be a step to far, but being closer to the top half would certainly be a step in the right direction.
Enfield Town – 3rd
Andy Leese’s Towners prepare for their eleventh season in the Isthmian League’s top division, with the club securing promotion to the Premier Division at the end of the 2011/12 season. After finishing as runners-up to Leiston by a solitary point, Enfield beat Needham Market in the play-off final to secure their place at Step 3.
Last season was a strong campaign for the Towners as they finished 3rd, with 26 wins in their 42 games. Despite a strong league campaign, the club fell short in the play-offs, narrowly losing to Hornchurch in the semi-finals. Leese will hope to lead his squad onto another good season, and will hope they can the job done this time around.
Folkestone Invicta – 6th
Folkestone Invicta have been a familiar face in the Isthmian League Premier Division for six seasons, preparing for their seventh, having won promotion back to the Step 3 league in 2016.
Invicta narrowly missed out on the play-offs, having had a superb campaign, finishing four points behind eventual-winners Cheshunt. 20 wins in 42 games didn’t prove enough as competition towards the top-end of the table was fierce. The club will hope for a similar campaign and will hope they can go one step further and compete for a place at Step 2.
Haringey Borough – 17th
Haringey Borough are another side preparing for their fifth season in the Isthmian League Premier Division. The Borough secured promotion to the Premier Division in 2017/18, having won the play-offs, beating Heybridge Swifts and Canvey Island.
Haringey had a difficult season last term, finding themselves 17th after just 9 wins in 42 games. They finished 6 points above the relegation zone and will hope to have to a far better season, competing towards the top end of the table instead.
Hastings United – 1st (Isthmian League South East)
Hastings United finally sealed a place in the Isthmian League Premier Division, having sat top of the South East Division throughout the two curtailed seasons. The U’s secured promotion after winning 27 of their 38 games and holding a 13 point lead to win the title.
United built on their third place finish during the 2018/19 season, collecting a total of 164 points between 2019 and 2022 in the three seasons they sat at the top. Will the 2021/22 season being the first season back, the club made no mistake in securing promotion. They will hope to be competitive next season and have an extended stay at Step 3.
Herne Bay – 3rd (Isthmian League South East)
Herne Bay secured promotion to the Isthmian League Premier Division for the first time as they came through the 2021/22 Isthmian League South East play-offs.
The Bay finished 3rd last term, winning 21 of their 38 games and qualifying for the play-offs. They overcame Haywards Heath Town in the semis and Ashford United in the final to seal a place at Step 3. They will be another side looking to be competitive next season and maintain their place in the league.
Hornchurch – 4th
Hornchurch returned back to the Isthmian League Premier Division at the end of the 2017/18 season, having secured the Isthmian League North title. Ahead of the new season, they prepare for their fifth season at Step 3.
The Urchins had a fantastic season last term finishing fourth and securing a place in the play-offs. They couldn’t make the most of it though and were defeated by Enfield Town in the semis. They will hope to resemble last seasons form and challenge once again for a return to Step 2.
Horsham – 11th
Horsham will go into their fourth season in the Isthmian League Premier Division having returned to Step 3 at the end of the 2018/19 season. The club returned to the Premier Division after a seven year absence, finishing second behind Cray Wanderers and secure promotion via the play-offs with victories over Haywards Heath Town and Ashford United.
The Hornets had a steady season last term finishing 11th in the division. 16 wins in their 42 wasn’t enough to challenge for a place in the play-offs, but it was a season that didn’t see them struggle and would allow them to build upon it this season. The club will hope to compete higher up the table and for a play-off place.
Kingstonian – 10th
Kingstonian are one of the longest running Isthmian League Premier Division sides, preparing for their 14th consecutive season at Step 3, having been promoted back to the division during the 2008/09 season. 86 points was enough for the club to seal the Isthmian League South title, beating Cray Wanderers to automatic promotion by 7 points.
Kingstonian couldn’t build on their decent form during the curtailed 2020/21 season, as the K’s emulated their 2019/20 form with a 10th-placed finish. The club picked up just 17 wins, which was enough to give them a settled season, but this term, they will hope to be in contention for the play-offs.
Lewes – 7th
Lewes were promoted back to the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2018, having finished as runners-up to Carshalton Athletic and will go into their fifth season at Step 3.
The Rooks had a decent season last term, finishing 7th, but they also found themselves 6 points off the play-offs. 20 wins in the 42 game season was not enough to extend their season, as they finished behind Folkestone Invicta and Cheshunt. This time around however, they will hope to be within the play-off shouts, competing for a place back in the National League South.
Margate – 8th
Margate were relegated back to the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2016, having finished 19th during the 2015/16 season, missing out on survival by 2 points.
The Gate finished 8th last season and 11 points off the play-offs, having won 19 of their 42 games. The club also finished with a poor goal-difference of -2, giving an indication that their lack of goals compared to the sides above and conceding more than they scored, may have been the reason they missed out. This term they will hope to be competing for a place back in the National League South.
Potters Bar Town – 13th
Potters Bar Town were promoted to the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2017/18. After winning 28 of their 46 games in the Isthmian League North, the club had to settle for second place behind Hornchurch, but their haul of 90 points was enough for automatic promotion.
The Scholars produced their highest finish in the division since their promotion back in 2018, despite finishing 13th. Just 16 wins in their 42 games kept them mid-table, comfortably enough away from the relegation zone, but further from the top-half than they had hoped to be. This season, Town will hope to build on their 13th place and secure a top-half finish.
Wingate & Finchley – 15th
Wingate & Finchley have been ever-present in the Isthmian League Premier Division since the 2011/12 season, finishing third during that season and winning the play-offs with victories over Harlow Town and Brentwood Town. The 2022/23 season will be their 12th at Step 3.
The 2021/22 season was a mimic of how their time in the Premier Division has gone so far, with an average finish of 14th across their 11 seasons so far. 13 wins in their 42 games wasn’t enough to see them compete higher up the table, but they will hope to emulate their form of the 2016/17 season, which saw them finish 5th and compete in the play-offs.