The new season is right around the corner. With two clubs joining from the leagues above and three being promoted into the Isthmian League North Division, the Step 4 league has never been more exciting. Brentwood Town and Stowmarket Town will both look to go a step further in their pursuit of promotion whilst Witham Town will look to be further away from the relegation zone. All the clubs in the middle will certainly want to their leave mark too. Next up…North!
AFC Sudbury – 7th
It will be Sudbury’s 6th consecutive season in the Isthmian League North, following their brief spell in the Isthmian League Premier Division during the 2016/17 season. The club were promoted at the end of the 2015/16 season, claiming a huge 105 points from their 46 games, but after winning just 46 points in 46 games, the club were relegated back to Step 4 – the club’s first ever relegation.
The Suds found themselves 7th last season, having won 18 of their 38 games. whilst they were achieved a top-half finish, they remained 9 points off the final play-off spot, giving them something to build upon and aim for ahead of the new season.
Basildon United – 17th
The Bees ahead into their 5th season in the Isthmian League North, having been promoted to the league at the end of the 2017/18 season. They finished as runners-up in the Essex Senior League, missing out on the title by 2 points, but piping FC Romania to promotion by a solitary point.
Basildon had a tough season last year, finding themselves 17th. United had lost one-nil to Hashtag United in the penultimate game of the season, but with other results going their way, they had enough to keep themselves at Step 4. The club will be hoping for a far better season next term, keeping themselves as far away from the relegation zone as possible.
Brentwood Town – 3rd
Brentwood Town prepare for their 16th season at Step 4, having been promoted from the Essex Senior League at the end of the 2006/07 season. The modern club had found themselves at this level back in the 2000/01 season, but were relegated a season later. They won promotion back in 2007 after winning the ESL title, beating Romford to the trophy by 6 points.
The Blues just fell short in their promotion hopes last season, losing out to Canvey Island in the play-offs. They finished 3rd in the division after winning 24 of their 38 games, securing them a spot in the post-season play-offs. After beating Stowmarket Town in the semis, the club lost 4-1 on penalties in the final, after drawing 1-1 with the Gulls. Brentwood will hope for a similarly good season this season, but hoping to take a step further and securing promotion.
Bury Town – 12th
Bury Town have been playing in the Isthmian League North Division since the 2015/16 season, having been relegated from the Premier Division the season before. Despite being a team capable of reaching the play-offs, a tough 14/15 season meant they found themselves at the end of the table and bottom of the league, dooming them to relegation to the North Division.
Last season saw them secure a mid-table finish, after winning 12 of their 38 games. Bury found themselves closer to the relegation zone with their points total (9 points off 17th and 28 points off 5th) than they were to the play-offs. The Blues will hope for a better season, and will want to find themselves closer to the top of the table.
Coggeshall Town – 13th
Coggeshall Town were promoted to the Isthmian League North Division in 2018, having won the Eastern Counties League Premier Division at their first attempt. The club racked up a huge 115 points total, winning 37 of their 46 games and beating Felixstowe & Walton United to the title by 6 points.
Last term they found themselves mid-table with a 13th place finish, but another side who were closer to the relegation zone than they would had liked. 11 wins gave them their worst return since their promotion to Step 4, with the Seed Growers hoping to be within the play-offs shouts this coming season, repeating their form from earlier seasons.
East Thurrock United – 21st (Isthmian League Premier Division)
One of the first new sides in next seasons North Division will be East Thurrock United. The Rocks return back to Step 4 for the first time since 2011, when they won the North Division, beating Needham Market to the title by 8 points.
A tough season meant Thurrock were relegated from the Premier Division. Just 9 wins all season meant they finished second from bottom and were doomed to their fate of going down. This season they will hope to bounce straight back up, keeping their stay at Step 4 to a minimum.
Felixstowe & Walton United – 5th
The merged club will go into their 6th season in the Isthmian League North Division, having earned promotion from the Eastern Counties League Premier Division in 2017, with a runners-up finish behind Mildenhall Town.
The Seasiders had an impressive season, winning 23 of their 38 games and claiming the final play-off spot. They couldn’t pounce on the opportunity for promotion as they lost 3-1 to eventual-winners Canvey Island. They will hope to be within the play-offs again at the end of the coming season, but will want to take a step further and seal promotion.
Gorleston – 1st (Eastern Counties League Premier Division)
Gorleston sealed promotion to the Isthmian League North Division for the first time last season. The founding members of the Eastern Counties Football League had bounced between Division One and the Premier Division before finally moving to Step 4.
The Greens had a fantastic season in the Eastern Counties Premier Division, finishing top of the table. 26 wins in their 38 games was matched by runners-up Wroxham, however, the club achieved promotion by a solitary point, drawing one more and losing one less than their title challengers. Gorleston will hope to have a decent season next term, wanting to keep themselves at Step 4 at least.
Grays Athletic – 6th
Grays Athletic will prepare for their 6th season in the Isthmian League North Division, having been relegated from the Premier Division at the end of the 2016/17 season. A disappointing season for the Blues saw just 11 wins in their 46 games which saw them finish bottom of the league, condemning them to relegation.
Last season saw the Gravelmen just miss out on the play-offs. 20 wins in 38 games wasn’t enough for Grays as they finished 4 points behind Felixstowe & Walton United and the play-offs. This term, the Blues will hope to remain in good form but will want to take a step closer to promotion back to the Premier Division.
Great Wakering Rovers – 15th
Great Wakering Rovers will go into their 5th season in the North Division, having won promotion back to the division in 2017. Rovers had bounced between the Essex Senior League and Isthmian League, but after being relegated to Step 5 in 2017, they won the ESL at their first attempt, securing promotion back.
Just 10 wins and 10 draws made a difficult season for Wakering as they found themselves 15th and just off the relegation places. 8 points was enough to keep them off being relegated back to the Essex Senior League, but they will hope not to repeat their form next season. A finish higher up the table will certainly be the target for the Southend side.
Hashtag United – 8th
Hashtag United’s fifth season in their history will see them remain at Step 4. The Tags achieved promotion to the Isthmian League North Division at the end of the 2020/21 curtailed season, being uplifted on their points-per-game total.
Their first season was an impressive one. After a difficult start, the Tags picked up form as they found themselves 8th. 18 wins in 38 games was enough to see them finish in the top half of the table and 10 points off the play-offs. In their second season at this level, the club will hope to have a good season from start to finish, aiming for promotion.
Heybridge Swifts – 11th
The Swifts will be going into their 14th season at Step 4, having been relegated from the Isthmian League Premier Division at the end of the 2008/09 season. The club finished second from bottom, sending them down to the North Division, where they have competed since.
Last season was a mixed one for Heybridge. With 16 wins and 17 losses in 38 games, the club weren’t in trouble of relegation, but were also no where near the play-offs. This season they will hope for a better season, looking to be within a shout of promotion back to the Premier Division.
Hullbridge Sports – 16th
Hullbridge Sports will go into just their fourth season in the Isthmian League North, having won promotion in 2018/19. 27 wins in their 38 league games was enough for the club to seal the title, beating Stansted to promotion by 5 points.
Last season wasn’t the best for the club as they found themselves 16th. Although they finished towards the bottom end of the table, they found themselves 6 points ahead of Witham Town, avoiding a inter-step play-off. They will hope their fortunes have changed and will want to find themselves further away from the relegation zone.
Lowestoft Town – 21st (Southern League Premier Division Central)
Lowestoft Town returned to the North Division of the Isthmian League for the first time since the 2006/07 season, following their relegation from the Southern League Premier Division Central. Former winners of this division, Town had a spell in the Conference North before being relegated in 2016, with them then transferred to the Southern League in 2017/18.
Last season was one to forget for the Trawler Boys. Just 9 wins in 40 games meant they finished bottom of the division, 9 points from safety. With an idea of what needs to be done to get promoted back to Step 3, Town will hope it’s a brief stay in the Isthmian League North as they look to go straight back up.
Maldon & Tiptree – 9th
Maldon & Tiptree have been in the Isthmian League North Division since the 2006/07 season, preparing for their 17th season at Step 4. They had a brief spell in the Premier Division, but after finding themselves in the bottom three, they were relegated back to this division. Despite finishing within the play-off places in 2007, they were ineligible to take part in the play-offs.
The 2021/22 season saw the club finish ninth. A haul of 60 points was enough to give them a top-half finish, but they found themselves 12 points off the play-offs. This term they will be hoping for a slightly better season and looking to get promoted back to Step 3.
New Salamis – 1st (Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division)
New Salamis have not held back with their promotions in recent seasons. After being promoted from the Hertfordshire Senior League to the Spartan South Midlands League for the 2019/20 season, they were promoted to the Premier Division after just two seasons, where a title-winning season saw them promoted to Step 4 for the first time in 2022.
The 2021/22 season was a fantastic one for the London club as 30 wins in 38 games saw them claim the title by a single point, beating Risborough Rangers to the triumph. The new season will bring an exciting challenge to Salamis, who will hope they will avoid relegation back to Step 5 of the National League System.
Stowmarket Town – 4th
Stowmarket Town prepare for their second season in the Isthmian League North, having been promoted at the end of the 2020/21 season, rewarding them for the efforts put in during the two curtailed seasons.
Their first season in the division last season saw them have an incredible one, finishing 4th and in the play-offs. 21 wins in 38 games gave them a points total of 73 points. In the play-offs, they fell short in the semi-final, losing narrowly to Brentwood Town. Stowmarket will hope they could go on further this time, another play-off run, but hoping they will be within a game of promotion.
Tilbury – 14th
Tilbury’s 17th consecutive season in the Isthmian North will come during the 2022/23 season, following the club being promoted back to Step 4 in 2006. The club were relegated to the Essex Senior League after winning just 6 of their 42 games, meaning they finished bottom of the division. They didn’t need a second invite to the Isthmian League North as a third place finish in the following season saw them back at Step 4 at their first attempt, where they have remained since.
A 14th place finish was all they could manage last season. The Dockers found themselves closer to the relegation zone they had hoped, but they remained in the division, giving them something to build upon. They will hope for a better season that will see them closer to the top half.
Wroxham – 2nd (Eastern Counties League Premier Division)
Wroxham returned to the Isthmian League North Division for the first time since the 2016/17 season, having been relegated to the Eastern Counties League Premier Division at the end of that season. The club had been promoted in 2012, but despite finding themselves in the relegation zone on two separate occasions, they were reprieved from relegation before their luck was up and then were back at Step 5.
Wroxham battled well with Gorleston last season as they both looked to take the title, but the Yachtsmen fell short by a single point. Despite finishing second, the club had achieved a decent points-per-game across the whole country, giving them the promotion they desired and putting them back at Step 4. Wroxham will hope they can have a decent season next term and stay at Step 4.
Witham Town – 18th
Witham Town will play their 8th season in the Isthmian League North Division next term. After being promoted to the Isthmian League Premier Division in the 2013/14 season, their stay at Step 3 didn’t last long as the following season saw them relegated back to the North Division, where they have remained since.
Witham avoided relegation to Step 5 by the skin of their teeth last season, having beaten Saffron Walden Town in a inter-step play-off. Just 7 wins in their 38 games saw them finish 18th and a solitary point over automatically relegated side Barking. The third from bottom finish meant they had to face second-placed Saffron Walden from the Essex Senior League, but a 3-0 victory meant Town remained at Step 4. This season they will hope to be higher up the table and avoid any need for a reprieve.