Publishing Editor, Steve Rowley, takes a look at the new constitutions for the Vanarama National South League, the Isthmian South East League, the Southern Counties East League and the South East Counties Women’s League, whilst casting an eye over the Kent County League too.
From Plymouth to Ramsgate and Braintree to Chichester, we’ve got football covered for the 2023/24 season, and we are putting teams from the West Kent area under the spotlight as they get ready for their pre-season friendlies.
Vanarama National League South
Tonbridge Angels will be playing in the Vanarama National League South once again after finishing just outside the playoff spots last term. With Torquay United being relegated and Truro City being promoted, it means the Angels will be spending a significant amount of time in the West Country this season, with no less than eight away fixtures west of Southampton. Tonbridge will want a decent start to the season and will try to avoid the third of losses incurred during the 2022/23 campaign.
The 2023/24 league structure: Aveley, Bath City, Braintree Town, Chelmsford City, Chippenham Town, Dartford, Dover Athletic, Eastbourne Borough, Farnborough, Hampton & Richmond Borough, Havant & Waterlooville, Hemel Hempstead Town, Maidstone United, Slough Town, St Albans City, Taunton Town, Tonbridge Angels, Torquay United, Truro City, Welling United, Weston-super-Mare, Weymouth, Worthing and Yeovil Town.
Isthmian League South East Division
Sevenoaks Town enjoyed their best ever FA Cup run last year, with a 1-0 win on the road to Bath City being the highlight. Now an established Isthmian League side, Town will want to get going again after a mixed league campaign last term saw them finish in eighth place. The introduction of Horndean FC, who play just outside Portsmouth, will test Sevenoaks’ resolve on the road, and they will also have great aspirations to beat last year’s FA Cup run.
The 2023/24 league structure: Ashford United, Beckenham Town, Broadbridge Heath, Burgess Hill Town, Chichester City, Cray Valley PM, East Grinstead Town, Erith & Belvedere, Herne Bay, Horndean, Hythe Town, Lancing, Littlehampton Town, Merstham, Phoenix Sports, Ramsgate, Sevenoaks Town, Sheppey United, Sittingbourne and Three Bridges.
Southern Counties East League Premier Division
There is an explosion of local teams in the SCEFL Premier division this season after Corinthian were relegated from the Isthmian League and Snodland Town were granted promotion after winning the First Division title. Corinthian will be looking to get back to winning ways after a year to forget, finishing bottom of the pile with just six league wins during the campaign. Local rivals Rusthall and Tunbridge Wells make up the foursome of West Kent sides and will look to build on a steady season last year.
The 2023/24 league structure: Bearsted, Corinthian, Deal Town, Erith Town, Faversham Town, Fisher, Glebe, Hollands & Blair, Holmesdale, Kennington, Lordswood, Lydd Town, Punjab United, Rusthall, Snodland Town, Stansfeld, Sutton Athletic, Tunbridge Wells, VCD Athletic, Welling Town and Whitstable Town.
Southern Counties East League First Division
Larkfield & New Hythe were unlucky not to find themselves in the SCEFL Premier Division this season after a superb campaign last year. However they are still in the First Division and will play alongside Greenways and K Sports once again.
The 2023/24 league structure: AFC Whyteleafe, Bridon Ropes, Canterbury City, Croydon, Faversham Strike Force, FC Elmstead, Forest Hill Park, Greenways, K Sports, Larkfield & New Hythe, Lewisham Borough, Meridian VP, Rochester United, SC Thamesmead, Staplehurst Monarchs and Tooting Bec.
London & South East Regional Women’s League Division 1 South
Aylesford women’s first team faced the drop last year after a campaign which saw them win just four games. Thy now find themselves in Division One South where they will play the likes of Hastings United and Bromley. A good start to the year could see them build a positive response and get back up the pyramid.
The 2023/24 predicted league structure: Aylesford, Bexhill United, Bromley, Dartford Development, Eastbourne United Association, Hastings United, Herne Bay, Montpelier Villa, Newhaven, Steyning Town Community and Welling United,
South East Counties Women’s League Premier Division
Sevenoaks Town and Tunbridge Wells Foresters will meet again next season after both clubs had a relatively good season. However, without UEFA A Coach Paul McDonagh at the helm and a number of players departing for university, it could be a long season for Sevenoaks. Foresters on the other hand look to be strengthening their squad during the summer break for their next campaign.
The 2023/24 league structure: Bromleians, Glebe, London Road FC (Meridian), Long Lane (Baldon Sports), Maidstone United, Margate, Parkwood Rangers, Sevenoaks Town, Sittingbourne, Tunbridge Wells Foresters, Woodcoombe and XL.
South East Counties Women’s League Kent 1 West
Promotion for both Kings Hill and Tunbridge Wells Foresters 2nd XI will see them face off against each other once more and they are joined by relegated Borough Green and newly appointed Tonbridge Angels. This could be one feisty year for the four West Kent clubs.
The 2023/24 league structure: Borough Green, Cray Wanderers (Cray Valley), Crayford Arrows, Danson Sports, Gravesham, Kings Hill, Oakwood, Petts Wood, Tonbridge Angels and Tunbridge Wells Foresters 2nds.
South East Counties Women’s League Kent 1 East
Although being called the East division will have some wondering why our clubs are there, Aylesford and West Kent will have the arduous task of travelling to Deal, Herne Bay and Sheppey. A mixed bag, with two development teams , this league could go either way but we’ll be backing both clubs on their travels.
The 2023/24 league structure: Aylesford 2nds, Baypoint, Betteshanger, Castle Colts, Deal Town, Faversham Strikeforce, Herne Bay Development, Sellindge, Sheppey United and West Kent.
South East Counties Women’s League Kent 2 West
A restructured division from last year see’s just four clubs remain, with Chipstead folding and Guru Nanak and New Ash Green being moved to the Kent 2 Central. Newly appointed Sevenoaks Town Development will join Ide Hill & Sundridge as our only representatives next season.
The 2023/24 league structure: Crayford Arrows Development; Foots Cray Lionesses, Ide Hill & Sundridge, Junior Reds Roses, Long Lane Development, Oakwood Development, Old Pepys, Orpington, Sevenoaks Town Development and Welling Development.
South East Counties Women’s League Kent 2 Central
A new division for 2023 could see the rise of New Ash Green after a tricky inaugural campaign against some decent opposition. They will be joined by newly appointed Kings Hill Development and relegated Larkfield to make up a trio of West Kent sides.
The 2023/24 league structure: Anchorians, Barming, Guru Nanak, Hollands & Blair, Kings Hill Development, Larkfield, New Ash Green, Sittingbourne Reserves and Woodcoombe Development.
Kent County League Premier Division
After a storming season in 2022/23, Chipstead will be looking forward to the start of the next season, hoping to continue their strides up the ladder, after finishing just six points off the top of the table. Ide Hill are the only other West Kent side to survive the Premier division for 2023/24 after losing Otford United and Kings Hill to relegation.
The 2023/24 league structure: Ashford, Bermondsey Town, Bexley, Borden Village, Chipstead, Cuxton 1991, Fleetdown United, Halls AFC, Hawkinge Town, Ide Hill, Minster, New Romney, Peckham Town, Red Velvet, Stansfeld (O&B), Tenterden Town and Welling Park.
Kent County League Division 1 East
Division One East is where the battle lines are being drawn as four sides from West Kent will go head to head over the course of the season, with 24 matches in total. Snodland pose the biggest threat after just missing out on promotion last term. Otford United are reorganising their squads and won’t fancy the long trips to Whitstable and Deal.
The 2023/24 league structure: AFC Rangers, Deal Town Reserves, Greenways Aces, Guru Nanak, Hollands & Blair Reserves, Kings Hill, Lordswood Reserves, Minster Reserves, Otford United, Rochester City, Snodland Town Reserves, Whitstable Town Reserves and Woodnesborough.
We’ll bring you all the remaining Kent County League divisions next month, hopefully along with the new constitutions for the Sevenoaks & District Football League too.
• You can follow all these clubs throughout the season in the West Kent Sport & Wellbeing weekly statistics report (sponsored by Amherst Accountancy). The weekly report is free to download and is available via our partner website localsportsnews.co.uk.