Three National League North Clubs Destined For The Football League
For many non-league clubs, the prospect of entering the realms of professional football is a dream that will never be realised.
However, a select few possess the ambition and resources to make the grade in the full-time game.
Here we take a look at five Vanarama National League North clubs with the potential to become Football League sides.
1) Salford City
Purchased by the infamous Class Of 92 in May 2014, The Ammies have endured a phenomenal three years.
The former United stars agreed to sell 50% of their stake to multi-billionaire Peter Lim (owner of Valencia CF) later that year and the club haven’t looked back since.
Co-managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley were appointed in January 2015 and have since steered the club to back to back promotions as well as a commendable FA Cup run in which the club reached the second round proper for the first time in their history.
This season has brought about further success with the club currently sitting 2nd in the division as well as undergoing significant ground improvements.
The aim is to bring league football to Moor Lane by 2020.
The club’s infrastructure is continuously growing and the club have announced its players and staff will turn full-time in June.
With this put in place along with their expansive financial resources, there is no reason Salford will not be a Football League side in the near future.
(Image Salford City FC)
2) AFC Fylde
In 2007, a 15 year plan that would see the Kirkham & Wesham reach the National League Premier by 2017 and the Football League by 2022 was put forward at the club’s AGM (Annual General Meeting).
The following year the club won the FA Vase at Wembley Stadium before adopting its present name of AFC Fylde with a hope of widening their fan base.
The club has since enjoyed an enormously successful period. For which the majority has been under the guidance of current boss Dave Challinor.
In the nine years since the name change, The Coasters have been promoted three times and have since moved to their purpose built 6,000 capacity home at the £18 million Mill Farm Sports Village.
Similarly to Salford, the club has enormous potential as it is continuously growing and expanding into the wider market.
The downfall of Blackpool has been Fylde’s gain as it has led to a percentage of the seasiders support swapping Accrington for Alfreton.
When Fylde revealed their intentions of becoming a Football League side, their ambitions were snubbed.
But with the highest scoring team in the division (94) and an average attendance of 1,500, the club currently lie top of the table 11 points clear of second place Salford City.
The future is certainly bright for all those concerned with AFC Fylde.
3) Stockport County
The final side we take a look at are regarded as the giants of the division.
Unlike Salford and Fylde, Stockport have football league experience.
In fact the Hatters spent 106 years as a football league member club before being relegated in 2011.
However they are still widely considered a football league club after their dramatic fall from the Championship right through to the National League North.
The club’s support has endured a frustrating and complicated period packed with relegations, financial trouble and stadium ownership disagreements.
Nevertheless, things are finally looking up for County with legendary manager Jim Gannon returning in January of last year to steady the ship and take the blues back to where they belong.
The club was saved from administration in 2015 and Edgeley Park was purchased by the local council in the same year in order to preserve competitive football in the area.
County have also placed various measures in place in order to both reclaim their football league status as well and to prevent a return to the part-time game.
These include building a permanent training ground and to regain ownership of Edgeley Park. County are currently 6th in the National League North, one place outside the play-off places but things are moving swiftly in the right direction.
Next time out:
Tuesday 21st March
Salford City vs Chorley- Moor Lane
AFC Fylde vs Stockport County- Mill Farm
All games 19:45 kick-off unless stated