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Farewell to the NPL

Farewell to the NPL

Kieran Wilson26 Jun - 15:50
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Chairman Paul Hilton has written a statement reflecting on our 37-year stay in the Northern Premier League.

Following our promotion into the National League North as Champions last season, the Club recognises the need to reflect and thank all those involved in our stay in the Northern Premier League since 1987. Our Chairman is at the forefront of the recognition, penning a statement which can be read in full below.

While we are all understandably excited about the next adventure in the National League, it's easy to forget that we are leaving a league we have called home since 1987. Following the NPL AGM last weekend and celebrating an historic season for the Club with our peers, I think it's only fitting that we reflect on our time with the Northern Premier League.

We have been a member of the NPL for 37 years and while there have been successes in the past, these last few years have been particularly special. Whilst, obviously, our own hard work, planning and investment have brought us to this point it would be remiss not to thank and acknowledge the support, help and encouragement (and the odd slap on the wrist!) which the Club have received from the Northern Premier League.

You only need to look at the National League North and above to see a whole host of Clubs which have emerged from the NPL to establish themselves in the higher reaches of the football pyramid, from the more recent Warrington Town, South Shields, Buxton and Scarborough all the way to FA Cup winners - it's clear to see that the Northern Premier League is a breeding ground for successful Clubs.

The Officers who run the NPL on behalf of its members are a small but incredibly talented set of people, who daily take on the task of facilitating the competition for 88 Clubs - an unenviable task to most, but despite that incredible workload the support and assistance received is truly remarkable.

Laura Drew, Paul Hatt, James Gordon and James Heyes work tirelessly over increasingly unsociable hours for the benefit of the member clubs across Registrations, Commercial and media respectively - I thank you on behalf of Radcliffe FC for your support over the years.

The NPL is led by Chairman Mark Harris, a natural strategist and innovator who has - in my biased opinion - overseen a golden period in the NPL history, growth in members through the new step 4 division, technical innovations and his heavy involvement in the modernising of the National League System - add to that he is a thoroughly top bloke and the NPL is a great place with him as the driving force!

More personally, I would like to thank NPL General Manager Angie Firth for the guidance and assistance since taking the Chair of our Club in 2016, the knowledge and experience she has in our beautiful game is second to none and her desire to impart that knowledge, to those who wish to listen, is such an asset for the NPL and the Clubs development. You can certainly expect more than a few telling offs, that’s for sure - but Angie treats every NPL Club as one of her own and will fight for her Clubs like a proud parent. Thank you so so much.

I very much look forward to making new friends and acquaintances in the National League, but thank you to the Officers and the eclectic group of Directors of the Northern Premier League for the experience you have given me and our Club as we have developed into Champions.

Up the Boro!

Paul Hilton

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