Newlands Shield is a win-win for local clubs, says Poppies boss Cox

Kettering Town, Corby Town and Brackley Town will play each other in the round robin competition in pre-season

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 12:00 pm
Kettering Town manager Paul Cox and Brackley Town boss Kevin Wilkin will lock horns in pre-season as well as the Vanarama National League North campaign as both clubs compete in the Newlands Shield. Picture by Peter Short

Paul Cox believes the Newlands Shield competition in pre-season will create a “win-win” situation for Kettering Town, Corby Town and Brackley Town.

The three county clubs will battle it out in the round robin tournament during July and early August as they prepare for the 2021-22 campaign.

By then, it is hoped fans will be allowed back into grounds and Poppies boss Cox believes the competition will be useful both in creating finances for the clubs while also providing players will competitive action ahead of the new season.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Kettering’s pre-season schedule is already taking shape with a game at Cogenhoe United on July 13 and a trip to take on Jersey Bulls on July 17 having been previously announced.

And Cox said: “When we got our heads together we put the idea out to some local clubs and we had positive feedback from Corby and Brackley.

“The competition will give us excellent, competitive matches in pre-season both home and away.

“The fans of all three clubs have been out of their grounds for a long time and we hope they will come out and show their support and bring some much-needed finance into the clubs.

“Hopefully it will be a win-win situation for all three clubs in every capacity with finances and competitive football.

“As well as that, we have got the trip over to Jersey which we are looking forward to. That should be excellent. It will give the boys the chance to have a training session over there as well as a competitive game.

“It’s taking shape. We have just got a few dates to fill in and the pre-season schedule will be finished.

“It’s helped that we have had a little bit of time to plan but you have to utilise it properly and I feel we have done that so far.”

The decision to make the National League North and South seasons null and void, meanwhile, have been officially ratified.

After a vote of 66 member clubs earlier this year it was declared that the National League would continue while the regional Step 2 divisions would be axed.

The FA Council has now approved the previous decisions made by the FA Alliance Committee to support the continuation of Step 1 and to end Step 2 with no promotion or relegation.

The decision to reject proposals for an alternative competition which would merge interested parties from the North and South divisions was also rubber stamped.

An FA statement added: “The Alliance Committee rejected the proposal, and any alternative, in the interest of the integrity of the National League System.”