Alnwick wait on FA decision

Alnwick Town’s Northern League fate could be decided tomorrow, and club chairman Tom McKie says he is confident of a positive outcome.

The club finished the season in the Division Two dropzone, but could be granted a stay of execution if Ryhope CW are relegated instead, for failing to meet ground criteria.

The Tyne and Wear-based side, who finished second in Division Two, were classed as a relegated club by the Northern League, as their Recreation Ground home was not up to scratch.

And if this decision is ratified by the FA leagues committee tomorrow, then, subject to appeal, Ryhope will go back to the Wearside League and Alnwick will be safe.

Mr McKie says such an outcome would be a huge relief for the St James’ Park side, which played its 1,000th Northern League game last month.

“Retaining our Northern League status would mean so much,” he said.

“When we took over, the club was in the Northern Alliance and we strived to return to the Northern League.

“We did this in 2011 and I believe the Northern League is where we belong and we enjoy being here.

“Some Northern League teams get a crowd of 15 or 20 people, we can have 100 to 150 at a game.

“I do feel confident that we will be a Northern League side next year.”

It would be an ironic twist if Alnwick were to survive in the Northern League on another team’s failure to meet ground criteria.

In 2007, with the club being run by a different committee, the St James’ Park side resigned and were relegated from the Northern League for this very issue.

Towards the end of the 2011/12 campaign, in what was Alnwick’s first season back in the Northern League, the club managed to pass the ground criteria assessment.

It came after the current committee, headed by Mr McKie, had carried out thousands of pounds of work to improve St James’ Park, which included financial support from the Duke of Northumberland.