THE renaissance of Sunday league football in Milton Keynes is set to continue, with five extra teams making it a total of 26 that will kick-off the 2012/13 season at the weekend.
The New City Heating Sunday League has increased in size from two divisions to three for the new campaign, and hopes are high that it will prove to be one of the most competitive seasons yet.
Last year saw 11 teams contest the Premier Division and 10 play in Division One, but with a couple of clubs making the switch from leagues in the Leighton Buzzard and Buckingham areas, the extra demand means the Milton Keynes league has been able to buck the national trend and expand to three divisions.
The Premier Division, now made up of eight teams, looks especially interesting with new boys Wolvy Town and Willen – last season’s runners-up – looking to knock champions Stony Stratford off of their perch. Newly promoted Santander A and the revamped CS Athletic may also cause a few surprises in the top flight.
Early favourites for the Division One title appear to be relegated Open University, but Coachmakers and FC MMIX may well have something to say about that. New Bradwell and Punjab will hope to be in the mix too in a second tier made up of 10 teams.
The new Division Two will be made up of eight predominately new teams, with the renamed Bletchley Wanderers looking likely to be one of the strong sides in the league, but Inter Faith and RJ Fitness will give most sides a close game.
Chairman Ron James, who became so disillusioned with the state of the league that he almost stepped down from the role 12 months ago, said he’s glad he stayed on, with the new look committee helping to improve the structure and standard of the proud football league.
“The standard has improved greatly,” he said. “We have changed a lot of things and the league is better for it.
“There will be five more teams than last season taking part and in total we have 10 newly formed clubs.
“Now we’re bucking the national trend and actually expanding because we have more teams wanting to join. It should be another excellent season.”