HAVING completed their first season in the Hellenic League, finishing in mid-table with a league cup trophy in the cabinet, Mangotsfield United were suddenly faced with the prospect of a sideways move.
The club released a shock announcement that they had been moved into the Toolstation Western League days after the season ended, saying: “For clarity, MUFC did not request a lateral move. All league allocations are subject to appeals and final ratification.”
The Mangos had previously graced the Western League from 1972 to 2000, but it has changed a lot in recent years.
It is now predominantly based around Devon and Cornwall clubs, and there are very few Bristol area teams in it now.
Other clubs, including Cadbury Heath are Brislington, have in recent seasons taken voluntary relegation from the Western League Premier Division to avoid having to travel down to the South West every other week – the Toolstation League Division 1 line-up is now dominated by Bristol clubs!
Whether the club did appeal to the FA against was not made public, as nothing was said publicly in the weeks that followed.
However in June, at the time when any FA appeals would be decided, a new announcement was made by the club: “Following the departure of Shrivenham FC from the Hellenic Premier Division, Mangotsfield United can confirm that today they have been notified by the FA that they will remain in the Hellenic Premier Division for the 2023/24 season.”
It appears that Shrivenham, based near Swindon, had decided they could no longer sustain Hellenic League football and wanted to take voluntary relegation, with the FA then moving Mangotsfield back into place in the Hellenic League again.
It means the club avoids long and expensive away travel to places like Falmouth, Helston and St Blazey in Cornwall, among others.
The big-name addition to the Hellenic League Premier Division next season is Worcester City, who have been moved from the Midland Football League. They once played at much higher levels of the game, and knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup in 1959!
A number of pre-season friendlies have been announced:
July 4, 7.30pm: Longwell Green (away)
July 8, 3pm: Yate Town (away)
July 15, 3pm: Odd Down (home)
July 18, 7.30pm: Bitton (away)
July 22, 3pm: Bristol Telephones (away)
July 25, 7.30pm: Paulton Rovers (home)
August 1, 7.30pm: Melksham Town (home)