British order U-turn
BRITISH clubs are returning to a two-division format next season and have scrapped the county cups.
The moves were decided at a League meeting in Leeds, with the present three divisions of 14, eight and 13 teams reverting to two sets of 16.
No club will be relegated from the top flight this season, and two will be promoted as planned. The three teams finishing bottom of the Third Division are to be invited to join the reserve league's Second Division.
Nottingham, Highfield and Chorley are favourites for the drop, although Blackpool and Barrow are still not out of danger.
The decision prompted a quick reaction from clubs at the sharp end.
Blackpool's Allan Sherratt said the decision ''flies in the face of natural sporting justice. It's the end of expansion of this game in our lifetime.
''This has rendered this season's lower divisions meaningless, except for promotion from the Second Division. I hope a suitable financial package is going to be made because Blackpool cannot afford to go into the second division of the reserve league.'' Highfield boss Geoff Fletcher said he had sacrificed the team in order to get the club into shape.
''I thought we had another 12 months and am very upset. We are going to fight this on and off the field,'' he added.