The Lancashire and Cheshire League season kicks off this weekend with a revamped league and cup set-up which promises to herald an exciting season ahead for over 100 teams each Saturday.
The competition kicks off on August 20 with Rochdalians looking to defend their premier league title.
L and C chairman Mike Yates said: “The management committee have had a busy close season overhauling changes in league and cup competitions, introducing new rules and welcoming several new teams to the biggest Saturday amateur league in the region.
“The change in the league structure will see eight divisions, instead of nine, to give teams more games to play, particularly at the lower level.”
In the premier division Rochdalians will be defending the title which was a close race last season and making their debut in the top flight will be Tintwistle Athletic, who play Rochdalians in their opening match, and High Lane who have both shown great promise and organisation as they have risen through the divisions.
In division one there is a new name of Didsbury, formerly Burnage Metro, who have changed their name to match where they play.
Other teams new to the league are Waterloo, Chadderton Park with two teams, Manchester Polonia, Hargreaves, Hollingsworth – making a return to the league, Rochdale Galaxy and Village Manchester who have been placed in divisions to hopefully reflect their potential and develop within the league.
Mike added: “Our domestic cup competitions have been overhauled to give teams in the lower divisions more games and also to take the fixture backlog endured by some of our top teams with their involvement in county cup competitions.
“We are also looking closely and growing a league development plan, particularly aimed at developing football for younger players and also we will again be supporting the FA Respect project.
“The fixture secretaries had a torrid time last season with the awful weather and to offset this we have hired a 3G pitch for clubs to transfer their games to when their pitches are causing postponements.
“Our inter-league team has reached the semi-finals of the North West Cup and will be looking to do well in the FA Inter League Cup later in the season.
“Finally I would like to pay tribute to the hard work, often unrecognised, that the volunteers who run our clubs put in each week and without them amateur soccer would be in a very poor state and I would also like to welcome our new president, Harry Jack, into office in what should prove to be another exciting season in a great league.”