Bognor Regis waiting to see if they will be switched from Isthmian to Southern Leagues – where a first ever derby with Gosport Borough would await

Bognor Regis Town FC are waiting to see if the football authorities will move them into the Southern League for next season - where their first-ever south coast league derbies with Gosport Borough would await.

By Steve Bone
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 2:32 pm

Speculation is growing over the make-up of the 2022-23 non-league pyramid as this season’s relegation and promotion issues are settled.

Not for the first time, the ups and downs put Bognor near the border that will separate the Isthmian League from the Southern League at step three and four level.

Some fans seem to think the FA will look at the Rocks as prime contenders for a move to help even up numbers across the leagues.

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Could Bognor Regis (white/green) be facing Gosport Borough for the first time in a competitive game in next season's Southern League? Picture by Trevor Staff

The Non-League Maps account on Twitter constantly updates projections of who could be in which league next season and currently has the Rocks and Corinthian Casuals moving from the Isthmian Premier to the Southern League Premier South.

The people who run the account do stress it is only guesswork, and not official. But Rocks fans are starting to check how they’d get to far-flung destinations like Truro, Tiverton and Weston-super-Mare. For Truro, the answer is a mammoth 472-mile round-trip, though the White Tigers did play home games in Plymouth in 2021/22.

It's a lot nearer Gosport, who Rocks have never met in league, FA Cup or FA Trophy action.

Bognor chief Jack Pearce said any talk about a potential league switch was pure speculation.

‘This often crops up and we will have to wait and see what is proposed and decided upon,’ he said.

‘There are quite a number of teams who you’d class as near the border of a league’s boundary so it’s not as easy as saying one particular team is most likely to move.’

Clubs can appeal if they are moved when they don’t want to be, although normally the original decision stays in place.

Staying in the Isthmian premier would give the Rocks Sussex derbies with Horsham, Lewes and Isthmian south east champions Hastings, although neighbours Worthing are now in National South.

Worthing are one of six new clubs that will be on Hawks’ fixture list if Paul Doswell’s troops fail to win promotion. The others are Weymouth, Dover, Taunton, Farnborough and Cheshunt.