Horndean boss Michael Birmingham welcomes new-look Wessex Premier ‘local derby league’

Horndean boss Michael Birmingham has welcomed the Wessex League Premier Division's new-look.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 1:01 pm
Michael Birmingham, above left, in action for Moneyfields during a Wessex League game at Horndean in 2011. Next season the two clubs will meet again in the Wessex Premier for the first time since 2016/17 after Moneys took voluntary relegation from the Southern League. Picture: Sarah Standing.

As part of the FA's non-league restructure, US Portsmouth, Alton, Hythe & Dibden and Moneyfields - the latter dropping back down from the Southern League - will all be part of the step 5 league next term.

Birmingham says the authorities have taken a sensible step to make the Wessex Premier more localised and cut down on travel for clubs amid the pandemic.

And he even joked they could rebrand it as the 'local derby league' with Moneyfields, US Portsmouth, Baffins Milton Rovers, Fareham, AFC Portchester and the Deans all in the same division for the first time.

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That equals a mouthwatering 30 PO postcode area derbies in 2021/22.

Birmingham, who used to play for Moneyfields, said: 'I can understand why people have done it geographically and the current climate we’re in at the moment, people maybe cannot afford to get across with the travelling expenses.

‘It does make a lot more sense, really. It’s the local derby league, isn’t it?

‘It’s great, obviously you’ve got the local derbies, the sooner we can get going again - fingers crossed - the better.

‘Hopefully, there’s light at the end of the tunnel now.

‘A lot of people have had their first jabs and now they’re dropping down to the next age bracket, so by the time the season starts a lot of people should have their first jab.

‘Hopefully we can get the season underway with a date to finish it.'

Birmingham was particularly pleased to see US Portsmouth awarded a first-ever promotion since they joined the Wessex in 2004.

His son Harry plays for USP and Birmingham senior says promotion is something club stalwart and 'legend' Bob Brady thoroughly deserves.

Birmingham added: 'It’s obviously good that United Services have come up. Bob Brady deserves it, in all fairness, for what he’s done behind the scenes.

‘If there was no Bob Brady there would be no United Services.

‘For that legend of the non-league game, I think that is really well deserved.'