While it may lack the glamour of the Premier League, the National League North (England) is every bit as competitive as throughout the season the teams battle for the top spot and automatic promotion to the National League.
For those who are not so fortunate, all is not lost with the teams ranked second to seventh entering the play-offs. For the fans, these matches will be just as nail-biting as those watching the matches of the higher leagues.
It is still early in the season, but already three teams are emerging as likely contenders for promotion, having made a strong start to the season.
Currently in third place in the table, Chester FC, also known as the Blues or the Seals, can be pleased with the start to their season, but will, undoubtedly be looking to improve.
It could be said that it is strange that the team is in the league at all.
The club was founded in 1885 and over the years had its fair share of triumphs and disappointments, but this all came to an end in March 2010 when financial problems saw the club wound up in the high court.
However, anyone who thought that was the end of Chester FC had not bargained on the determination of the fans.
By July the supporter run club was back in action and have continued to play at Deva Stadium, the club’s traditional ground.
They have been in the National League North since 2018 and will be hoping they can continue their good form to return to the National League for next season.
In the 2018/19 season, Chester FC finished ninth, just short of a play-off place. Nonetheless, this solid finish has encouraged the team and its managers, Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley.
For this season they have kept the core team from the previous season, enhancing it with some talented youngsters including striker, Danny Elliot and goalkeeper, Russ Griffiths.
Despite disappointment in their FA cup tie against Altrincham, recent wins against teams such as Alfreton Town and AFC Telford Utd give the club every reason for optimism.
Kings Lynn Town Football Club
Kings Lynn Town FC can be proud of their form so far this season which has allowed them to currently hold the position of second in the National League North.
Back in 2009, Kings Lynn was wound up by the High Courts due to debts owed to HMRC.
Relaunched the following year as Kings Lynn Town FC, the club played in the UCL Premier League. Promotion was rapid, taking them over the following years through the Evo-Stik Division One South, the Northern Premier League Premier Division to the Eastern Counties League Division One in 2014.
They remained there until this year when a nail-biting ‘super play-off’ saw them beat Warrington Town 3-2 after extra time.
This season has already started well and Kings Lynn Town FC or the Linnets as they known as, will undoubtedly be hoping to continue their rapid promotions.
Playing at the Walks Ground, the home of Kings Lynn since 1879, the Linnets are managed by Ian Culverhouse, who took over from long-serving manager, Gary Setchell in 2017.
Recent matches have seen both home and away wins against Kidderminster Harriers, Bradford, and Leamington with goals including two in the last two matches from forward Adam Marriott who has so far scored fifteen goals this season.
Overall, Kings Lynn Town has scored the most goals in the National Northern League so far, a statistic that bodes well for the rest of the season.
In the FA Cup, they reached the fourth qualifying round before being beaten 1-0 by Nantwich Town.
A fun fact is the King’s Lynn FC can claim to be one of the most successful teams in FA Cup history in terms of the proportion of games they have won compared to the number they have played!
But for this season, Ian Culverhouse and his men will now be concentrating on maintaining their current form to win another promotion.
Currently holding the top spot in the National League North, York City’s hopes of promotion are high.
They have yet to concede a league game and will be hoping to continue this unbeaten run to remain in the automatic promotion spot.
Founded in 1922, York City, nicknamed the Minstermen, has spent most of its history in higher leagues, even reaching the second Division in 1974.
But after 75 years of league football, they dropped to the Conference in 2004. They returned to the league in 2012 but was relegated back to the Conference in 2016.
Worse was to follow by the end of the 2016/17 season when they suffered their second successive relegation to the National League North. For this season the club will be hoping to start its climb back up.
York City currently plays at Bootham Crescent, where they have played since 1932, but they are due to soon move into their new ground, York Community Stadium.
This ambitious project will create a unique leisure complex of sport, health, and educational facilities.
The club owes much of its current position to their manager, Steve Watson. He took over in January 2019 when the previous manager was dismissed and York City was in 15th position in the National League North.
With a distinguished career as a player at Premier League clubs, Steve Watson has seen the clubs prospects improve considerably.
Although unbeaten in the National League North, their FA Cup run came to an end on 10th November when they were sent out in the first round by Altrincham, the same team which sent out Chester FC in an earlier qualifying round.
Despite this disappointment, Steve Watson knows that it is the league ties which are the most important and with their current form so strong, they have every hope of returning to the Conference next season.
The fortunes of a club can change fast, so other clubs well worth keeping an eye on for promotion include Spennymoor Town, Southport, Farsley Celtic, and Alfreton Town.
Every result can make a difference for the clubs and their fans, but also for those who have placed bets on the outcomes of games.
For those betting on the games, the odds bookies place can also make a big difference to the potential winnings.
Comparing these can be a time-consuming task. Oddspedia is a best odds comparison site, which does all this work for you. On this page it is easy to see the best odds for matches in the National League North.
While betting against these top teams in the National League North might seem unwise, it is impossible to be sure.
An improvement in form in a lower club or a loss of form in one of the top three can see a sudden change in fortune.
That’s what makes the beautiful game so exciting, whatever league your club is in.