The Conference North, the second tier of non-league football has been expanded to include Bishop Stortford. Bishop Stortford is the town in which London Stanstead Airport is located.
"It's a bit ridiculous," said Alan Carlisle, chairman of Workington, thoughts that are echoed by his opposite number at Blyth Spartans. "It's a six hundred mile round trip for us and a five hundred and forty round trip for Blyth."
The Conference North's two most Northern clubs are certainly going to feel the pain after spending six hours on a coach to reach Bishop Stortford for a trip that exceeds any trip in the Conference National, and rivals some of those made by the full time teams in the football league.
"It was bad enough when Gloucester and Worcester were put into the Conference North," said Alan Newcastle, chairman of Blyth. "They were bloody long trips, and this is further still."
The Conference admits that it could be a problem for the part-time non-league clubs. "There's a greatger number of clubs in the Conference South in and around London," said Alan Allans, chairman of the Conference League. "This is leading to an inbalance between the Conference South and North. It's rapidly becoming the Conference London and Conference Everywhere Else. There was a backlash when Histon were put into the Conference North at the start of proceedings, but when Rushden and Diamonds were liuquidated reprieving Thurrock and Southport in the Conference South and National respectively, there was no other choice."
If things look bad for the cash-strapped clubs now, it could be set to get much worse as the Isle of Wight's premier team, Cowes Athletic, have just been promoted into the Southern Division, one step below the Conference North and South. Should they get promoted, and other teams fail to create a balance, they too may get put into the Conference North.
"Argh," was all Alan London, chairman of Bishop Stortford had to say.