Women's football: Promotion and relegation needs shake-up, says Hastings United chief

Hastings United chief Billy Wood has called for a shake-up of the women’s pyramid to make it easier for successful sides to climb through the divisions.

United’s women’s side have just come to the end of their second season. And although in many ways it was as successful as their first, which ended in promotion, this time they are not going up.

That’s because only the champions of their division go up.

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It’s commonplace across the women’s football set-up for a one-up, one-down arrangement between divisions. But Wood feels it’s time that changed and the women’s game was brought more into line with men’s football, where it’s the norm for two, three or even four teams to go up or down at the end of a campaign.

Hastings United Women celebrate one of many goals they scored in another successful season / Picture: Scott White

Isthmian Premier? Hastings' aim is to win it.

Hastings were promoted into division one south of the London and South East Regional League a year ago and finished second this season to AFC Acorns.

United won 15 and drew two of their 18 games and had a final goal difference of plus 70. But they finished one point behind AFC Acorns so will be stuck in the same league in 2022-23 while Acorns go up to the premier.

Hastings wrapped up the season with an 11-1 win over Bexhill on Sunday.

Wood said: “Our women’s team have had a great season, but it’s disappointing that second place does not result in promotion.

“I don’t understand why there is so much one-up, one-down in women’s football. It needs to be looked at.

“Our women deserve promotion for their record this season but now our clear aim will be to win division one south next season. Their success is a big part of how the whole club is moving forward.”

Meanwhile, on the men’s side of the club, the squad who took the club to the Isthmian south-east division title have seen their first post-season departure.

Winger Dave Martin, who turned in some important displays during the season, has ended his loan stay at The Pilot Field and has moved on to Phoenix Sports, who play in the Isthmian south-east division.

Manager Gary Elphick has spoken of his hope that the majority of the squad will stay together for next season’s attack on the Isthmian premier.