Magpies moved to Midlands league for 2022/23 season
- Credit: Dereham Town FC
Dereham Town will play their football in the Northern League Midlands Division next season.
The Magpies have been plying their trade as the only Norfolk side in the Isthmian League North, and enjoyed a successful campaign this term as they just missed out on a play-off place.
And Adam Gusterson's side were beginning to look forward to some local derbies during the 2022-2023 season, following the promotion of Wroxham and Gorleston
But instead, Dereham are preparing for several-hundred more miles on the road after they were moved to a league dominated by teams based in the midlands - and none in Norfolk.
While they could appeal the decision, club chairman Ashley Bunn said there was virtually no chance of success.
Resigned to the prospect of the team having to travel more than 4,500 miles to away matches, Mr Bunn said: "We have always been isolated within Norfolk, which brings unique challenges both financially and in recruiting players and volunteers - challenges that many other clubs are not faced with.
"If we thought it was challenging previously, we will have another 1,000 or so miles to travel next season. A central club in our previous league might only have to travel around 1,200 miles in a season.
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"The costs associated with this difference is obvious, but it goes far beyond that. For players, fans and club officials to commit time to this is such a huge ask and presents us with an uphill battle before we even start."
Despite obvious disappointment, Mr Bunn insisted everyone within the club would be up for challenge.
"We will embrace this league switch and proudly represent Norfolk football in doing so," he added.
"As a club, we are now working tirelessly on and off the pitch to make this transition as successful as possible.
"We will of course be looking to see how we can remove as much of the pain as possible from the additional travel for fans."
Playing in the Northern League Midlands Division, Dereham Town will face: Bedworth United, Boldmere St Michael’s, Cambridge City, Chasetown, Coleshill Town, Corby Town, Daventry Town, Gresley Rovers, Halesowen Town, Harborough Town, Hinckley LR, Loughborough Dynamo, Shepshed Dynamo, Spalding United, Sporting Khalsa, St Neots Town, Stamford, Sutton Coldfield Town and Yaxley.