Express & Star

Champion Villains appeal against FA promotion call

Midland League Division One champions Pelsall Villa Colts have confirmed they will appeal the FA's decision to deny them promotion to Step 6.


The Villains secured back-to-back titles after beating Bustleholme 1-0 to pip Gornal Athletic to the championship on the final day.

Despite applying for promotion, Pelsall have revealed that their request was denied, as Gornall were elected to feature in the level above next season.

However, Pelsall manager Tom Bayliss has revealed that the club are in the process of appealing the decision.

"That's a bone of contention. We applied for promotion to the league above but currently the FA have denied us and they've promoted Gornal, who finished second," Bayliss said.

"As of yet, we've not had a reason why. We have appealed the decision and we will take it to appeal to try to get ourselves promoted.

"Anybody in football, especially in non-league football, would agree that the team who wins the league over a 30-game season would be the most deserving team to challenge themselves in the step above."

Chairman Andrew Bond added: "We are currently going through an appeals procedure. We hope the appeal is successful as we believe as everyone else would agree that we earned ourselves the right to challenge and test ourselves in the league above.

"Especially after being crowned champions over the course of a really tough league season. Whatever happens, we will always look to stick together and push on."

Pelsall notched an astonishing 99 goals en route to the title and went onto beat Tipton Town 2-1 in the Division One League Cup final to complete a domestic double.

Striker Will Osbourne netted 20 times in the league, surpassing his tally of 17 from the previous campaign, while fellow attacker Louie Mason bagged 17.

Osbourne is one of a number of academy graduates in the first team's ranks, while 16-year-old Lewis Johnson also made the step-up to the senior squad before injury hampered his progress.

Bayliss feels the club's infrastructure at youth level has been a key factor behind the recent success and enables them to compete against teams with far bigger budgets.

"We've got over 20+ youth teams at the club now and that's ever growing.

"We're really proud of that. The idea was to create a pathway to men's football for them and something to aspire to.

"That's what we've managed to do. A lot of the teams that we compete with at the top end of the league would have a playing budget.

"We've not got that at Pelsall so where we look to recruit is through the youth. That's what we want to promote and that's what we want to try and do."