6 Non-League stories from 2019: Southern leagues
As 2019 comes to a close, non-league football thrives in both the North and South. There is success and failure. Some clubs come from nowhere. Others wither under expectations. There is a bit of the Wild West element, although it may have relocated from Billericay Town to Romford. Regardless, non-league football is vibrant and growing.
While competitive pressure demands that clubs in English football's fifth and sixth tiers convert to full-time football, making them little different than the professionals dropping down from the Football League, there is at least one side in the South persevering as a part-time outfit with surprising success. As well, there are some longstanding managers, young mavericks with a point to prove and even an owner/manager with the football nous, business sense and discipline to lift his club from the county leagues to the cusp of the EFL.
Here's a look at how a half-dozen fared in the past year.