The Sunderland Sunday League’s new season kicks off this Sunday, with new-look league format.
The league are also proud to announce that they have struck a new sponsorship deal with Sports & Leisure Management (SLM), who work in conjunction with the Everyone Active Leisure centres across the region, and gained the use of two 3G pitches for a total of eight teams based at Silksworth Sports Complex.
The league now consists of four divisions, with a Premier Division at the pinnacle. The league hope that the move will mean more competition in each league, with the aim to prevent runaway league winners.
Five new teams have entered for the 2016-17 season, taking the league to 54 teams across the four divisions.
The new campaign will see a tougher test for Premier Division champions Farringdon ISL, who will come up against a new-look Henderson Butchers side, now renamed TS Potters, while Hylton Castle TWR hope to have a major say in the league campaign.
Newly-promoted Farringdon Detached and O’Brien Waste Management will look to spring a surprise, though they have been handed tough opening day fixtures against Premier stalwarts RCA Grangetown Florists and Silksworth Paragon respectively.
The new-look First Division has been dubbed the “Champions League” due to the number of league winners and runners-up from other divisions. Mighty Victoria Gardens are joined by The Lansdowne, Ashbrooke Sports Club, TC Plastics and Jolly Potters.
New boys The Stella have been touted as favourites for the Division Two title due to their experience in the Premier Division of another local league, alongside Fourth Division runners-up Hendon Athletic, stalwarts New Town and the new look Sunderland Railway and Mill View CIU outfits.
The Third Division hosts four of the five new teams – in Grange Park, Silksworth Catholic Club, The Park and Ryhope New Railway – but Wear United, Millfield Oddies, Westmount and Wearmounth CW Juniors will have a big say in the league title race.
The league would like to thank John Winter for his hard work in his role as chairman last season. He now hands the reins over to the youthful Alan Carter.
League secretary Colin Stores goes into his 10th consecutive season and continues his non-stop hard work.