RELEGATION to the United Counties League would be good news for Spalding United.
That’s a view shared by Deeping Rangers manager Tuncay Korkmaz and Holbeach United supremo John Chand, who are both looking forward to the prospect of facing the Tulips next season.
Barring an unlikely technicality, Spalding’s seven-year stay at step four of the Non-League ladder all but came to an end after a 3-1 defeat at Kidsgrove last Saturday.
Since winning the UCL Premier Division in 2003/04, the Tulips have never finished a campaign higher than 17th and have placed in the bottom two four times (including this season).
But they’ve found support from two of their likely rivals for next season.
Turkish tactician Korkmaz, who is a former Spalding player and has bossed in both the Evo-Stik League and the UCL Premier, feels the drop will be a blessing in disguise.
He said: “I think Spalding are a great club, but this may be a blessing for them.
“If they can afford to drop down and keep the same budget they should be able to build a side that can challenge in the top five, no problem.
“That would probably bring some of the fans back. I know I’m looking forward to playing them next season, it’ll be another local derby.”
Perhaps the most intriguing element of the Tulips’ drop will be the renewal of their rivalry with Holbeach.
The duo haven’t met competitively since November 2003 – with Spalding winning 2-1 at Carter’s Park in their title-winning season under Dick Creasey.
Tigers boss Chand feels that the Tulips would be a welcome addition to the division.
He said: “From our point of view, we can’t wait to play them again.
“If King’s Lynn don’t get promoted there will be so many local fixtures to look forward to.
“It’s a pretty competitive league, with nine or ten very strong sides.
“You’d think that playing the likes of Holbeach, Deeping, Boston Town, Lynn and Sleaford would get a few more of their fans through the gate too.
“Hopefully this will be good news for them, but I’m focused on Holbeach breaking into the top ten next season.”
The first of Spalding’s five remaining league fixtures this season is a home tie with Leek on Saturday (3pm).
Manager Andy Stanhope is focused on elevating his side off the bottom of the table, so the Tulips will not see this as a dead rubber.
Holbeach are without a fixture, while Korkmaz’s Deeping host Long Buckby (3pm).