The make-up of the non-league divisions for the 2023-2024 season has been released by the FA - with relief for St Albans City.

Their 4-0 play-off final defeat in National League South to Oxford City had put them in with a change of a switch to the National League North.

However, that fate has befell newly-promoted Bishop's Stortford which means they remain in the South.

London Colney are heading to pastures new following their relegation the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division but it could have been a lot worse.

They will play in the Combined Counties League Division One, with sides from north and west London.

Among the familiar faces though will be Hillingdon Borough, Holmer Green and Oxhey Jets.

Other than that, there wasn't too many surprises.

Potters Bar Town remain in the Isthmian League Premier Division, with relegated trio Cheshunt, Concord Rangers and Dulwich Hamlet joining promoted Chatham Town, Hashtag United and Whitehawk as the Scholars' new opponents.

Hitchin Town and Royston Town have eight new destinations next season despite remaining in Southern League Premier Division Central.

Three have come down from the league above, AFC Telford United, Kettering Town and Leamington but there are five promoted from below, including Hertfordshire side Berkhamsted.

AFC Sudbury, Halesowen Town, Long Eaton United and Stamford are the others.

Stotfold's promotion from the Spartan South Midlands League means they are, as expected, in the Southern League Division One Central alongside Welwyn Garden City.

SSML champions Leighton Town are also in there while Bedford Town, Kings Langley and North Leigh drop down from the Southern League premier divisions.

Marlow is the one surprise having been moved across from Isthmian League Division One Central.

The Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division has a slightly different look although it still contains Arlesey Town, Baldock Town, Colney Heath and Harpenden Town.

Three sides have been transferred in, namely MK Irish, last of the United Counties League, and Essex Senior League pair Sawbridgeworth Town and Stansted.

Relegated FC Romania and promoted Real Bedford are the others.

Saffron Walden Town and Takeley stay in the Essex Senior with their opponents set to include new faces Coggeshall Town, Frenford, Great Wakering Rovers, Hullbridge Sports, Sporting Bengal United and Tilbury.

Letchworth Eagles meanwhile remain in SSML Division One where they will be joined by Royston Town Res, invited up from the Herts Senior County League.

Another side to move in the national league system is Dunmow Town, who will take their place in the Eastern Counties League Division One South

The FA said: "These allocations are subject to both FA council ratification and any subsequent appeals and any amendments to these will be confirmed in due course."


Frequently asked questions

What are steps?

The pyramid is the way the game is structured for non-league clubs.

The National League, won last year by the Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney-owned Wrexham, is step one.

It then heads down in a logical way, with two divisions at step two, four at step three, eight at step four and 16 at step five.


Which divisions are in which steps?

Step one (1): National League

Step two (2): National League North and South.

Step three (4): Northern Premier League Premier Division, Isthmian League Premier Division and Southern League Premier Division (Central and South).

Step four (8): Northern Premier League Division One (East, West and Midlands), Isthmian League (North, South Central and South East) and Southern League Division One (Central and South).

Step five (16): Combined Counties League (North and South), Eastern Counties League, Essex Senior League, Hellenic League, Midlands League, North West Counties League, Northern Counties East, Northern League, Southern Combination League, Southern Eastern Counties, Spartan South Midlands League, United Counties League (North and South), Wessex League and Western League.


What happens with promoted and relegated teams and what is a lateral transfer?

It doesn't necessarily follow that teams go from one division in one league to the corresponding one above and below.

All promoted and relegated teams are put into a pool and sorted into the most geographically suitable division.

Sometimes, there is a need to move clubs from one division to another. These are called lateral transfers.

For example, as three of the four teams relegated from the National League were southern based (Maidstone, Torquay and Yeovil), it meant one team from National League South needed to be moved to the north to balance the books so to speak.

That was Bishop's Stortford.


How many teams are promoted at each step?

Two - champions and play-off winner at each of the six steps.

The National League, National League North and National League South have six teams going into the play-offs.

Fourth plays seventh with the winners going to the third-placed side.

Fifth then play sixth and then face the runners-up.

The winners meet in the final.

For step three to step six it is the more traditional four teams - second hosting fifth and third hosting fourth before a final at the home of the best-placed finalist.

The new rule in step five this year sees traditional four-team play-offs introduced instead of the runners-up playing a side finishing third or fourth from bottom in a step four division.


How many teams are relegated at each step?

Four between steps one and four. As mentioned above, the bottom four in step four will now go straight down.

Step five should have two going down from each division.