REDDITCH United and Alvechurch may have both suffered heartbreak in their respective promotion quests, but each should be mightily proud of their efforts in what have been hugely impressive 2015/16 campaigns.
The Reds suffered an agonising penalty shoot-out defeat against much-fancied Leamington in their Southern League Premier Division play-off semi-final on Wednesday, whilst Church have been pipped to the Midland League Premier Division title by a Hereford side who have regularly been watched by crowds of 3-4,000 after being founded as a phoenix club for Hereford United.
Liam McDonald has overseen a remarkable transformation at the Valley Stadium during his three seasons at the helm and has turned the Reds into genuine promotion contenders on a vastly inferior budget to the likes of Poole Town, Leamington and Weymouth.
There has been some fantastic football played at the Valley – where Redditch have not lost a league or cup game in open play since the opening day of the season – whilst away from home the Reds picked up more points than any side in the division others than champions Poole on their way to finishing second.
Over at Lye Meadow, Ian Long’s runners-up Alvechurch have already won the Worcestershire Senior Urn and, at the time of writing, required eight points from their remaining four matches to reach the 100-point mark.
Both the Reds and Church can count themselves desperately unlucky to not be celebrating promotion this season, but can rest assured they have provided memorable campaigns for their supporters.
It has been a pleasure to report on their progress this season. Here’s to next season lads.