GOBOWEN Celtic will begin their season in an all-new league allowing local clubs the chance to find their way into the National League pyramid.

The new Salop Leisure Football League gets underway at the weekend, with 14 teams set to kick off their season as they look for a route into Step 6 football.

Launched by the Shropshire Football Association, the league has been approved by the English FA as a pilot scheme as the first adult male county league to feed into the National League pyramid.

Shropshire FA chairman Dave Simpson said there has been a huge demand for a league of this kind in Shropshire.

He said: "We were the only county association to put forward an idea for running our own step seven league.

“We went to Chesterfield Football Club 15 months ago and put our proposals forward - and the new league is now ready to kick off.”

“There’s been an exodus of Shropshire clubs that play Saturday football in recent years into the West Midlands League, North West Counties League and some also ventured off into Wales.

“There’s been a massive need for this form of football in Shropshire. We have never had it before as we have always had to feed into other leagues."

Tony Bywater, the chairman of Salop Leisure, said the company is delighted to be associated with the new league.

He added: “A strong and well organised Saturday men’s football league of this nature is something I have been keen to see in Shropshire for a long time.

“I’m a firm believer in the importance of teams from around the county enjoying a healthy local rivalry.

“That can only be positive moving forward and it’s also beneficial for clubs to cut down on the costs often involved with having to travel further afield to play games.

“As a company, Salop Leisure is pleased to be involved in supporting many sports across Shropshire. We are now looking forward, with the support of the Shropshire FA, to an exciting season.”

The sponsorship from Salop Leisure, the Shrewsbury-based caravan and motorhome dealership, has enabled all clubs to receive a package of football accessories, including a tactics board, substitute board, first aid kit, managers’ coats and footballs.