BANBURY United boss Mike Ford says he is bemused by the Football Association’s late decision to change their division.

The Puritans, who intend to appeal, were informed on Friday they have been switched into the Premier Central section of the Evo-Stik South League.

They had initially been placed in the Southern division, and were already well under way with building a squad based on that.

However, Shaw Lane AFC on Friday announced they were to withdraw from the Northern League Premier Division.

As a result, the FA have decided to move Banbury, Wimborne Town, Hednesford Town, FC Romania and Fleet Town.

But Ford believes there was a simple solution to the problem.

“It think it’s fair to say we were very surprised,” Ford said.

“Shaw Lane have come out of their league, but five teams – and five divisions – have been affected.

“Wimborne lost in the South League East Division play-off final, but have been promoted into the Premier Division.

“Could they not have put a team who lost in the Northern League play-off finals up to replace Shaw Lane, and then everybody else would have stayed the same?”

Ford admits he would have had no issue if Banbury had been put in the Central Division originally.

But making the change at the 11th hour has already impacted player recruitment.

“There would have been lots of positives to it – new grounds, new teams,” he said. “Had that happened in the first place, there wouldn’t have been a problem.

“I have lost Elliot Sandy, who has dropped down a division because the travelling was going to be an issue. Had we been put in this division first, he might have stayed.

“I have signed some players who are south of us, so they are now going to have increased travelling.

“And we have definitely ruled some players out and have lost others because of where we were.

“The timing of this is certainly not ideal at all.”

It is not the first time this summer the FA’s placement of teams has been questioned.

Didcot Town successfully appealed after they were kept in the South League West Division, even though a number of teams further west were put in the East Division.

Ford says he would like to know the thought process works.

“It does make you wonder how on earth do they reach these decisions,” he said.

“It happened with Didcot who obviously appealed and were successful. But will they (the FA) admit they are wrong again?

“I am sure the people making the decisions must have thought about putting a losing play-off final team from the Northern division in. And because they haven’t, there must be a very good reason.

“What is that reason? Because instead of just changing one team’s league, they are changing five.”