Argyll Blue

How Highland is the Highland League

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The Auchterarder Chippy have posted an article assessing the Highland Leagues geographical credentials:

http://www.auchterarderchippy.com/2016/11/16/from-can-cans-to-locos-this-is-not-the-league-of-highland-gentlemen/

There'll be more Highland league content over the course of the season, like the FB page to be kept up to date.

https://www.facebook.com/theauchterarderchippy/

 

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It was at first a truer Highland League - founded in 1893, the first members were exclusively from Inverness, Nairn and Elgin shires.

First team from Banffshire (now part of Moray) did not appear until 1909 in the shape of Buckie, then Keith in 1924 and Deveronvale in 1938... First team from Aberdeenshire - excluding a couple of brief appearances from Aberdeen's reserves - did not appear until Fraserburgh in 1922, Huntly in 1928 and Peterhead in 1931.

Brora became the first team from Sutherland in 1963; it was as late as 1986 that Aberdeen first gained proper representation in the shape of Cove; plus Caithness had to wait until Wick in 1994.

For many decades the Aberdeenshire League held a separate sway to the east.

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I think with the introduction of the pyramid system - and it possibly being a matter of time before Montrose need to drop into this level, that something needs to be done.

Maybe a 2-tier league is a good idea - but merge in clubs from the North Caledonian setup (Thurso, Golspie etc), possibly a Stornoway team, and maybe a few more decent junior clubs (Banks o'Dee have applied previously)...............end up with two divisions of 16, with play-offs etc

Right now I look at clubs like Lossiemouth, Rothes etc and wonder why they bother?  Forever destined to be in the bottom few places in the one division - regularly taking hammerings from the better funded clubs.

 

 

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Rothes have improved quite a bit this season, still taking the odd drubbing but nothing like as bad as their near-death season last time out. Clubs like Lossie and the Fort sure aren't successful but they still provide a good outlet for local footballers to play at a decent level better than that offered by the North juniors. In the Fort's case, they are totally borked by shinty, their location and the difficulty of sourcing local-ish players of the required standard.

The Highland league isn't immune to the trends of the modern game and it suffers a bit from being dominated by three or four extremely rich clubs at the top. Only really Cove, Brora and Formartine have been able to think realistically of winning a title for a while now, the wild card this season being Buckie (weho seemingly don't want promotion anyway). There are also rumours circulating that the good times are coming to an end for Brora and that the money is drying up.

Personally I hope the HL stays as it is, it's a really enjoyable league to watch. It's the bit below that needs fixing / re-organising and maybe a relegation play off introduced.

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1 hour ago, Ivo den Bieman said:

Rothes have improved quite a bit this season, still taking the odd drubbing but nothing like as bad as their near-death season last time out. Clubs like Lossie and the Fort sure aren't successful but they still provide a good outlet for local footballers to play at a decent level better than that offered by the North juniors. In the Fort's case, they are totally borked by shinty, their location and the difficulty of sourcing local-ish players of the required standard.

 

Lossie started off really well this season, took a few scalps. Fallen away now though. Keith have improved a lot too over the last couple of seasons. Outside the very top and very bottom teams it's very competitive with all capable of taking the points on their day. With a lot of players still working offshore the squads can change from week to week making it even more unpredictable, which helps gambling a bit if you keep up with the gossip. I've rarely been bored watching HL football.

Edited by welshbairn
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This whole pyramid system needs to go as far to the bottom as possible. England's goes to 17/18. There is no reason why Scotland could not realistically get to 7/8 and they could probably go further down in the lowlands. There should at least be an HL2. 2 leagues of 14/16 would be the first stage

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Until there is a dramatic change in the infastructure of the South of Scotland Region or financial support from big sponsorship outwith the region there is practically no chance of teams from the South of Scotland League begging to join the Lowland League or the Scottish league.Improving facilities is one thing but travelling away every second week and getting clubs to travel down here is another.

Central belt refs with a very few exeptions are reluctant to travel down here.Wish it were different but to all down South ( except those with rose tinted specs!) realise this.

Re George Greirson (who did a great job in the short time he was down here) it was 160 mile round trip three times a week that was the real problem.  

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Feel sorry for some of the SoS clubs that are going to be forced into a promotion to the LL in the years ahead as the price for keeping their Scottish Cup entry and keeping up the facade that a pyramid is in place when there is no involvement of 160+ junior clubs. Promotion into levels involving Ayrshire junior clubs would be how it would work if a pyramid was being put together rationally. Then Lugar or Craigmark would be the opponents rather the Preston Athletic or Whitehill Welfare, which is much more reasonable in distance terms. Better work in some HL content given the subform, so the same argument would apply to NCL clubs like Golspie Sutherland moving into a league with Spey Valley United and Nairn St Ninian as the next step up rather than the likes of Cove Rangers and Formartine and potentially Montrose now that Edinburgh City have got their act together, if the SFA ever gets around to forcing the HL to open up a route in for licensed clubs.

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Restructuring has been done to death, but I'm fairly sure most folk realise that the artificial distinctions between the fiefdoms of senior, junior, amateur and welfare is not helpful. 

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Good read that. Worked up in Aberdeenshire on off over last 5  years and watched quite a bit of highland league. Been very impressed with it. Is there quite a few teams that are actually wanting to gain promotion to SFL2 or are most just happy to stay in HL with extra travelling etc? Although there is a fair amount already for HL teams. 

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My understanding is that only Cove, Formartine and Inverurie (all from the Aberdeen area) want promotion plus possibly Deveronvale and Turriff, and the rest are happy enough where they are with some vehemently so (especially Buckie and Brora in terms of those who might get into the playoffs). Another forum called Fitba North is where the HL types tend to post about these kind of issues.

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On ‎08‎/‎12‎/‎2016 at 22:49, Argyll Blue said:

The Auchterarder Chippy have posted an article assessing the Highland Leagues geographical credentials:

http://www.auchterarderchippy.com/2016/11/16/from-can-cans-to-locos-this-is-not-the-league-of-highland-gentlemen/

There'll be more Highland league content over the course of the season, like the FB page to be kept up to date.

https://www.facebook.com/theauchterarderchippy/

 

Shock horror - the Highland League isn't geographically correct!

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On 09/12/2016 at 00:09, HibeeJibee said:

It was at first a truer Highland League - founded in 1893, the first members were exclusively from Inverness, Nairn and Elgin shires.

I was born in Morayshire, and can trace my ancestors there back to 1410. To my knowledge it was never part of the Highlands.

When Elgin cathedral was burned down by some hooligans from Badenoch in 13-whatever, the records described the culprits as "wild, wicked, Hielan men"

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What are the attendances like in the highland league? Is there a website where I can check? Would be nice to see a highland league promoted. Elgin and Peterhead are great away days.

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I have been to a few games this season. Mostly attendances are comparable to L2 (Fraserburgh, Buckie, have particularly good supports). Probably about 700 or so at Buckie-Formartine a few weeks back; Fraserburgh get 350-400 for many games and I imagine there will be a good crowd when they play Cove this Saturday. A few weeks ago there were about 200 at Rothes - Turriff; quite impressive given how dreadful Rothes have been of late.

A couple of clubs- Keith in particular- have very poor support. Fewer than 100 were in attendance at Kynoch Park for the visit of Fort William on Saturday. But these are the exception rather than the rule.

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I can't find any published figures but, as in all leagues, attendances vary by team and opposition. Inverurie Locos generally get around 350-400 but I've seen 600-700 for bigger, important games. Overall, throughout the league attendances might range from 100 and push towards 1000 (on a good day).

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Some really good attendance figures there. Was really impressed with the number of Wick fans at forthbank recently. Seems like far more fans attend highland games than lowland league.

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Some really good attendance figures there. Was really impressed with the number of Wick fans at forthbank recently. Seems like far more fans attend highland games than lowland league.

With those crowds mentioned they get a better support. It's maybe due to the geography though. It's easy for central belt fans to go to zombie lands in glasgow. Highlands are more isolated with less choice.
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Think there was under 100 at Strathspey Thistle yesterday.

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