Burnie_man

Junior football, what is the future?

150 posts in this topic

It's back to the chicken-n-egg again though.

If the Juniors won't join the pyramid, it's reliant on seniors + whoever is prepared to move in from other grades, and it'll be easier to "do an Edusport".


It's in the hands of the SFA as they could force junior clubs to join the pyramid. They caused this issue when creating the LL. Mr Regan wanted a pyramid but didn't really want to put in the work. Now we have a half finished product. I have no problems with any of the clubs in the LL as they are there with the current arrangements but if improvements are wanted then discussions should be had with clubs directly and not the SJFA. The ball is in the SFA court. Very few to no west junior clubs will leave to join the SoS or EoS as the costs are too much meaning there will be an imbalance in the set up. Imo Mr Regan thinks he has fulfilled his commitment and now really doesn't care about it and the LL officials are quite happy with what they have as they represent the clubs already there. It will not grow imo without proper alignment. The only people who can sort that is the SFA.
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13 hours ago, Arthurlie1981 said:

 


It's in the hands of the SFA as they could force junior clubs to join the pyramid. They caused this issue when creating the LL. Mr Regan wanted a pyramid but didn't really want to put in the work. Now we have a half finished product. I have no problems with any of the clubs in the LL as they are there with the current arrangements but if improvements are wanted then discussions should be had with clubs directly and not the SJFA. The ball is in the SFA court. Very few to no west junior clubs will leave to join the SoS or EoS as the costs are too much meaning there will be an imbalance in the set up. Imo Mr Regan thinks he has fulfilled his commitment and now really doesn't care about it and the LL officials are quite happy with what they have as they represent the clubs already there. It will not grow imo without proper alignment. The only people who can sort that is the SFA.

 

I half agree with you but from my insider contacts it seems Regan was like many other English imports.

He 1) didn't really understand the concept of the Juniors and their impact on the culture here, and 2) Thought a quick fix English solution was easy and we were just all a bit slow/thick up here.

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5 hours ago, The Mantis said:

I half agree with you but from my insider contacts it seems Regan was like many other English imports.

He 1) didn't really understand the concept of the Juniors and their impact on the culture here, and 2) Thought a quick fix English solution was easy and we were just all a bit slow/thick up here.

If that was true initially, he's had more than enough time to learn since then. Although those he has most contact with (TJ & co) are not the best ones to educate him!

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3) certain EoS clubs took full advantage of his lack of knowledge to push through the LL at 6 weeks notice.

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I half agree with you but from my insider contacts it seems Regan was like many other English imports.
He 1) didn't really understand the concept of the Juniors and their impact on the culture here, and 2) Thought a quick fix English solution was easy and we were just all a bit slow/thick up here.


I agree with that but the way that the junior clubs (at least in the west) was a one question letter saying are you interested in joining a pyramid. We responded yes and heard nothing back. I spoke to Jim Spence when he was at the BBC and gave my views and our clubs views on it and also that discussed several issues that we saw as being a barrier. I took some flak from both the SJFA and SFA for expressing these concerns.

The way it was put together never allowed clubs from the west a fair crack at it imo but the clubs have to take some responsibility for it.

I am no longer involved but can only hope that clubs can work together to improve the grade.
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17 hours ago, Arthurlie1981 said:


I agree with that but the way that the junior clubs (at least in the west) was a one question letter saying are you interested in joining a pyramid. We responded yes and heard nothing back. I spoke to Jim Spence when he was at the BBC and gave my views and our clubs views on it and also that discussed several issues that we saw as being a barrier. I took some flak from both the SJFA and SFA for expressing these concerns.

The way it was put together never allowed clubs from the west a fair crack at it imo but the clubs have to take some responsibility for it.

I am no longer involved but can only hope that clubs can work together to improve the grade.

If memory serves, there were over 30 clubs who provided a positive response about joining a Pyramid. They were ignored.

As I said before, clubs need to start speaking to one another to find common ground regarding taking the game forward.

The SJFA top table are never going to recommend or drive change, they discourage it, therefore it's upto the clubs themselves to decide where they want to be and how to get there.

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On 2017-6-20 at 12:44, The Mantis said:

I half agree with you but from my insider contacts it seems Regan was like many other English imports.

He 1) didn't really understand the concept of the Juniors and their impact on the culture here, and 2) Thought a quick fix English solution was easy and we were just all a bit slow/thick up here.

I think you've nailed it better than most here Mantis.  Junior football is nailed into Scottish football culture and people are brought up in it and identify with their local teams often more than any senior team they follow over and above.

The other thing here is that the players should be considered, we're often talking about players that might not have the ability that would carve themselves out a professional career but want to play at the level they're able to without spending their entire Saturday travelling say from Dundee to Dalbeattie to get an evenly matched game.

Junior football has served both fans and players well over the years and until the SFA comes up with a plan that isn't half baked and takes account of the wishes of clubs and players then they aren't offering anything to teams that do,  It might be that some clubs fancy their chances and make the jump and good luck to them, it might be that under a well-though out structure all these teams and players will find their level and get a game that suits their working/family/social lives.  Until somebody can demonstrate that they've achieved that though the Junior culture is going to hold strong because it isn't broken, it's providing all that already and anybody who's looking to change that is going to have to offer better.  That hasn't really happened yet.

In East Lothian we've got Musselburgh, relegated this season but still strong, we've got Tranent going from strength to strength, Haddington and Dunbar who are both currently on an upward trajectory and all four of them playing in the same division next year. For people who care I find it hard to believe that you've got a league that could be more exciting for supporters, throw in other local games for us in Musselburgh against Dalkeith and Arniston and a couple of trips up to Downfield and Kirrie and we;ve got a great season ahead for those of us who regularly attend.

Aye, there might be teams who've maybe outgrown our set-up but Junior football itself isn't at fault and it isn't dying, if those teams feel they want to leave and see how far they can go I'd wish them good luck but I wouldn't want to see the destruction of what we currently have because what we currently have still suits many of our clubs and players.

Edited by RobM
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Well said. As things stand, the only area of the country the pyramid is actually functional is in the East - up north, the Highland League seem to have got what they wanted and then pulled up the ladder behind them; the likes of Banks O'Dee or Hermes would be strong additions...perhaps too strong for some of the perennial also-rans in the lower half of the HFL.

In the West where over half the population of the country lives the current pathway is completely unworkable; a club wishing to make the jump would have to spend at least a year travelling down the A74 to compete on the (mostly) school playing fields and 3G cages of the SoSL, where the entirely Dumfries and Galloway-based rump of current clubs are already unhappy at the moment at the prospect of having to travel to Kilmarnock to play their newest member. There's no way you can argue that wouldn't be a serious step down for the likes of a Talbot or whoever. 

A lot of Junior fans fall into one of two  camps - there are some that think the Juniors have an almost mystical air of specialness, somehow inherently purer, set apart from the rest of the game and which shouldn't be exposed to any outside influence, whereas others fall into the John Laurie "we're doomed..." mindset forecasting the imminent collapse of the entire grade if something isn't done sharpish.

I reckon the truth's somewhere in the middle - sure some clubs are struggling, but that always has and probably always will be the case. In general, the grade's in reasonable health and most clubs can afford to adopt a watching brief to see how - and indeed if - the pyramid develops in a way that will suit their purposes.

Ultimately, no club will willingly throw itself under the bus for the sake of an ideal - to genuinely prosper the structure will have to suit the clubs, not vice versa.

Edited by Hillonearth
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Well said. As things stand, the only area of the country the pyramid is actually functional is in the East - up north, the Highland League seem to have got what they wanted and then pulled up the ladder behind them; the likes of Banks O'Dee or Hermes would be strong additions...perhaps too strong for some of the perennial also-rans in the lower half of the HFL.
In the West where over half the population of the country lives the current pathway is completely unworkable; a club wishing to make the jump would have to spend at least a year travelling down the A74 to compete on the (mostly) school playing fields and 3G cages of the SoSL, where the entirely Dumfries and Galloway-based rump of current clubs are already unhappy at the moment at the prospect of having to travel to Kilmarnock to play their newest member. There's no way you can argue that wouldn't be a serious step down for the likes of a Talbot or whoever. 
A lot of Junior fans fall into one of two  camps - there are some that think the Juniors have an almost mystical air of specialness, somehow inherently purer, set apart from the rest of the game and which shouldn't be exposed to any outside influence, whereas others fall into the John Laurie "we're doomed..." mindset forecasting the imminent collapse of the entire grade if something isn't done sharpish.
I reckon the truth's somewhere in the middle - sure some clubs are struggling, but that always has and probably always will be the case. In general, the grade's in reasonable health and most clubs can afford to adopt a watching brief to see how - and indeed if - the pyramid develops in a way that will suit their purposes.
Ultimately, no club will willingly throw itself under the bus for the sake of an ideal - to genuinely prosper the structure will have to suit the clubs, not vice versa.


I don't think the grade is under imminent danger but without improvements I can see some clubs dropping out in the future and that will hurt junior football. What I am looking for is some forward planning to allow the grade to grow. I don't necessarily believe the LL is the best answer but we need to make sure that we (juniors) are not left behind.
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1 hour ago, RobM said:


Aye, there might be teams who've maybe outgrown our set-up but Junior football itself isn't at fault and it isn't dying, if those teams feel they want to leave and see how far they can go I'd wish them good luck but I wouldn't want to see the destruction of what we currently have because what we currently have still suits many of our clubs and players.

Some good points made. The structure of Junior football is an ideal blueprint for how tier 5 should have been implemented from the very start.

Three Regions, with the West and East Superleagues adopted as the level below SPFL, with the EoSFL and SoSFL absorbed into the structure, and the North Superleague plumbed in below the HFL. That of course didn't happen, we could still get there with reform of the LL. That structure offers something for everyone as far as clubs and players are concerned yet nobody is talking.

You are correct in saying that Junior football still has a lot to offer, like you I'm looking forward to the start of the Premierleague, it's going to be very competitive and we get to cross swords with local rivals Whitburn, Bathgate and Fauldhouse on equal terms, as well as a few decent trips to Dundee, Kirriemuir and St,Andrews. 

However, we ignore the Pyramid at our peril and that is exactly what the SJFA are currently doing (and many people involved with clubs). They should be asking where the game will be in 10 years time, maybe it will be exactly as is, or more likely there will have been major changes either voluntarily or otherwise. Joining a Pyramid doesn't dilute the social appeal or community involvement of these clubs, it's not something exclusive to Junior fitba. Are Whitehill Welfare less of an asset to their community by being Senior and a Pyramid club? Spartans? Selkirk? Keith? Buckie?

By not talking openly and honestly about it, clubs are doing themselves a disservice.  Sitting in a huff in the corner gets us absolutely nowhere.

Musselburgh Athletic should not be prevented from playing Preston Athletic by an artificial divide, we're all football clubs.

 

 

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