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Robert James

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About Robert James

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    Glasgow University

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  1. Pyramid 2019/2020

    Generally I agree with your views, that travelling time and costs is a major consideration for smaller clubs, either within, or outside the pyramid.
  2. Pyramid 2019/2020

    Scottish Cup format 2018/19 (phased entry stages) 3 Junior Super-league Champions & the Junior Cup winners, + the Scottish Amateur Cup Winners + the South & East Shield winners, enter at Preliminary Round 1 stage All SFA Member "pyramid" clubs below Tier 5 + 4 SFA Member clubs with "protected status", enter at the Preliminary Round 2 stage Most (30) Highland & Lowland (tier 5 clubs), enter at the First Round stage All 10 League 2 clubs + the HFL/SLL champions & runners up, enter at the Second Round stage All 10 League 1 clubs + the bottom 6 clubs in the Championship , enter at the Third Round stage All 12 Premiership clubs + top 4 clubs in the Championship, enter at the Fourth Round stage Thereafter it is a straight knock-out tournament (for winning clubs from the Fourth Round onwards), at the Fifth, Sixth, Semi Final & Final stages of the Cup Scottish Cup format 2019/20 (phased entry stages) Given the influx of additional SFA member (licensed) clubs (in April 2019 + an estimated 6* further club licence applications currently pending (for July 2019 ?), some changes in the above format will be required for next season's cup competition. (* excluding 2 Junior applicants, not currently eligible, as not "committed to the pyramid)
  3. Pyramid 2019/2020

    No the LL isn't the "SPFL League 3 in all but name":- No automatic promotion from Tier 5 to Tier 4 (ie: there are 2 opportunities for promotion between the top 3 SPFL tiers) 'Semi final' play off with the Highland champions, to be overcome first before having a crack at Club 42 Most Tier 5 clubs enter the Scottish Cup one round later than League 2 clubs Less tv/ media attention given to regional non- league clubs, compared with those playing nationally in the SPFL Less funding available to Tier 5 clubs Fewer league games to be played (30 LL -v- 36 minimum for SPFL). **** However, I do agree with your view that there is the fear of losing "national league status" in the SPFL.
  4. Pyramid 2019/2020

    I am not advocating a League 3, but don't be surprised if it reappears as a proposal. Division 2 & 3 clubs are worried about falling into the Lowland League, especially as more clubs get licensed, and if a West feeder league becomes a reality. A more vibrant pyramid, will increase pressure on the SPFL to move to "Club 42" being automatically relegated each season. Watch this space !
  5. Pyramid 2019/2020

    Adding floodlights to become an SFA Licensing criterion was the correct decision. The SFA is entitled to review, and revise standards. However, what was totally incorrect, was backdating the implementation date, to exclude clubs which had already applied under the pre-2019 rules. These clubs should have been assessed on that basis of the rules applying at the time they applied for a licence. The SFA could/should review the Licensing rules each year (for formal adoption at its AGM ?), but never apply the new rules retrospectively 'against' clubs which had already applied, unless the clubs concerned had (through their own fault) failed to comply with the licensing timescale, as set out within the SFA's handbook. This is currently a timescale 'guide',only, but it should be formalised by adding maximum timescales for each major step in the licensing process.
  6. Pyramid 2019/2020

    Don't be surprised if, in the light of Berwick's relegation, the SPFL resurrects its earlier proposal to form League Three, as a 10 team division (this time, without Colts teams being involved), to give added protection to existing league clubs. As an enticement, the formation of the new division, would include automatic relegation for the bottom club, replaced by the winners of the Highland/Lowland champions play-off, who would be promoted (automatically). The SPFL may also offer a play-off between the bottom but one SPFL club and the losers of the Highland/Lowland play-off. This would be broadly consistent with the relegation arrangements currently applying in the higher SPFL divisions. It is in the best interests of Scottish football that the bottom end of the SPFL, and the HFL/LL Tier of the non-league pyramid, are dynamic and fluid. The spread of floodlights (however unpopular ?) makes this viable, and would help address a promotion "log jam", if the leading West Juniors join the pyramid.
  7. Pyramid 2019/2020

    The Lowland League should be increased to 18 clubs (as in the HFL), and provide for a minimum of 2 relegation and 2 promotion places each year. It should also relegate a third 3 club, if another Berwick/Cove situation arises. It would speed up pyramid movement, thereby enabling ambitious East and West clubs to advance each season. It would also mean that 15 existing Lowland League clubs, still retain their Tier 5 status each season. Thirty Four league matches per season, is very manageable, especially as the spread of floodlights is increasing.
  8. Junior football, what is the future?

    Interesting - thanks.
  9. Pyramid 2019/2020

    We are off topic, but to clarify, the new north east region league will be at Step 4 in 2020/21. South Shields and Whitby are already at Step 3 .
  10. Pyramid 2019/2020

    Incorrect. If you check the end of season league tables, and you will see that South Shields and Whitby are already playing in a higher pyramid league.
  11. Pyramid 2019/2020

    The Boundary Yes the River Tay is the SFA's current boundary. The PWG has been given the task of 'reviewing' it during the next year (or beyond ?). This review will need to include consultation with SPFL clubs, as well as Senior & Junior Non League clubs. Theoretically the existing boundary line could be "tested" a year from now, if Brechin City (relegated twice during the last 2 seasons), end up as "Club 42" next season. The boundary as currently defined, would send them to the Highland League, if they lose the pyramid play-off, as could have been the case with Montrose a few years ago. The West Pyramid The difference between English and Scottish football, is that south of the border the FA controls the shape/structure of the non-league pyramid, and decides club allocations. (There are club appeal rights, which are sometimes successful, but often not). Whereas in Scotland, the SFA chooses NOT to control the overall structure. Given the current impasse regarding the SJFA, and further pyramid doubts about West Juniors joining as a 'collective', the SFA should decide to form a West (senior) League, and invite clubs to apply. In the (unlikely ?) event that there are insufficient West junior (or amateur) clubs who apply, then there won't be a West pyramid feeder league in 2020/21 , and it would be up to ambitious clubs, who want to join the pyramid, to 'break ranks' by applying to join the EoSL or the SoSLfor pyramid access thereafter. Footnote : Please note, that I hope the pyramid does include West junior clubs in 2020/21, as set out in the SFA's recent statement.
  12. Pyramid 2019/2020

    Initially yes, it may extend to south Yorkshire, but with South Shields, Whitby Town and Morpeth Town already promoted, and the top 3 NL clubs to join them in 2020/21, the geographic spread of clubs will change over the next 3 or 4 seasons. The 'evidence' for this, is the strength/success of NL clubs in the FA Vase during the past decade or so.
  13. Junior football, what is the future?

    Thanks for clarifying that. Do you know where "Dunblane Thistle" used to play their home games ?
  14. Pyramid 2019/2020

    Blyth needn't panic, as the English FA is creating an additional Step 4 league in 2020/21, specifically for the north east region. This will result in much easier promotion opportunities over the next 3 or 4 years, for existing Northern League clubs (eg Bishop Auckland, Stockton Town, West Auckland Town, Whitley Bay, etc) to progress up the pyramid to steps 3 & 2. The changes are being made to create "the perfect pyramid" (according to the FA) ! Footnote : Promotion from the Northern League, has been compulsory for the last couple of seasons, whereas it wasn't previously. Pyramid changes take time to evolve, even south of the border.
  15. Junior football, what is the future?

    Dunblane is a progressive club, and would be an interesting addition to the Juniors or Seniors. However there is nothing on their website which confirms that they have applied to join the Juniors. Also, does anyone know if the club's ground and facilities meet the required standards for entry ?