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Highland League restructuring

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To go over old ground, until the Lowland League is reformed into an East / West structure to more accurately reflect the population/club spread in Scotland (as the Juniors already do), you will have little interest from Junior clubs.  The three Region structure (HL, LL East, LL West) is the only way forward IF you want to encourage Junior clubs to become involved en-masse.

 

To use Auchinleck Talbot as an example, they would have absolutely no interest in travelling to Selkirk or Prestonpans for a league game, or to Edinburgh to play Civil Service.  They might have an interest if there was a LL West containing BSC, Colts, East Kilbride, Stirling Uni plus a number of other top West Junior clubs.

 

Promotion to the LL is now dead on its feet, no club will be promoted from EoSFL anytime soon, and it appears SoSFL clubs are reluctant to play in the LL due to cost.  Reform is required.

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So the problem is this: No junior team will join the LL until it is East/West but the LL doesn't have the teams to split East/West without the juniors...

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So the problem is this: No junior team will join the LL until it is East/West but the LL doesn't have the teams to split East/West without the juniors...

 

There is an answer in there somewhere...

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...Promotion to the LL is now dead on its feet, no club will be promoted from EoSFL anytime soon, and it appears SoSFL clubs are reluctant to play in the LL due to cost.  Reform is required.

 

Their biggest mistake was expanding to 16 clubs rather than consolidating at 10 or 12 with the focus being on quality rather than quantity. That rush to 16 clubs has now pushed their main EoS feeder league to the brink of collapse, which makes entry at tier 6 by new clubs from the central belt much less attractive than it otherwise needed to be. They also only really have Edusport now as a credible promotion candidate next season, which is a team filled with French kids, who pay to play, if as appears to be the case, Threave Rovers and St Cuthberts Wanderers have now decided to steer well clear. Will be interesting to see if BSC Glasgow can last much longer after the move to Alloa, whether Dalbeattie Star can keep going at the LL level or whether they will also decide that the SoS League makes more sense, and whether Hawick Royal Albert are going to turn into the LL version of Fort William. I'd give it two or three more years until the SFA have to start seriously considering a rethink of the directions things are going in.

Edited by LongTimeLurker

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You're saying the LL would be in a better position with 10-12 teams, but that the EOS is falling apart with 12 teams. Not much logic in that.

You are also concluding about Threave and St. Cuthberth, not going for the LL. I disagree. Everything points to any licensed team winning the SOS being promoted to the LL, which most top teams there are or are close to being. Apart from the Juniors and Amateurs not being involved, the biggest problem the EOS/SOS part of the pyramid has, is that the three top EOS clubs are nowhere near licensing, which puts a halt to any promotion/relegation there.

Edited by lowenan

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The difference is that an LL with 10 clubs would easily be able to maintain that number through pro/rel and the process of doing so would raise its overall quality and competitiveness. The EoS in contrast is now in very real danger of falling below ten clubs in the next couple of years, because the likes of Ormiston, Burntisland Shipyard (if Girvan have set the precedent that being in the SJFA as a full member is OK), Leith, Lothian Thistle and Tynecastle could easily decide to follow Craigroyston and Easthouses to the south division of the ERSJFA, Stirling Uni could easily decide that the EoS isn't the answer for their reserve team as Spartans just have, and you have to question how stable things will be in the years ahead for Duns, Coldstream and Eyemouth in the absence of Vale of Leithen, Selkirk, Gala and Hawick. It looks to me like the EoS deck of cards genuinely is about to cave in.

Edited by LongTimeLurker

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Calm doon LTL,it's a good bit from that happening,yeah it's took a hit but it's still healthier than the NCL and it's 8 teams. An EoS with 12 sides is healthy enough especially with Tweedmouth joining,as is the SOS with 14 clubs. On another note seen on another thread that St.Cuthberts and Newton Stewarts license applications are being reviewed by the SFA in August.

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I think that they are continually reviewed once they are engaging with the process. Newton Stewart don't appear to be getting anywhere though info who posts on here might be able to give an update? St Cuthbert have at least got the 2parts (legal &admin and first team) of their licence sorted just waiting on the ground being finished before they will have their entry level licence

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I think that they are continually reviewed once they are engaging with the process. Newton Stewart don't appear to be getting anywhere though info who posts on here might be able to give an update? St Cuthbert have at least got the 2parts (legal &admin and first team) of their licence sorted just waiting on the ground being finished before they will have their entry level licence

Cheerz for the update calmac,aye Saints must be a stick-on for getting their license in August.

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Tweedmouth Rangers are linked to Berwick Rangers:

 

http://www.berwickrangers.com/community/tweedmouth-rangers/

 

and Berwick Rangers entries into the EoS tend to last about a season. Girvan getting entry level licensing while remaining in the west region of the SJFA muddies the water over the whole question of whether you actually need to be in the EoS or SoS rather than the SJFA to have automatic Scottish Cup entry, which was the one thing that might have helped to gain the EoS a few new recruits in the years ahead:

 

http://www.scottishfa.co.uk/resources/documents/ClubLicensing/2015/310516CL%20current%20status.pdf

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Are Tweedmouth Rangers wanting to progress through the pyramid or do they just want to play in the EoS? They've came from Tier 14 of English Football to Tier 6 of Scottish Football.

Are they groundsharing with Berwick next season or playing someplace else?

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It's in the link I posted:

 

http://www.berwickrangers.com/community/tweedmouth-rangers/

 

they are playing at Old Shielfield Park, which is basically a practice pitch behind the enclosure opposite the main stand at Berwick Rangers' ground:

 

https://www.google.com/maps?ll=55.76,-2.015833&q=55.76,-2.015833&hl=en&t=h&z=15

Edited by LongTimeLurker

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On 6/16/2016 at 02:31, craigkillie said:

I posted about this in the Wasteland forum before it disappeared, but the recent demise of the East of Scotland League makes the actual logistics of forming a pyramid fairly easy if the Juniors and the non-league seniors are both willing to play ball and make a few small sacrifices.

 

They basically need to incorporate the East of Scotland, South of Scotland and North Caledonian Leagues as an extra division at the bottom of each of the three Junior structures, in the short term at least.  As a way of getting the senior teams on board, they would probably have to agree to slot in a few of the leading sides from the East of Scotland and South of Scotland Leagues a little bit higher up the pyramid (eg Leith and LTHV into the East Premier League and Threave and St Cuthberts into the West 1st Division).  Over a few seasons, everyone will naturally find their level anyway.

 

Promotion from the East Superleague is a little bit convoluted since the East Junior region straddles both the Highland and Lowland catchment areas.  It shouldn't be a big deal to just promote teams from the East to the relevant league and make suitable adjustments.  Eventually, we might see a move to a three division system at Level 5 to avoid this.

 

The bottom divisions would have to open themselves up in the long-term to any interested amateur or welfare teams, but that wouldn't have to be immediate.

 

In the longer term, there might be a case for restructuring each of the Junior systems.  In the North, they might want to merge back into two divisions at Level 7.  In the East, they might also move to 2 divisions at Level 7 and relegate some teams to Level 8.  In the West, they might expand the top two divisions and then tidy things up into 2 or 3 divisions at Level 7.

 

 

 

Onwbtge.png

 

 

 

Splendid proposal... but is neglecting/ignoring the Tay boundary, which really ought to be factored in.

Excluding Jeanfield, Kinnoul, Luncarty & Scone - all whom could be included, there are 15 East Region clubs North of the Tay.

Were these fifteen, plus the eight NCL clubs persuaded/co-opted into the North Junior set up, it would become 60-teams strong.

That would allow the North Juniors to operate  their league clubs' distribution the same way as the East Juniors currently operate.

i.e. a 'top division' + middle division + two regional bottom divisions. These would be of 16, 16, 14 & 14 clubs respectively.

I'd envisage East Juniors' losses compensated by absorbing the 11 EoS clubs, plus about 10/12 West Junior transfers as the latter absorb the 14 SoS clubs.

All three Regions would thus 'own' 60-70 clubs each.

Based on 2015-16 finishing positions (excepting Montrose Roselea's awkward Region jump!) , the North Region set up would resemble something like:-

Premier Division

Banks o' Dee
Broughty Athletic
Carnoustie Panmure
Culter
Deveronside
Downfield Juniors
Dufftown
Dundee Violet
Dyce Juniors
Forfar West End
Hall Russell United
Hermes
Inverness City
Lochee United
Maud Juniors
Stonehaven Juniors

First Division

(Aberdeen)* East End
Banchory St. Ternan
Blairgowrie Juniors
Buchanhaven Hearts
Buckie Rovers
Colony Park
Dundee East Craigie
Dundee North End
Ellon United
Forres Thistle
Fraserburgh United
Islavale
Kirriemuir Thistle
Nairn St. Ninian
Newburgh Thistle
Stoneywood Parkvale

West Division

Alness United
Burghead Thistle
Fochabers Juniors
Forres Thistle
Golspie Sutherland
Halkirk United
Invergordon
Inverness Athletic
(Kirkwall)* Orkney
Nairn St. Ninian
New Elgin
Spey Valley United
Tain St. Duthus
Thurso

East Division

Aberdeen University
Arbroath Victoria
Brechin Victoria
Coupar Angus
Cruden Bay Juniors
Forfar Albion
Glentanar
Lewis United
Lochee Harp
Longside
Montrose Roselea
Newmachar United
Sunnybank
Whitehills

*- Bracketed = location info. only, not  indicating name change!

Personally, I think this set up could work really well and serve as an excellent feeder to the HFL. If need be it retains spare room to absorb four more clubs; thinking if/when the HFL has to 'shed' an occasional club; and if using three 'levels' of the football system is deemed too many layers, then 'Premier' & 'First' might otherwise instead be combined and also split regionally or  the 'First', 'West' & 'East' combined to split 'West', 'East' & 'South'. Either model would work.

The North Region's top division should be very much strengthened in comparison with those of the other two Regions, although probably still somewhat beneath par.

I may do a quick study on what East & West Regions look like if the North was boosted as above... but not right now as it's wee hours already!

Critique welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Cornishman said:

Splendid proposal... but is neglecting/ignoring the Tay boundary, which really ought to be factored in.

 

If you look at the green and maroon lines on Level 5, you'll see that the East Juniors feeds into both the Highland and Lowland Leagues.  In the short term, the East Juniors winners could be promoted to whichever league was more suitable for their location, though the setup could be adapted over time if necessary.

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This ignores the basic flaw that a single division Lowland League does not work, or the fact that the SJFA will never accept being a feeder to it.

Splitting the Lowland League into West and East forms the basis where the SJFA might be willing to listen.

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On 8/29/2016 at 15:16, Burnie_man said:

This ignores the basic flaw that a single division Lowland League does not work, or the fact that the SJFA will never accept being a feeder to it.

Splitting the Lowland League into West and East forms the basis where the SJFA might be willing to listen.

1

But that ignores the fact that the SPFL will not sanction a three feeder Level-5 and needed much persuasion to accept the two feeder system.

Only way around it that I see is a hybrid LL structure with 24 teams that are split into West & East Conferences, playing 22 matches up to the New Year.

After that, the two top-6s are recombined, carrying over just their head-to-head records, then each of the Wests plays each of the Easts home/away in a further round dozen games. The two bottom-6s could be similarly recombined, or each might just carry on playing a second ten match round robin to add to their prior head-to-heads.

Season would be 34 (or 32) matches long, equating to the HL schedule. Juniors 'get' their 2x LLs & only six away matches outside their subregion in the second part of the season. SPFL should be satisfied (-ish) with this structure, hopefully not pulling the plug on the promotion/relegation play-off because of it.

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Cornishman said:

But that ignores the fact that the SPFL will not sanction a three feeder Level-5 and needed much persuasion to accept the two feeder system.

 

The SPFL didn't want a three-feeder system back in 2013, but that may well have changed by now.  Their main stated reason for favouring a two-feeder system was to ensure that any relegated club dropped into a fairly strong league.  However, the lack of Junior participation in the Lowland League has led to Tier 5 missing many of the biggest clubs in the region.  If Juniors were integrated into Tier 5 in three-feeder system now, then the resulting East and West leagues would likely both be stronger than the current Lowland League.

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On 9/13/2016 at 17:19, Cornishman said:

But that ignores the fact that the SPFL will not sanction a three feeder Level-5 and needed much persuasion to accept the two feeder system.

Only way around it that I see is a hybrid LL structure with 24 teams that are split into West & East Conferences, playing 22 matches up to the New Year.

After that, the two top-6s are recombined, carrying over just their head-to-head records, then each of the Wests plays each of the Easts home/away in a further round dozen games. The two bottom-6s could be similarly recombined, or each might just carry on playing a second ten match round robin to add to their prior head-to-heads.

Season would be 34 (or 32) matches long, equating to the HL schedule. Juniors 'get' their 2x LLs & only six away matches outside their subregion in the second part of the season. SPFL should be satisfied (-ish) with this structure, hopefully not pulling the plug on the promotion/relegation play-off because of it.

 

 

 

Thats probably the best solution I have read! Now way the SPFL will go for it! 

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There is absolutely zero chance of you being able to split at New Year. Postponements, Scottish Cup ties and replays, and so on. Even trying to catch-up then is difficult - remember some LL clubs don't have floodlights and very few of the Junior clubs you'd be seeking to bring in have them.

No way you would get everyone to 22 games about the same time.

Edited by HibeeJibee

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I have been reading about Highland League, and do the teams from Highland League get relegated? I only read Lowland League teams get relegated.

Edited by thekorean

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