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Juniors to join Lowland League?

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One interesting thing to watch in the years ahead will be whether some of the smaller full member SoS league clubs like Wigtown that are getting licensed, will be allowed to turn down promotion to the LL, if they win the SoS title. Will also be interesting to see what happens when the LL reaches its full complement of 16 clubs and a smaller junior club like Haddington with zero chance of ever winning the superleague tries to get licensed to gatecrash the party where the Scottish Cup is concerned. Can they really be forced to switch leagues when the SJFA is part of the SFA as well? The system that has been implemented will delay further change for a few years, but is inherently unstable in the long term.

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I don't see any reason outside misplaced snobbery that the juniors can't just fit in below the LL.

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I don't see any reason outside misplaced snobbery that the juniors can't just fit in below the LL.

There are as many junior teams who would revert to county leagues never mind the current junior set up. There is zero prospect of the top juniors fitting in below the current LL. And there is zero prospect of current LL members stepping back with a "nae bother, in ye come and we'll drop down a tier" attitude either.

We'll alljust need to get on with life knowing that a bit of direction from the sfa could have solved the problem but now it just won't happen. As LTL has suggested, the sfa will be content because any inclusion of the juniors would have shown up the imbalance of the pyramid between north and south for what it is. A south team coming in at the bottom would take years to match the progress of a north team doing the same and progressing at the same pace. The current set up will suit the powers that be just fine - which in turn means my club will never be asked the question from the top about their long term intentions.

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One interesting thing to watch in the years ahead will be whether some of the smaller full member SoS league clubs like Wigtown that are getting licensed, will be allowed to turn down promotion to the LL, if they win the SoS title. Will also be interesting to see what happens when the LL reaches its full complement of 16 clubs and a smaller junior club like Haddington with zero chance of ever winning the superleague tries to get licensed to gatecrash the party where the Scottish Cup is concerned. Can they really be forced to switch leagues when the SJFA is part of the SFA as well? The system that has been implemented will delay further change for a few years, but is inherently unstable in the long term.

My personal take on it is this: Haddington have, as part of their license application, committed to engage (to use a buzz-word) with the pyramid system at the earliest opportunity. If, having gained the license, there is still a spare slot in the LL, we apply to join. If the LL is full and there is a fixed promotion/relegation mechanism, then we go to the EoS and seek promotion. Whether we would choose to or be forced to relinquish membership of the SJFA is an open question at this point.

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I've said this on a few occasions but once again I think the next step for the SFA to take it to let the Lowland League committee run the tier below.

The juniors won't play ball and fit below the LL and i can understand why teams don't see the EoS league attractive enough to apply for it.

That's why a LL2 or LL East and West is the best way to go, granted that's if there's enough interest in it. Get direct applicants who want to enter the new tier rather than relying on the EoS feeding the LL. Get less entry requirements but make it so it's feasible for clubs to gain entry license if they do go up!

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The SFA's aim was to have a pyramid in place, and that's what they have. That it's not actually comprised of the best non-SPFL clubs is almost an irrelevance to both the SFA and the SPFL, believe me. The SFA can quite rightly say that their aim has been met. They have excluded no one, as the best Junior sides had the chance to join but decided not to. Forcing the Juniors to join up is simply not on the SFAs radar; why would it be? It'd cause so much bad feeling, and for what?

So, don't wait for the SFA to sort out the issue, as they don't see that there is an issue. Either join up, one at a time or en masse, or don't. They don't care.

Any comparison with England's pyramid, where teams with 5000 + crowds abide, and ours, where teams play in towns that don't contain 5000 + inhabitants, is meaningless. I've said it before and I'll bore you again; well-run clubs like Talbot would be aff their heid to join the SPFL. Essentially a village, with no major conurbation nearby (unlike Ross County) and no real history of having to travel about the length and breadth of Scotland with the effect that would have on signing players.

The pyramid is a dog's breakfast, but it's here to stay, warts an' all.

Edited by Hampden Diehard

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Perhaps not, but its in the clear interests of both leagues , those in power need to get over themselves and talk to each other.

so the eos dies off, the juniors east region takes on the feeder place, seems absolutely fine.

Re your first point I don't disagree, but it would take outside influence to initiate it, ie the SFA abolishing the divide.

On the second point that will never happen. The only way the Juniors will partake as it currently stands is if they stand alongside the LL as a feeder to League 2.

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The "superduper league" seemed to possibly be aimed at that based on some of the literature Old Northerner was posting to P&B, but if there's no desire to do the extra travelling (apparently Ayrshire clubs are most adamant on this) or to get into the SPFL to experience the much dreaded rainy February midweek night in Elgin, there is hee haw chance of it happening. People need to bear in mind though that the SJFA is part of the SFA and not a rival to it. Clubs like Haddington could easily adopt the posture that they vocally support the SJFA linking up with the "pyramid" to provide them with the earliest opportunity to progress, and if they do can the SFA really do anything about it without tackling the wider issue of why they are not forcing the SJFA to participate as they inherently have the power to do? Bear in mind that Regan and co basically had to force the HL to get on board with the "pyramid" by threatening to exclude HL clubs from the Scottish cup and full SFA membership.

Edited by LongTimeLurker

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I would love to see a proper pyramid at some point, where you could start a team in a public park and work your way up to playing in the professional leagues however this still looks some way off. There is a beginning of a pyramid in that it looks like both the SoS and EoS league winners can be promoted if licenced. I would love the Juniors to be invoved and for the life of me, apart from the fear of change, I cant seem to find any valid reasons not to be part of the pyramid.

The reason's seem to be the following,

Increased travelling distance

Increased costs - both for fans at hte gate and clubs to upgrade facilities

Lowland league is a lower standard

Loss of local rivalries

Now, from my perspective the ideal scenario would be the juniors joining wholeale and be another 2 feeder leagues to the LL.

Therefore, the juniors could keep running their own little kingdom, with local leagues for local people, so nothing would change for the vast majority of clubs, except there would be the opportunity to move up only if the team winning the league wanted to (ie licencesed and win the play off). We are talking about this effecting less than 5% of the teams in the juniors in the next 10 years probably.

There always seems to be this mentality in the juniors that loads of teams will end up in SPFL2 playing meaningless games in Elgin on a Wednesday night in the middle of winter, however if they are all as good as they think they are then SPFL 2 will contain Auchinleck, Meadow, Linlithgow, etc in a few years and you can keep your Junior love in going on a national stage.

Or you could just do a Brora every year and lose the play off so you could stay where you are, whether that be in the Juniors or LL

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I think we can all agree that the notion that we can rip up the pyramid system and start again, simply won’t happen.

Where we are now has to be the starting point for moving forward.

How we got to this stage is frankly irrelevant now and would just be getting back into the blame game all over again.

There are now 5 teams outwith the LL that have the Entry level licence and it appears that more would seem to be on track to obtain this in the not too distant future.

We could soon be at the stage where a LL2 could have the numbers to be sustainable.

Integration into 1 non league system remains the key issue to moving forward.

I believe we are now in a scenario where the SFA recognise the HL & LL as being at higher level than those teams that don’t have the appropriate licence.

Please note, for the sake of emphasis, that I make no comparison between the relevant playing standards between those two levels.

LL2 could be the bridging level that brings the two existing systems together.

I feel now that the leagues below LL should all be integrated and that the SJFA should be the overall controller of that system and should organise a system I whereby promotion & relegation is clearly defined

I am sure that integration of the 4 current organisers of leagues below LL won’t be at all easy – but it is achievable, with a bit of give and take on all sides.

I am sure there are lots of points that I should have mentioned as important – but these are the ones that spring to mind !

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We could soon be at the stage where a LL2 could have the numbers to be sustainable.

I would question how many of these clubs are getting licensing to progress in league status terms rather than to have a yearly jaunt in the Scottish Cup and reseive annual payments from the SFA. If the South Challenge Cup has to be regionalised can SoS and EoS clubs like Wigtown and Coldstream really sustain the extra travel that would be involved? Doubt it personally. The whole point of a pyramid is to keep subdividing as you go down through the tiers. Glasgow and Edinburgh centred east and west divisions are the obvious way to do that and you don't need to be Einstein to work out who needs to be involved to do that properly. My guess would be nothing much happens over the next five to ten years and the SFA will be happy to pretend everything is rosey as Hampden Diehard suggests above. Longer term though things will slowly start to happen in terms of the EoS imploding due to defections to the east region juniors and/or junior clubs going in the opposite direction when they find a sugar daddy who wants to do a Gretna or in Clydebank's case get a stadium sorted out.

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Obviously there are potential difficulties with such an idea... People are talking about basing the criteria for some LL2 on licensing which would mean a make-up along these lines, going by licensed clubs/clubs known to be working towards licensing/clubs said to have applied for LL.

Burntisland, Civil Service, Coldstream, Duns, Hawick, Heriot-Watt?

Edusport, Newton Stewart, St Cuthbert Wands, Wigtown

Haddington, Linlithgow Rose

Glasgow Uni

AMSoccer?

One immediate observation is that you'll get the exact same criticisms as were made of LL i.e. predominantly EOSL clubs plus some SOSL clubs, and the university and academy teams which some Junior posters love to slate. That raises further questions such as whether the clubs themselves would be able to sustain the travelling given it's mainly the Borders, Fife and Dumfries & Galloway; whether Linlithgow Rose would want to join; and so forth.

It would essentially finish-off EOSL and severely weaken SOSL, anyway.

Also have to wonder whether it would make other Junior clubs more interested in participating, or less.

Obviously there could be alternative ways of arranging it, e.g. having regional LL2s; not applying licensing as criteria; fuller merger of Juniors & EOSL/SOSL; etc.

Edited by HibeeJibee

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I don't think there should be a 2nd tier of lowland wide football, unless you go for 2 small leagues, with theoretically 16 clubs playing lowland league (1) i think even a small league below that is probably too much. It needs to be remembered you want clubs to be playing slightly bellow where they want to be, if you have all the clubs who are capable of playing region wide already doing that then you'll run into big problems when teams get promoted into LL2.

I do agree that tier 6 should be licensed in some form or another, it would be better if this was done formally, a 'nearly entry ' licence should be created within the current structure. (Tho re-naming of all the categories would be helpful). This would allow clubs to grow at a steady pace.

Edited by parsforlife

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Obviously there are potential difficulties with such an idea... People are talking about basing the criteria for some LL2 on licensing which would mean a make-up along these lines, going by licensed clubs/clubs known to be working towards licensing/clubs said to have applied for LL.

Burntisland, Civil Service, Coldstream, Duns, Hawick, Heriot-Watt?

Edusport, Newton Stewart, St Cuthbert Wands, Wigtown

Haddington, Linlithgow Rose

Glasgow Uni

AMSoccer?

One immediate observation is that you'll get the exact same criticisms as were made of LL i.e. predominantly EOSL clubs plus some SOSL clubs, and the university and academy teams which some Junior posters love to slate. That raises further questions such as whether the clubs themselves would be able to sustain the travelling given it's mainly the Borders, Fife and Dumfries & Galloway; whether Linlithgow Rose would want to join; and so forth.

It would essentially finish-off EOSL and severely weaken SOSL, anyway.

Also have to wonder whether it would make other Junior clubs more interested in participating, or less.

Obviously there could be alternative ways of arranging it, e.g. having regional LL2s; not applying licensing as criteria; fuller merger of Juniors & EOSL/SOSL; etc.

I think I can safely say Linlithgow Rose will never engage with anything like what is set out in your scenario HJ. Back to the point that it is what it is now and the boat has sailed.

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A decent point was made above, many clubs going for a licence either want to keep their place in the Scottish Cup or try to shoehorn themselves into it rather than harbour any ambitions to become a league club.

Haddington could be interesting if they get licenced. Will they be allowed to remain in the Juniors ad infitum (as I would guess is their preference) whilst enjoying automatic Scottish Cup participation. If so, you may see more Juniors going down this route.

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Some interesting points here. I think having a lowland league 2 with clubs who have their licence or actively working towards it is a positive step. At this stage the lowland league can actually properly open this up to any Junior side that wishes to get involved.

Another point worth considering also is the B team angle. I know some posters have probably burst a blood vessel by the mere suggestion of this but Scottish football needs to maximise any money making opportunities it has. A Rangers, Celtic, Hibs, Hearts B team would bring several hundred, maybe thousands sometimes, away fans to games bringing revenue to the LL clubs. Obviously there would be no promotion to League 2, but the idea was too readily dismissed the last time it was raised

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Some interesting points here. I think having a lowland league 2 with clubs who have their licence or actively working towards it is a positive step. At this stage the lowland league can actually properly open this up to any Junior side that wishes to get involved.

Another point worth considering also is the B team angle. I know some posters have probably burst a blood vessel by the mere suggestion of this but Scottish football needs to maximise any money making opportunities it has. A Rangers, Celtic, Hibs, Hearts B team would bring several hundred, maybe thousands sometimes, away fans to games bringing revenue to the LL clubs. Obviously there would be no promotion to League 2, but the idea was too readily dismissed the last time it was raised

Don't recall thousands of fans watching Hibs in the EOSL league a few seasons ago. Reserve/B teams should never be in the Lowland League imo.

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The junior superleagues should be the feeder leagues to the Lowland League with the EoS and SoS leagues amalgamated into the junior pyramid. all below the Lowland League would not need to be licensed. The likes of Auchinlek Talbot can remain unlicensed, still win their league year in, year out without the scary thought of promotion to a bigger league.

However orher clubs will be in the pyramid system so the can get their license and enter the Scottish Cup. Clubs below the Lowland League can still enter their "Holy Grail" cup.

Edited by Cicero

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Don't recall thousands of fans watching Hibs in the EOSL league a few seasons ago. Reserve/B teams should never be in the Lowland League imo.

The old firm in the right circumstances could bring thousands to these games. Out of interest did anyone watch hibs eofs side? Why was it stopped? I suppose in theory b teams have already been allowed to play in the pyramid without objection.

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