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LOWLAND LEAGUE - TO BE OR NOT TO BE THAT IS THE QUESTION

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Dredging this back up again but an interesting comment from Martin lauchlan on the juniors info site

What about the bigger clubs that may have more ambition?

“I think there maybe an overhaul next year in the Lowland League or so I hear, there’s going to be Celtic and Rangers Colts all going into a new regionalised league that’s being worked on just now. “I think the junior teams should look at it, but as I say it maybe a finance thing and you need a backer if you want to go and go the whole way.â€

http://www.thejuniors.info/2016/06/ek-boss-happy-decision-join-lowland-league-side/

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Dredging this back up again but an interesting comment from Martin lauchlan on the juniors info site

What about the bigger clubs that may have more ambition?

“I think there maybe an overhaul next year in the Lowland League or so I hear, there’s going to be Celtic and Rangers Colts all going into a new regionalised league that’s being worked on just now. “I think the junior teams should look at it, but as I say it maybe a finance thing and you need a backer if you want to go and go the whole way.â€

http://www.thejuniors.info/2016/06/ek-boss-happy-decision-join-lowland-league-side/

 

 

Some interesting comments and perhaps he knows more than he is letting on. To integrate Junior sides and Colt teams would take a monumental restructure. That said its clear that the current system isn't quite working and the LL really needs to be split East and West at tier 5. I know the Colt idea is as unpopular as Boris Johnson at an SNP conference on here, but I do think there is a place for 'some' colt teams but at Tier 6 or 7 depending on how the restructuring goes.

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Dredging this back up again but an interesting comment from Martin lauchlan on the juniors info site

What about the bigger clubs that may have more ambition?

“I think there maybe an overhaul next year in the Lowland League or so I hear, there’s going to be Celtic and Rangers Colts all going into a new regionalised league that’s being worked on just now. “I think the junior teams should look at it, but as I say it maybe a finance thing and you need a backer if you want to go and go the whole way.â€

http://www.thejuniors.info/2016/06/ek-boss-happy-decision-join-lowland-league-side/

 

Nothing more than the wishful thinking from an atypical "this is just ma wee team, I'm really a Two Cheeks man" type that's been the bane of the Scottish game, let alone the non-leagues.

 

It's already been made clear that there's not going to be SPFL "colt teams" in the Lowlands or Highlands or we'll be looking at the start of Brandname Club Football and the death of independent local clubs. & if they want to blood their youngsters in a more competitive league they're more than welcome to find independent clubs that will take them on loan.

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Nothing more than the wishful thinking from an atypical "this is just ma wee team, I'm really a Two Cheeks man" type that's been the bane of the Scottish game, let alone the non-leagues.

It's already been made clear that there's not going to be SPFL "colt teams" in the Lowlands or Highlands or we'll be looking at the start of Brandname Club Football and the death of independent local clubs. & if they want to blood their youngsters in a more competitive league they're more than welcome to find independent clubs that will take them on loan.

There isn't a place for them or Irish and Welsh teams in any context...erm!

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Don't think this can be dismissed so easily:

 

What about the bigger clubs that may have more ambition?

 

“I think there maybe an overhaul next year in the Lowland League or so I hear, there’s going to be Celtic and Rangers Colts all going into a new regionalised league that’s being worked on just now. “I think the junior teams should look at it, but as I say it maybe a finance thing and you need a backer if you want to go and go the whole way.â€

 

Why would he make that up? It also fits in with the new format of the Challenge Cup, which looks like a case of getting fans used to having games again the U20 teams of the top full-time clubs.

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Don't think this can be dismissed so easily:

 

What about the bigger clubs that may have more ambition?

 

“I think there maybe an overhaul next year in the Lowland League or so I hear, there’s going to be Celtic and Rangers Colts all going into a new regionalised league that’s being worked on just now. “I think the junior teams should look at it, but as I say it maybe a finance thing and you need a backer if you want to go and go the whole way.â€

 

Why would he make that up? It also fits in with the new format of the Challenge Cup, which looks like a case of getting fans used to having games again the U20 teams of the top full-time clubs.

I'll stick my neck out and say that if there was any substance in it, wee Renwick at WW would know about it, like he told us when the LL was first mooted.

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There IS a 'hybrid' league structuring idea out there which could possibly answer a fair few of the LL's problems concerning engagement with both the East/West Juniors and the SPFL.

Firstly, the SPFL isn't going to buy into a three-Region feeder system; the two-Region HL/LL system was already a huge compromise upon the SPFL's (or predecessor's) part, as they were originally only interested in there being a single nationwide feeder. After which, we all know the Juniors' hangup on this issue.

The hybrid idea will sew together both sides of these opposing demands with hopefully a little bit of cooperation and willingness to compromise.

 

The league would need to be expanded to 24 teams which would play over two separate phases, divided perhaps by a winter break.

Phase 1 would split the 24 into East & West Conferences of 12, each completing the normal complete double round robin of 22 matches.

Phase 2 would then see the top-6 from both Conferences being re-pooled into a new 'Championship Conference', each team retaining (just) the results previously garnered against the other 5 teams in this new Conference whom they played against in Phase 1. Phase 2 fixtures would then simply resolve into H/A matches versus the 6 teams not already played against = 12 more matches for a 34-match season.

Also in Phase 2 the two Regional bottom-6s could (i) be recombined into a 'Relegation Conference', competed over the same terms as above. OR, (ii) the two regional bottom-6's could simply stay separated and complete a second complete double round robin of a further 10 matches. Giving a 32-match total. A third, more complex idea would be to combine each of the Regional bottom-6s with top-6s from wholly Regional subsidiary divisions... but ultimately following this path will always make sub-regionalisation at successive lower levels quite awkward, without at some level having to invoke (ii) above anyway.

While this hybrid concept is a little left-field at first glance, it's actually pretty similar to the SPFL's Premiership schedule ~ substituting a 2nd. Phase 2 RR for the 3rd. Phase 1 RR.

It supports advantages, too, over & above extra 'Phase winner' Trophies. The split at halfway down the table at end of Phase 1 is 'special' as approaching the 22nd. game the battle for 6th. or better places will on statistical average involve the greatest number of teams. Ergo spread spectator interest further.

 

 

 

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There IS a 'hybrid' league structuring idea out there which could possibly answer a fair few of the LL's problems concerning engagement with both the East/West Juniors and the SPFL.

Firstly, the SPFL isn't going to buy into a three-Region feeder system; the two-Region HL/LL system was already a huge compromise upon the SPFL's (or predecessor's) part, as they were originally only interested in there being a single nationwide feeder. After which, we all know the Juniors' hangup on this issue.

The hybrid idea will sew together both sides of these opposing demands with hopefully a little bit of cooperation and willingness to compromise.

 

The league would need to be expanded to 24 teams which would play over two separate phases, divided perhaps by a winter break.

Phase 1 would split the 24 into East & West Conferences of 12, each completing the normal complete double round robin of 22 matches.

Phase 2 would then see the top-6 from both Conferences being re-pooled into a new 'Championship Conference', each team retaining (just) the results previously garnered against the other 5 teams in this new Conference whom they played against in Phase 1. Phase 2 fixtures would then simply resolve into H/A matches versus the 6 teams not already played against = 12 more matches for a 34-match season.

Also in Phase 2 the two Regional bottom-6s could (i) be recombined into a 'Relegation Conference', competed over the same terms as above. OR, (ii) the two regional bottom-6's could simply stay separated and complete a second complete double round robin of a further 10 matches. Giving a 32-match total. A third, more complex idea would be to combine each of the Regional bottom-6s with top-6s from wholly Regional subsidiary divisions... but ultimately following this path will always make sub-regionalisation at successive lower levels quite awkward, without at some level having to invoke (ii) above anyway.

While this hybrid concept is a little left-field at first glance, it's actually pretty similar to the SPFL's Premiership schedule ~ substituting a 2nd. Phase 2 RR for the 3rd. Phase 1 RR.

It supports advantages, too, over & above extra 'Phase winner' Trophies. The split at halfway down the table at end of Phase 1 is 'special' as approaching the 22nd. game the battle for 6th. or better places will on statistical average involve the greatest number of teams. Ergo spread spectator interest further.

 

 

 

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I had previously suggesed a hybrid system in the pyramid though mine was at tier 3 with 12 teams but could do same at lowland league. if you have 24 I would say you have enough for 2 divisions of 12. In each division have  East conference and West conference with 6 teams each you play other conference teams 2 times and own conference 4 times. Keeps travel down but increases derbies etc and 32 match season which is reasonable. 

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That conference system is a great idea on paper joining many previous great ideas on paper: but if you think you're going to find another 8 licensed clubs, shoehorn another 4 league games into the season (remember 1/3 of the current 16 do not have floodlights), and get everyone up to 22 games at the same time to split about January... I say good luck to you...

Edited by HibeeJibee

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You have absolutely no chance of getting any interest in that daft idea from Junior clubs.

The three Region system makes absolute sense - and therefore a 14/16 team LL West and LL East, anything else is just the usual fudge/compromise from the SPFL/SFA.

SPFL clubs need to look at it this way, do they want to be relegated into the current LL where three figure crowds are thin on the ground, or do they want relegated into an East or West LL with full Junior involvement where there is strong interest and strong competition? Then again, maybe not, harder to get out of I suppose.


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I don't think the crowd aspects will bother SPFL2 clubs very much, as there is no gate-sharing. Admittedly the question of travelling supports - but they are not large in SPFL2 and the LL clubs may bringer larger travelling supports than they'd usually, with novelty of a "big name" newly-relegated club and a new ground to visit.

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At the request of Newcastle Broon, I'm reposting this question from another thread, this seems to be the most appropriate place rather than start a new thread.

How do people see what's going on in the East of Scotland League impacting on the LL? with no licenced club likely to win it anytime soon, and potentially further clubs leaving, it puts into question the future of the EoS league itself. There are 11 clubs left, and from what I hear there is potentially one or more looking to follow Easthouses and Craigroyston into the Juniors.

With the reluctance of the main SoS clubs to engage with the LL, plus licenced clubs such as Glasgow Uni, Burntisland and Coldstream not applying for this season (and therefore effectively closing the door to the LL for them, at least short term) does that make the Pyramid a closed shop at tier 5 given the HL are not admitting new clubs?

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No, it's clearly not a closed shop.

There's a route into the LL for anyone who has the ambition to take it. That there are a shortage of clubs with said ambition is a different issue (and a different question), but what you suggest is that an open door is actually a closed door just because no one wants to walk through it?

That's some "if a tree falls in the woods" philosophical sh*t. :-)

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The reality is, it's a closed shop in the Highlands as they are not admitting new clubs.  In the LL, it's effectively a closed shop as I outlined above, particularly if the EoSFL struggles to survive.

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The reality is, no matter how much you wish it, the LL isn't a closed shop. Your own team, if they had the ambition to do it, could get licensed, move to the EoS, win it and the LL would have no option but to let them in. Same applies for any team at any level.

In fact, the very definition of not being a closed shop, "effectively" or otherwise .

As I said, big difference between being closed and some teams not being interested in it.

There have been 5 team additions at LL level in the last 3 seasons. CSS, HRA, Colts, BSC and East Stirling. That's 1 away from a third of the league.

Bit silly calling that a closed shop and clearly there are teams with ambition who are interested.

There may be issues, granted, but heading into its fourth season the league is going in the right direction. Inventing issues, such as this closed shop nonsense, really isn't required.





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1 hour ago, gaz5 said:

The reality is, no matter how much you wish it, the LL isn't a closed shop. Your own team, if they had the ambition to do it, could get licensed, move to the EoS, win it and the LL would have no option but to let them in. Same applies for any team at any level.

In fact, the very definition of not being a closed shop, "effectively" or otherwise .

As I said, big difference between being closed and some teams not being interested in it.

There have been 5 team additions at LL level in the last 3 seasons. CSS, HRA, Colts, BSC and East Stirling. That's 1 away from a third of the league.

Bit silly calling that a closed shop and clearly there are teams with ambition who are interested.

There may be issues, granted, but heading into its fourth season the league is going in the right direction. Inventing issues, such as this closed shop nonsense, really isn't required.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There will be no more applications for the LL, you have to play your way into it, that wont happen in the EoSFL as either Leith, LTHV or Tynecastle will win it, none of whom have a licence. The league is struggling, it may not exist in a few seasons time if there are further defections to the Juniors, or teams withdrawing. Then what?

Threave Rovers withdrew from the LL (they weren't relegated), St.Cuthberts allegedly dragged their heels on a licence to avoid promotion, only Edusport made an application, so the SoSFL doesn't look rosy either. Some clubs appear not to like the travelling the LL demands.

Of the other (non Junior) licenced clubs, Glasgow University, Coldstream and Burntisland weren't interested in applying for the LL, maybe they like the licence to guarantee Scottish Cup places and not LL entry.

Taking all that into consideration, and in particular if the EoSFL folds, then that could leave the LL with no relegation at the bottom, and with the Highland League not admitting new clubs, my point is that tier 5 could potentially just be the bottom rung of the "Pyramid", with little or no movement, effectively a closed shop in all but name with hardly any licenced clubs available to feed into it.

What I was mainly driving at, is that if the EoSFL fails, where does that leave the Pyramid? Where does that leave trying to get Junior clubs involved in the Pyramid without a major re-think?

 

 

 

Edited by Burnie_man

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As before, I didn't say there aren't issues to overcome in the pyramid, just like you're not saying there aren't issues (some pretty fundamental ones like fixture lists and floodlight use) to overcome in the juniors.

I am stating, again, that none of the issues stem from the LL being a closed shop and I reject that as the main premise of your original post I answered.

Its very much open, in every sense. That there's a shortage of teams who meet the requirements or have the ambition to play in it is a different matter.

The league is 4 years old and in every season it has moved forward in terms of interest, quality and structure (league cup access, challenge cool access etc), it's top teams proving themselves on the park against all grades (for the most part).

By contrast, I played in the West for over a decade and I find it hard to think of a single thing that changed in that time, other than crowds falling and the standard dropping (at regional level).

Consider this though, if the junior superleagues East and West were to implement a minimum at of requirements such as entry level license, which is actually a pretty sensible set in terms of safety, facilities, behavior etc., would they be in the same position as the LL with teams electing not to go into then because they want to avoid being held to those standards?

I think you'd probably find they would.

And that is the main crux of the issue with future turnover of LL clubs.

But, you have to draw a line somewhere in terms of those standards and tier 5 seems appropriate. Having been to lots of LL games the past season it is noticeable.

Now some people will like that and some won't, but the important thing here is that the opportunity for any Sunday league amateur side who wants to progress into the senior game has a defined route to do so. And it's not actually that complicated.

In terms of Junior involvement, that ship has sailed I'm afraid. To move en masse they would have had to engage 4 years ago. The only route now (and in my opinion the most sensible anyway - keeps your regional setup but still provides another step between that and full national) is for the Junior structure to plug in at tier 6 in its entirety, merging with SoS and EoS. Pride (and in many cases arrogance about the standard of the LL) means that will never happen.

What it needs is someone in charge to enforce it.




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3 hours ago, gaz5 said:

As before, I didn't say there aren't issues to overcome in the pyramid, just like you're not saying there aren't issues (some pretty fundamental ones like fixture lists and floodlight use) to overcome in the juniors.

I am stating, again, that none of the issues stem from the LL being a closed shop and I reject that as the main premise of your original post I answered.

Its very much open, in every sense. That there's a shortage of teams who meet the requirements or have the ambition to play in it is a different matter.

The league is 4 years old and in every season it has moved forward in terms of interest, quality and structure (league cup access, challenge cool access etc), it's top teams proving themselves on the park against all grades (for the most part).

By contrast, I played in the West for over a decade and I find it hard to think of a single thing that changed in that time, other than crowds falling and the standard dropping (at regional level).

Consider this though, if the junior superleagues East and West were to implement a minimum at of requirements such as entry level license, which is actually a pretty sensible set in terms of safety, facilities, behavior etc., would they be in the same position as the LL with teams electing not to go into then because they want to avoid being held to those standards?

I think you'd probably find they would.

And that is the main crux of the issue with future turnover of LL clubs.

But, you have to draw a line somewhere in terms of those standards and tier 5 seems appropriate. Having been to lots of LL games the past season it is noticeable.

Now some people will like that and some won't, but the important thing here is that the opportunity for any Sunday league amateur side who wants to progress into the senior game has a defined route to do so. And it's not actually that complicated.

In terms of Junior involvement, that ship has sailed I'm afraid. To move en masse they would have had to engage 4 years ago. The only route now (and in my opinion the most sensible anyway - keeps your regional setup but still provides another step between that and full national) is for the Junior structure to plug in at tier 6 in its entirety, merging with SoS and EoS. Pride (and in many cases arrogance about the standard of the LL) means that will never happen.

What it needs is someone in charge to enforce it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fair points, although you highlighted the Junior crowds in the West are falling (I cant argue as I don't attend West games very often, but when I do they always seem fairly healthy), but I don't see that LL crowds are increasing.  EK are the success story in that respect, Gala always have a decent following, Spartans occasionally (and WW) but that was about it. Even Edinburgh City struggled to break into three figures. After 4 years, you would have thought that you would see significant gains in that area from the established clubs, but I don't see any evidence of that. The "new" clubs just dont seem to get many at all.

Re Junior club involvement, you wont get that I'm afraid, it has nothing to do with pride or arrogance it has everything to do with promoting what is a sensible structure and the reverse should actually happen, the LL should merge into the West and East Superleagues and we go with a 3 Region tier 5. The Threave and St.Cuthberts examples are an indication that some clubs think the travelling involved at that level is too much. If the Junior clubs rejected the idea of creating a joint West/East Superleague for that very reason, you're not going to have them plugging in under the existing LL.

You don't really mention the EoS, that is the elephant in the room, it could collapse and I note that the Tweedmouth Rangers v Leith Athletic opening league game today has been called off due to "unforseen circustances". I hope nothing serious, and I hope its not another club pulling out. Burnisland game also apparently cancelled as they cant raise a team, this is a club that is licenced.

Edited by Burnie_man

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13 hours ago, Burnie_man said:

 

There will be no more applications for the LL, you have to play your way into it, that wont happen in the EoSFL as either Leith, LTHV or Tynecastle will win it, none of whom have a licence. The league is struggling, it may not exist in a few seasons time if there are further defections to the Juniors, or teams withdrawing. Then what?

Threave Rovers withdrew from the LL (they weren't relegated), St.Cuthberts allegedly dragged their heels on a licence to avoid promotion, only Edusport made an application, so the SoSFL doesn't look rosy either. Some clubs appear not to like the travelling the LL demands.

(Correct but you've also said Juniors don't like travelling either) 

Of the other (non Junior) licenced clubs, Glasgow University, Coldstream and Burntisland weren't interested in applying for the LL, maybe they like the licence to guarantee Scottish Cup places and not LL entry.

(And the Junior clubs also that want their cake and eat it)

Taking all that into consideration, and in particular if the EoSFL folds, then that could leave the LL with no relegation at the bottom, and with the Highland League not admitting new clubs, my point is that tier 5 could potentially just be the bottom rung of the "Pyramid", with little or no movement, effectively a closed shop in all but name with hardly any licenced clubs available to feed into it.

What I was mainly driving at, is that if the EoSFL fails, where does that leave the Pyramid? Where does that leave trying to get Junior clubs involved in the Pyramid without a major re-think?

(That's the million dollar question but as has been stated many times its the stubbornness of the organisations) 

 

13 hours ago, Burnie_man said:

 

 

 

 

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