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Fort William tomorrow

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Having a Skye team would be nice but there just doesn't seem to be an appetite for it.  It's strange actually, in Grantown-on-Spey there's Strathspey Thistle, and just along the road there's the junior sides of Cromdale and in Nethy Bridge there's Spey Valley, yet there's no Skye team, there's no mid-southern Loch Ness team and there are no Aviemore, Kingussie or Newtonmore teams.  Aside from Aviemore though, these places all have shinty teams.  There is (or was) another west Highland team set up in Lochaber Thistle in one of the welfare leagues but I don't know what their status is.  A shame to see Fort struggling though and I hope they can pull through.

Edited by Highland Capital

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8 hours ago, GordonS said:

There's over 16,000 on Lewis, half of them in and around Stornoway. Oban has what, about 10,000, with a few thousand more in the neighbouring villages like Taynuilt, Connel, Barcaldine etc. There's over 20,000 in Skye and Lochalsh too.

To put that into context, Auchinleck has a population of fewer than 4,000, and Dingwall and it's surrounding area has about 13,000 (though more in towns up the coast).

It's an area that supports a good number of well organised shinty clubs too. In a football mad country like Scotland, it's a remarkable thing that the one senior or junior football club in the entire region, the only place for many, many miles for guys to play, is possibly the worst in the country.

For the last 3 years, Lewis & Harris FC has played in some of the North Caledonian Cup Competitions (with some success), but have you ever tried the  Western Isles ferry to the mainland in winter ?  Not something you would want to do too often.

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2 hours ago, Highland Capital said:

Having a Skye team would be nice but there just doesn't seem to be an appetite for it.  It's strange actually, in Grantown-on-Spey there's Strathspey Thistle, and just along the road there's the junior sides of Cromdale and in Nethy Bridge there's Spey Valley, yet there's no Skye team, there's no mid-southern Loch Ness team and there are no Aviemore, Kingussie or Newtonmore teams.  Aside from Aviemore though, these places all have shinty teams.  There is (or was) another west Highland team set up in Lochaber Thistle in one of the welfare leagues but I don't know what their status is.  A shame to see Fort struggling though and I hope they can pull through.

Strathspey Thistle are also struggling in the HFL. 18th last season (below Fort), and their only 3 points this season came from a win at Claggan >

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Brora 16 Fort William 0 !!!

I'm guessing Fort were struggling to raise a team.

It's also an opportunity to remind everyone of the Blue Toon's 17-0 win over Fort William in 1998. :P

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8 hours ago, Highland Capital said:

Having a Skye team would be nice but there just doesn't seem to be an appetite for it.  It's strange actually, in Grantown-on-Spey there's Strathspey Thistle, and just along the road there's the junior sides of Cromdale and in Nethy Bridge there's Spey Valley, yet there's no Skye team, there's no mid-southern Loch Ness team and there are no Aviemore, Kingussie or Newtonmore teams.  Aside from Aviemore though, these places all have shinty teams.  There is (or was) another west Highland team set up in Lochaber Thistle in one of the welfare leagues but I don't know what their status is.  A shame to see Fort struggling though and I hope they can pull through.

South Lochaber Thistle play in the Greater Glasgow Amateurs now.

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It's sad to see the nick of Fort William just now. With them being the closest Highland League team to Dumbarton and me spending a lot of time in Glencoe and the surrounding area in recent years I often keep an eye on how they are doing.

Hopefully I'll get up to a game soon and my mere presence will propel them to a victory. I might even bring my boots.

Out of interest how many fans do they attract to home games? They have a fairly large catchment area given the sheer lack of teams around them.

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3 minutes ago, invergowrie arab said:

With fort William in it on their own?

With fort William, Strathspey and whoever wants to join from North Juniors and NCL.

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Fort William to Berwick Upon Tweed 190 miles

Fort William to Wick 160 miles

Fort William to Aberdeen 140 miles

Fort William to Edinburgh 130 miles

Fort William to Elgin 110 miles

Fort William to Glasgow 110 miles

I think if they carry on they might want to at least consider where geographically they best sit.

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21 minutes ago, invergowrie arab said:

Fort William to Berwick Upon Tweed 190 miles

Fort William to Wick 160 miles

Fort William to Aberdeen 140 miles

Fort William to Edinburgh 130 miles

Fort William to Elgin 110 miles

Fort William to Glasgow 110 miles

I think if they carry on they might want to at least consider where geographically they best sit.

Most of their players are (or at least were) predominantly Inverness-based so while the club is based where it is, it's not like all the players are based in the local area.

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16 minutes ago, Highland Capital said:

Most of their players are (or at least were) predominantly Inverness-based so while the club is based where it is, it's not like all the players are based in the local area.

I think that's even more of a reason to eventually ask what's the point? Anyone from FW would be less than an hour down to Oban for a team or if they were good enough to play HL they could be heading up the other way to Inverness.

I have a bit of a "so what " attitude to all of this as a shinty fan.  I don't really mourn the loss of football teams in shinty towns.

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3 hours ago, invergowrie arab said:

Fort William to Berwick Upon Tweed 190 miles

Fort William to Wick 160 miles

Fort William to Aberdeen 140 miles

Fort William to Edinburgh 130 miles

Fort William to Elgin 110 miles

Fort William to Glasgow 110 miles

I think if they carry on they might want to at least consider where geographically they best sit.

It's more about driving time than distance, most games would be under 3 hours in either direction but there would more under 2 hours in the Highland League. And the fact that finding a southerly league to compete in would be near impossible. I understand your favouring shinty but I don't see why there can't be more ground sharing between shinty and lower league football. Fort's ground is a swamp that is unplayable most of the year while there's a well drained shinty pitch available most of the year. Likewise Bught Park in Inverness have excellent shinty facilities that could be shared with Inverness City or Inverness Athletic instead of forcing them out of town.

Edited by welshbairn

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Those saying they might withdraw (or floating it as an option): where could they withdraw to and would it really be much of a help?

If they joined the North Juniors they would still have games all the way across to Aberdeen, as they're moving back to 3 region-wide divisions from next season, and if anything there is a heavier weighting of clubs towards the north-east than the west.

If they joined the North Caledonian it's not as far overall but still trip north of Inverness every time, and low standard.


If there was a functioning pyramid up north they wouldn't have a choice, but I'm unsure they'd choose to switch.

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2 hours ago, welshbairn said:

It's more about driving time than distance, most games would be under 3 hours in either direction but there would more under 2 hours in the Highland League. And the fact that finding a southerly league to compete in would be near impossible. I understand your favouring shinty but I don't see why there can't be more ground sharing between shinty and lower league football. Fort's ground is a swamp that is unplayable most of the year while there's a well drained shinty pitch available most of the year. Likewise Bught Park in Inverness have excellent shinty facilities that could be shared with Inverness City or Inverness Athletic instead of forcing them out of town.

If it was up to me I would give the Bught over to football full time. With Kingussie heavily investing in their ground and facilities it could soon become the Norths go to shinty facility.

I have no idea what the relationship between football and shinty is in FW but see no reason why it couldn't work. Works well enough in Oban.

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2 hours ago, HibeeJibee said:

Those saying they might withdraw (or floating it as an option): where could they withdraw to and would it really be much of a help?

If they joined the North Juniors they would still have games all the way across to Aberdeen, as they're moving back to 3 region-wide divisions from next season, and if anything there is a heavier weighting of clubs towards the north-east than the west.

If they joined the North Caledonian it's not as far overall but still trip north of Inverness every time, and low standard.


If there was a functioning pyramid up north they wouldn't have a choice, but I'm unsure they'd choose to switch.

Even the Lochaber amateur league didn't run this year. It really is HL or nothing.

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3 hours ago, welshbairn said:

It's more about driving time than distance, most games would be under 3 hours in either direction but there would more under 2 hours in the Highland League. And the fact that finding a southerly league to compete in would be near impossible. I understand your favouring shinty but I don't see why there can't be more ground sharing between shinty and lower league football. Fort's ground is a swamp that is unplayable most of the year while there's a well drained shinty pitch available most of the year. Likewise Bught Park in Inverness have excellent shinty facilities that could be shared with Inverness City or Inverness Athletic instead of forcing them out of town.

Fort William have teams in the National League and North 1 and a women's team, as well as youth teams. Between friendlies and the inevitable extended season there are games on the pitch from February - October. Training and youths obviously continue during the close season. Groundshare with the football team simply not feasible. Inverness the same.  On top of that, the Bught is key to shinty as a very good and pretty central neutral venue. Has been for decades and will remain so.

We've been over this before but Inverness City aren't being forced anywhere, their ground problems are entirely their own fault. Trying to nudge a shinty club out its long recognised home would be no more than successful than the attempt to take over the cricket ground.

Not sure about the way ahead for Fort William. Not much interest in them locally and often not that many local players either. Miles out of their depth. Rethink required if they are to continue in the HL long term.

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19 minutes ago, Waspie said:

Fort William have teams in the National League and North 1 and a women's team, as well as youth teams. Between friendlies and the inevitable extended season there are games on the pitch from February - October. Training and youths obviously continue during the close season. Groundshare with the football team simply not feasible. Inverness the same.  On top of that, the Bught is key to shinty as a very good and pretty central neutral venue. Has been for decades and will remain so.

We've been over this before but Inverness City aren't being forced anywhere, their ground problems are entirely their own fault. Trying to nudge a shinty club out its long recognised home would be no more than successful than the attempt to take over the cricket ground.

Not sure about the way ahead for Fort William. Not much interest in them locally and often not that many local players either. Miles out of their depth. Rethink required if they are to continue in the HL long term.

Do Camanachd, Celtic and Saints not all play out of Mossfield?

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20 minutes ago, invergowrie arab said:

Do Camanachd, Celtic and Saints not all play out of Mossfield?

Oban Celtic play at Ganavan. Camanachd at Mossfield and the footballers between Mossfield and Glencruitten and the plastic pitch at Oban High School. 

On that point there are now many, many plastic parks around the Highlands. Not one was built big enough for shinty. Football shouldn't be looking to muscle in on the relatively few dedicated shinty parks that exist, and to be fair I think that's widely recognised. 

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