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Robert James

North Caledonian League Expansion

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2 hours ago, Cyclizine said:

How many players of Highland League quality do you reckon Caithness will produce? Wick are the de facto Caithness senior side and are well supported by the whole county.

You're missing the point that in semi-professional leagues like the HFL, most players aren't based in the town they represent. Wick have a big local squad for geographical reasons; Fraserburgh as well as that's their club policy - but the rest of the players are based mostly in the Shire (and mostly around Aberdeen) with a few more around Inverness. Often they train together around the cities as well and just travel for games.

I'd welcome the possibility of Thurso etc being able to step up to the HFL, but it will undoubtedly dilute the relative quality of player available in Caithness. The town itself may sustain a club in the HFL, but realistically it's not going to have a particularly strong squad.

I agree with your conclusions, although I don't understand why Thurso in particular, don't seek SFA membership, with a view to joining Golspie in the Scottish Cup. Aside from the chance to play against higher clubs  (eg Thurso v Wick Academy or Elgin City), the club would apparently receive £3,000 from the SFA for each round.

Also, it wouldn't take much to enclose The Dammies, even though the Vikings don't own the ground. Coldstream play in a public park, with fencing enclosing most of the playing area. The remaining part is 'enclosed' by a wide gate, which is closed to the to the public on match days only.

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7 minutes ago, Robert James said:

I don't understand why Thurso in particular, don't seek SFA membership

I'd guess the thorny issue of The Land The Pyramid Forgot... we definitely need a  recognised step 6 structure in place below the HFL, even if most, if  not all, teams in the North don't want promotion. Hopefully it'll come.

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27 minutes ago, The Mantis said:

This is misleading. The fact is, outside of these centres of population, there are miles and miles of nothing at all. Caithness has a population density of c14/sq km. Admittedly better than Sutherland at c2. The only saving grace of these communities is that people often turn out on summer evenings to watch football because there's literally nothing else happening: see my blogs on Carloway and the Faroe islands.

You're fond of comparing us to England. I defy you to find counties in England with such a sparse hinterland.

Yep I am familiar with Caithness, and have visited The Dammies a few times. Also been to most (but not all) of the other NCL grounds.

I realise that you can't compare the Highlands to England, although it is interesting to note that Truro City (deepest Cornwall) has just reached the playoffs in the National League South. If they get promoted they face away days next season to Gateshead, Hartlepool and Dover (etc) in the National League.    

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13 minutes ago, Robert James said:

lt wouldn't take much to enclose The Dammies, even though the Vikings don't own the ground. Coldstream play in a public park, with fencing enclosing most of the playing area. The remaining part is 'enclosed' by a wide gate, which is closed to the to the public on match days only.

Harmsworth is a public park as well, with public access outwith match days. Can sledge down the slope when it snows...

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6 minutes ago, Cyclizine said:

I'd guess the thorny issue of The Land The Pyramid Forgot... we definitely need a  recognised step 6 structure in place below the HFL, even if most, if  not all, teams in the North don't want promotion. Hopefully it'll come.

It should come (for NCL & Junior clubs), but the HFL needs a  feeder league, but promotion  from a new  Steps 6 (& 7 ?) should not be mandatory IMO.

Edited by Robert James

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2 minutes ago, Robert James said:

It should come (for NCL & Junior clubs), but the HFL needs a  feeder league, but promotion  from a new  Steps 6 (& 7 ?) should not be mandatory IMO.

I agree, probably something like the last spot in HFL being a potential relegation spot and any interested teams in whatever structure comes under the HFL could state their interest to be promoted by a certain point in the season - a bit like in the current English Step 5 to Step 4. Still has the issue of North of Tay clubs though.

5 minutes ago, Robert James said:

I realise that you can't compare the Highlands to England, although it is interesting to note that Truro City (deepest Cornwall) has just reached the playoffs in the National League South. If they get promoted they face away days next season to Gateshead, Hartlepool and Dover (etc) in the National League.    

Risk they might have to play home games in Torquay  if they don't get funding for a new ground though! Got a mate down there tangentially involved in the saga...

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1 hour ago, Robert James said:

Yep I am familiar with Caithness, and have visited The Dammies a few times. Also been to most (but not all) of the other NCL grounds.

I realise that you can't compare the Highlands to England, although it is interesting to note that Truro City (deepest Cornwall) has just reached the playoffs in the National League South. If they get promoted they face away days next season to Gateshead, Hartlepool and Dover (etc) in the National League.    

Not to prolong the argument, and yes it is interesting, though hardly relevant. I haven't been down there for many a year, but I note that Cornwall, at 156/sq km,  has a population density of more than 10 times that of Caithness.

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19 minutes ago, The Mantis said:

Not to prolong the argument, and yes it is interesting, though hardly relevant. I haven't been down there for many a year, but I note that Cornwall, at 156/sq km,  has a population density of more than 10 times that of Caithness.

Yes, but the remoteness of the Highlands and Islands is why it should be recognised as different, and the SFA should be "inclusive" towards clubs in these areas, rather than ignoring them.. 

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2 hours ago, Cyclizine said:

Harmsworth is a public park as well, with public access outwith match days. Can sledge down the slope when it snows...

Even more reason why Thurso should apply for a licence. They shouldn't be excluded because there isn't currently a pyramid feeder league below the HFL. 

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Only way you'd see a Shetland or Western Isles team in the mainland leagues would be if SFA followed SRU in introducing subsidies to fund flights and/or overnight stays. Which they wont.

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19 hours ago, HibeeJibee said:

Only way you'd see a Shetland or Western Isles team in the mainland leagues would be if SFA followed SRU in introducing subsidies to fund flights and/or overnight stays. Which they wont.

Do the SRU really subsidise travel and accommodation?

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5 hours ago, Northboy said:

Do the SRU really subsidise travel and accommodation?

Quote

Travel to Scottish Islands
Where a club or school is required to fulfil a BT League, BT Cup, National Youth Cup, Youth Regional
League, Scottish Schools’ Cup, or Girls’ Cup match with a return journey to one of the Scottish
Islands, Scottish Rugby will make a maximum travel contribution in respect of each journey as
follows:
• Travelling to Stornoway, Orkney and Shetland:
• Adult competitions – £2,750 per journey
• Youth and school competitions – £1,200 (Shetland £2,750) per journey
• Travelling to Arran, Bute, Cowal and Mull:
• Adult competitions – £375 per journey
• Youth and school competitions – £200 per journey
Travel from Scottish Islands
Where a club or school based in the Scottish Islands is required to fulfil a BT League, BT Cup, National
Youth Cup, Youth Regional League, Scottish Schools’ Cup, or Girls’ Cup match with a journey to
the mainland, a payment will be made as per the above. Relevant clubs and schools should
contact Hamish Munro, Competitions Administrator, for the details on how to apply for support.
Payments for BT Premier, National or Regional and Women’s Premiership League fixtures will be
made by BACS transfer to an account nominated by each club by the end of October 2015.
Payment in respect of all other fixtures will be made following the end of the relevant competition
in May to the same account. Mileages will be calculated based on information from the AA. The
AA route planner can be found at www.theaa.com/route-planner 

http://www.scottishrugby.org/sites/default/files/editor/images/sr_cpa_clubs_1516.pdf

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On 4/29/2018 at 14:57, Robert James said:

Yep I am familiar with Caithness, and have visited The Dammies a few times. Also been to most (but not all) of the other NCL grounds.

I realise that you can't compare the Highlands to England, although it is interesting to note that Truro City (deepest Cornwall) has just reached the playoffs in the National League South. If they get promoted they face away days next season to Gateshead, Hartlepool and Dover (etc) in the National League.    

Cornwall has a population of 550,000, Caithness 26,500 thousand.  You can see that a team from Cornwall could attract significant support if it climbed the leagues, and so could probably  support the travel costs (remembering the substantially greater sponsorship money in England!).  Hard to see this working in Caithness.

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There surely needs to be a recognised pathway to tier 5 for ambitious clubs north of the Tay.

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2 hours ago, amigan said:

There surely needs to be a recognised pathway to tier 5 for ambitious clubs north of the Tay.

Until there's a club pursuing a licence, it doesn't seem like anyone's particularly bothered.

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FW continuing in HL is followed by another blow to talk of NCL revival - apparently Balintore's return is now considered unlikely.

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9 hours ago, FairWeatherFan said:

Until there's a club pursuing a licence, it doesn't seem like anyone's particularly bothered.

Only seems to be fans of SPFL teams who it's unlikely to affect who are bothered about it. There's a hint of OCD about it imo, the pattern just doesn't look right. No idea how they'll cope when you look at the leagues below the leagues below the Highland League.

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5 hours ago, welshbairn said:

Only seems to be fans of SPFL teams who it's unlikely to affect who are bothered about it. There's a hint of OCD about it imo, the pattern just doesn't look right. No idea how they'll cope when you look at the leagues below the leagues below the Highland League.

I don't think its SPFL fans that are bothered by it, i'm not entirely sure if there'd be enough that even know about what's going on. It's more so fans that are being impacted by the pyramid in the Lowland area.

Before the Lowland League was created and you had to draw up a pyramid with a blank slate. You'd probably approach it as 3 Regions with what was considered the best 3 Leagues at Tier 5. In the North that would be the Highland League, West & East would be the Junior Superleagues. The Superleagues at the time were only 12 team leagues so you could add the best of the SoS/EoS quite easily.

That never happened but the Highland League still ended up with the ideal circumstance without any hardship. So it's more the ideal pyramid builders and those frustrated with how the pyramid is being built that see the Highland as a closed shop that should have change forced upon it like they are.

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