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Robert James

North Caledonian League Expansion

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It's a bit of a catch-22 situation at the moment up here: the NRJFA and NCL clubs aren't particularly interested and the SFA won't do anything until there's interest. It is a different situation to the Lowland area for various historical reasons, but also because the absolute number of Saturday winter clubs is so much lower and far more spread out.

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It's a bit of a catch-22 situation at the moment up here: the NRJFA and NCL clubs aren't particularly interested and the SFA won't do anything until there's interest. It is a different situation to the Lowland area for various historical reasons, but also because the absolute number of Saturday winter clubs is so much lower and far more spread out.
Would the fact the Highland League is a closed shop not also be a problem.

The Lowland was created above the existing East and South of Scotland leagues. So they act as feeder leagues to the Lowland now.

But there is no such option for the Highland teams. If they reduced to the league size to the SFA size of 16 teams, that would leave either 1 or 2 teams in need of a league.
Would certainly open the door for teams to join a new feeder league and look to gain an SFA license in the future.

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1 minute ago, RedLichtie86 said:

Would the fact the Highland League is a closed shop not also be a problem.

The Lowland was created above the existing East and South of Scotland leagues. So they act as feeder leagues to the Lowland now.

But there is no such option for the Highland teams. If they reduced to the league size to the SFA size of 16 teams, that would leave either 1 or 2 teams in need of a league.
Would certainly open the door for teams to join a new feeder league and look to gain an SFA license in the future.

Find at least another 8 teams in the region that want to pursue licencing and promotion to the HL, and it might well happen. The HL as presently constituted is open to written applications and they set certain requirements for entry, no different to the EoS/SoS.

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2 minutes ago, FairWeatherFan said:

Find at least another 8 teams in the region that want to pursue licencing and promotion to the HL, and it might well happen. The HL as presently constituted is open to written applications and they set certain requirements for entry, no different to the EoS/SoS.

Yes, clubs are welcome to apply to the HFL for a decision on admission at the AGM. A licenced club from the region making an application should be admitted without issue - the league's status with the SFA would be in question if they didn't.

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Yes, clubs are welcome to apply to the HFL for a decision on admission at the AGM. A licenced club from the region making an application should be admitted without issue - the league's status with the SFA would be in question if they didn't.
But the fact the SFA have a 16 team limit that makes it difficult for them accept more teams into the league.

Has there been anymore discussions about what would happen if Cove come up leaving only 17 teams next season?

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Just now, RedLichtie86 said:

But the fact the SFA have a 16 team limit that makes it difficult for them accept more teams into the league.

Has there been anymore discussions about what would happen if Cove come up leaving only 17 teams next season?

There isn't a 16 team limit though. It would probably make sense given the dates required for fixtures, that said. I imagine should Cove go up, they'll run with 17. The league has had odd numbers of teams before and managed. It's only Banks o' Dee (and theoretically Golspie Sutherland) who have licences and would be eligible; although HFL also require floodlights, which Golspie don't have. They're not actively inviting applicants, but they've no reason to turn anyone down who fits the criteria.

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There isn't a 16 team limit though. It would probably make sense given the dates required for fixtures, that said. I imagine should Cove go up, they'll run with 17. The league has had odd numbers of teams before and managed. It's only Banks o' Dee (and theoretically Golspie Sutherland) who have licences and would be eligible; although HFL also require floodlights, which Golspie don't have. They're not actively inviting applicants, but they've no reason to turn anyone down who fits the criteria.
The Lowland is set at a maximum of 16 teams.

Was it not the case that the SFA was pushing for the Highland to do the same in the future though?

But the issue is what would happen if more teams wish to progress into the senior setup? In the format the HL is in now, they cant accept any new applications as the league would then be too large if a team north of the tay is relegated in place of a lowland team.

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2 minutes ago, RedLichtie86 said:

The Lowland is set at a maximum of 16 teams.

Was it not the case that the SFA was pushing for the Highland to do the same in the future though?

But the issue is what would happen if more teams wish to progress into the senior setup? In the format the HL is in now, they cant accept any new applications as the league would then be too large if a team north of the tay is relegated in place of a lowland team.

They will go to 20 and split once they hit 21. It was passed at the AGM a couple of years ago.

Edited by Cyclizine

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They will go to 20 and split once they hit 21. It was passed at the AGM a couple of years ago.
Ah that makes sense then.

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It's only ever on forums like this that I've seen suggestion of SFA wanting HL downsized to 16. (Long before them not finishing on time this season too).

SFA's original plan was 2 new 'Regional Divisions', called "Highland" and "Lowland", each of 10 clubs and with the HL, EOSL and SOSL below; but after HL lobbied to be admitted in their own right that was shelved and LL worked its way up to 16 from 12.

Couple of years ago there was a huge battle in HL over whether to divide at 19 or 21.

If downsizing to 16 was desired, just plug in 14-team North Junior Superleague and go 16 > 16?


There isn't really a pyramid up north yet - just the glass ceiling moved down 1 tier - but with HL non-plussed and only BoD+Golspie licensed it's all a bit chicken-n-egg.

Edited by HibeeJibee

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The "Highland" feeder league will end up coming from Tayside and Aberdeen rather from north of the Moray Firth.

I used to play rugby against Orkney and often you would play them at Invergordon and as HJ has demonstrated clubs were recompensed for the journey. They had an outstanding home record as most teams would be pissed from the moment they left home. 

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Someone mentioned there about finding eight teams who’d be interested in joining the HL. In recent years, the only clubs I’ve heard flouted/interested have been Banks O’Dee, Golspie Sutherland and Halkirk United. I vaguely remember talk of Inverness City as well but I might be imagining that.

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5 hours ago, Highland Capital said:

Someone mentioned there about finding eight teams who’d be interested in joining the HL. In recent years, the only clubs I’ve heard flouted/interested have been Banks O’Dee, Golspie Sutherland and Halkirk United. I vaguely remember talk of Inverness City as well but I might be imagining that.

Exactly, and of those teams you list Banks o' Dee look like the only one with serious interest. There just isn't a list of clubs waiting to join the Highland League.

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5 hours ago, Highland Capital said:

Someone mentioned there about finding eight teams who’d be interested in joining the HL. In recent years, the only clubs I’ve heard flouted/interested have been Banks O’Dee, Golspie Sutherland and Halkirk United. I vaguely remember talk of Inverness City as well but I might be imagining that.

I think Halkirk Utd's plans have gone on the back burner. They do have a good ground with enclosures and floodlights, but the potential for an increase in support would be pretty small.

Golspie Sutherland have a licenced ground, but are struggling for permission to install floodlights - I'm not sure how keen they'd be to play more games at a higher level.

Inverness City don't have a ground from next week and look like going into abeyance for next season, sadly.

Banks o' Dee are the only realistic prospect in my opinion, although the chairman did have a bit of a toys out the pram moment earlier this year regarding the HFL.

I guess another possibility might be Montrose Roselea - they're supposedly moving to share Links Park...

There's no-one really else with the setup or desire in the North as far as I can tell. That's not to say with a system in place, some teams might take a jump.

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36 minutes ago, Cyclizine said:

 

Inverness City don't have a ground from next week and look like going into abeyance for next season, sadly.

 

Did the move to Kirkhill fall flat? Didn't understand how they could afford both putting Bught Park to how it was and developing Kirkhill, I'd imagine they'd need close to £150,000 and grants seem to be in short supply these days, for football anyway. Looking like they'll be demoted this season even if they do survive. 

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1 hour ago, welshbairn said:

Did the move to Kirkhill fall flat? Didn't understand how they could afford both putting Bught Park to how it was and developing Kirkhill, I'd imagine they'd need close to £150,000 and grants seem to be in short supply these days, for football anyway. Looking like they'll be demoted this season even if they do survive. 

Kirkhill isn't going be ready in time. The chairman has gone on record saying he doesn't want to be nomadic next season and would prefer to go into abeyance for a season. In my opinion, that's the death knell for City - I think they'd struggle to come back.

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I might be wrong but did Halkirk United not build a new ground with an eye on joining the HL?

 

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5 hours ago, Highland Capital said:

I might be wrong but did Halkirk United not build a new ground with an eye on joining the HL?

 

They did, about five years ago - they had a local benefactor. It's next to the old ground. It's floodlit and has two covered stands. The ground isn't enclosed though. The plan for Halkirk Utd to join the HFL seems to have fallen flat. I'm not sure how much of a support they'd muster or how competitive they'd be.

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9 hours ago, Cyclizine said:

They did, about five years ago - they had a local benefactor. It's next to the old ground. It's floodlit and has two covered stands. The ground isn't enclosed though. The plan for Halkirk Utd to join the HFL seems to have fallen flat. I'm not sure how much of a support they'd muster or how competitive they'd be.

It's a tiny village by the looks of it when I checked it out hoping Clach would get drawn against them in the North Cup. They might get support from Thurso and Dounreay though.

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