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Gary Hamilton

Amateur football is dying

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What about splitting it into north, south, east, west, tayside & Perth and central and having a set up something like the old junior set up. 

I believe this to be the best option it will be one committee for each region. It may mean the west of Scotland going back to 6 or 7 divisions, however it will have the better teams playing against each other after two or three years

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It seems that every one has some good ideas and suggestions, but who do we put them forward too?
How do we get all the leagues to see sense and drop their own agendas? Think every on has to realise that this problem is bigger than any of the individual league set ups.
You look at that Uefa report that was announced during the week about what amateur football gives back in terms of savings for the NHS and jobs and general well being of people.
Could a representative from each league set up in each area, raise issue with local MSP/MP and get them involved. With the massive drop in numbers over the years, this maybe something that us average players/clubs could be entitled to some help/support from local government or councils etc?
More questions than answers i am afraid.

Great points here and after Paul McNeils video a couple of weeks ago people need to realise that playing sport helps with some of the problems that they have.

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18 minutes ago, Gary Hamilton said:


I believe this to be the best option it will be one committee for each region. It may mean the west of Scotland going back to 6 or 7 divisions, however it will have the better teams playing against each other after two or three years

If all the leagues merged, you could have a cup section at the start of the season to see what league you go into. Similar to what The Sunday Central League do, and in theory, the cream should rise to the top and you'll be in a league you can be competitive in.

There's not a simple answer though. It's complex.

You need to start from the root cause though which is a lack of numbers/interest which means you cut the number of teams and associations imo. There's far too many teams all in the one area fighting over the same small pool of players.

You have similar issues at Senior Level in Scotland as well, ie far too many professional clubs for a country of this size.

Edited by Crazy Feet

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As far as I'm aware there is a dedicated worlkng group that is looking into the problem of lose of clubs. I can only speak for Ayrshire clubs but as far as I'm aware in recent times there has been no lose of club due to finance, I know darvel came close but was bailed out. A loss of club is horrible and effects many people but over all I feel there was and possibly is still too many clubs in Ayrshire. Kilmarnock and hurlford alone have 9 teams if I'm not mistaken. That being said obviously we don't want to lose any club

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How are teams/leagues doing in Perth/Dundee/Aberdeen? Obviously the west and east areas down here are well covered on here but never really anything from those areas except the odd Scottish Cup game. Be good to get some input. 

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Loads of good points, but the evidence suggest that the reason for teams folding is the lack of players, now there are many reasons for that. 

From the issues that have been raised I don’t see how reducing the number of leagues assist in dealing with teams folding unless I’ve missed something 

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Mick you are correct, there are many reasons for players not being interested these days. I honestly feel however that one of the main football related reasons players are losing interest is the length of the fixed suspensions which I'm sure every association will have.  For example in our association and probably in most, kicking an opponent carries the fixed suspension of 4 games. 2 seasons ago we lost a player for 4 games for a flick out with his foot at an opposing player which the referee deemed an ordering off.  In my opinion would it not make sense to change the fixed suspension to maximum suspension and have another box for the referee to recommend the amount of games the suspension should carry. If our player had lashed out, connected with sufficient force and caused injury and the opposing player to require medical treatment then I have no problem with the maximum 4 game ban being administered. If however the referee has still sent off our player does it not make sense that if it had been petulant, made minimal contact and NO treatment administered the referee having the authority to give his recommendations as to the length of the suspension ie the possibility of cutting it in half for instance. Amateur football is meant to be all about keeping lads playing but I know by listening to our players that the suspension lengths are an issue. A 4 or 6 game ban in some of the Winter months could mean players being out for 2 or 3 months. By the same example we had a player last season sent off for kicking an opponent and he DID lash out against EK  who got 4 games and I would have had no issues with this. This season we lost a player during our West tie v St Joseph's  for striking an opponent. The referee approached our manger at half time and said " I think I might have called that wrong, come and speak to me after the game. ".  No consolation to us as we went on to lose the match 2-1. The official was being watched by an assesor and as he was in the dressing room with him for what must have been at least 3/4 of an hour after the match we never had the opportunity to speak with the match official. The suspension from the West duly comes in with the fixed penalty suspension of 4 games. Is it any wonder young lads are getting disilusioned with the Amateur game. All it takes is for them to wander off for 4 weeks as they are suspended and if just 1 decides not to come back  it is 1 too many lost to the Amateur game. I'm sure there are many more examples teams will come up with. Just a suggestion however to cut unworthy suspensions.  Rant over.

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6 hours ago, Crazy Feet said:

If all the leagues merged, you could have a cup section at the start of the season to see what league you go into. Similar to what The Sunday Central League do, and in theory, the cream should rise to the top and you'll be in a league you can be competitive in.

There's not a simple answer though. It's complex.

You need to start from the root cause though which is a lack of numbers/interest which means you cut the number of teams and associations imo. There's far too many teams all in the one area fighting over the same small pool of players.

You have similar issues at Senior Level in Scotland as well, ie far too many professional clubs for a country of this size.

Sunday central dont do that anymore, this season they basically picked teams for the leagues based on how they saw said teams

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Gary Hamilton - as I was the Match Secretary of The SAFL during your playing days when we had 8 divisions and 4 reserve Divisions  [ my Saturday night entertainment was making up the fixtures lol ] I have saw massive decline of The Amateur game within The SAFA.

The numerous reasons have all been mentioned in the above posts.

Personally I do not think that they is any one solution to solve it, however we could give some ideas a try even  GAVT67 [ see above post ] point something I never ever considered.

I have this season after a 4 year absence went back on The SAFA Council as a SAFL delegate and not one thing has changed since my first meeting back in the 80's  on the procedure at council meetings, so in my view that's where we start.

Do not get me wrong The SAFA have made massive strides especially with the Scottish Cup / Districts Cups organisation, but I reckon the below changes a worth considering. 

1.Let the SFA run the amateur game with regionalised Leagues this will upset a few but travelling is a big issue within the current League set up's 

2. Let players play when they want i.e. sat morning or sat afternoon.

3. limit the amount of players you can register

4. Do away with the clubs compulsory  insurance policy's [ if a club wants it let them buy it ] 

5. limit the amount of committees council delegates can sit on to one only [ this would allow different ideas to come forward at the moment its the same guys on them.]

6. Have Scottish Cup games one off 

7. Limit the region Leagues to 12 teams in each division [ cuts out midweek football ]

8. Any monies made above a certain working limit are paid back to the clubs at the end of each season.

9. A flat fixed membership fee for all teams within the Region Leagues. [ none of the extras like speakers nights ]

 These ideas above may not be the answer but surely some are worth considering

 

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4 minutes ago, auld yin wae knowledge said:

Gary Hamilton - as I was the Match Secretary of The SAFL during your playing days when we had 8 divisions and 4 reserve Divisions  [ my Saturday night entertainment was making up the fixtures lol ] I have saw massive decline of The Amateur game within The SAFA.

The numerous reasons have all been mentioned in the above posts.

Personally I do not think that they is any one solution to solve it, however we could give some ideas a try even  GAVT67 [ see above post ] point something I never ever considered.

I have this season after a 4 year absence went back on The SAFA Council as a SAFL delegate and not one thing has changed since my first meeting back in the 80's  on the procedure at council meetings, so in my view that's where we start.

Do not get me wrong The SAFA have made massive strides especially with the Scottish Cup / Districts Cups organisation, but I reckon the below changes a worth considering. 

1.Let the SFA run the amateur game with regionalised Leagues this will upset a few but travelling is a big issue within the current League set up's 

2. Let players play when they want i.e. sat morning or sat afternoon.

3. limit the amount of players you can register

4. Do away with the clubs compulsory  insurance policy's [ if a club wants it let them buy it ] 

5. limit the amount of committees council delegates can sit on to one only [ this would allow different ideas to come forward at the moment its the same guys on them.]

6. Have Scottish Cup games one off 

7. Limit the region Leagues to 12 teams in each division [ cuts out midweek football ]

8. Any monies made above a certain working limit are paid back to the clubs at the end of each season.

9. A flat fixed membership fee for all teams within the Region Leagues. [ none of the extras like speakers nights ]

 These ideas above may not be the answer but surely some are worth considering

 

Some fantastic points there especially 2, 4, 6, 8 & 9. However the only one they would possibly give the time of day is number 6 

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Mick says it above and unfortunately no amount of ideas will fix the fact that players playing the amateur game are dwindling

My sunday team started 9 years ago, i was 27 at the time and the oldest of the team, once we got going a lot of the less committed boys fell away and the new ones were mates of the decent committed ones, they were all early 20's, two were even still teenagers

Fast forward to this season and our squads average age is late 20's, our youngest player is 22 and he's the brother in law of one of our guys, try as we might we cant get regular bodies due to injuries taking longer to clear up, guys now having life responsibilities, and other guys have left due to being unable to play both sat and Sunday 

Id love an influx of early 20's players again to keep us going, but the realist in me says we might get our tenth year completed then maybe fold until we are eligible for the over 35's or something, 

Just the way it is, and im probably describing whats happening at a lot of non community based amateur teams across the country 

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Gary Hamilton - as I was the Match Secretary of The SAFL during your playing days when we had 8 divisions and 4 reserve Divisions  [ my Saturday night entertainment was making up the fixtures lol ] I have saw massive decline of The Amateur game within The SAFA.
The numerous reasons have all been mentioned in the above posts.
Personally I do not think that they is any one solution to solve it, however we could give some ideas a try even  GAVT67 [ see above post ] point something I never ever considered.
I have this season after a 4 year absence went back on The SAFA Council as a SAFL delegate and not one thing has changed since my first meeting back in the 80's  on the procedure at council meetings, so in my view that's where we start.
Do not get me wrong The SAFA have made massive strides especially with the Scottish Cup / Districts Cups organisation, but I reckon the below changes a worth considering. 
1.Let the SFA run the amateur game with regionalised Leagues this will upset a few but travelling is a big issue within the current League set up's 
2. Let players play when they want i.e. sat morning or sat afternoon.
3. limit the amount of players you can register
4. Do away with the clubs compulsory  insurance policy's [ if a club wants it let them buy it ] 
5. limit the amount of committees council delegates can sit on to one only [ this would allow different ideas to come forward at the moment its the same guys on them.]
6. Have Scottish Cup games one off 
7. Limit the region Leagues to 12 teams in each division [ cuts out midweek football ]
8. Any monies made above a certain working limit are paid back to the clubs at the end of each season.
9. A flat fixed membership fee for all teams within the Region Leagues. [ none of the extras like speakers nights ]
 These ideas above may not be the answer but surely some are worth considering
 

Fantastic points and one that you make very clearly there hasn’t been much change. Too many teams think moving to supposedly better leagues fold very quickly and that may be down to travel.
I seemed to have started something here and we shouldn’t let it go.

I’m sure you enjoyed scheduling 12 leagues of fixtures back in the day.

SFA running the amateur game, I’m sure other associations in other countries do this so why not ours.

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8 hours ago, Gary Hamilton said:


I believe this to be the best option it will be one committee for each region. It may mean the west of Scotland going back to 6 or 7 divisions, however it will have the better teams playing against each other after two or three years

I think this sounds good in theory but thinking about the logistics of just the west region,how would teams feel with potentially extremely long travels every second week? I'm thinking things like Greenock to Lanarkshire, Stirling to Ayrshire etc etc. I know there are teams who do that,but that's because they choose to do so & have joined a league where this happens. Many teams & boys much prefer to play locally.

Forcing teams into large regions could in actual fact force more teams to fold.

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Would one of the reasons that there are less amateur teams now  be that there are more 5 a side or 7 a side centres open these days and people prefer to do that than play amateur 11 a side? 

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I think we could go round the houses on this subject all day. The reason amateur football is on its knees is down to one very simple reason and that is players! 

If every single club had 16 committed players week in week out then no club would fold in my opinion. I have never heard off a club folding that had 16 players available every week or at least every other week. 

The change in society socially means that players only interest at the weekend is getting off their heads. They wake up on a Saturday morning and just couldn't care less about playing football. More and more are playing Sunday football again as, without being disrespectful, it's generally accepted at that level too play no matter what state you are in whereas most amateur clubs would frown upon it and you would not play.  If players were dedicated to their Saturday amateur club then I do not believe we would be having this discussion as all clubs would still thrive and be on the go. 

Work also plays a huge part as the vast majority of players these days work shifts and weekends too, either as part of their rota or for overtime. In this day and age very few people can afford too turn down time and a half/double time for a Saturday shift. 

The paying of players by certain clubs does not help either. Players would rather go to a club paying them to sit on a substitute bench rather than playing elsewhere for a club that needs them to help them survive. 

There is simply not enough dedicated players going round to keep all the teams running and if there was, I truly believe that all the side issues would not be a factor.  

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3 hours ago, BingeDrinker said:

I think we could go round the houses on this subject all day. The reason amateur football is on its knees is down to one very simple reason and that is players! 

If every single club had 16 committed players week in week out then no club would fold in my opinion. I have never heard off a club folding that had 16 players available every week or at least every other week. 

The change in society socially means that players only interest at the weekend is getting off their heads. They wake up on a Saturday morning and just couldn't care less about playing football. More and more are playing Sunday football again as, without being disrespectful, it's generally accepted at that level too play no matter what state you are in whereas most amateur clubs would frown upon it and you would not play.  If players were dedicated to their Saturday amateur club then I do not believe we would be having this discussion as all clubs would still thrive and be on the go. 

Work also plays a huge part as the vast majority of players these days work shifts and weekends too, either as part of their rota or for overtime. In this day and age very few people can afford too turn down time and a half/double time for a Saturday shift. 

The paying of players by certain clubs does not help either. Players would rather go to a club paying them to sit on a substitute bench rather than playing elsewhere for a club that needs them to help them survive. 

There is simply not enough dedicated players going round to keep all the teams running and if there was, I truly believe that all the side issues would not be a factor.  

Sunday football is dying as well for the very reasons you state above, players go out on a sat night and then either arrive in some nick or dont show up at all, ask any sunday manager of a tight squad and they'll tell you about how they phone and text people weekly to come play as trialists because at midday on a Sunday they dont have 11 bodies

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Having been involved in the amateur game at various levels for a number of years the biggest problem or change in circumstances for me is the mon-fri n half shift sat jobs are a thing of the past and more guys are now working shift work with weekends included, that in itself brings problems like guys not making training so the auld dont train dont play scenario goes out the window and that leads to teams struggling for numbers at training every week and in turn if said players dont make training yet play every week, some guys who get dropped then take the huff rightly or wrongly and maybe move on or just chuck it. Theres also loads of other issues like lack of decent grass parks due to council cuts, the cost of hiring out astros has gone through the roof and theres also a lack of younger players making the step up from boys club to amateur, but i also believe the problem goes far bigger than amateur football n extends to boys clubs and junior clubs struggling for numbers every week and personally i dont see it improving anytime soon unfortunately

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1 hour ago, Dickson10 said:

Having been involved in the amateur game at various levels for a number of years the biggest problem or change in circumstances for me is the mon-fri n half shift sat jobs are a thing of the past and more guys are now working shift work with weekends included, that in itself brings problems like guys not making training so the auld dont train dont play scenario goes out the window and that leads to teams struggling for numbers at training every week and in turn if said players dont make training yet play every week, some guys who get dropped then take the huff rightly or wrongly and maybe move on or just chuck it. Theres also loads of other issues like lack of decent grass parks due to council cuts, the cost of hiring out astros has gone through the roof and theres also a lack of younger players making the step up from boys club to amateur, but i also believe the problem goes far bigger than amateur football n extends to boys clubs and junior clubs struggling for numbers every week and personally i dont see it improving anytime soon unfortunately

Fair point about younger players not moving on from youth to amateur level. I've seen a lot of guys play through the youth age groups but drift away from the game when the reach 18/19. From my son's youth team he is one of only 3 players from the 19s team who is still playing regularly. Amateur and youth teams need to develop relationships to give players a chance to continue playing.

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The societal shift away from football teams being formed around a "community"  is also having an effect. Players have no real attachment to a club and so when the going gets tough or they can't be arsed, it's easy to chuck it and start again somewhere else!

This is especially true from a Stirling & District perspective, where I can think of more than a few teams who fold and start again almost every other year. What's the point?

I think this may change in the future if the so called "Community Clubs" manage to achieve the community aspect and create a pathway from youth to adult football. That may create some attachment and loyalty to the club.

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How are teams/leagues doing in Perth/Dundee/Aberdeen? Obviously the west and east areas down here are well covered on here but never really anything from those areas except the odd Scottish Cup game. Be good to get some input. 
Lot of guys now starting to play dundee Saturday morning as it frees up their day

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