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Gary Hamilton

Amateur football is dying

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I haven't read every post but for me one of the biggest issues is work commitments as a few guys have mentioned. The change to a 24/7 society means a lot more people are having to work all sorts of hours. Other guys just aren't committed and drop out of games for all sorts of reasons.

Someone mentioned limiting the amount of players in your squad but I'm not sure how that would help. In our league you are not allowed trialists.

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I hate to sound negative but i dont think any point will make a big enough difference, the fact is there isnt enough "just turned 20ish" players playing the amateur game now for the amount of teams

A lot of established teams, that have been around for a decade or more, are folding simply because they get too old, some retire, some go to over 35's others choose either Sat or sun instead of both, and there are no younger players coming in to take their place

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I haven't read every post but for me one of the biggest issues is work commitments as a few guys have mentioned. The change to a 24/7 society means a lot more people are having to work all sorts of hours. Other guys just aren't committed and drop out of games for all sorts of reasons.
Someone mentioned limiting the amount of players in your squad but I'm not sure how that would help. In our league you are not allowed trialists.

There’s some great points on this thread and work is a factor unfortunately

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Having run teams in two different leagues and run Youth teams I believe the following to be the reason for Amateur slump only in my opinion;

1. The Junior level has dropped considerably through the leagues allowing young players the opportunity to play and call themselves Juniors as a one up on their mates but in reality 10 year ago they would never have been considered for Junior football without a healthy amateur career behind them.

2. No dual signing allowed at Amateur level but allowed in Junior level. Most 19's and 21s leagues are played on a Sunday I say let amateur teams sign a maximum of 4 dual contracted youth players to bring them on and keep the amateur game fresh.

I took over Viewfield Rovers this season. A club 2 years shy of its centenary. Past Scottish Cup winners and twice runners up, own pitch with clubhouse etc etc a great set up. The club were on the slide and 2 years ago played a season conceding god knows how many goals and collecting zero points but the Chairman could not see it go down the tubes so he rallied the club. Last season was slightly better though chaotic at times and this season has shown another improvement currently sitting 3rd in 1(b). Our average age is 21 having brought some players from my old youth team and encouraged others from the surrounding areas to join us. We are nowhere near where we want to be but we are on the right path with other teams taking us seriously again. We still have our setbacks but we band together and go again. Far too many teams and committees give up when the going gets tough or they don't win anything its a marathon not a sprint.

What im saying is that we could all go on about league restructure and the crème da la crème playing in one league etc but for me that doesn't improve the amateur game. As a club we have started our youth section with teams at 5 youth levels now, The 16's train with us most weeks and since then have picked up a good wins in their own league but most importantly we are building a base for the next set of players to come to the amateur team. In 5 years my average age might creep up to 24/25 but ill have players that have trained with us constantly and current players with another 4/5 years ammie experience its then you judge your work.

 

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I have been running an amateur club for 13 years in Midlothian and I would 100% agree that amateur football in this area is at the weakest it’s been in all those years. We had teams from every town playing Sat and Sun - Roslin, Penicuik, Gorebridge, Dalkeith, Loanhead etc and they are virtually all gone now.

 

Many reasons as discussed above. But without doubt number 1 is that the players are simply not as arsed as they used to be. Simple as that.

 

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One of the other simple facts is that boys football isn’t what it used to be, too many boys are going into senior clubs and are let go at the age of 16 and have nowhere to go.
If we get it right at that level that will help grow football again.

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Too many teams are now following the path of starting teams at all age levels. Unfortunately this is the only way to access the funding now needed just to stand still. But, and it’s only my opinion, there is no draw or appeal in the “if I stick in and play well at all these levels one day I’ll get a game for the amateurs.” It’s as much a folly as the wholly inept pro youth system. Amateur football is in a no man’s land. Pro youths who were never going to make it look down on it and players coming up from boys clubs look past it. When they realise it’s the level they’re getting to and no further they decide against. They don’t understand the wider role in life it offers such as good mates, expanded social circle, disciplined approach and many other things. Nor do they realise just how much satisfaction and pride you get not from the level you are playing at but the level you are performing at. They can’t accept in a lot of cases that because the ability levels are lower than say juniors that the clubs on a whole are just as professionally run.

I don’t buy into the impact that’s attributed to shift work either. It’s always existed in industry and tradesman have always made a few quid in homers. Yes it’s more prevalent but I doubt the impact is as big as some believe.

As I said earlier this is only my opinion. So far there have been lots of good alternative opinions here but one thing we will likely all agree on is that change in Scottish football happens slowly. Maybe that’s the first thing that needs looked at if amateur football is to thrive again.

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There was some talk of the Amateur leagues tagging onto the Senior Pyramid at some level, now probably beneath all the Junior sides who are set to join next season. I don't know if that will help matters or not

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Very interesting thread. Obviously the big issue is fewer young men wanting to play; but points over U21s, pro-youth, regulations, expense and competition in Strathclyde also valid. Here are some stats:
 

Saturday       ’13  ’14  ’15  ’16  ’17  ‘18

leagues        -14  -15  -16  -17  -18  -19

 

Aberdeenshire   85   83   81   82   77   71

Ayrshire        57   55   53   49   45   44

Border          31   31   30   30   33   33

Caledonian      26   30   33   33   34   32

Central         33   33   33   29   32   36

Dumfries         7 X

Fife            29   30   27   30   37   35

Greater Glas.   49   40   38   35   34   34

Kingdom Cale.   14   12   12   11 X

Lothian         73   68   60   57   56   58

Midlands        53   53   43   41   25   25

Lanarkshire     20   22   19   14 X

Paisley         28   28   22   17   12 X

Perthshire      29   27   27   29   26   26

Scottish        52   54   42   38   37   34

Stirling        45   49   43   39   35   26
West            20   16   12    7 X

(Morn) Dundee   34   37   30   34   34   34
(Morn) Glasg.   31   32   27   23   19   19

(Morn) G.Col.   32   32   32   30   29   29

(Morn) Strat.   42   38   38   41   55   47

(Church) East    8   10   19   10 X

(Church) Str.   40   40   36   34   32   30

 

               838  820  757  713  652  613    down 225 (27%)

 

 

 

Sunday         ’13  ’14  ’15  ’16  ’17

leagues        -14  -15  -16  -17  -18

 

Aberdeen        16   17   15   14   15

Airdrie-Coatb.  21   24   20   31   33

Carluke         19   18   14 X

Dumfries        18   20   20   18   18

Dundee          18   19   12    7    8

Edinburgh       21   15   19 X

Fife            31   32   28   26   26

Forfar          10   11 X

Lothian         37   32   30   38   47

North Ayrshire  10 X

Perthshire      12   10 X

Stranraer        7    7    6 X

Sunday Central  48   51   47   54   55

West Lothian    25   32   25   19   22

West Ayrshire   15   17   18   11   14

Forth Valley                      X 10

 

                308 305  254  218  248    down 60 (20%) after peaking down 90 (30%)

Edited by HibeeJibee

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On 11/5/2018 at 21:57, BigBo10 said:

Pro youths who were never going to make it look down on it and players coming up from boys clubs look past it. When they realise it’s the level they’re getting to and no further they decide against. They don’t understand the wider role in life it offers such as good mates, expanded social circle, disciplined approach and many other things. Nor do they realise just how much satisfaction and pride you get not from the level you are playing at but the level you are performing at. They can’t accept in a lot of cases that because the ability levels are lower than say juniors that the clubs on a whole are just as professionally run.

Is this maybe not one of the issues and/or one of the biggest if not the biggest? Amateur football shouldn't be "I can't play anywhere else so I'll play here", there should be a clear pathway for both Amateur clubs and players to progress in the game. 

Amateur clubs through a proper regionalised structure under either the SAFA or SFA should be able to gain promotion to the junior leagues in a pyramid system and junior clubs should be able to gain promotion to senior leagues in a pyramid system without losing status (obviously rules still apply like licencing etc and it's more complicated than a simple promotion). The juniors are allegedly joining the senior pyramid next season - why can't regionalised amateur leagues be the lowest tier of Scottish football? I'm not saying all clubs should be entitled to the same benefits however it would allow clubs to aspire to go to the next level without losing identify or status.

Amateur players should also have more opportunity to move between clubs and levels. If players see that there is a pathway for them to some day play senior football (who says it won't happen?) by playing with their local amateur team then maybe more players who drop out from club academies or youth teams will be more interested (isn't that the main driver behind players wanting to play in an academy?)

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I’d like to think that LEAFA association is actually getting stronger all be it with the dropout of St Bernard’s. I think the teams are stronger but results in the Scottish cup would say otherwise.

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I’d like to think that LEAFA association is actually getting stronger all be it with the dropout of St Bernard’s. I think the teams are stronger but results in the Scottish cup would say otherwise.
I think the same about Ayrshire. Although the teams are decreasing , we are still sitting a 4 competitive leagues. Imo the quality of teams had increased as well in the last 6/7 years

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On 12/12/2018 at 16:57, eyeswideopen15 said:
On 12/12/2018 at 08:26, CFCboy92 said:
I’d like to think that LEAFA association is actually getting stronger all be it with the dropout of St Bernard’s. I think the teams are stronger but results in the Scottish cup would say otherwise.

I think the same about Ayrshire. Although the teams are decreasing , we are still sitting a 4 competitive leagues. Imo the quality of teams had increased as well in the last 6/7 years

I’ve played in the LEAFA leagues for quite a while now and you can see teams getting stronger all the way from the premier to the teams in the lower divisions. We’ve seen quite a lot of junior/east of Scotland players come into LEAFA making it even more competitive. If you look at the premier division and championship all teams are capable of beating one another. Could be a helicopter Saturday for the title of these divisions this season 

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This probably doesn't help amateur football although are any am clubs applying/preparing to apply for the seniors next season or juniors?

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I’ve played in the LEAFA leagues for quite a while now and you can see teams getting stronger all the way from the premier to the teams in the lower divisions. We’ve seen quite a lot of junior/east of Scotland players come into LEAFA making it even more competitive. If you look at the premier division and championship all teams are capable of beating one another. Could be a helicopter Saturday for the title of these divisions this season 
Not a new thing junior players coming into LEAFA i played in a team which had 8 junior players in starting 11. Agree premier is this best it has been for a long time. I was dissapointed to see Edinburgh Rose and St Bernards fold.

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22 hours ago, boulderdomb said:

This probably doesn't help amateur football although are any am clubs applying/preparing to apply for the seniors next season or juniors?

Syngenta are applying for EOSL.

I don't think such cases are a meaningful factor in the loss of well over 200 clubs in 5 years.

How many clubs have actually moved from Amateurs to Seniors/Juniors in last 10yrs? Handful? Dozen? Some of them have left an amateur team behind anyway.

Those which joined SOSL did so because the Dumfries Amateurs folded.

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On 15/12/2018 at 15:20, HibeeJibee said:

Syngenta are applying for EOSL.

I don't think such cases are a meaningful factor in the loss of well over 200 clubs in 5 years.

How many clubs have actually moved from Amateurs to Seniors/Juniors in last 10yrs? Handful? Dozen? Some of them have left an amateur team behind anyway.

Those which joined SOSL did so because the Dumfries Amateurs folded.

I have watched LEAFA football for many years now since I stopped playing and this is the strongest and most competitive it has been. Real good teams from bottom league through to the top.

 

i can’t thing of any amature team’s from this neck of the woods that’s been aloud to apply for EOS and leave amateur? Unless they have changed the rules?

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I have watched LEAFA football for many years now since I stopped playing and this is the strongest and most competitive it has been. Real good teams from bottom league through to the top.

 

i can’t thing of any amature team’s from this neck of the woods that’s been aloud to apply for EOS and leave amateur? Unless they have changed the rules?


That’s because there’s on league set up in your region

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