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Fort William 2021-22 Thread


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1 minute ago, FairWeatherFan said:

I've seen this said a few times now by different people. Where exactly does it say they're not getting any gate receipts?

Tbh, I'm just assuming that is the case. I'm more than happy to be proved wrong.

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3 minutes ago, Sherrif John Bunnell said:

Tbh, I'm just assuming that is the case. I'm more than happy to be proved wrong.

If it's all happened in under a week, I'm not entirely sure they could have gotten a suitable groundsharing agreement in without unpicking the fixture list.

To me it seems a more pragmatic solution where the other members of the league forced Fort William into the move and will be fairly amiable over the use of the ground to ensure getting games played.

I mean the host club will be saving on travel, any social clubs etc will get an extra game and ultimately benefit from a the lack of disruption from multiple postponements. In which case they aren't likely to be picking Fort William's pocket on rent or the gate.

Fort William might get a better gate with the host team fans turning up as usual to help alleviate their increased travel costs

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1 hour ago, Burnieman said:

That will also get them into bother with the SFA and their licence.  What's wrong with the pitch, flooding issues?

Not necessarily? Cove spent several seasons homeless including 1 season using different licensed grounds every week "like a travelling circus".
 

1 hour ago, Jeek said:

"the league was contacted by a member of the public"

Who the hell grasses on a highland league club?!

Grass - or lack thereof - seems to be their problem 😉.

In all seriousness... looking at photos online there is surely no chance that pitch was going to be safe and playable in 6 days time.

Their home game last season was postponed shortly before kickoff - and there were serious issues with pitch (and other arrangements after away team and fans arrived) that day IIRC.

EDIT: Saturday 28th November 2020 - Fort William P-P v Strathspey - quoting Keithb from FN:

Shambolic, embarrassing & amateur from Fort today I'm afraid. Strathspey squad turned up to find that changing rooms weren't even open, & when they did get in discovered that nothing had been set out as per 2m protocols etc so had to do it themselves.

Boggy areas on pitch for ref's initial 2.30pm inspection & he instructed that he had concerns & needed sorting out before he'd give a formal pre-match yay or neh. Cue Fort volunteers piling barrowloads of sand onto the offending areas whilst team warm up around. Teams back into changing rooms & ref out to pitch, with ref trying to get a ball to bounce in the offending areas, & when it didn't, not surprisingly calling off proceedings.

My visit to the Gents discovered no handsoap, handtowels or sanitiser, & looked like they hadn't been cleaned since March!

God knows what the supposed drainage work did, as it doesn't seem to have improved the offending area that saw the game called off by the ref when I last visited Fort 12 months back, & there also now seem to be two more bad areas. And if after all this time you can't get a pitch playable & Covid basics like sanitation & distancing right, then I seriously wonder whether there will be a game played at Claggan Park this season. I'd reverse all the fixtures now if I were Mr Houston.

 

1 hour ago, Le Tout P'ti FC said:

"Consideration of the options available" - did this include moving to the astro at Lochaber HS for the season?

If the league were willing to work with the club in a compassionate and pragmatic way, I don't see why this couldn't have been an option for a season.

Presumably well short of licensing. Are there any spectator facilities - particularly considering current protocols and restrictions?

Canal Park in Inverness has been used by Clachnacuddin but presumably club rugby is resuming.
 

1 hour ago, Sherrif John Bunnell said:

Making them play all games at their opponent's stadium seem particularly harsh. Zero gate receipts + 2x travelling costs could sink them completely.

Surely a ground share at Canal Park or Grant Street would be a better solution?

They'll surely keep the receipts - might even be better than home gates given local 'away' fans! - and a lot of their players aren't from around Fort William.

Nevertheless they'll presumably have committee and some players travel expenses to meet; rents; plus they'll be playing hours away from their community. That is surely the real concern when already at such a low ebb.

Edited by HibeeJibee
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Nobody in the town is interested in the club, they’ve been fighting an uphill battle for years but apart from the romanticists from far flung places who have visited a few times on holidays, no one in the town cares and it’s absolutely tragic!

The problem is that nobody has seen the “real” Fort William where 90% of the permanent residents live, they only see the polished facade of the High Street and the touristy areas. I’ve lived in some dodgy places but FW is a dump, and I have good friends there who would agree. It’s a really horrible place with no real prospects of opportunity for young, local people and the local government have let them down for years. All the money from tourism and industry in the area goes to very few… the real people of the town are just fired up on the hill and are trying to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads’. So no wonder there is very little support or interest in helping the committee and volunteering their weekends running around the highlands with the club.

Maybe when things were a bit more prosperous, the move from NCL to HL seemed like a good idea with local support and players willing and able to play every weekend. Nowadays the young people are forced to work weekends working for minimum wage in the tourist trade just to make ends meet.

Sorry to sound so grim but it’s the truth, the club is taking its final few breathes unless the corrupt local  government do a massive change and revive the rest of the town

Edited by Spyro
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2 hours ago, TheScarf said:

They did a tonne of work to the pitch last year and it’s made no difference. Don’t think they could afford to change to an Astro pitch.  The problem with Lochaber HS is that I don’t think it’s up to licensing standards to be used.

Think they got the pipes donated and thought how hard can it be to lay them themselves? Bit harder than they thought it seems.

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35 minutes ago, Spyro said:

Nobody in the town is interested in the club, they’ve been fighting an uphill battle for years but apart from the romanticists from far flung places who have visited a few times on holidays, no one in the town cares and it’s absolutely tragic!

The problem is that nobody has seen the “real” Fort William where 90% of the permanent residents live, they only see the polished facade of the High Street and the touristy areas. I’ve lived in some dodgy places but FW is a dump, and I have good friends there who would agree. It’s a really horrible place with no real prospects of opportunity for young, local people and the local government have let them down for years. All the money from tourism and industry in the area goes to very few… the real people of the town are just fired up on the hill and are trying to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads’. So no wonder there is very little support or interest in helping the committee and volunteering their weekends running around the highlands with the club.

Maybe when things were a bit more prosperous, the move from NCL to HL seemed like a good idea with local support and players willing and able to play every weekend. Nowadays the young people are forced to work weekends working for minimum wage in the tourist trade just to make ends meet.

Sorry to sound so grim but it’s the truth, the club is taking its final few breathes unless the corrupt local  government do a massive change and revive the rest of the town

If Fort William FC were a rugby or cricket club the council would have sorted them out a nice well drained pitch years ago. It's hard to generate a local following and support when you normally don't play any home games on a Saturday afternoon between October and March.

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Anyone who has been to a Fort game in the past two/three/five/ten seasons has reported back that the pitch is shit. Blaming it on a 'concerned member of the public' is a tidy line but chances are the league have just had enough of their pitch being nowhere near good enough. Gimme a while and I could find you a supporter from every team to tell you a tale of how close they got to Fort on a Saturday before being informed the game was off. My own personal record was having to turn around in a hotel carpark in Fort Augustus after being phoned to say the game had been scrapped. Huntly went down there two seasons back and went for a walk on the pitch pre-match and could tell immediately the game had no chance. Strathspey's visit last November was a farce of the highest order. The Nairn game that had to be held up because the pitch was covered in deer shit. The hot mess seen below against Wick that was abandoned short of half time, although that should never have started...

Fort didn't even get through their first ever season without having to switch their home game against Lossie to the Bernagow, and that ended up being played the Sunday after the season was supposed to have concluded, after repeated postponements. 

The pitch being in that state is one thing - it's probably been worse, TBH - but knowing it was in that state and not alerting the league is a disgrace. Did they think they could fix it ahead of their game this coming weekend?

As for playing every home game on the road, that'll be a shambles. The time they had to do that at Lossie recently, Fort showed up expecting the Lossie committee to work the gate, collect the money and cut them a cheque at full time. 

Their hipster fanbase whining that the league and other clubs aren't helping - what is expected of the other 17 clubs, exactly? Formartine and Forres both had chronic pitch problems yet both sorted them out. I'm sure everyone would be happy to see Fort sort this out. Their pitch is pretty much the main reason the season never finishes as planned. 

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I think there's still some lingering thoughts amongst SHFL types that the Highland League operates on its own, unrelated to the rest of football, but now we're a functioning part of the pyramid those in charge are (rightly) far less likely to tolerate this kind of bullshit any more. 

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I made it to Fort on the bus from Inverness after managing to get in touch with someone at the club who assured me the Clach game would definitely be going ahead. Got to the pub to find out that a flood light had fallen off its tower, sparks everywhere, and the game was postponed.

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32 minutes ago, superbigal said:

Even if they get through the season does anyone think if relegated they would not just fold ?

I think it was during 2019 there was talk of folding, voluntarily going to the NCL, and sticking out in the HL. They've managed to keep the lights on with different committee changes with their Chairman quitting during the close season. They must be running out of people to prop them up.

At the same time the NCL has seen plenty of teams fold and return. Even if they were to fold I wouldn't be surprised by a return down the line.

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I think they'd function better in the NCL, fewer fixtures to fulfil, especially home ones. The Highland League isn't exactly a huge money stream for them.

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Everyone in FW who is into football supports one of the Old Firm, so that won't be helping.  Most of the young folk will probably be in the pub on a Saturday watching their coupons to see if Rangers -2 v St Mirren has come in.  

Or playing for one of the shinty teams.

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14 minutes ago, TheScarf said:

Everyone in FW who is into football supports one of the Old Firm, so that won't be helping.  Most of the young folk will probably be in the pub on a Saturday watching their coupons to see if Rangers -2 v St Mirren has come in.  

Or playing for one of the shinty teams.

No football to be seen at Claggan Park 9 or 10 months of the year anyway.

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