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Highland Pyramid


Burnie_man

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On 25/06/2021 at 10:54, Dev said:

From Today's Inverness Courier:

www.inverness-courier.co.uk/sport/relegation-dawns-for-highland-league-clubs-as-tier-six-set-f-242664/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

Relegation dawns for Highland League clubs as tier six north set for next season


 By Alasdair Fraser 
 
 Published: 08:00, 25 June 2021
RELEGATION play-offs will be introduced in the Highland League for the first time next season after talks with three ‘tier six north’ associations concluded successfully.

The historic change, now set to be officially ratified by the SFA’s pyramid working group, will open the dreaded trapdoor to Highland clubs for the first time in the league’s 128-year existence.

The plan was unveiled in April this year, but the HFL has since presided over intensive talks to reach agreement with the North Caledonian FA and the Scottish Junior Football Association’s north and east regions.

The green light means title-winning clubs from the North Caledonian League, the North Junior Super League and the Midlands League – covering Tayside outfits – will play off next season for the right to face the bottom HFL side.

Even if successful, only clubs able to fulfil full SFA licensing and membership requirements would be permitted to make the step up into the HFL. Currently, only Golspie Sutherland and Banks O’Dee satisfy that criteria.

Confirming that talks had finally concluded, HFL secretary Rod Houston said: “It is all sorted and ready to go. The three tier six groups are all on board and the pyramid working group is now due to meet in the near future and that will put the final seal on it, but it’s all done. It was just a case of making sure we had the regulatory framework in place. It was all very straightforward.

 

 

Each of the 3 leagues have incorporated the required rule changes, into their individual "Constitutions"., for ratification by the SFA.  As HFL Secretary Rod Houston states above, "it is all sorted and ready to go.....It was all very straightforward.""          Which is very good news, as the pyramid will now cover both the Lowland and the Highland regions.                                          The NCL clubs for next season are :

ALNESS UNITED

BONAR BRIDGE

GOLSPIE SUTHERLAND

HALKIRK UNITED

INVERGORDON

INVERNESS ATHLETIC

LOCH NESS

NAIRN COUNTY "A"

ORKNEY

SCOURIE

ST DUTHUS

THURSO
****

BUNILLIDH THISTLE  - are taking another year out, but have retained their NCL Membership

LEWIS & HARRIS FC -  may enter one or two of the North Caley Cup competitions in 2021/22, as they have done, pre-pandemic. 

 

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Looks like the North Region had their AGM yesterday. Not a lot of news so far other than Buckie Rovers sitting out again. Also, fixtures have been released but i've only seen Newmachar United publish their own so far.

With Buckie Rovers and Spey Valley United out the set up should be 14-8-9.

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Posted (edited)

The Press & Journal has published an article (25/7/21)   "Shooting for the HFL"  which identifies 4 NCL clubs as being interested in becoming licensed and reaching the Highland League.

They are St Duthus, Orkney, and Alness Utd; in addition to Golspie, after talking to club representatives. 

The P & J says it will report further about the other NCL clubs.

Edited by Robert James
typo
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2 hours ago, bluearmyfaction said:

Yet again a big club uses its massive economic influence to force in its Colt side.

Yep,  "massive economic influence"

Colts ('New Firm') Pyramid Cup Final (2022) :

Nairn County  v Stranraer (venue  rebuilt Lesser Hampden)

NCL  v  SoSL  (do these matches get any bigger ?)

                                                                                                    LOL from Jamie.

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5 hours ago, Robert James said:

The Press & Journal has published an article (25/7/21)   "Shooting for the HFL"  which identifies 4 NCL clubs as being interested in becoming licensed and reaching the Highland League.

They are St Duthus, Orkney, and Alness Utd; in addition to Golspie, after talking to club representatives. 

The P & J says it will report further about the other NCL clubs.

I've been to St. Duthus, it is a tidy wee ground, but a lot of work needs to be done. The ground can easily be enclosed, but there is no cover/floodlights, there are no toilets and changing rooms are on the other side of the road. I'd love to see them going for licensing, but I imagine it will take quite some time.

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If the report is from an issue three weeks from now, does it tell us who won Euro 2020? I want to get my money on them.
It's Switzerland.
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15 hours ago, Marten said:

I've been to St. Duthus, it is a tidy wee ground, but a lot of work needs to be done. The ground can easily be enclosed, but there is no cover/floodlights, there are no toilets and changing rooms are on the other side of the road. I'd love to see them going for licensing, but I imagine it will take quite some time.

Yes, St Duthus are ambitious, as are Alness Utd, and Orkney, but only Golspie Sutherland are currently licensed, as previously reported in the P&J.

In the second of Paul Chalks' Press & Journal article about promotion to the HFL for the other NCL clubs, he reports that Invergordon are interested in reaching the play-offs, whereas Thurso have had drainage problems at Sir George's Park, and the club would need a huge cash injection to reach HFL standard, at the present time. 

Halkirk United have a young/developing team, and are not considering the HFL at present, whilst Inverness Athletic and Loch Ness are relatively new NCL clubs. and the absence of a suitable ground in Inverness rules out promotion in the foreseeable future. for either club, as  "It is a pipe dream" at present,

Bonar Bridge and Scourie, are both strengthening for 2021/22, but they  recognise that they don't have the infrastructure in place, and the HFL is therefore out of reach for them. However, all of the above clubs support the North Caley League entering the pyramid at Tier 6, for season 2021/22.

As a reserve side, Nairn County "A" aren't eligible to enter the HFL, and Bunillidlh Thistle have taken a second year out from the NCL, owing to Covid, and (apparently) the need for some ground repairs.

 

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17 hours ago, Robert James said:

The Press & Journal has published an article (25/7/21)   "Shooting for the HFL"  which identifies 4 NCL clubs as being interested in becoming licensed and reaching the Highland League.

They are St Duthus, Orkney, and Alness Utd

All those clubs would have pretty big obstacles to overcome. Tain play on essentially an open playing field; Orkney would need to do less to their facilities but would have the basic issue of funding far more travel (they say it would explode from £20k to £100k!) plus how to make midweek games; Alness plays from a secondary school and have no dressing rooms of their own.

It's interesting that several of them are saying 5 to 10 years. "Long grass" territory.

Halkirk and most obviously Inverness Athletic are more advanced facilities-wise. Thurso and Invergordon have some more basic elements. It looks to me as if North Caley may end-up to HL what South has to LL i.e. no more than a couple of clubs eligible and maybe struggle to win any playoff.

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26 minutes ago, HibeeJibee said:

All those clubs would have pretty big obstacles to overcome. Tain play on essentially an open playing field; Orkney would need to do less to their facilities but would have the basic issue of funding far more travel (they say it would explode from £20k to £100k!) plus how to make midweek games; Alness plays from a secondary school and have no dressing rooms of their own.

It's interesting that several of them are saying 5 to 10 years. "Long grass" territory.

Halkirk and most obviously Inverness Athletic are more advanced facilities-wise. Thurso and Invergordon have some more basic elements. It looks to me as if North Caley may end-up to HL what South has to LL i.e. no more than a couple of clubs eligible and maybe struggle to win any playoff.

Yeah the NCL is clearly the weakest of the 3 leagues in terms of facilities.  Having seen some games over the last few years, it's the weakest in terms of quality too.

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Posted (edited)

Bunillidh Thistle have an excellent social club and changing rooms, and a decent ground. Not sure if they'd be allowed to fence off the ground though with it being next to a war memorial and a monument to emigrants during the clearances. They're in abeyance for another year anyway.

Edited by welshbairn
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On 02/07/2021 at 14:36, HibeeJibee said:

All those clubs would have pretty big obstacles to overcome. Tain play on essentially an open playing field; Orkney would need to do less to their facilities but would have the basic issue of funding far more travel (they say it would explode from £20k to £100k!) plus how to make midweek games; Alness plays from a secondary school and have no dressing rooms of I agree wioth their own.

It's interesting that several of them are saying 5 to 10 years. "Long grass" territory.

Halkirk and most obviously Inverness Athletic are more advanced facilities-wise. Thurso and Invergordon have some more basic elements. It looks to me as if North Caley may end-up to HL what South has to LL i.e. no more than a couple of clubs eligible and maybe struggle to win any playoff.

 

 There certainly are big challenges for NCL clubs.  Geography/travel, climate, and summer football considerations, add to the 'normal'  problems faced by Scottish non league clubs.  Nevertheless, the clubs concerned are pleased that the pyramid has opened up for them.   I wish them well.

However after years of wrangling (on P&B), it is a major achievement that the Highland region now has a pyramid of three separate leagues, which sit alongside the Lowland's three feeder leagues.

It will be interesting to see how the future unfolds.    

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The SFA should be providing travel grants to all remote sub-SPFL teams/leagues (based on expenses proven; not sub money to sign some puffing, has-been centre forward instead). It's an absolute pittance of the money that they're coining in off the back of making up the numbers at an international tournament. 

Midweek games should be reduced with the aim of eradication by producing a more rational fixture list with 30/26 league games and a first week of July start - if not earlier - to create more slack in the calendar to catch up games at weekends later on. League/regional cups should be by voluntary participation so that teams who can't justify the potential midweek games can sit them out. 

There would be understandable pushback to at least some of those changes but that is how it would be rationally set up if we weren't dealing with historical baggage. If the system does not allow clubs to equally aspire to the SPFL because of geography then it is fit for the bin. 

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6 hours ago, virginton said:

The SFA should be providing travel grants to all remote sub-SPFL teams/leagues (based on expenses proven

This would be the ideal scenario. But smaller regions in the first place would have made things easier at the bottom. 

More teams participating, means more players playing, you'd think that would be the focus of the SFA, over the wants of larger clubs.

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Would prefer to see the three champions clubs have a straight knock out with the HL bottom 3, winner takes all. Old fashioned I know, just like to see champions get a deserved promotion. Too many clubs continually finish around the bottom with no real chance to improve, need to find a level. At least ambitious clubs are starting to see a pathway, albeit slowly.

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8 hours ago, virginton said:

The SFA should be providing travel grants to all remote sub-SPFL teams/leagues 

Not the same but a couple of seasons ago the HFL set aside a pot of money so that if clubs had set out to say, let's just pick a random club like ehhh Fort William and they were on the road and game was called off, they can they be reimbursed the costs of travel.

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SRU subsidises travel which has allowed clubs like Caithness, Orkney and Shetland to play in nationwide leagues.

Some years ago one of the smaller rugby clubs in Hawick was able to charter a plane for a cup-tie in Northern Isles.

Suspect any sort of subsidy would be anathema to SFA unfortunately.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, HibeeJibee said:

SRU subsidises travel which has allowed clubs like Caithness, Orkney and Shetland to play in nationwide leagues.

Some years ago one of the smaller rugby clubs in Hawick was able to charter a plane for a cup-tie in Northern Isles.

Suspect any sort of subsidy would be anathema to SFA unfortunately.

Yeah, looked into it a few years ago, it goes right down to school level and doesn't massively impinge on their budget.

There's a mindset at the SFA that's still fixated on the days of Celtic and Rangers players all being bred in the mining villages around Glasgow that hasn't really left them.

Edited by welshbairn
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