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Home: Non-League Football Discussion: Other British Isles Football:
Scottish junior fixture lists

 



mip
Man City Transfer Target!


Oct 7, 2009, 10:08 AM

Posts: 9850
Location: Odense
Team(s): Portsmouth, OB, Svendborg fB, Tved B

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Scottish junior fixture lists Can't Post or Reply Privately

A question about Scottish junior/amateur fixture lists. Why are these only published approximately for one month at a time? Do the administrators have a full fixture list from the beginning of the season and then release it piece by piece or do they make it up along the way? Isn't it leading to considerable inconvenience for players and supporters or have they learned just to live with it?

Michael

(This post was edited by mip on Oct 7, 2009, 10:09 AM)


prorege
Man City Transfer Target!


Oct 7, 2009, 11:06 AM

Posts: 6959
Location: Kingdom of Fife
Team(s): Fife teams

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Re: [mip] Scottish junior fixture lists [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

A question about Scottish junior/amateur fixture lists. Why are these only published approximately for one month at a time?

It's 'aye been'. In part it is due to the lack of floodlights which mean all Cup replays and postponements are the following Saturday. However, this argument now has less credence, as only the Scottish Junior Cup now has replays - until a few years ago every one of the multitude of junior Cups also had replays. Until quite recently a successful Junior team would expect to play more Cup ties than league games in a season.

Do the administrators have a full fixture list from the beginning of the season and then release it piece by piece or do they make it up along the way?

A bit of both. They have a 'template' but will have to vary it because of Cup replays and Cup postponements. Also, depending on weather conditions certain clubs may not be given home games in mid winter. Clubs who have multiple away Cup fixture smight be given a home League game, or vice versa. Clubs can also ask for a 'weel off' if it is a local holiday, or if one of their players is getting married etc etc. There are many variables. For example, Bonnyrigg couldn't play their Scottish Junior Cup tie on October 3 because they had a Scottish Cup replay. It now goes to October 10. If it is a draw, then the replay will be on October 17.

Isn't it leading to considerable inconvenience for players and supporters or have they learned just to live with it?

No great incovenience for players or supporters who go along regularly. They know there will be a match scheduled every Saturday. They haven't 'learned to live with it'; it is simply what happens. Biggest problem is for the few clubs that have any ambition and wish to attract match sponsors.


(This post was edited by prorege on Oct 7, 2009, 11:11 AM)


mip
Man City Transfer Target!


Oct 7, 2009, 3:44 PM

Posts: 9850
Location: Odense
Team(s): Portsmouth, OB, Svendborg fB, Tved B

Post #3 of 11 (4021 views)
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Re: [prorege] Scottish junior fixture lists [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Prorege, thanks very much for your answer, you’re a great source for info on the game in Scotland! I’ve become much interested in Scottish football after some visits to Scotland over the last few years. Though, trying to explain my girlfriend about juniors, seniors, amateurs and missing fixture lists do sometimes give me a headache! Coming from a country where everything is nice and tidy with a single well-established pyramid, schedules known a year in advance, games only scheduled on weekends and at midweek if there’s sufficient light, the Scottish set-up is intriguing.

I get the advantages of a dynamic fixture schedule with so many of the games played being cup games. I gather it’s not a problem for clubs to rely on a large proportion of their income coming from cup games? If I remember right, many of these cups are regional with a limited number of entrants and with many cups being played in, the bigger clubs will, by the law of averages, be pretty certain to do well in some cups and hence get a reasonable amount of games? I also take it, the large number of cups being competed for are there by tradition. Are the bigger clubs interested in getting a higher number of ”certain” and planned league games instead of lots of cup games? The fixture backlogs that teams with successful cup runs get might cost them dear in terms of league succes (Pollok last season would be an example?).

As for ambitions, I gather from what I’ve read on this board that most junior clubs are OK as they are now and really don’t want to move ”forward” to SFL for example. Of course the line between being un-ambitious and trying to live within one’s natural means is tenuous, with unfortunately many clubs stepping over it. How much money is involved in junior football? I would guess that at a big club like Pollok there would be a fair amount involved and that at the bottom of the junior set-up none at all. Do you have any numbers of how much an average player would get at a big club and at say an average premier division club?

Are there any drive amongst the bigger junior clubs for a unified junior pyramid (i.e. one national premier division with regional feeders below) or are they satisfied all to remain the big fish in regional competitions? Are there any moves towards a play off between the regional winners to decide an overall junior champion (like the play off between Dutch amateur sides). On second thoughts that would probably be logistically impossible as it is now with leagues playing well into June to get the fixture backlogs wiped out.

Then one final question, how is it with membership of SFA and SJFA? Girvan moved from a senior competition to a junior competition some years ago (be election to SJFA?) but retained membership of SFA, also with Spartan running both a senior and a junior side, I reckon they are members of both SFA and SJFA. Are there any restrictions or do things happen as SFA and SJFA decide in individual cases?


prorege
Man City Transfer Target!


Oct 7, 2009, 4:42 PM

Posts: 6959
Location: Kingdom of Fife
Team(s): Fife teams

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Re: [mip] Scottish junior fixture lists [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

So many questions . . . .

A dynamic ficxture schedule was essential up until the mid 1990s - each Junior club entered around seven Cup compeitions, and drawn games went to replays and second replays etc. Until then, the top sides might play around 22 league games and possibly 25-30 Cup games in a season. The number of Cups has been cut back - most Junior clubs now play in four or five at mos, and replays have been dropped from al except the Scottish Junior Cup.

For the clubs in the Super Leagues and with ambitions to get there, League football is now more important than Cup football, apart from the Scottish Junior Cup. We do now tend to get fixtures in two or three week batches rather than week-to-week, but they are still subject to late change.

The lack of midweek football from late August to mid April makes a season-long fixture list difficult to sustain.

Regarding the Senior and Juniors, it is hugely complex.

Back when football began there was just the Scottish Football Association. Teams joined, and were able to play in the Scottish Cup. Leagues were formed, which involved travelling considerable distances. But in later Victorian times some teams wanted to play more localised fixtures and this is partly why the Scottish Junior Football Association was formed - for adult teams, but on a 'smaller scale' than the SFA. THose teams that played in the Scottish Cup, and who joined the better Leagues were known as Seniors.

The SFA remains the parent body - the Scottish Junior FA, Amateur FA, Welfare FA etc are affiliated to it. So too are the SFL and the SPL. Leagues such as the Highland League, East of Scotland League and South of Scotland League remain 'Senior' leagues, in part because they or their forerunners were established so long ago.

It used to be easy to become a full member of the SFA and enter the Scottish Cup. And assuming clubs hae paid their subscription every year, they wil;l never be thrown out. Hence the likes of Coldstream and Civil Service Strollers, with no facilities at all, remain full SFA members. Today it is much harder to become a full SFA member. All other clubs, including Juniors, Amateurs etc, are associate members of the SFA - this happens automatically to any club that plays in one of the Associations. Girvan had been full SFA members for many years and played in the poor-quality but Senior South of Scotland League; they wanted better competition and moved to the West uniors whilst retaining their SFA membership. BUrntisland Shipyard are an example of a club whoplayed in a Senior league before the Second World War, and retained their full SFA membership despite moving to the Kirkcaldy and Distric Amateur League and now the Fife Amateur League.

Spartans are run as two wholly separate clubs - one has been a full SFA member since the 1970s; the othe rmoved from the Amateurs to the Juniors this year.

Girvan and Spartans are both examples of ambitious clubs who wanted to improve their status. Many Junior clubs are quite happy where they are. When the Super Leagues were formed in 2002, Whitburn refused to accept their place, preferring to play in the local Lothians League. For most Junior clubs, diet of local league and cup fixtures, with the addition of the Scottish Ciup and an inter-regional Cup, meets their needs adequately.

The amount of money in Junior football varies greatly. It al depends on what source sof incme a club has. THose with busy social clubs and successful lotteries, as well as decent sponsors, might have a playing budget of £100,000 per year. Players are not always paid weekly - often their pay come sin three or four lumps throughout the season. A very few Juniors will be on several hundred pounds per week. In the Super Leagues most will be on between £20 and £70 per week. At the other end of the scale, the smallest Junior clubs are entirely amateur. A few clubs have over-extended themselves and had to down-size considerably. I know of several that are teetering on the brink of insolvency at present. In Fife, two clubs have budgets of around £60,000 per year, but others pay no wages at all.

There already is an overall Junior Champion - the winners of the Scottish Junior Cup. This is the 'Blue Riband' of Junior football. A few years ago there was a tournament between the winners from the regions but it was dropped after one year due to lack of interest. A similar tournament for the winners from the different Senior competions was never even completed.

A minority of Junior clubs would advocate a pyramid. The majority don't understand what would be involved and if they did they might be in favour. However, the SJFA itself is a barrier to change. The SFA would like to see integration of Junior and Senior Non League football, but if the clubs will not do it they cannot really force them.

An integrated system would involve little real change in the North and West. In the East, where Senior and Junior set-ups co-exist, it would be more problematical. But, as I say, the majority of clubs seem happy with what they have, despite the duplication of administration and the many anomalies.

Whitehill Welfare never play Newtongrange Star or Bonnyrigg Rose; When Pollok met Spartans in last season's Scottish Cup it was the first time they had ever played in Edinburgh . . . in isolation all these things seem daft. But in the bigger picture, things seem to muddle on quite well as it is.

And to be honest, these are trifling issues compared to the more significant problems afflicting football in Scotland. The structures of the SFA / SPL / SFL need to be sorted out first - if they were organised more effectively therr might be a whole lot more money generated that could be used to improved standards at all levels.


(This post was edited by prorege on Oct 7, 2009, 4:45 PM)


mip
Man City Transfer Target!


Oct 7, 2009, 8:00 PM

Posts: 9850
Location: Odense
Team(s): Portsmouth, OB, Svendborg fB, Tved B

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Re: [prorege] Scottish junior fixture lists [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Thanks very much for the informative answer, much appreciated! Many questions, yes, but I have to answer my inquisitive girlfriend Smile. When she gets interested in stuff, she wants to understand it. She won’t succeed with Scottish football, though!

Budgets of £60.000+ are larger than I would have thought. I didn’t think of social clubs and lotteries as sources of income but of course this is a big source of revenue for clubs in UK.

One thing I like very much by the junior game is that it appears as a time warp in English/Scottish football – and this is meant in a positive sense. A lot of the streamlining imposed top down appears unnecessary and causes problems without always apparent benefits. Also if clubs are satisfied with the current set-up (although quirky), why change it? Having a pyramid is in any case not the one and only answer. In Germany they have a nicely organised pyramid where clubs in principle can progress but with the requirements set by DFB most of the clubs in the North (the part closest to Denmark and of which I know most) have no chance or wish of promotion to the Regionalliga (4th level). They are basically stuck in their regional leagues. Of course the advantage is that clubs who wish to advance have the chance of doing so. I reckon a club like Spartans would like to have a chance of joining the SFL by playing merits.

Then just one question this time. Concerning floodlights, few junior clubs have them but why don’t those clubs having floodlights use them more often? I seem to remember from another thread that many clubs are opposing playing floodlit games. Why would that be? Travelling midweek shouldn’t be an argument as most games involves reasonbly short travelling distance, or not?


blackdouglas
Chelsea Transfer Target


Oct 7, 2009, 8:16 PM

Posts: 3303
Location: Northwood, Middlesex
Team(s): See signature for clubs

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Re: [mip] Scottish junior fixture lists [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

 

Quote
Then just one question this time. Concerning floodlights, few junior clubs have them but why don’t those clubs having floodlights use them more often? I seem to remember from another thread that many clubs are opposing playing floodlit games. Why would that be? Travelling midweek shouldn’t be an argument as most games involves reasonbly short travelling distance, or not?

I've heard a rumour, and it is just that, that clubs in the South of Scotland League refuse to play Threave Rovers under their floodlights because "Rovers have too much of an advantage playing at home in the first place".



Northwood, Threave Rovers, Arsenal, Rangers (the real ones, NOT qpr),Watford, Rochdale, queen of the south and a few others.


prorege
Man City Transfer Target!


Oct 7, 2009, 8:59 PM

Posts: 6959
Location: Kingdom of Fife
Team(s): Fife teams

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Re: [mip] Scottish junior fixture lists [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

The rules of the Scottish Junior FA state that no club is obliged to play under floodlights. (Nor are they obliged to play on Sundays).

From the 1970s through to the 1990s at least 20 or 30 Junior clubs installed floodlights, hoping to play lucrative friendly games against Scottish league sides. I recall freezing myself miserable at such 'glamour' games as Dunipace v St Mirren, Jeanfield Swifts v Rangers Reserves, Broxburn Athletic v Hearts Reserves etc etc. When these failed to continue many clubs allowed their lights to slip into disrepair - Benburb, Dunipace, Broxburn, Jeanfield Swifts etc.

Only a few clubs now have floodlights of a decent standard - Newtongrange Star, Bathgate, Sauchie, Linlithgow Rose, Montrose Roselea, Ballingry Rovers, Maryhill and Banks o' Dee spring to mind. Most clubs refuse point blank to play under them - they are not required to give any reason.

The reality is that Junior football is a Saturday afternoon and Spring evening game . . . many clubs and fans like the 'silly season' from mid April onwards with three or more games per week. There is no tradition of Tuesday / Wednesday midweek football in winter. The weather is bad enough on a Saturday afternoon let alone in the evening, so attracting any sort of a crowd could be difficult.

Junior games never kick off as late as 7.30 or 7.45, even in June - it's early evening even at those times of year.

I used to be an unreserved proponent of a Scottish pyramid. I am now much less convinced - I see too many flaws in the English pyramid such as teams going bust, travelling crazy distances and making unnecessary ground improvements etc. I do believe that the Junior and Senior non league structures should be amalgamated, but not necessarily in a rigid pyramid structure. As you say, clubs like Spartans should be given the opportunity to progress, but equally we should respect the wishes of clubs that want to stay where they are.


PaulC
Man City Transfer Target!


Oct 7, 2009, 9:03 PM

Posts: 11540
Location: Ayrshire, Midlothian
Team(s): AFC Darwen, Troon, Ayr Utd, Burnley

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Re: [prorege] Scottish junior fixture lists [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


In Reply To
Spartans are run as two wholly separate clubs - one has been a full SFA member since the 1970s; the othe rmoved from the Amateurs to the Juniors this year.


Spartans, of course, have more than two team/clubs whatever.

They also enter another team in the Scottish Amateur Cup.


prorege
Man City Transfer Target!


Oct 7, 2009, 9:11 PM

Posts: 6959
Location: Kingdom of Fife
Team(s): Fife teams

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Re: [PaulC] Scottish junior fixture lists [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

That's right - I was just referring to those mentioned in the Original Post.

Spartans have four adult men's teams - Seniors in the East of Scotland League, plus East Juniors, Saturday Amateurs and Sunday Amateurs.

The Juniors have made a decent start to the season - they have a Scottish Junior Cup Replay this Saturday which pits the newest Junior club against arguably the oldest, Larkhall Thistle. Kick Off at Gasworks Park is 2.30pm for this one.


HibeeJibee
Reserve Team Star

Oct 7, 2009, 10:49 PM

Posts: 896
Location: South-East Scotland
Team(s): Berwick Rangers, Hibernian, Scotland

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Re: [prorege] Scottish junior fixture lists [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

To get back to the original fixture question... elements of the East of Scotland League are regularly decried as "public park football" by certain Junior protagonists, and there are no obvious differences between EOS Seniors and EOS Juniors. Currently the EOS Seniors have fixtures out until January 16th. The EOS Juniors until 24th October. Why is this...?


auchinleckian
Youth Team Star

Oct 8, 2009, 2:56 PM

Posts: 338
Location: Thornhill, Dumfries and Galloway
Team(s): Auchinleck Talbot; Grimsby Town; Wales (rugby and football)

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Re: [HibeeJibee] Scottish junior fixture lists [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Junior finance. My team, Auchinleck Talbot, have won the "blue riband" Scottish Junior Cup 7 times in the last 23 years and are generally regarded as having the most successful Junior club side ever. However, it is run by a very hard working committee, a number of whom have been there well over 30 years and have the club and the community at heart. There is a very well run social club, and any player that dons the black and gold of Talbot always mentions the special feelking of belonging to the club, even many years after leaving.

However, we fall into the kind of wage bracket identified in Prorege's very articulate answer. Players don't come to Talbot for money, they go to the likes of Irvine M££dow for that, where rumour has it, some players are earning in the region of £400 per week. That is quite clearly unsustainable in the Junior game, despite their benefactors (Brookes Mileson, anyone?) I would also imagine that the figure of £100k for an annual player's budget will also only apply to the M££dow, we have nothing like that amount at Auchinleck. I think I'm right in saying that the wages aren't salaries, but based on being in the squad and playing, and that being the case, we probably play about 42 weeks of the year most years, and we wouldn't be paying £1k per week in wages to the 16 players in the squad. Think our annual bill will be likely to be less than a third of that mentioned.

This year we're lucky, having won the Scottish Junior Cup last year, we've made a successful start to our entry into the "Big" Scottish Cup. We got £2k for appearing in the first round, and with the win are guaranteed £4k from being in round 2. There's also £600 from television rights per round I believe. Of course, the fans, and most importantly, the Treasurer, are all hoping to progress to round 4 and draw a plum tie that could set us up for decades.These are big sums of money for a Junior club, and the level of investment in the ground this season can be seen, with the land behind the main stand being hardcored for a staff and player's car park. We're being given a set of floodlights by an anonymous supporter - which sees to be the "Auchinleck way" and will have an astro turf training pitch for next season. Hopefully this work will ensure Talbot's continued presence in the Super League.

Last week, in the Scottish Junior Cup, two coachloads of fans, players, and committee and guests went up to Aberdeen on the Friday night prior to the game at New Elgin some 60 miles away on the Saturday. All in all about 100 folk all having a social get together in the hotel overnight, which was great for the fans, and I know the players enjoyed it too, and that's what makes the club special.
It is a throwback to days gone by, undoubtedly, but we still have a situation whereby the players and fans at Auchinleck all connect. That just doesn't happen, as far as I'm aware, south of the border. Yes it's a quirky set up as well, but I love it, and wouldn't change it for anything...well maybe a fxiture list!

 
 


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