Ju­niors shake-up earns thumbs-up

Glens and Lang gaffers wel­come over­haul

Rutherglen Reformer - - Sport - Mur­ray Spooner

Man­agers at Ruther­glen Glen­cairn and Cam­bus­lang Rangers have wel­comed the de­ci­sion to give ju­nior foot­ball in the west a ma­jor shake-up.

Glens gaffer Wil­lie Har­vey be­lieves the vote to change the cur­rent struc­ture to four leagues of 16 teams and in­tro­duce a three­month fix­ture list in ad­vance was needed.

Ri­val boss Paul McColl ad­mits there will be a fi­nan­cial gain for clubs with the ad­di­tion of ex­tra fix­tures.

Clubs voted with a huge ma­jor­ity of 49 to 12 at the SJFA West AGM on Wed­nes­day, June 28, to change the format from next sea­son, 2018/19.

The cur­rent Su­per League format – 12-team Premier, 14-team Su­per First, with four teams rel­e­gated three po­ten­tially pro­moted, with re­gion­alised cen­tral and Ayr­shire leagues – will be scrapped af­ter a de­ci­sion that pleased Glens boss Har­vey.

He said: “It’s some­thing I whole­heart­edly agree with. I think it’s a great idea. It’s going to be good for the game be­cause it might ease things a lit­tle bit on the rel­e­ga­tion side of things.

“It needed a shake-up. It was be­com­ing stag­nant. A 14-team league where you’ve got the pos­si­bil­ity of half the league dis­ap­pear­ing ei­ther down or up the way just puts pres­sure on every­body. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen teams at the top of the league end up be­ing rel­e­gated.”

Com­ment­ing on the ad­vanced fix­ture list, Har­vey added: “Scott Rober­ston got voted in as league sec­re­tary and he has to step up to the mark. He’s got to step up to his prom­ises that he will have this in place, so we will now have three months in ad­vance to know when are games are.

“That gives you a chance to or­gan­ise things. This will give us mid­week games and peo­ple look for­ward to mid­week games at the end of the sea­son, es­pe­cially in the league. And if you’re chas­ing pro­mo­tion that will gen­er­ate crowds.”

The new di­vi­sions in the ju­niors will be called the Pre­mier­ship, Cham­pi­onship, League One and League Two.

And of the 12 teams in the Su­per Premier this sea­son, 10 will be guar­an­teed a spot in the new Pre­mier­ship with the bot­tom two fac­ing a play-off.

The Glens and Lang will have a greater chance of pro­mo­tion this year, as there will be four teams in Su­per First au­to­mat­i­cally pro­moted with fifth and sixth play­ing-off against the bot­tom two Premier sides.

There will be no au­to­matic rel­e­ga­tion from the Su­per First, how­ever, the bot­tom two in the divi­sion will play-off against the teams fin­ish­ing fourth in the Ayr­shire Dis­trict League and the Cen­tral Dis­trict First.

Cam­bus­lang man­ager McColl ad­mit­ted he had not read too much in to the ap­proved plans but reck­ons his club can ben­e­fit fi­nan­cially.

“Seem­ingly we are going to get fix­tures up to Christ­mas,” he said. “So that’s good be­cause you can plan for cor­po­rate stuff.

“There’s a pos­si­bil­ity of six teams going up this sea­son so if you are in a mid-ta­ble po­si­tion you are think­ing you’ve got a chance.”

When asked if he thought ju­nior foot­ball in the west was in need of a shake-up, McColl added: “I’m not too sure. I think the league we were in last year was a good league. With that said, if three clubs went up it could maybe have been a bit fairer.

“St Roch’s spent a few quid and just missed out but that’s ob­vi­ously not my con­cern.

“Fi­nan­cially, I def­i­nitely think it is good be­cause it’s an ex­tra few games and that helps pay the play­ers’ wages.

“It’s a good boost know­ing four teams [au­to­mat­i­cally] go up but we’ve just got into this league so we’re not going to get car­ried away.”

Ar­range­ments for cup com­pe­ti­tions are ex­pected to be de­cided in due course.

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen teams at the top be­ing rel­e­gated

Fi­nan­cial boost Cam­bus­lang gaffer Paul McColl

Change needed Glen­cairn boss Wil­lie Har­vey

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