Juniors shake-up earns thumbs-up
Glens and Lang gaffers welcome overhaul
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