JOIN THE LEAGUE

Pro­mo­tion to the Scot­tish THOMAS CLARK ex­plains why thought it was… League isn’t the big prize many

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - CONTENTS -

...You’ve Scot to be jok­ing

ONEyear af­ter its in­cep­tion and the Scot­tish foot­ball pyra­mid al­ready looks to have been bot­tle-necked by that most un­speak­able of hor­rors - teams who sim­ply don’t want to suc­ceed.

Or, to be fair, only want to suc­ceed within their own strin­gent and sus­tain­able bound­aries.

The feted tree­house club which has been the Scot­tish league sys­tem over the last one hundred years – ac­ces­si­ble only by elec­tion in the wake of liq­ui­dated clubs (rare) or league ex­pan­sion (rarer) – fi­nally opened up to the rank and file in the 2014/15 sea­son.

This was with an ad­mit­tedly limited sys­tem which saw the win­ners of the re­gional High­land League and the re­cently formed Low­land League con­test for the right to play-off against the team at the bot­tom of League Two.The prize for vic­tory, of course, be­ing en­try to the hal­lowed league sys­tem it­self, and two trips next sea­son to Stir­ling and Ar­broath.

The in­evitably Pyrrhic na­ture of such a tri­umph should be ob­vi­ous, par­tic­u­larly for the win­ners of the High­land League, who would face pos­si­ble ruin in the face of reg­u­lar vis­its to the likes of Ber­wick and An­nan.

Ru­ral sides like Wick Academy and Brora Rangers, heav­ily re­liant on a small pool of lo­cal ta­lent, would have an up­hill strug­gle con­vinc­ing play­ers ac­cus­tomed to a wee shop­ping trip down the road to In­ver­ness on a Satur­day to en­dure in­stead an eight, nine or ten-hour round slog ev­ery other week.

And so it came as no sur­prise to any­one when last year’s High­land League win­ners, Brora, started mak­ing noises about the fi­nan­cial con­se­quences of pro­mo­tion ahead of their tie against Low­land League Ed­in­burgh City – and even less sur­prise when they ca­pit­u­lated to Mon­trose in the fi­nal match.

With Brora and Ed­in­burgh City lead­ing their re­spec­tive leagues again this time around (at the time of writ­ing), a re­play of last year’s play-off looks to be on the cards.

The High­land League out­fit will no doubt be a lit­tle more cir­cum­spect in lay­ing out their grievances this time, but it would be a brave man who bets money on a dif­fer­ent re­sult from last sea­son’s.

Go­ing for­ward, it’s hard to see past this ba­sic

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