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The Scottish Football League & Pyramid Structure


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As many will now be aware following BSC Glasgow (Scottish Lowland League) and Auchinleck (West Juniors) there are teams below the SPFL who can give clubs a game and a half. 

Following discussions over the past few weeks, it now looks likely that a West of Scotland Football League will be created for next season that is to be administered by the Scottish Lowland League.  They currently oversee the East of Scotland League. 

This step will likely see a number of the top Junior sides jump ship to 'senior' football for the 20/21 season. 

We likely have a number of chaps on here who follow their local Junior team.  What's the thoughts of them coming in to the Pyramid Structure? We can see how well Kelty and Bonnyrigg has done this season and in League 2 Cove Rangers and Edinburgh City (2 most recent promoted teams) lead the charge. Could we soon see Pollok Juniors, Kirkintilloch Rob Rob, Bonnyton Thistle or even Drumchapel Amateurs find a way in to the SPFL. Makes interesting viewing for anyone who follows clubs at this level.  

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I would think this is going to be drummed to stop the highland league teams more likely to be promoted to the league system. They would be generally stronger than the east lowland teams, but the juniors from the west would give several teams a game. Junior teams up here can’t regularly compete with them at all. 

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11 minutes ago, dandydunn said:

I would think this is going to be drummed to stop the highland league teams more likely to be promoted to the league system. They would be generally stronger than the east lowland teams, but the juniors from the west would give several teams a game. Junior teams up here can’t regularly compete with them at all. 

Banks O'Dee and Culter have both been down the South West and apparently tried to get in to the Highland League.  Full expect the HL will need to look at opening up and creating a similar structure.  Does open the possibility of 7pm midweek games for Luncarty FC (just north of the Tay Bridge boundary line) away to Orkney.  Obviously common sense would regionalise it. This is massive IMO.  If It all goes ahead I'd fully expect to see bigger leagues eventually at L1 and L2 too.  

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8 hours ago, Debian said:Banks O'Dee and Culter have both been down the South West and apparently tried to get in to the Highland League.  Full expect the HL will need to look at opening up and creating a similar structure.  Does open the possibility of 7pm midweek games for Luncarty FC (just north of the Tay Bridge boundary line) away to Orkney.  Obviously common sense would regionalise it. This is massive IMO.  If It all goes ahead I'd fully expect to see bigger leagues eventually at L1 and L2 too.  

I go to watch Kelty most home games and the odd away (big game at Spartans today) and, usually, Hill O’Beath in the East Premier when Kelty further away. The East structure is now in good shape and starting to funnel the well set up progressive sides up the league. Adding to BSC as you mention, Bonnyrigg from LL and Penicuik and Broxburn from EP have all done well in the Scottish Cup.
 

The West coming on board would be a good thing. Keltys biggest gubbing this season was Auchinleck in the Scottish Cup....but 1600 there when live on TV shows there is a very good set up at both clubs. Kelty are averaging over 400 this season for home games, with minimal away fans, which is about middle of the road in comparison to League 2 sides.

Two things need to change I think to make it a real success.

At the moment entry to the LL is via a play off between East and South league winners, if South meet LL entry criteria. This is a mismatch. When Kelty won a close run East Premier with Hutchie Vale they then gubbed the South champions 10-0 on agg. The South can’t match the East in terms of quality of teams and should really be incorporated into any West set up. East has Berwick Rangers and Tweedmouth, West could take the Dumfries area sides.

 

Secondly, while it’s good there is finally a path to progression into league football and it’s not dependent on some failing side losing their status or at the mercy of a vote, it’s still stacked against the non-league sides. At the moment LL plays HL over 2 legs just for the right to have a 2 legged go at last team in League 2. 
 

There has to be better promotion prospects and more relegation threat. LL and HL winners should both come up. League 2 should possibly be increased to 16 sides. Even the East Premier/South to LL is only one promotion spot. Should be 2 down from LL and winners of East and (new) West promoted.

 

Agree with you, it’s big for Scottish football and gives forward thinking and well set up teams a real crack at progressing.

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I think the incorporation will happen in time.  Pre East juniors joining the East there really wasn't too much between the South and East. 

Unfortunately the top teams in the East Prem will continue to dominate in its current format and leave the South with little chance.  I've caught a few games this season; best being the South Challenge Cup between Gala Fairydean Rivers (LL) and Newton Stewart (SoSL), with the South team losing by 2.1.  There's always going to be hammering though at these levels and eventually over time it should sort itself if the West incorporates and we end up with potentially a West Central/Glasgow and a West Ayrshire/South possibly similar could happen in the long run if the East Juniors join at T7 or T8.

The need for additional play off spots will happen.  There's talk of 2 up 2 down from the lowland league and there needs to be at least 1 automatic place in to league 2.  

Winners of HL/LL play off replace team 10th, with the Losers of that play team placed 9th?  It'll be interesting to follow over the next few months.  

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I go to watch Dundonald Bluebell now and we drew with Auchinleck in the first prelim round of the big Scottish Cup but got gubbed in the replay.So close to actually knocking them out.

There isn't a great deal between the teams in the Eosl premier and some good games.

I think there should be a system where it is 2 up 2 down with another playoff place between 3rd bottom and 3rd top.

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12 hours ago, Dalgety Bay TA said:

I go to watch Kelty most home games and the odd away (big game at Spartans today) and, usually, Hill O’Beath in the East Premier when Kelty further away. The East structure is now in good shape and starting to funnel the well set up progressive sides up the league. Adding to BSC as you mention, Bonnyrigg from LL and Penicuik and Broxburn from EP have all done well in the Scottish Cup.
 

The West coming on board would be a good thing. Keltys biggest gubbing this season was Auchinleck in the Scottish Cup....but 1600 there when live on TV shows there is a very good set up at both clubs. Kelty are averaging over 400 this season for home games, with minimal away fans, which is about middle of the road in comparison to League 2 sides.

Two things need to change I think to make it a real success.

At the moment entry to the LL is via a play off between East and South league winners, if South meet LL entry criteria. This is a mismatch. When Kelty won a close run East Premier with Hutchie Vale they then gubbed the South champions 10-0 on agg. The South can’t match the East in terms of quality of teams and should really be incorporated into any West set up. East has Berwick Rangers and Tweedmouth, West could take the Dumfries area sides.

 

Secondly, while it’s good there is finally a path to progression into league football and it’s not dependent on some failing side losing their status or at the mercy of a vote, it’s still stacked against the non-league sides. At the moment LL plays HL over 2 legs just for the right to have a 2 legged go at last team in League 2. 
 

There has to be better promotion prospects and more relegation threat. LL and HL winners should both come up. League 2 should possibly be increased to 16 sides. Even the East Premier/South to LL is only one promotion spot. Should be 2 down from LL and winners of East and (new) West promoted.

 

Agree with you, it’s big for Scottish football and gives forward thinking and well set up teams a real crack at progressing.

Who’s pumping the cash into diet cowden? Is it sustainable? The East Stirling model certainly isn’t as they’re fucked if and when they fail this season. 

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11 hours ago, macy37 said:

Who’s pumping the cash into diet cowden? Is it sustainable? The East Stirling model certainly isn’t as they’re fucked if and when they fail this season. 

The owner of Conservatory Converters.

The players wages and staff wages will certainly be more than what’s coming in each week. There is a deficit there. Some of the figures I’ve heard rumoured in wages are quite eye watering!

The club do generate a decent bit of money. Gate money, hospitality for practically all home league games was sold out within 5 days of the fixtures been announced, match ball sponsorship is £150 a game, I’ve been to that and the food is worth about £1.50! They have other stuff outside just the normal Saturday football game such as “hospitality” for big games midweek and on Sundays. People do take up these offers so more money raised.

Overall, it’s only sustainable if the CC is happy to keep on putting money in to subside the rest of the income. He is at the moment and is committed to it, they are slowly redeveloping the whole club. 350 seater stand built and opened last close season, covered terraced enclosure for behind one goal being built this summer to go with the two which run along side of the pitch. They have a U20s, some of whom have featured for first team and other age groups below that. 

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16 minutes ago, Dalgety Bay TA said:

The owner of Conservatory Converters.

The players wages and staff wages will certainly be more than what’s coming in each week. There is a deficit there. Some of the figures I’ve heard rumoured in wages are quite eye watering!

The club do generate a decent bit of money. Gate money, hospitality for practically all home league games was sold out within 5 days of the fixtures been announced, match ball sponsorship is £150 a game, I’ve been to that and the food is worth about £1.50! They have other stuff outside just the normal Saturday football game such as “hospitality” for big games midweek and on Sundays. People do take up these offers so more money raised.

Overall, it’s only sustainable if the CC is happy to keep on putting money in to subside the rest of the income. He is at the moment and is committed to it, they are slowly redeveloping the whole club. 350 seater stand built and opened last close season, covered terraced enclosure for behind one goal being built this summer to go with the two which run along side of the pitch. They have a U20s, some of whom have featured for first team and other age groups below that. 

Very interesting, thanks. What salary will Bazza be in alone? Berwick’s budget next season won’t top £50k and it probably won’t change until the ship is steadied. Berwick are down there for a while but the new board are doing a great job of attracting sponsors  back and new investors/sponsors. There’s also football men back which for me was the main factor of the club’s downfall over the last 4/5 years. Not one of the previous board knew the game. 

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9 minutes ago, macy37 said:

Very interesting, thanks. What salary will Bazza be in alone? Berwick’s budget next season won’t top £50k and it probably won’t change until the ship is steadied. Berwick are down there for a while but the new board are doing a great job of attracting sponsors  back and new investors/sponsors. There’s also football men back which for me was the main factor of the club’s downfall over the last 4/5 years. Not one of the previous board knew the game. 

I honestly haven’t a clue what Ferguson is on. He won’t be doing it out of the goodness of his heart, that’s for sure. He does seem quite “bought in” though. I met him at the match ball sponsorship my mates company did late last year and he is more than happy to come spend time with the fans. Even yesterday, 2.45, he was standing outside the changing rooms having a natter with some fans.

I know he had a mare at Clyde but I think their whole set up was a bit shambolic, I read stories of him having to phone round schools to try and get Astro training facilities at times. At Kelty he has the infrastructure and money obviously to give him a good base to build on.

 

I had read about the Berwick issues and also about a wee bit of a turnaround in fortunes of late, good to hear. The LL is only going to get harder if teams like Broxburn, Linlithgow, Bo’ness and the likes start seeping in. Add in one, or maybe both, of Bonnyrigg and Kelty still there and it will be a tough league to win. East Stirling have thrown the money and don’t look like making it out any time soon, will be harder again next season for them. Teams coming down are at at disadvantage IMO.

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2 hours ago, Dalgety Bay TA said:

I honestly haven’t a clue what Ferguson is on. He won’t be doing it out of the goodness of his heart, that’s for sure. He does seem quite “bought in” though. I met him at the match ball sponsorship my mates company did late last year and he is more than happy to come spend time with the fans. Even yesterday, 2.45, he was standing outside the changing rooms having a natter with some fans.

I know he had a mare at Clyde but I think their whole set up was a bit shambolic, I read stories of him having to phone round schools to try and get Astro training facilities at times. At Kelty he has the infrastructure and money obviously to give him a good base to build on.

 

I had read about the Berwick issues and also about a wee bit of a turnaround in fortunes of late, good to hear. The LL is only going to get harder if teams like Broxburn, Linlithgow, Bo’ness and the likes start seeping in. Add in one, or maybe both, of Bonnyrigg and Kelty still there and it will be a tough league to win. East Stirling have thrown the money and don’t look like making it out any time soon, will be harder again next season for them. Teams coming down are at at disadvantage IMO.

Do some of the players at Kelty also have jobs with CC?

Even teams like Penicuik and Tranent have decent investors,i think that the Bluebell,Crossgates and Hob are doing quite well with the budgets they have.

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The pyramid is a great idea but before it is expanded there really needs to be rules on finance and ground grading in place and set in stone first. There are many pitfalls in systems were a club can get a backer go through a few divisions and then fail. I follow a team in the English non-league and most rely on a sugar daddy of some sort. Most get involved with good intentions but the higher you go the more it costs. Most of Scotland's lower level clubs seem to be well run and financed the problem is will they be if they move into the pyramid. Your Auchinleck's of this world are doing fine as top dogs in the league they are playing in but will the support and sponsors hang around when they are not top dogs of the league they are in. Earlier this season I went to watch Inverkeithing play Bo'ness in some East of Scotland cup and it was played at a ground that was basically a park with a railing around it ( a lovely setting as it happens ) I know t is early days but two promotions and they could in theory be in the Lowland league. A question I would like to ask was anything out in place to stop someone buying a club and taking the place of another as in Airdrie and Clydebank?

Ian

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1 hour ago, Wullie Anderson said:

Do some of the players at Kelty also have jobs with CC?

Even teams like Penicuik and Tranent have decent investors,i think that the Bluebell,Crossgates and Hob are doing quite well with the budgets they have.

Yes they do Wullie. I know of at least 2, one of whom has been there for a few seasons now.

Crossgates have done really well considering about 4 seasons ago they had folded. I go and watch Haws quite often as well and they have a decent set-up...and a lovely park in the better weather. I was meant to be at Dundonald a few weeks ago but think that was the weekend most of the games got postponed. Will be up before the end of season.

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1 hour ago, hoofitharder said:

The pyramid is a great idea but before it is expanded there really needs to be rules on finance and ground grading in place and set in stone first. There are many pitfalls in systems were a club can get a backer go through a few divisions and then fail. I follow a team in the English non-league and most rely on a sugar daddy of some sort. Most get involved with good intentions but the higher you go the more it costs. Most of Scotland's lower level clubs seem to be well run and financed the problem is will they be if they move into the pyramid. Your Auchinleck's of this world are doing fine as top dogs in the league they are playing in but will the support and sponsors hang around when they are not top dogs of the league they are in. Earlier this season I went to watch Inverkeithing play Bo'ness in some East of Scotland cup and it was played at a ground that was basically a park with a railing around it ( a lovely setting as it happens ) I know t is early days but two promotions and they could in theory be in the Lowland league. A question I would like to ask was anything out in place to stop someone buying a club and taking the place of another as in Airdrie and Clydebank?

Ian

There is definitely strict criteria to get into the LL. Inverkeithing wouldn’t meet that. But this is only Inverkeithing’s second season as an adult football club, it’s been a local kids football club for a number of years. My youngest played at Ballast Bank for a couple of seasons at primary school, always bloody freezing there, even in summer. And yes it was a public park.

 

When Bonnyrigg won the East of Scotland play offs last season they had to meet a few certain criteria to get into the LL. They were initially rejected, possibly due to no floodlights, but appealed and had them installed in time before the start of season to have their promotion confirmed.

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32 minutes ago, Dalgety Bay TA said:

Yes they do Wullie. I know of at least 2, one of whom has been there for a few seasons now.

Crossgates have done really well considering about 4 seasons ago they had folded. I go and watch Haws quite often as well and they have a decent set-up...and a lovely park in the better weather. I was meant to be at Dundonald a few weeks ago but think that was the weekend most of the games got postponed. Will be up before the end of season.

Cheers.

Yes it's good to see what's happening at Crossgates.

Dundonald's park is really bad for water,something needs to be done.Last game i was at was at Crossgates in between xmas and new year when they blew a 3 goal lead.Score plenty goals but also leak them as well.

They also had to make ground improvements to get the full licence so they could compete in the Scottish.

Nice wee bar at Moorside for a beer or two.

I pay a tenner a month into what they call the Premier Club,that gets you into all home league games and also into the monthy prize draw.Prize money is about £320 just now i think.There are about 70 members now but i reckon half of them don't go to games ,they just like making their donation and having a chance in the draw.

Bonnyrigg away on Tuesday in the Football Nations Cup so going to try and get over to that.

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It's good to hear rules are in place re ground grading hopefully there are some for finance as well. In the English pyramid the ground grading is adhered to in fact clubs have been demoted for not completing work. I mentioned Inverkeithing earlier because ground wise the are a million miles from clubs in the division above. In the lower levels of the pyramid you can get a logjam because the teams in the top spots either fail the grading or don't have the infrastructure or finance to go up. Hopefully the league's committee or whatever sets the league's get it right. Travel is costly so the geographical split needs to be spot on.

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I don't understand the obsession with a pyramid setup in Scotland.  We already have more clubs than is sustainable for our population fighting over very limited resources.  The clubs at the top are there as they have the most resources.  

The top teams are the Old Firm which take up almost 50% of supporters in terms of attendances and dominate the next level clubs of Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs. You want to have restricted number of full time clubs to improve the product at the top level and improve the standard to make it more attractive.

Then have parallel leagues which people enjoy with local derbies, rivalry and history.

I watch Pollok on and off and their ground, setup, sustainable costs and games v teams like Arthurlie, Talbot etc bring in crowds larger than League 2 and League 1 games.  I struggle to see any attraction for fans or part time players over climbing the league and playing Peterhead.

Expanding the Scottish Cup was a great idea but having more clubs fighting over a tiny slice of a decreasing pie seems unsustainable with limited benefits.

 

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I think it's good to see these teams are looking to join the senior setup, in 2018 about 30 teams moved to the East of Scotland league and I'm sure they all now feel it was the correct thing to do. Look at Broxburn and Penicuik's Scottish cup runs this season for example. There was a year with "conferences" in order to help teams find their correct level which seen some heavy beatings handed out to the likes of Eyemouth from bigger teams like Bonnyrigg but this year the EoS Premier is a very good league where anyone can beta one another (Bo'ness are currently top but lost a game to Blackburn who are in the relegation zone).

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On 2/19/2020 at 8:24 AM, Alan said:

I don't understand the obsession with a pyramid setup in Scotland.  We already have more clubs than is sustainable for our population fighting over very limited resources.  The clubs at the top are there as they have the most resources.  

The top teams are the Old Firm which take up almost 50% of supporters in terms of attendances and dominate the next level clubs of Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs. You want to have restricted number of full time clubs to improve the product at the top level and improve the standard to make it more attractive.

Then have parallel leagues which people enjoy with local derbies, rivalry and history.

I watch Pollok on and off and their ground, setup, sustainable costs and games v teams like Arthurlie, Talbot etc bring in crowds larger than League 2 and League 1 games.  I struggle to see any attraction for fans or part time players over climbing the league and playing Peterhead.

Expanding the Scottish Cup was a great idea but having more clubs fighting over a tiny slice of a decreasing pie seems unsustainable with limited benefits.

 

As bad as his political stuff and mad Unionist  blethers, to be fair,  Alan is a top football geezer 😂👍

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On 2/19/2020 at 1:24 AM, Alan said:

I don't understand the obsession with a pyramid setup in Scotland.  We already have more clubs than is sustainable for our population fighting over very limited resources.  The clubs at the top are there as they have the most resources.  

The top teams are the Old Firm which take up almost 50% of supporters in terms of attendances and dominate the next level clubs of Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs. You want to have restricted number of full time clubs to improve the product at the top level and improve the standard to make it more attractive.

Then have parallel leagues which people enjoy with local derbies, rivalry and history.

I watch Pollok on and off and their ground, setup, sustainable costs and games v teams like Arthurlie, Talbot etc bring in crowds larger than League 2 and League 1 games.  I struggle to see any attraction for fans or part time players over climbing the league and playing Peterhead.

Expanding the Scottish Cup was a great idea but having more clubs fighting over a tiny slice of a decreasing pie seems unsustainable with limited benefits.

 

i see your point ; but Peterhead would be a good example / case study of being in highland league , and now is Scottish league for some time - what would the difference in crowds / finances look like ? they would have been competing regularly with Elgin , Huntly back then too -

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On 2/23/2020 at 1:41 AM, Wullie Anderson said:

Bonnyrigg 3 points behind Kelty with a game in hand.Big game on Saturday as the 2 face each other up in Kelty.

Cracking game today Wullie. 3-2 Kelty in front of a great crowd of 1,513.

Kelty fully deserved 3-1 HT lead. Dylan Eastons goal for second as good a strike as you will see all season. Lee Currie’s free kick for Bonnyrigg goal a belter too.

Bonnyrigg with the wind at their backs in second half got one back with about 30 mins too go. No idea how they didn’t get a third as there was some fair old stramashes in Kelty penalty box. They are a big old side. 
 

Sets it up well for next month at Bonnyrigg.

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