It was 7th March when we last kicked a ball in earnest, a 5-2 win at home to Dundee North End. That was more than eight months ago and notwithstanding the on-going pandemic, we’re scheduled to be back in competitive action at Blairgowrie on Saturday, albeit behind closed doors.
What a spring/summer/autumn it’s been for football at all levels.
The SPFL had its well documented issues following the pandemic-enforced early shut down while at both Junior and at base of the pyramid levels, there have been no shortage of issues either. During the lockdown the entire complement of SJFA West Region clubs jumped ship to form the West of Scotland League to allow entry to the Scottish Football Pyramid. This move created the bizarre situation whereby three and potentially all four Scottish Junior Cup semi-finalists from last season, are no longer playing Junior football. There was a further complication when two of these clubs, Pollok and Auchinleck Talbot, decided to pull out of football altogether during the current season.
A number of other West of Scotland League clubs have followed suit. Therefore from the original complement of 67 clubs, the 2020/21 season, which got underway back in October, will continue with only 48 clubs in a re-jigged fixture card.
The term ‘Junior’, particularly in modern times, has served to confuse the casual observer. Not just the casual observer, it would seem. In the Sunday Post football section, a column headed ‘Central Juniors’ went on to detail the aforementioned West of Scotland League [Senior] games played on Saturday past. Central Juniors? No wonder there is confusion!
Tayport FC is now in the unique situation of being the only Junior club left in the Kingdom of Fife. And, to think, when the Fife & Lothians Cup was contested, Tayport FC was barred from entry!
When the Super Leagues came into being in 2002, there were 166 Junior clubs in the three Regions. This season there are only 60 Junior clubs in the country, shared between two Regions, North and East, with 30 clubs in each. Both Regions are set to kick off this Saturday.
The East Region is split into two leagues, sponsored by McBookie.com, on a geographical basis. The East Region Lothians League has 13 clubs, who will play each other twice, home and away. The other 17 clubs are in the East Region Tayside League and will play each other only once. That’s what the competition is entitled in the 2020/2021 East Region handbook.
The SJFA’s East Region website, however, entitles the competitions both McBookie.com East Super League North & McBookie.com East Super League South as well as McBookie.com East Region Premiership North & McBookie.com East Region Premiership South, so take your pick!
There would appear to be no provision for the respective winners of North and South to play off in order to be crowned East Region Champions.
It’s also all change at the top of the SJFA as the following announcement advises…
The SJFA Management Committee have confirmed replacements for Tom Johnston (Secretary) and Iain McQueen (Assistant Secretary/Treasurer) who will both be leaving their Roles on 30th November 2020.
Following on from a series of meetings, the Management Committee have agreed to appoint Alex McDowall as Tom Johnston’s replacement, assisted by John Fyfe.
Alex McDowall will be Chief Operating Officer and John Fyfe will be Assistant Secretary/Treasurer.
In order to accept this neutral position, Alex McDowall stood down as Chairman of Gartcairn Football Club [Airdrie] with immediate effect.
Both will take up these roles from 1st December 2020.
John Fyfe was former interim general secretary of the West Region Junior FA
Tom Johnston’s name, of course, is synonymous with Junior football, having been at the helm of the SJFA for many years. Tayport FC wishes Tom and Iain well in their retirement.