President Alex McDowall reveals exclusively to Scottish Amateur Football News ambitious plans at the Football Central League where they are set to move with a two-year trial for Summer Football, writes Tom Scott.
Premier of 10 or 12
“Four all in Divisions. As everyone will come back equal, we felt it right to form four Divisions below the Premier to fill these Divisions. It’s an all-in draw ie… First out is Conference A, second out is Conference B etc.. until all teams are placed in a Division.”
Seasonal League of 12 or 16.
“Seasonal League – only League games getting winner by December. If 16, it will require 6 midweek fixtures.”
“Looking to start no later than first of June.”
“Premier Division is made of teams who have put themselves forward.”
“The aim is two relegation spots, with four coming up from Divisions at end of season.”
“The remaining teams will form three or four Divisions, probably with at least 10 in each League.”
“The four winners will be promoted to Premier the following season , the next three in each along with the two relegated will form a 14-team Championship for season 2022- 2023.”
“The remaining teams will go back into the pot of 32 for following season.”
“The winners of the 4 Leagues under the Premier will participate in an end of season Cup Knock Out competition, A v B and C v D.”
“The winner of the Final will then play the Premier Champions in a Charity Shield season opener.”
“Cup Competitions are on the back burner till at least 50% of League games are played. This will enable us to determine winners if League needs to stop for any reason.”
“League looking to kick off 1st or 2nd week in July.”
“No plans for midweek fixtures, although Clubs can pull at least one game forward if needed.”
“No free weeks given.”
“By December, we will look at forming a second calendar year League, with the aim of starting end of April.”
“This is required due to the transition from normal League season to calendar season.”
“Normal calendar season will run from 1st March till November 30th.”
“If any other teams wish to put themselves forward for Premier, pm me within next seven days.”
“If any team would like to move to calendar league…generally March to November, pm me within next seven days.”
Please note, participation in this Division stops you from entering main League
When the Football Central Sunday’s Management Committee, via Zoom Meeting, unanimously agreed to trial “Summer Football” for two years earlier this week, the decision was met within 24 hours by numerous opinions in the For and Against Camps, writes Tom Scott.
I broke the news on Tuesday morning that 2021 and 2022 will be used as a tester in the new Football Central Lanarkshire Division. If this season goes ahead, the finishing line will be November.
Season 2022 would operate between February and November Football Central Sunday’s President Alex McDowall said “We believe this is a natural step in the development of Football Central, and continues the progression.”
I can now exclusively reveal Motherwell Villa AFC Manager Joe Stafford was the man behind what could be a major game- changer in Amateur Football circles, and he was only too willing to give me the inside story on the build-up to Monday’s decision.
He said: “I approached Alex and the guys at Football Central last year to create a new Division around Lanarkshire ,and the idea at that time was for it to be played in the Summer months. We kept it Winter due to time constraints really, but Covid-19 got us thinking again. The idea came about chatting with the Committee, and then running it past the teams. I think that Amateur Football being played in the Summer months is a great idea due to the horrible weather we do get in Scotland, but also helps with players being more involved in football over decent or at least better weather.”
“We have looked at a few stumbling blocks we may come across with the idea, and do have workarounds for them. One of the big stumbling blocks that we came across – and we have had feedback about – was players going on holiday. We have some great football heads on the Committee at Football Central, and also really switched on to help us plan everything ahead. Being able to plan the Divisions fixtures in advance can let the managers run their team better and more proactively, so they can say to players we have games here and here for example, but then can request for a change of fixture to a midweek on that to help.”
“We have seen a lot of positives in the idea of moving our season to cover the Summer months. Biggest positive is the weather. Over the past 4 years of running Motherwell Villa AFC, we would on some occasions not get our season started back after winter until end of January / February. One big thing I noticed is a lot of teams would fold around this time due to not being able to field a team. Much of this is due to people who did not want to get out on a freezing cold Sunday Morning to play football , but other reasons are a lot of guys work nights , or happen to be out on a Saturday night, which stops a player getting up on the Sunday to run about a park.”
“Having December and January off will give a massive boost to teams we believe as they can stop properly, and rather than coming back to the middle of a season, they are starting on a complete fresh, new season feeling as such. This is massive I believe as teams are not looking at 6/7 months to then start fresh they are looking positively at 2 months.”
“Another big push is people want to get fit and get back into football in the New Year. You always see an influx of people looking for new teams in January, but sometimes teams don’t want to change too much if looking at going for a trophy.”
“Another bonus for lads on a Sunday is being able to go to have a beer after games in good weather. This would be more welcomed by people in good weather after playing a game rather than in winter. If your freezing cold the last thing you want to do is go for a beer, whereas good weather changes that, and in turn I believe might help Clubs with sponsorship.”
“Just now I feel a lot of people want to play in the Summer Pre-Season. Teams play twice, sometimes 3 times a week, rather than training. With the Lanarkshire League, we can make that happen, but competitive football being on offer. Having lads out kicking a ball about, keeping fit both mentally and physically, is a plus point for me also.”
Central Scottish AFL Over-35s Match Secretary Chris Wilson gives Scottish Amateur Football News followers the lowdown on his appointment and how the 2018 Scottish Cup campaign unfolded, writes Tom Scott.
The Competition started 15-17th June, and ended on Friday, 12th October 2018. Possil YM have made the Cup their pride and joy. The 2018 Final saw them retain the Cup, and overall they have been three-time winners.
Chris Wilson takes up the Story……..
The Road to a Scottish Cup Final for everyone Over 35
I knew little about the over 35s Scottish Cup set up other than it had been set up by Alex McDowell from the Friday Night Football Central and he was stepping down from the role of Match Secretary at the end of the 2017 competition. I was approached by the Scottish Amateur FA to see if I wanted to take over from Alex and as I had been involved in the 35s set up in the Central Scottish AFL I thought why not. I knew I had big shoes to fill by taking over from Alex but I would give it a go.
Applications for the tournament went out and that season we had 63 clubs from across six Leagues. The bulk of which were from the Friday Night Central with 47 entries and the rest of the entries made up from the Central Scottish AFL, Ayrshire AFL, South East and Lothian and Edinburgh Leagues.
The first round was scheduled to be played over the weekend of 15th to 17th June as teams either played on a Friday night or a Sunday afternoon.
Early favourites were Cup Holders Possil YM from the Friday night Central League, who had came through with a 1st round away victory over fellow Friday night Northside FC. Also in with a good shot were Cumbernauld Colts from the Central Scottish AFL who had a good few ex professionals on their books. Colts came through the 1st round home win against St Peters Paisley.
The 2nd round would keep both clubs apart with Possil YM again away to a very strong Corkerhill FC and Cumbernauld Colts at home again to Clyde Valley Vets FC.
It would take penalties to separate Corkerhill and Possil YM with YM winning 2 – 3 in a penalty shootout. Cumbernauld Colts however had a slightly easier win through to the third round winning 6 – 3 however I know the game was tighter than the score looks.
The 3rd round draw for the Cup would see Possil YM with their first home tie of the competition and they would ultimately play Eastercraigs FC who were waiting on the outcome of an appeal as Glasgow Bar had player an underage outfield player, allowed in the Friday Night Central League but against the rules of this competition. Cumbernauld would have another home tie against Veiwfield FC.
With both clubs coming through the 3rd round they are in the pot for the Quarter Final draw, with Possil YM drawn away yet again to Easthall Star FC and Cumbernauld Colts also away to Bishopton FC. Both clubs come through their ties with good victories which sees them join Penileee FC and Stenhousemuir FC in the Semi Final Draw.
Both Semi Final ties were scheduled for the same night Friday 28th September 2018 at Dalziel Park 7.30 KO. The draw was as follows.
Penilee FC v Possil YM FC
Stenhousemuir FC v Cumbernauld Colts FC
Both Semi Finals were hard fought but fair games, it is never easy to come so far and then lose out in the Semi Final of any competition but both Possil and Cumbernauld took the spoils on the night and progressed through to the final which would be held at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium on Friday 12th October 2018. On the night it was a close affair and after 90 minutes both side could not be separated with a goal apiece.
With no extra time due to dare I say age the dreaded penalties loomed. It was not to be Cumbernauld’s evening as they were beaten in the end by some fine goal keeping. Possil YM were victorious in the end and lifted the cup for the 2nd time.
I have to say that my first season as match secretary of this competition was an enjoyable experience and the football was played at a very high and passionate manner, and I was already looking forward to next season’s competition and hope for more entries.
I would like to end with thanking all the clubs, and officials for their help and also to the match officials who helped me throughout all the rounds. Like them or loath them, but without them we would have no football.
Photographs also kindly provided by Mr Chris Wilson.
Summer Football is set for a two- year trial in the Football Central Sundays set-up, writes Tom Scott. President Alex McDowall confirmed the stunning news late last night.
He revealed “At the Football Central Management Committee Meeting via Zoom tonight (Monday), it was unanimously agreed to trial “summer football” in our new Lanarkshire Division for two years, 2021 and 2022.
“This effectively means that when we get to start this season, we start and go through to November. Season 2022 will start February and end November.”
“We believe this is a natural step in the development of Football Central and continues the progression.”
“If this is successful, we aim to speak to our clubs about changing every Division over to play February to November. Clearly, there are a number of obstacles to overcome but we are aware of what some of them may be.”
“To finish, we have space for 6 teams from within the “ML” post code to participate in this Division. Any established teams looking to move leagues to join this exciting set-up please contact myself Alex McDowall or Joe Stafford direct in the first instance. If suitable, Clubs must formally apply by 28th February but preferably sooner.”
“There are a number of delays, but if an SAFA established team is looking to move these will be discussed.”
SAFN Chief Writer Tom Scott is back with his latest Feature whereby he looks at an essential part of running any organisation – SPONSORSHIP. Having previously highlighted the great part sponsorship has played within the Strathclyde Saturday Morning AFL, Tom now turns his attention to the Football Central Sunday.
President Alex McDowall revealed “Our main sponsor is Steven McNab and The Home Team, who specialise in Mortgages, Insurances, and Home Improvements.
“There is a link to THT Scotland Ltd Facebook.”
“Cutting Edge Engravers (Rutherglen) have been sponsoring our Cups, while Glasgow- based Mulheron Scaffolding Services Ltd have donated to our League and I have provided their individual Facebook Section.”
“We as a League greatly-appreciate the help we have been receiving from every single sponsor.”
Even before the terrible onset of Covid-19, sponsors were an essential and hugely important part of helping Scottish Amateur Football clubs and the organisations who retain their membership, writes Tom Scott.
Now more than ever the small corner shop, the village store, a local garage, pub, or major company/ businesses could be the difference between clubs surviving or going to the wall once current pandemic measures are overturned.
In a brand new SAFN Series I will be posing the question “A SPONSOR IN YOUR LEAGUE- WHO ARE THEY?”
Strathclyde Saturday Morning Amateur Football League President & Treasurer Mr Andy Bryant has kindly offered us exclusive access to every sponsor in his organisation. Paving the way for others to follow is sponsor ALEX McDOWALL.
Said Andy “The league’s longest supporters have been Alex McDowall and his family businesses.”
“Firstly, Harleys Sky Bar in Rutherglen Main Street, then other restaurants, and now, Legends Bar Diner, in Cambuslang.”
“Alex has sponsored several things, along with the Annual Dinner, the Harley’s Group have sponsored Divisions and Cups, and currently sponsor the Development Section of the League”
“Alex is also a Former Chairman of the League, as well as the President of the Football Central Leagues”
Andy Bryant, President & Treasurer, Strathclyde Saturday Morning AFL.
SAFN Chief Writer Tom Scott has been taking a look at the progress being made by the Football Central Over-35s, plus their focus on Sunday games, which like everything else has been pushed into the background by Covid-19.
President Alex McDowall reveals the background and progress within both organisations.
FOOTBALL CENTRAL OVER-35s:
“In 2015, myself (Alex McDowall) and Paul Davies started an Over -35s League to help continue the pathway, and allow some of us older guys to kick a ball again. Very quickly we pulled Andy Dykes and Danny Cameron on board.”
“We had 8 clubs in the first season , but very quickly it gained loads of interest and as we are about to enter our SIXTH season, we currently sit at 64 clubs with more showing interest.”
“For next season, we have also set – up an Over 40s Division, and looking at implanting a 45s at some point.”
“Our league continues to grow and we must look at other days if we keep growing.”
FOOTBALL CENTRAL SUNDAY LEAGUE:
“We had hoped to be looking at starting back at some point this month, but clearly that’s not going to happen.”
“Our next target is March but again who knows?”
“It’s clear there will not be time to play Leagues but we’re looking at the possibility of splitting the Leagues set – up just now to possibly determine if we can form something for next season.”
“We will keep you updated as much as we can – when we can.”
“On a slightly different note, the SAFA were given a £100,000 grant from the Scottish Government and hopefully it will be split equally between 1050 clubs – hopefully covering fees for next season.”
Glasgow Sunday Amateur Football League officials were expecting an intake of new clubs during the summer of 2008, writes Tom Scott.
A mini Recruitment Campaign had already produced four very interested parties, who were invited to attend the league’s monthly at Hampden Park.
League Secretary Alex McDowall was not in a position to give me the names of the potential newcomers, but he revealed the exact number would depend on those in Membership dropping out at the end of the 2007- 2008 campaign.
Meanwhile, the GSAFL were handed a boost when two clubs holders Finnart AFC and Castlemilk Dynamo, were kept apart in the draw for the Semi-Finals of the Scottish Sunday Trophy.
Awaiting the pair were two clubs highly rated in the Dundee Sunday Morning League.
Finnart were paired against Dundee Social Club and Dynamo’s opponents were Cutty Sark
AYRSHIRE TEST: Elsewhere, Blochairn Star landed Ayrshire opposition in the Quarter-Finals of the Glasgow Cup Star fresh from the 5-0 thumping of hosts Cumbernauld Rovers, came out the ballot against the winner of a Second Round clash between Kilmarnock Balmoral and Caledonian FC.