Alex McDowall Exclusive: Way Ahead at the Football Central League

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.

Season 2021-2022

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

Glasgow Sunday Amateur Football League: Season 2008-2009

Three Individual Division Champions were presented with their trophies at the 30tn Anniversary of the Glasgow Sunday Amateur Football League, writes Tom Scott.

A Speakers Night function formed the back drop, and was attended by top-table Officials from the Scottish Amateur Football Association.

The respective winners were: Castlemilk Dynamo (Premier Division); Provanmill Thistle. (First Division), and Westhill (Second Division)

Headline Makers Revisited (March 2009)

Glasgow Sunday Amateur Football League made the Quarter-Final ballot in three Cup competitions. writes Tom Scott.

For those who have followed Amateur Football over many years, some of the club names coming up will generate great memories.

Scoreboard Sports Trophy – Centaur v Castlemilk Dynamo: Easthall Star v Auchengill; Glasgow East v Westhill; Castlemilk United v Haghill.

Consolation Scoreboard Sports Trophy – Rutherglen Vultures v Millbrae; Vale of Leven v Tullichewan; The Ritz v JML Accies; Budhill v Renton.

Consolation Domino Cars League Cup – Cardowan United v Budhill; Milton v Castlemilk Thistle; Westhill v Rutherglen Vultures; Haghill v Easthall Star.

Meanwhile, two games were arranged in the Inter- League Competition:

Central Scottish AFL v Ayrshire (March 8) and Ayrshire v Scottish Amateur Football League. (March 22).

Around The Amateur Football Scene (22/02/2021)

SAFN Chief Writer Tom Scott takes his first look of the week at what is happening around some Clubs.

Giffnock Soccer Centre Over-35s will commence their “Virtual Training” and schedules will be sent out weekly for everyone to participate in.

Tollcross Thistle AFC have confirmed a Jackpot of £6400 for the latest Last Man Standing Competition. Absolutely outstanding effort.

The best of luck to everyone.

Scott McSharry (Hillington AFC) is carrying out 5k work on a daily basis during March to raise money for Radio Clyde’s Cash For Kids.

Overlee Colts FC, who play in the Football Central Sunday AFL (Central Division), have received new kits sponsored by Contract Building Services Ltd, and supplied through TTL Ltd.

Around The Amateur Football Scene (13/02/2021)

SAFN Chief Writer Tom Scott takes a Saturday look around the Amateur Football Scene.

West Park United Amateurs, under Manager Iain Kennedy are in the look-out for committed, quality players.

The Coaches are John Black and Gus Collins.

Games will take place on a Saturday afternoon, while training sessions are planned for twice a week.

Friday (February 12) marked two years exactly since Dennistoun Thistle first kicked a ball. Dennistoun play in the SECL.

Friday, February 19 will be the launch pad of the next Tollcross Thistle AFC Last Man Standing Competition. Indications are the Jackpot could be in the region of £5000.

A Video Camera has been purchased to promote Clubs and FC Lanarkshire Division games. The aim is to get even more people involved in Amateur Football. I understand new promotional ideas could be in the pipeline. Muirhouse Thistle have been accepted into the FC Lanarkshire Division.

Dalziel Football have set- up a February Challenge which will involve 21 players and Management raising cash in support of Mental Health.

Giffnock Soccer Centre Over-35s will commence their “Virtual” Training schedules week commencing 22nd February.

Stewarton United still have two people in their Last Man Standing Competition. The prize pot stands at over £420.

YOUR CLUB could feature here. Why not make Contact with Tom Scott through the usual communication channels. Photographs of the team are always welcome.

SAFA Spotlight On: Football Central

SAFN Chief Writer Tom Scott has been taking a look at the progress being made by the Football Central Over-35s Section, plus their focus on Sunday games.

FOOTBALL CENTRAL OVER-35s

In 2015, President Alex McDowall and Paul Davies started an Over -35s League to help continue the pathway and allow some of the older players to retain interest.

Very quickly the Officials brought Andy Dykes and Danny Cameron on board.

They had 8 clubs in their first season, but the idea clearly gained plenty of interest, and as the SIXTH season approaches, Membership is around 64 clubs with more showing interest.

Alex McDowall said “For next season, we have also set – up an Over 40s Division, and are looking at implanting a 45s at some point.”

“Our league continues to grow and we must look at other ways if we keep growing.”

EASTHALL STAR FC Over-35s …..Winning the Football Central League Championship.

FOOTBALL CENTRAL SUNDAY LEAGUE

They had hoped to be looking at starting back by now, but clearly that has not happened due to continued restrictions.

The next target could be March but only time will tell on that deadline.

Alex added “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.”

SAFN will feature any announcement on developments once President Alex McDowall releases official details.

Around The Amateur Football Scene (07/02/2021)

SAFN Chief Writer Tom Scott takes a weekend look at the Amateur Football scene.

The majority of clubs in the Glasgow Colleges Football Association have voted (in favour) on a Proposal to finish the current season 2020-2021 completely, and re-start in August ( hopefully ) with the 2021-2022 campaign.

Muirhouse Thistle have been accepted into the Football Central Lanarkshire Division.

I understand “the lads are excited to be involved with the new exciting League.”

Football Central are going to give Summer Football a two-year trial.

Airdrie-based Monklands Thistle are being sponsored by JGGS, and are willing to run the rule over new players.

Back in May, 2020 – amidst the current pandemic – Southside Spartans announced winners of their Player Awards. One them featured Pete Carr, who finished Top Goalscorer for the fifth consecutive season.

Amateur Summer Football – The Argument For And Against

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.”