Camelon and Dunipace have say on summer football switch

Blizzards, fixture backlogs and the Beast from the East have prompted Junior football chiefs into talks which could potentially drive the grade towards a summer season following another campaign of weather carnage.

Friday, 9th March 2018, 10:55 am
Updated Friday, 9th March 2018, 11:53 am
Carmuirs Park was, like many others, under a blanket of snow last week. Picture Michael Gillen.

A paper drafted by the SJFA will be discussed at their next management meeting looking at a switch away from the current calendar. Discussions are at an early stage but up for debate is the prospect of the season running through May, June, July and August with March the likely start point.

SJFA chief Tom Johnston said: “Summer football is on our agenda right now but it’s not something that will happen overnight. We will continue to discuss the matter before putting it to the clubs. There are a multitude of issues and ponderables that need to be taken into account.

“For instance a lot of teams at this grade play on council-owned parks so how would that affect them? There are lots of things to be considered but certainly this particular season has punished the clubs and that is why we have decided to revisit the issue.”

Dunipace have made good use of this sign over recent seasons... but would a summer season make a difference? Picture John Devlin

Eight years ago weeks of heavy snow saw the SJFA step in to help with the postponement crisis by handing out £160,000 of grants to member clubs. But the governing body is not in a position to do so again, admitted Johnston. “This can’t be far off being the worst season on record for postponements,” he said.

“But you can’t just say we WILL move to a summer season.

“It still splits opinion and if you asked someone today they would say yes but ask them again in August and that answer might very well be no.”

Also up for debate is the juniors’ participation in the pyramid system and just this week both Clydebank Juniors and Dalkeith Thistle announced they would be leaving the SJFA to take this path in the hope of senior football.

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Dunipace boss Gary McMillan is also a fan of the pyramid system but gives the idea of summer football the cold shoulder: “I realise this is an emotive topic and there are different opinions but I am not an advocate of summer football.

“Having spent nearly three years in the Lowland league (at Cumbernauld Colts), it is my belief that Junior and Senior football as grades would be better engaged together and working towards a unified non-league as part of an overall pyramid structure.

“Moving to summer football, in my opinion, would be a further divergence of junior and seniors. We already have enough to work through without adding something so fundamental as differing playing calendars that would make it more difficult.”

Camelon Juniors’ boss Gordon Herd is another who is not an advocate of summer football: “It’s a hard one, especially with the juniors. Summer is the time people like to spend with the family for holidays etc. so it’s a big commitment for some of the boys. Personally I think the current set up is OK it’s just when we get freak weather like this it doesn’t help.”

Dunipace have made good use of this sign over recent seasons... but would a summer season make a difference? Picture John Devlin

It was snowing on Tuesday but it’s all melting quickly this week.

If all is well Camelon will entertain leaders Bonnyrigg Rose in an East Superleague game at Carmuirs Park (2.30 p.m.) and Dunipace will also have home advantage for the visit of Lanark United in the Central Second Division (2 p.m.).

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