Now may be the time to introduce summer football

Tayport manager Charlie King
Tayport manager Charlie King

The area’s three junior sides say they are open to the idea of reconstruction and the possibility of summer football, after a spate of recent call-offs.

The fixture card was completely wiped out last weekend, with pitches left under thick piles of snow.

Some may play this Saturday, but the reality is, for a lot of sides, their fixture list is already too congested with just a few months of the season to go.

The SJFA is ready to step in, with the junior game’s governing body set to discuss a switch away from the current calendar at its next management meeting.

If agreed, the proposal could see junior clubs start their season in March and play throughout the summer months.

Tayport, St Andrews United and Newburgh are due to be back in action this weekend.

‘Port, who have played just 17 league games this campaign, are scheduled to face Bathgate (see p55) – a side they’ve yet to play this season because of a succession of postponements.

With the backlog of games piling up on the Canniepairt team, the side’s boss, Charlie King, says it’s time the junior game shifted its season.

“It’s something everyone has an opinion on but I think it’s time we stopped talking and did something about it,” he said.

“If we (the juniors) are to be used as guinea pigs for summer football, I don’t care. Someone just needs to make it happen.”

Despite also not having played for some weeks, St Andrews United have been one of the lucky ones this season, managing to play 22 league games.

But, with fellow East Premier League sides Fauldhouse and Thornton Hibs having played just 14 and 15 games respectively, United, who are battling for promotion, face a real possibility of finishing their campaign weeks ahead of others.

United vice-chairman Blair Smith says their position is equally as difficult.

“A particular feature for St Andrews is that, often pitches elsewhere are unplayable but our micro-climate allows our home games to go ahead.

“This means we have played more games this season than anyone else in the division, and most of our remaining fixtures are away games The rest of the season is, therefore, unbalanced for us,” he said.

“If a switch to summer football were suggested, we would certainly take the suggestion seriously and discuss it in the committee, and with players, coaches and fans.”

Newburgh Juniors have already been pro-active in their efforts for a restructure and recently wrote to the east region with a suggestion.

The club is proposing the league schedule into their fixture list guaranteed early and late in the season midweek games, potentially to allow a winter break to be facilitated.

Graham Strachan, from the club, added: “We feel we can attract more spectators, our customers, to come and watch a game midweek in the early or late summer than we can on a wet, cold winter Saturday.

“We did not suggest how many fixtures or dates for the break, as this would require further discussion. As it stands, Newburgh did not have any fixture between November 18 and January 11.

“We do, however, continue training twice a week throughout this period, so we have costs being incurred for facilities and player expenses, so it is a really difficult time.”