St Andrews United become Scottish Football Association members

St Andrews United have joined north east Fife neighbours Tayport as a member club of the Scottish Football Association.

By Ralph Mellon
Friday, 3rd June 2022, 9:57 am
St Andrews United in action against Dalkeith Thistle in their last match of the 2021-22 season, with Ross Cunningham, right, making a challenge (picture by John Stevenson)
St Andrews United in action against Dalkeith Thistle in their last match of the 2021-22 season, with Ross Cunningham, right, making a challenge (picture by John Stevenson)

The East of Scotland League side has made a successful bid to join the organisation, in common with their East Region Midlands League counterparts from the Canniepairt.

The SFA executive committee rubbed-stamped Saints’ request bid at a board meeting last week and they will become members of the game's governing body after the SFA’s annual general meeting on June 21.

The approval means United will play in the Scottish Cup next season as well as receiving additional annual payments, depending upon how well the national team performs.

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The club was informed by letter that it satisfied the minimum criteria as prescribed within the club licensing procedures and, as such, its application was granted.

Despite being relegated in 2021-22 to the new-look East of Scotland second division, St Andrews United are looking forward eagerly to the seasons ahead, with a new management team of Robbie Raeside and Steve Fallon in place and numerous developments on and off the park.

Last Saturday, they won their final league game of the campaign, defeating Dalkeith Thistle 2-1 and giving Raeside two wins out of two since his appointment.

The club’s co-chairman and secretary, Donald Gellatly, said special thanks were due to former chairman John Strachan, Leo Micallef and Dr Blair H. Smith for setting the ball rolling on the SFA membership bid as far back as 2018.

"To comply with strict regulations regarding membership/licensing standards, club officials have completed an extraordinary amount of paperwork throughout the last four years, setting out official policies as well as submitting audited accounts on an annual basis,” he said.

“We have also spent considerable sums upgrading facilities at the Clayton Caravan Park Recreation Ground, including the installation of floodlights, and we are required to have qualified first aiders on duty at home games.

"Once licensed and granted membership of the SFA, we will still be required to keep on top of staff CPD as well as improving disability access but the rewards ought to be huge, especially if the players enjoy a wee run in the Scottish from time to time.”

Gellatly added: “Back in 2018, the non-league game in Scotland was torn apart as far-sighted club committees switched their sides from the junior grade to the senior pyramid.

"St Andrews United was one of the first clubs to make the move but performances on the park perhaps suffered as long-term gains were made behind the scenes.

"With a solid foundation, plus a strong committee and new coaches in place, we are now in a position to start making real progress on the park.

"We can certainly take inspiration from the likes of Kelty Hearts and Tranent as we attempt to climb the pyramid and we congratulate all of the other clubs who are gaining SFA membership this summer.

"There is no question that Scottish football will benefit from a strong pyramid full of licensed clubs and St Andrews United is proud to play a small part in the game's development.

“We would like to thank everybody at Hampden, especially the gents at the licensing department, for their help and support throughout a long and difficult application process.

"Here's to a bright future for Saints and Scottish non-league football, so why not come along next season and enjoy the ride?”