I am in no doubt that football supporters across the lower SPFL Leagues will be experiencing enormous frustration and indeed puzzlement as to why it has taken such an inordinate time, since Scottish Government approved a resumption, to formally sign off on the rescheduling of fixtures, including how many and the “rules of engagement”.
The frustration is only heightened by knowing that at the time of “going to press” we only have formal confirmation of the first two fixtures (Brechin City H 20/3 and Elgin City A 27/3) – without the knowledge as to how the season will conclude. With this in mind, I believe the time has come, indeed passed, to provide some background as to why we are where we are! Please be assured there is no intention of being critical of any of our fellow SPFL2 Clubs. Indeed throughout this drawn-out process, the Club Board has, without exception, endeavoured to take account of the views of our fellow SPFL2 Clubs in reaching our decisions on how best to move forward and to be as supportive as possible.
Suspension of Football below the Championship – 11 January
Setting aside but without in any shape or form trivializing the debate as to whether football should be being played at all during the pandemic, Stirling Albion was bitterly disappointed that the SFA Board decision was taken without any prior consultation with the clubs affected, particularly with reference to whether they would have considered PCR testing in line with the Championship.
Approval to Return to Training / Playing – 2 March
Since the announcement, as you will be aware from media coverage, numerous options in respect of the number of games that should be played to complete the SPFL2 season have been floated. All of these (and more!) have been fully explored by the 10 Clubs, invariably either alongside or in full consultation with the SPFL1 Clubs.
Despite the inevitable differences of opinion there has been and remains a remarkable, perhaps even unique, solidarity between every club across both leagues.
Stirling Albion’s preference for completing the season was and remains to play 18 games plus play-offs. However, as stated above, we have endeavoured to take account of the circumstances facing others and in doing so, willingly moved our stance to accommodate the proposal to play 22 games (including a Top/Bottom 5 split at 18). Aside from our willingness to support our colleagues, it is of course relevant that any proposal had to achieve a minimum of 8 votes within the league to effect change.
I believe we are very close to formal sign off to the way forward and barring an unexpected twist arising, I would anticipate this to be ratified without undue delay.
Behind the scenes, we are gearing up in preparation for the Brechin game – including live streaming! Needless to say Kevin, his backroom staff and the players cannot wait for kick off and there’s a real feel-good factor at training, despite the appalling weather conditions!
C’mon the Binos!