Thursday, July 3, 2008

And the Winner is...

The SFL voted today on which team would replace Gretna. Early favorites Spartans of Edinburgh polled poorly and dropped out. Finally, in the third round of voting, with all of the Central Belt teams having dropped out, it was down to Annan Athletic in the South and Cove Rangers in the North. Annan Athletic won the vote 17 to 12.

What I labeled as, at best, a sentimental choice won out in the end. It seems that there were four factors leading up to their admission.
1) Location-This team is located in the under-represented South of the country, where Gretna were also from. The sentiment here is that this area had lost a team, and needed another team to replace it.
2) Stadium-This may have been the top reason for Annan's inclusion. While the other four teams had various approvals in place for expansion, Annan's ground was the only one deemed immediately up to snuff and ready for play.
3) Central Belt glut-When Edinburgh City joined the race, that made for 3 of 5 squads in the Lothian area running for inclusion. Presumably, though vote totals have not been released yet, these three squads split early vote totals causing them all to drop out.
4) Anti-Northern Bias-So when it came down to Annan and Cove Rangers, teams took into account travel distances and cost, and that had been Cove Rangers achilles heel from the start. Traditionally, Northern squads have had a tough time gaining entry into the league, and this time was no different.

So, the club that enters the league is the one that had the poorest season of all the contenders last term, finishing seventh in the East of Scotland league, behind all of their Edinburgh-area counterparts, as well as Cove, who finished first in the parallel Highland League. There has been some mention of an England-style non-league promotion into the SFL in the coming years, which would have favored Cove or the non-running Whitehill Welfare this past season. However, since any such setup would require the approval of member clubs, don't look for a unanimous passing any time soon.


The Fan's Attic said...

In Scottish football I thought the winners were always Celtic or Rangers.

Precious Roy said...

In Scottish football I thought the winners were always crap.


Stupid comments won't accept the 's' tag...

ü75 said...

Only for the last 25 years. Come on, have some perspective.

Scott @ loveandgarbage said...

Don't forget the financial aspect of the vote. Annan (as far as I'm aware) had the best financial position of the clubs applying - and this is surely relevant when looking at a replacement for Gretna. As for on-field success has in the past two years won the premier non-league Cup competition.