Want to read more?
We value our content and access to our full site is only available with a subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device. In addition, your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.
Just want to read one issue? No problem you can subscribe for just one week (or longer if you wish).
technical support? Click here
Fort William FC boss Calum MacLean says he has a lot to think about when it comes to possibly continuing as the Claggan Park club’s manager next season.
Speaking to the Lochaber Times in the wake of comments elsewhere on the pros and cons of introducing relegation from the Highland League, MacLean expressed frustration with the way the current season had gone before the shutdown due to coronavirus.
Fort still had eight games in hand by the mid-March halt of any further league action and MacLean is convinced his players were on course to lift themselves away from the bottom of the table if the public health emergency had not unleashed chaos across the sporting calendar.
The league currently has 17 teams and MacLean feels it might be beneficial if the set-up was restructured to give other clubs, from either the North Caledonian League or North Region Superleague, the opportunity to step up.
Promotion has never existed as a way into the Highland League, with teams instead having to apply for a place in the division.
However, MacLean says he has long harboured the feeling there are people who would prefer it if the Claggan Park outfit were ousted from the league altogether and relegation might be looked at as a way of achieving this.
‘Because there is so much travel involved for many of the sides to come to us for games, I think plenty would like to see us out of the league – I’ve thought that for years,’ he told the Lochaber Times this week.
But he thinks if there are teams that would opt for a relegation system to be put in place, they might be in for shock: ‘They need to be careful what they wish for because I don’t think it is by any means certain we’d be the ones going down.’
He admits to frustration with so many games at Claggan Park being switched to opposition grounds due to Fort’s ground being unplayable in bad weather.
‘There were so many games we had to play away and these were meant to be home games for us and we ended at the other side at their ground when we’d already played them there,’ said MacLean.
Asked if he wants to be the one leading Fort into the new season and build on some decent performances from this season’s albeit truncated fixture list, the ever-honest and plain speaking MacLean admitted there was a lot to think about.
‘To be honest I didn’t enjoy having to play so many away games. I was away nearly every weekend. I’ve got a daughter, so didn’t get to see very much of her. I don’t know yet about next season. That’s something the club and I will have to speak about.
‘We’d need to see what players we are going to get for a start. But I don’t know yet what the club’s thoughts are as yet, so we’ll see.
‘Typically though, we are getting some good weather now that would have let us play our remaining games and I know we wouldn’t have been bottom of the league by the time we were finished.’
FORT FC MANAGER Calum MacLean Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos