Long-serving Forres Mechanics defender Simon Allan fears he may have played his last game for the Mosset Park club following their decision to take a sabbatical from the Highland League.
The 35-year-old was preparing for his 15th season at the Can-Cans before yesterday’s confirmation that the Mosset Park club have opted against taking part in the 2020-21 campaign.
The Forres board say they have taken the decision for the health and well-being of the players as well as the wider community.
Allan admitted his club’s decision to take a year out came as a shock.
He said: “It is disappointing but we can understand where the club are coming from.
“I don’t see how the league can find it fair for teams to travel all the way to Fort William and not be able to have a shower before they travel all the way home again. It doesn’t make sense.
“The boys haven’t been together, we have had a little bit of a discussion in our group chat online but we were quite shocked.
“We knew the board were meeting to discuss the season but we were quite surprised when they announced their decision to us.
“We haven’t trained for about a month as it is not feasible for the club to be paying expenses when there is no money coming in.
“We were due to start training again in the middle of November with a view to getting ready for the new season.
“We got a text message at 10pm on Thursday night saying they had made the decision that we wouldn’t be playing in the league this season.”
With his Forres deal up at the end of the season, Allan is unsure what the future holds for him and would be disappointed if he is deprived the chance of a final game for the Can-Cans.
He said: “I am in my last season at Forres so I don’t know what I am going to do. This would have been my 15th season and it is certainly not the way I wanted to finish my career at Forres.
“I don’t know what will happen after next season. I will have a think and see what happens over that.
“Some of the boys may go out on loan but it is a step into the unknown as nothing like this has really happened before. We were training twice a week pre-season when we thought we were going to start again in October.
“We played quite a few friendlies but a lot of the boys are now going out for 5K runs again to keep themselves ticking over. It makes a difference when you aren’t playing football as you want to keep your fitness levels up.
“We haven’t spoken about whether players will be loaned out or what may happen.”
Forres are one of only two teams to have played in the Highland League since its inception in 1893, the other being Clachnacuddin.
Allan admits it will be strange when the season kicks off on November 28 without the Mosset Park men.
Gutted but don’t think we will be alone in this. Let’s see.
— Forres Mechanics Supporters (@themightycans) November 6, 2020
He said: “Forres have been one of the mainstays in the Highland League. I don’t know whether other clubs will take a similar decision after our announcement.
“It will be strange when the league starts and we won’t be playing.”
Highland League secretary Rod Houston admitted he was disappointed but said Forres’ decision was understandable.
He said: “In the current circumstances of a global pandemic it is entirely understandable. Clubs must have the scope to make their own decisions and do what they feel is in their best interests for their own sustainability.
“We are trying to give clubs the freedom to decide what is the most appropriate decision for their club. We fully expect there to be challenges, interruptions and difficulties throughout the season.
“All aspects of life are facing that just now. There is no way football is going to be separated in any way from that. We will have to deal with these challenges as they arise.”