Buckie Thistle boss Graeme Stewart thinks the Highland League failed to exploit their “unique position” and trial summer football.
With costly Covid testing requirements still in place, preventing matches from restarting, the league management committee have drawn a line under the season and declared Brora Rangers champions, putting them forward for the pyramid play-off.
However, Stewart – who recognises Brora have been the “best team” in the Highland League for two years and deserve a crack at promotion after being denied last summer – still thinks a chance has been missed to complete the 2020/21 campaign over the summer months.
Exploring a calendar change is something which could help ensure the “long-term viability” of the competition for every team, according to Stewart.
Stewart said: “It’s a massively missed opportunity in my opinion. There’s been the pandemic and we’re a unique position, in the Highland League, where we could’ve held off and started again in May or June – played games, finished the mini-season and trialled summer football.
“A lot of people have been saying it could be the future of the Highland League and Junior football, even Scottish football – but that’s a different argument.
“We’ve never been in this position before and I can’t understand why people who have the Highland League at heart can’t see it’s a good idea.
“If we can’t go back in May safely with fans, I get it, but instead of saying the season’s over until next season, I’d have said we’d reassess it in April or May. If fans can come back then, get them back in the summer, because the players and fans have missed enough football already.”