Apologies for my late submission this week, with no game at the weekend I wanted to hold off until the Morrison Motors Aberdeenshire Shield game against Deveronvale as we had a free weekend and needed plenty to talk about.
As it happened the game itself went ahead at the third time of asking. In all honesty it wasn’t a great game with both sides passing up numerous chances and both keepers pulling off a number of decent saves to take the game to extra time.
A couple of sending offs and a couple of meaty challenges made the game a bit more interesting but overall the game felt like a bit of a damp squib – well until the goal from James Brownie won the game anyway.
In the next round we face Cove Rangers at home in what we have to feel is a winnable tie having beaten them twice this season already, but complacency shouldn’t be an issue as everyone knows that on their day Cove are more than a match for anyone in the league.
I had my article all written out talking about the game and our upcoming fixture at Lossiemouth this weekend (another one where we will hopefully take home the three points) but then something happened which made me re-write this article.
I saw a link to a webpage stating that SHFLtv would no longer be filming games in the Highland League due to issues with the office bearers. Now being honest I have never bought a DVD of a game produced by SHFLtv but I do look forward to the highlights packages provided online – even those not involving my team, I still watch as I find the games entertaining. The commentary is good, the production values are good, and the quality of games being filmed is more often than not… good.
How can a product which ticks all those boxes not be an advantage to a league which over the years has failed miserably to promote itself to the fullest of its ability?
I have first-hand experience of dealing with members of the Highland League as I run a Facebook page and a twitter feed which covers the league and to be honest I was met with some resistance at the start where certain aspects of my page were not to the liking of some people connected to the league.
They were minor issues and I agreed to adhere to the requirements as I felt that overall they were fairly minimal would bear no effect on the overall product I was trying to provide. For this I was allowed to continue using club badges in the cover photos etc.
This page now has over 4,800 Facebook likes and just shy of 4,000 followers on Twitter (obviously a fair portion of these will be crossover followers). The thing that popped into my mind was what if I hadn’t agreed to make the changes requested of me? Would they have tried to shut down a social media element to the league that had that many followers?
The same stands true of the SHFLtv product. It has a fairly large following in terms of the size of our ‘best wee league’ in Scotland and problems are being raised which is forcing the man who has put hours and hours of unpaid work into building this brand and trying to develop a new medium to expand the fan base of the league to stop what he is doing. That is not right.
The Highland League itself doesn’t have much in the way of dedicated niche media exposure generated by those running the league. There is the aforementioned facebook and twitter – run by a fan, there is a fan forum called Fitbanorth – run by fans, there was SHFLtv – done by a fan, and there is HFLhub the league website with match reports and news etc which is primarily run or at least contributed to by fans.
I urge you, whoever you support to make your feelings known on this issue and let your clubs know that you are not happy with the way this league is being run. We need to make our voice heard. This league needs to progress, it needs to expand its fan base and it needs to move into the 21st century. The only way this is going to happen is if we – the fans – take a stand and tell the people in charge what we want.
There is a petition on Facebook at the moment that players and fans are liking, in fact 285 people connected with this ‘wee’ league’ have liked it in around two and a half hours, I’m no expert but that can’t be a bad start?
Make your voice heard!
Until next week #bringbackSHFLtv