THE LOCAL football season finished a couple of weeks ago with Delting retaining the overall senior trophy for an unprecedented seventh time in a row.
There were mutterings earlier in the summer from some quarters about the champions being somewhat over the hill and Whalsay now being the team to beat. But having picked up the first knockout competition in fine style it was downhill from there on for the men from the Bonnie Isle.
Delting, on the other hand, ground out result after result, often winning by a single goal, and finished the season unbeaten and four points ahead of their nearest rivals.
The championship was retained despite the loss of Stuart Hay, arguably the Brae team’s most influential player, earlier in the season. And they also won the final two knockout competitions and secured the Parish Cup into the bargain.
There is no doubt the sun has gone slightly west for a few of the Delting line-up, but age has not greatly dimmed the ability of such vital performers as goalkeeper Craig Dinwoodie, defender Kevin Main, midfielder Ross Jamieson and utility player Peter Peterson.
Others such as Merv Jamieson and Leighton Flaws are still in peak form while the likes of Ross McDougal and Alan Duncan are relatively young and two or three more are beginning to make their mark.
All of them form a pretty formidable unit, and who would argue against them making it eight in a row, or even more?
Whalsay’s season, after showing such early promise with the Madrid Cup victory, must have been viewed as a disappointment. Losing the prolific young Ross Irvine through injury did not help the cause but the team members are still relatively young and with a bit of luck may push harder next time round.
Of the others Spurs and Celtic, the latter somewhat surprisingly capturing the Manson Cup, have also made steps forward. Scalloway, Whitedale and Thistle are also capable of occasionally punching above their weight so things augur well for next year.
ON the subject of local football it appears that the veneer of people involved with that particular activity is decidely thinner than in other areas.
Given that we have received a number of complaints in recent weeks can I say categorically that there is no bias shown to any team by either this column or this newspaper. To suggest otherwise is nonsense.
MOVING to the international game Scotland are in action tomorrow with a home World Cup qualifying tie against Norway at Hampden Park.
After the slump some years ago when Berti Vogts was manager the national team’s standing has improved greatly, starting under the shrewd leadership of Walter Smith and further enhanced with the motivational skills of Alex McLeish.
Since George Burley took over things have dipped somewhat, with home draws in friendlies against Croatia and Northern Ireland and defeat away to the Czech Republic. The current qualifying campaign started badly with the team going down to Macedonia but they bounced back, if rather unconvincingly, to win in Iceland.
The last result, and the fact that Iceland previously gained a point in Norway, would seem to suggest that tomorrow’s tie is a home banker.
Nothing could be further from the truth, however, and the Norwegians are a big, smash and grab outfit who could easily take something from the match. Don’t forget how in the last World Cup qualifying tournament in 2004 they went home with all three points after James McFadden was sent off for handling the ball on the line and Steffen Iversen scored from the penalty spot.
Games against opposition such as Norway is often where the Scots, having assumed the tag of favourites, come unstuck. Only with the best of displays from everyone concerned will they prevail.
NEWS that participation in next year’s island games in Åland may cost between £800 and £1,000 a head is not all that surprising.
Considering it cost £700 to go to Rhodes last time, and the fact the 2009 competition will last a day longer, an extra couple of hundred pounds is to be expected.
If the different sports taking part organise some kind of fund-raising effort themselves, and the council agree to provide the usual grant assistance, hopefully this hurdle can be overcome.
As far as getting time off work goes it would be a marvellous and “sporting” gesture if companies throughout the isles would agree to give their multi-talented employees a few days extra. But maybe that is too much to hope for.
BEING in temporary charge of Newcastle United is not an easy ride, as Joe Kinnear has been finding out over the past fortnight.
The club’s supporters will not be happy until a new consortium has taken over and Kevin Keegan is back in the hot seat, while the Tyneside press have also been giving the caretaker manager a hard time, calling him a “cockney” even though he was brought up in and played for the Republic of Ireland.
Kinnear is also hampered by the fact he is currently serving a dug-out ban imposed some years ago in his last managerial position, when he apparently referred to a referee as “Coco the Clown” (perhaps our own Harry Jamieson should have tried that technique).
Having left the stand to head for the changing room just before half-time in the match against Everton on Sunday, Kinnear missed Newcastle pulling back a goal to make it 2-1. He then repeated the act minutes after the break when he still had not resumed his seat and the equaliser went in.
On top of all that he had the police, of all people, hindering him in his duty. A jumped-up fourth official, spying Kinnear in the tunnel trying to pass on a message to his assistants on the bench, enlisted the help of a constable to move him back to the stand.
What next? Will the police start intervening in matters on the field as well? Maybe they could help the referee and his assistants to sort out whether the ball has crossed the line or not. Or picture the scene when a striker has just dived in the box, only to find a large man in a helmet looming over him with the words: “’Ello ‘ello ‘ello! What’s goin on ‘ere then?”
The police are at football matches for reasons of safety, not to get involved in any shape or form with the game itself. As far as I can recall only once, with the ridiculous case of Duncan Ferguson “headbutting” another player and ending up in jail, have they intervened in such incidents. We certainly don’t need a repeat.