By JIM TAIT
DELTING manager John Jamieson was expected to be named last night as the new man in charge of the Shetland senior football team.
Some controversy surrounds the appointment, as Jamieson wishes to remain in charge of the local champions as well as assuming his new role.
It was claimed this week that in 1995, when Derrick Bradley was senior county manager, he was prevented by the Shetland Football Association (SFA) from coaching Lerwick Spurs.
However, the SFA appears to be in the dark over any rule which may have been made 13 years ago, and with no other candidates in the frame they were left with little option at last night’s annual general meeting but to give Jamieson the job.
Bradley, who managed Shetland between 1991 and 2003, may actually have been interested in putting up a challenge to return to his old post. But he and his assistant Neil Moncrieff, both currently in charge of the under-18 county side, successfully fought off a challenge from Peter Moncrieff and Richie Smith for their positions at a Shetland Junior Football Association meeting on Monday.
The following day Bradley said there had been an attempt at junior level to have management teams move through the different age groups up to under-18, when they would disappear off the radar. He and Moncrieff had retained their jobs on an 8-6 vote but if they had been unsuccessful they would have seriously considered standing against Jamieson.
There was also speculation this week that former manager John Johnson, who resigned last month, might have thrown his hat back into the ring as he was unhappy with Jamieson’s dual role. But Johnson told The Shetland Times that although he had given the matter some thought, a return was highly unlikely.
Bradley, who was replaced as senior manager by Niall Bristow five years ago, said on Tuesday that allowing Jamieson to remain in charge of Delting was contrary to the decision the association took in 1995. He said: “Without a doubt. I had helped [Spurs] for about half a season. I basically just stepped in because they had nobody else. And I had to step down as manager and concentrate on the Shetland job. It was an across the board thing, with the juniors as well. Nobody was going to be allowed to manage both club and county.”
SFA president Magnus Flaws said there was nothing in the association’s constitution about managers having dual roles.
He said: “It might have been a decision at that time but I was not there at that time. To my knowledge there’s nothing to state that’s the case. There’s nothing in writing.”
Flaws said that as Jamieson was unable to attend the AGM, having flown out to the Middle East earlier in the week, they had convened a special meeting last Thursday. Jamieson had presented his case for taking over to an SFA panel and the members were fairly satisfied with what he had to offer.
“We gave John Jamieson the opportunity to state his case and if anybody else puts their name forward they will get the same opportunity.”
When asked if Jamieson might have a problem seeing other teams in action while continuing as Delting manager, Flaws replied that the SFA panel members were “fairly relaxed” with the situation.
“It’s not really a problem. I would expect he will have somebody working with him as a coaching team.”
Flaws said he was not all that surprised that Jamieson was the only candidate as the same had been the case when Johnson took on the job two years ago.
“It’s not a low profile job. If you win you win and if you lose you get hammered.”
Bradley said he was shocked to learn there was no defining rule about county managers not being allowed to run clubs.
“It’s maybe not written in the constitution but somebody must have the minutes from the meeting [in 1995]. It was definitely voted on. I remember it vividly, particularly as Mal [Smith, Bradley’s assistant] said it would leave Spurs in the lurch.”
Jim Peterson of Spurs confirmed that had been the case. He said that at the time their team was short of someone at the helm and Bradley had been available.
Peterson said it was a pity that someone other than Jamieson had not put their name forward for the Shetland job, as he too was against the idea of combining club and county roles.
He said: “Whoever takes on the job is a brave man. It’s something I would never have done. It’s always about winning and nowadays even if you win you can get ousted.”
Peterson said he continued to be concerned about the way Shetland football was heading, particularly with the apparent growing ambition to take part in competitions outwith the isles.
“The number one thing is local, number two is the county, number three is the island games,” he said. “And the rest comes if you can fit it in. I really wish we would forget about what’s going on down the road. Let’s get the local stuff sorted first.”