By NEIL RIDDELL
HAVING led Delting to seven consecutive league titles, it has been confirmed that manager John Jamieson will now be dividing his attention between his club side and the Shetland county football team.
As was widely expected, Jamieson was unanimously appointed as manager in his absence at the Shetland Football Association (SFA) annual general meeting last Thursday and succeeds outgoing coach John Johnson, who resigned in September due to work commitments.
SFA president Magnus Flaws said there had been “some concern” raised over the possibility of a conflict of interest with Jamieson planning to remain in his club post, but no amendment was proposed so the matter was not put to a vote.
“I don’t see a problem in that,” said Flaws. “As long as he feels capable of doing both, that’s fine by me. If there is a problem [when the season starts] then the committee has to deal with it.”
Jamieson could not be contacted this week as he is on holiday in the Middle East, but had already presented his case to a specially-convened meeting with association representatives a fortnight ago.
He will have little time to settle into the post, with just over seven months to prepare a squad for the Island Games in Åland, ahead of the annual inter-county clash with Orkney and the likelihood of a second successive entry into the Highland League Challenge Cup next August.
Jamieson is said to have set outlined a clear vision for how to take the Shetland team forward while at the same time seeking to minimise disruption to the local calendar.
He hopes to take the team to the Scottish mainland for friendlies prior to the local season starting next spring in preparation for Åland, and has also indicated that he has various ideas for raising funds to pay for the side’s various trips outwith the isles.
But former county manager Derrick Bradley said he was amazed at the decision to allow Jamieson to take on the dual role, having been prevented from doing so himself as manager of Spurs back in 1995. He was manager for 12 years between 1991 and 2003.
“It’s just crazy, absolutely crazy,” he said. “I’ve been thinking, all the work me and Mal [Smith] did getting discipline – they’ve had three managers in five years and that’s not right. It’s gone back to player power again, Delting are taking over.
It’s a crazy decision, they wouldn’t let me do it back in ‘95 and I can’t see why they would do it now.”
Meanwhile, there looks to be little in the way of change to the set-up for next season, with the same 10 teams (Celtic, Delting, Ness, Scalloway, Spurs, Thistle, Unst, Whalsay, Whitedale and Yell) likely to make up the premier league again.
There had been speculation that Yell, who finished bottom and suffered some heavy defeats last season, would go the same way as Burra 12 months earlier but there appears to be a clear commitment from the North Isles side to continue in the top division. In addition, Yell’s Steven Coutts has agreed to take on the role of SFA treasurer.
Flaws is to continue as president, with Island Games-winning manager Niall Bristow also continuing in his role as vice-president. The rest of the committee remains the same apart from the appointment of Ness United’s Brydon Robertson as press secretary.
There were new developments in the approval of a pair of motions from the South Mainland outfit. The association has agreed to attempt to pursue a closer working relationship with Shetland Junior Football Association (SJFA). It has also been agreed that a standalone team (ie. one which did not already have an A team playing in the premier league) could be promoted should they win the reserve league. Flaws said: “The general principle was accepted, we have to tighten up the details.”
The president said he was comfortable with the association’s financial situation and that, though an administrative mix-up meant a number of cheques still had to be paid out, there was money in the bank with which to do so. “I don’t think there is a problem,” he said. “The books need to be squared up and we’ll bring it to the next meeting in December.”
He said that thanks to its sponsorship deals with NorthLink and Brudolff Hotels the only money the association had paid out specifically for the Shetland team’s activities this year was to cover the cost of accommodation for the inter-county match in Orkney and for £750 on match-day programmes for the Western Isles match (which, due to weather difficulties, did not eventually take place).
The SFA has also made an initial proposal to the isles’ referees, who earlier this year had their request for an increase in fees and mileage allowances turned down. The association has pledged to reach some form of resolution in time for the 2009 season, though Flaws said he did not want to reveal details of the offer at this stage as it is still open to negotiation. “We’ve put forward a proposal to them,” he said. “It’s a compromise situation, we have to meet somewhere in the middle.”
But Bradley, who is also a referee, said the offer had only been increased from £24 to £25 a game plus the introduction of a mileage allowance, at a time when their counterparts in Aberdeen are recommending that they come into line with national fees of £28 a game plus 20p a mile. He said referees in Shetland had forwarded the proposal to their superiors in Aberdeen.
- SHETLAND under-16 managers Richie Smith and Peter Moncrieff are calling on the junior association to take another vote on who should take charge of the junior county team after losing out 8-6 to the incumbent pairing of Bradley and Neil Moncrieff in a vote at last week’s annual general meeting.
An emergency general meeting has already been called for next Wednesday in an attempt to fill the vacancies for three fixtures secretary positions and Bradley said he had been made aware that Smith was unhappy with the way the vote was conducted and was asking for a re-vote.
Bradley said he felt “underhand” tactics were being employed and that the pair would be annoyed if they were now ousted as they had been considering throwing their hats into the ring for the senior county post, an option no longer available. “It’s this monopoly of [Junior] Rangers that the other clubs are really unhappy with,” he added.