Saturday, 10 October 2009

Claggan Park (Fort William v Wick Academy)

Today the journey went to Fort William to see my first Highland Football League game. The Sunday Mail had another offer of a Citylink return ticket to anywhere in Scotland for a fiver and I decided to go for Fort William as the pictures I had seen of the ground looked stunning. The bus journey itself is attractive as well. It took us about two and half hours to reach Fort William bus station, making it by far the easiest Highland League ground to get to from Glasgow.

What is unusual about the Scottish football pyramid is that it does not look like a pyramid at all. The four top divisions are clear, however clubs cannot get relegated from the SFL Third Division. Below the lowest 'professional' division there are three 'senior' leagues that are not interconnected. One of them is the Highland Football League. Founded in 1893 the Highland League is often considered the strongest league under the SFL and all Scottish papers publish the results and league table on Sundays and Mondays. Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Ross County, Peterhead, and Elgin City are all former Highland League clubs who joined the SFL in recent years. At present there are 18 teams in the Highland League.

Fort William FC were founded in 1984 and joined the Highland League in 1985. It has not been a success story. They have never ended a season in the top half of the league and they were bottom of the table ten times in the last thirteen seasons. The Fort had won their first league game in two years last week (2-0 at Turriff United) so I suppose everyone was hoping they could keep the momentum going against Wick Academy. However when the players left the pitch at half-time Fort William were already 3-0 down. In the second half the men from Wick took their foot of the gas but Fort William were not able to bring back much suspense, their only goal scored only minutes before time.

Panorama shot showing the stunning scenery.

The club house was open from 2pm.

The stand can be seen on the opposite side.

You are quite far from the action as a spectator at Claggan Park but the location of the ground is very impressive.

The stand is probably the best way to watch the game but is also quite far from the action.

The 3-0 came from a penalty just before the half time whistle.

The entrance to the ground.

Saturday 10th October 2009
Scottish Highland Football League
Fort William 1 Wick Academy 3
Fort William: Hewitt 88.
Wick Academy: Weir 26, Allan 33, MacAdie (pen) 45.
Att: less than 100

1 comment:

  1. Fort william is a lovely ground and the team has great hospitality.: sad that more fans cant wander down from the town. I also feel like the Highland council is missing out on an opportunity to capitalize on the team by not spending a few dollars to create a new seating section and bring the action closer to the pitch. - paul mcdonald - USA


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