Fears that Selkirk’s time in the Lowland League may be up

The Selkirk FC stand at Yarrow Park.
The Selkirk FC stand at Yarrow Park.

Selkirk FC’s time as a Lowland League club is looking perilously close to being over, after the club was forced to call off last Saturday’s visit to Kelty Hearts.

The Ettrickhaugh Road club is facing disciplinary action from the Lowland League for not fulfilling the fixture and has been given 14 days to respond before possible sanctions may be imposed.

The club was unable to field a team for the trip to Fife and has been struggling since the start of the new season with very low numbers of registered players.

Groups of players left the club over the summer because they had not been paid, and the Yarrow Park outfit has been trying to attract more.

However, recently-elected chairman, Jay-Dee Sharkey, told an open meeting on Monday night that virtually no one wanted to play for the club and he believed it would be going no further in the Lowland League.

As well as having almost no players, the meeting also heard the club had cumulative debts which ran into six figures. Potential players, it was suggested, had possibly been discouraged from joining because of the financial plight, while it may be that the club would go into some form of administration.

The club is going ahead as planned with two open training sessions at Yarrow Park, one tonight (Tuesday) and one on Thursday, both at 7.15pm, to see once again if it can lure anyone who is prepared to offer their playing services for next to nothing and help the side put a team on the park.

There’s a temporary break from Lowland League fixtures as Selkirk face a Football Nation Qualifying Cup game this Saturday at Sauchie and a South Challenge Cup game at home to Upper Annandale on August 25.

Some short-term solutions were suggested at Monday’s meeting but club chairman Sharkey felt the club’s financial position could be too much of a hindrance to the way forward.

The gathering attracted around 30 people, almost all of whom had connections with Selkirk FC. They also heard the view that interest in the town’s football team had dwindled and very few young local people were coming forward to play the game, with rugby having a far bigger following.

No firm decision was made on Monday about what to do, with the club awaiting the outcome of the latest talks with the Lowland League.

Some in attendance were in favour of taking up an offer from one of the other Lowland League teams, who were apparently prepared to make around 20 players available to Selkirk from later this month to help them through the season.

Sharkey, however, believed there may be logistical and practical issues attached which ended up costing the club even more money.

One possible scenario was that the club withdrew from the Lowland League, while retaining its Scottish Football Association membership, and applied to join the East of Scotland League, if a vacancy became available.

Other matters discussed included the implications for the stadium, club premises, and Selkirk’s affiliated junior and amateur teams.

Numerous appeals have been made to the community in Selkirk for any kind of support it can offer – and the message was reiterated by Sharkey after the meeting.

“Selkirk is saying for the club to keep going, it needs obviously to get backing by locals in the community and get everyone else behind them, or else the club won’t have a future,” he said. “The club needs that future to go forward.”

Selkirk, like many clubs, had a name in Scottish football and nobody wanted that history from years ago to fold overnight, he added.

Sheree Davison, who has a 30-year association with Selkirk FC and has been club secretary since 2001, said: “There are options for players to come in and it is all about buying time and managing the debt.”

It was also agreed at the meeting that legal action should be pursued in relation to some of the financial matters enveloping the club.