Spare a thought for the East League says Purves

Football season preview.
Football season preview.

An emergency general meeting of the East of Scotland Football League has been called following the loss of nine member clubs to the new 12-team Lowland League.

With just five clubs left in the Premier Division and 13 in the First Division, including the new Hibernian reserves team, a major revamp is now required. The meeting will be held next Thursday, June 27, and Board member Douglas Purves admitted that it can’t come quick enough.

“Everyone has been busy pushing on with getting the Lowland League up and running, but not a thought has been given to the East of Scotland set-up,” he told The Southern.

“There are now just 18 teams left and a decision will have to be made pretty quickly on where we go from here.

“The best thing would probably be to stick with one league of 18 teams, although that could throw up its own problems, with fixture congestion and so on, later on in the season.

“Two nine-team leagues would not be competitive enough so the only other option would be to allow new teams in, but where would they go? It would have to be the First Division to be fair on everyone.”

Spartans have already indicated their intention to enter a reserve team, while Edinburgh City and Gala Fairydean Rovers are also interested.

The new Lowland League will include Borders clubs Vale of Leithen, Gala Fairydean and Selkirk, who will join Preston Athletic, Spartans, Edinburgh City, Whitehill Welfare, Gretna 2008, Stirling University, Threave Rovers, Dalbeattie Star and East Kilbride to form the new league.

The SFA received 17 formal applications for the new league, which will become the base of Scottish football’s new pyramid system by offering the champions the opportunity to earn promotion to the bottom division of the new Scottish Professional Football League at the end of 2014/15 season.

Purves’ own club, Hawick Royal Albert, initially expressed an interest in joining the new league, but withdrew after deciding to concentrate on achieving their SFA Entry Licence first.

“I am really pleased for the clubs that got in and wish them all the very best for the future,” he added.