The Great Lochilphead Red Star Mystery

A ferry from Gourock to Dunoon and another from Portavadie to Tarbert on the Kintyre peninsular set me up for the local derby of Tarbert AFC v Lochilphead Red Star on Wednesday night 6.30 kick off. I hadn’t checked either twitter account for some hours and there it was on the S.A.F.A. website the game was postponed. I presumed that as there were no postings on the Red Star twitter account for a few days and that Tarbert had played their first League game of the season, a 5-3 loss and Lochilpgead were yet to start that it was the away team that were at fault.

The Scottish Amateur Football Association is one of, if not the oldest Football League in Scotland. I had looked forward to seeing the game, one because it was a local derby which I hoped would be competitive, two because I could judge the level of Scottish football and three to get my football fix even on holiday.

Scotland’s football pyramid is not as well developed as other European countries although promotion is now possible to the senior league system, although not directly but through a play off. Articles in ‘Nutmeg’, the quarterly Scottish football magazine have been critical of the slow progress and have set out views on how things could change for the development and growth of the game at large.

There are 4 Senior Leagues followed by 3 levels of Non League football and another 3 Junior Football regions. After this there is Amateur Football, which is whaI had tried to see and parallel with this Welfare Football that is mainly centered in the North of Scotland.

The Tarbert ground turned out to be behind the Quay through some housing and over a small narrow bridge into a park with some all-weather pitches and the Tarbert AFC pitch.

There was a slope from end to end and the grass was green and lush like an expensive carpet. Yes it was green, a major contrast to those south of the border. To the side and behind one goal are hills that give the ground its character.

So I checked the S.A.F.A. website after 2 days and the game had been given to Lochilphead along with 3 points as a walk over. Still no explanation on the Internet but I did read in the local paper that Tarbert could not get a squad for the game.

Oh well, I’ll watch out for S.A.F.A. results this seasonand perhaps make it to a match some time.

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