Fort William FC – A Season to Forget (Again)

The Highland Football League 2018/19 was a season to forget for Fort William FC, even by their usual standards.

The league is the 5th tier of the Scottish football pyramid system – with the end of season table toppers entering the play offs for a place in the SPFL.

The past 4 seasons have seen them amass point’s totals of 27, 16, 11 and 5 but upon the completion of this season they sit very unproudly on -7.

To clear up the mystery surrounding the minus figure, an ineligible player was fielded on more than a single occasion so the club were deducted a total of 9 points.

The side from Claggan Park, one of the most picturesque grounds in the United Kingdom – have finally put their latest miserable season to bed and therefore have now registered back-to-back seasons without recording a single victory.

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Fort William last won a league match in April 2017, a horrific 72-game run that will stretch into a fourth season after their campaign ended with a 5-1 rout by Wick Academy.

Some of the drubbings that have been suffered are as bad as 16-0, 12-2 & 10-0.

Fort have propped up the table in 15 of the past 21 seasons. The club are reported to have discussed a drop back into junior football, but the players and staff were determined to maintain their Highland League status and continue representing the town.

Some dedication it has to be said.

Their final record showed:-

  • Played – 34
  • Won – 0
  • Drawn – 2
  • Lost – 32
  • Goals Scored – 21
  • Goals Conceded – 245

So when you have that feeling of frustration from your team on a Saturday evening spare a thought for those fans that follow Fort William.

Fort William image sourced from www.theweek.co.uk

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Mark Warburton – A Job too Big

The honeymoon is over for Mark Warburton at Rangers FC. The job is bigger than most people and it is becoming increasingly clear that the 54 year old Englishman is out of his depth in the hot seat of one of the most high profile clubs in Europe.

When he and Davie Weir were recruited after their questionable departure from Brentford it was seen as somewhat of a coup, a Managerial team who had led The Bees to their highest ever finish of 5th in The SkyBet Championship.

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Warburton comes across as a confident and slightly arrogant man, but he is now finding out why so many of his Old Firm predecessors have failed…The Glasgow goldfish bowl is a pressure cooker!

Yes he has the Scottish Championship title and Petrofac Cup to his name from his full season in charge, however – these were the least the club expected from the 2015/16 season given the failure to retake their place in the SPL at the 1st time of asking in the previous year.

7 games into his 1st season managing in a top flight league and he is finding the going tough. A mere 9 points from 21 is not something which you associate with a domestic superpower like the Ibrox side. Currently they sit in 7th place, 7 points behind Celtic – who also have a game in hand against the current basement side Partick Thistle.

Draws against Hamilton, Ross County and a 10 man Kilmarnock are bad enough, but throw in defeats against Aberdeen and a 5-1 hammering from Celtic, without Griffiths and you have some serious questions to answer north of the border. Over the course of a season these results raise questions, but in September it should leave his position untenable.

In fact, he is currently 3 points worse off than Paul Le Guen’s side in the 06-07 season. The Frenchman was the club’s shortest serving manager lasting just 8 months.

Pre-season recruitment has brought Warburton’s scouting into the spotlight. The wages being spent on the additions of Barton, Kranjcar, Hill, Senderos and Gilks could be put to better use. Whilst the near £3m spend on Garner, Dodoo and the under-used Jordan Rossiter are not proving value for money. You’d have thought that given recent sanctions the Rangers Board many have learned lessons in frittering away money, perhaps not.

Joey Barton has been paid £80,000 during a 4 weeks suspension and left him with plenty of time to promote his new book, further calling into question Warburton’s role as chief. A manager cannot be undermined by someone such as Barton and anything other than the tearing up of Joey’s 2 year deal will further weaken his position. Kenny Miller is fresh from an overnight stay in the slammer which doesn’t help his cause either.

Perhaps more importantly Mark Warburton just does NOT UNDERSTAND the Old Firm and what it means. Quotes such as “no major gulf, ”nobody died” and his amazement at the negativity at the result will not bode well with the diehard fans. He certainly shouldn’t have looked to the English top 4 loving TalkSport for inspiration as he did after the Killie draw. Note to all fans outside of the EPL… TalkSport, talk repeated nonsense.

There is also no sympathy from any neutral in Scotland that John Beaton awarded a decision against The ‘Gers at the weekend. Sorry Mark but your over reaction raises nothing but smiles and sniggers, god knows every other team has had it against them 10 times worse and in much bigger games.

Celtic are certainties to make it 6 titles on the spin this season and you’d struggle to make a plausible argument against them equalling the record of 9 in a row. That could quite easily become 10, 15 or 20 given how far away Rangers are. The likes of Hearts and Aberdeen are getting closer and they are now Celtic’s main rivals for domestic honours, not their city neighbours.

His “magic hat” has slipped, his team are in the bottom half of the SPL and the inevitable discontent from the terraces has begun…

Mark Warburton your time should be coming to an end because the job is just too big for you!

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First Mark Warburton image sourced from; www.skysports.com
Second Mark Warburton image sourced from; www.dailyrecord.co.uk