It’s sure to be lively in Lewis and Harris football this season, with league champs Lochs eyeing a hat-trick of titles while Point and West Side will be keen to maintain their strong challenges of recent seasons – especially having recruited well over the winter.
Can James ‘Bomie’ Macarthur restore Back to their former glories? Will Ness fulfil the undoubted potential of their young players?
Back and Ness, for a change, have not had their best players picked off, most winter’s in recent years have seen the clubs lose a number of their best performers to rival clubs. Indeed their intention is to add to their team – and they are not alone.
Carloway, under the expert leadership of Graeme ‘Windy’ Miller, look like they may be worth keeping an eye on this term, and they could add to the double haul of silverware hewn from the Lewis and Harris football quarry in 2016 and surely Stornoway United can’t be as bad as they were last term?
Stornoway Athletic may have lost another key player in Ross Allison – taking their numbers beyond threadbare levels, but there is excitement about them under player manager Colin ‘Titch’ Macritchie.
At this time of year, everyone is optimistic, everyone has hope and everyone has a chance – perhaps not to win the league but a chance to do great footballing things and bring silverware to their home dressing rooms. And the new campaign does begin with an optimism that is unusually widely spread in Lewis and Harris.
In just two weeks the welcome sight of our top players darting about playing fields from Ness to Leurbost, via the West Side and Broadbay, with stops in Stornoway will again be prevalent. Players running like dogs chasing tennis balls and we can’t wait.
So as the opening fixtures of the new season move into sight fans of all clubs will now be looking out the waterproofs, the midge nets and allowing their minds and hearts wander – dreaming of where the new football campaign will lead their team.
Between April and September there will be nerves, there will be highs and lows, score-settling, decisions which supporters will be convinced has gone against their club.
There will be flare-ups and there will be tension. There will spectacular goals, moments never to forget and others you wish you could forget.
Noone knows for sure what the next six months have in store but I’d urge fans from all eight clubs to sit back, open a hip flask of heart warming liquid and prepare for another enthralling instalment of this long-running serial.
Every episode is a cliffhanger.
See this week’s Stornoway Gazette for a full page club by club guide to the new Lewis and Harris football season.