A plan to host the annual Midsummer Tournament at Airdrie United’s Excelsior Stadium and start first thing on a Saturday morning has been scrapped after Lewis and Harris voted against the proposed two-night trip to Glasgow.
Host club Glasgow Island had floated an ambitious idea to run the event as a day-long event at the home of the First Division club, starting early on a Saturday morning.
But that would mean the Lewis and Harris Select squad would have to spend two nights in Glasgow – which was the principal reason for their reluctance to agree in a time of ever-tightening budgets.
A vote was cast by members of the Lewis and Harris FA at their recent AGM with the majority voting to participate – but only in its traditional guise of a one-night – and significantly cheaper – trip.
The tournament is still very much on with Glasgow Island team manager Murdo John Graham busy working on an alternative proposal and location for the popular tournament which will involve his own club, Lewis and Harris, Uist and Barra and Glasgow Islay in June.
But Graham has admitted his frustration at having his exciting proposals dismissed.
He said: “The idea was to get the tournament started at a decent hour in the day and it is always a risk squeezing the event into the same day the players arrive as one delay can be ruinous. I recall the last time we hosted it, Lewis and Harris were subjected to long traffic queues at roadworks outside Perth and it caused me major stress! It all worked out in the end, but that was down to good fortune.
“The plan I proposed to Lewis and Harris was for them to travel to Glasgow on the Friday and return on the Sunday and this scenario gives the players ample preparation time as well, which they can end up missing out on if delays happen.
“We, due to the logistics of travelling to the islands, always require a two night stay on our travels from Glasgow but it does mean that I have to ask the guys to pay their own way and I understand the reluctance of the LHFA to ask this of their players.
“I am disappointed that it has not worked out and it is looking like we will miss out on a plum venue, but I respect the decision of the committee and we will have the tournament elsewhere on the Friday afternoon as usual.”
Lewis and Harris FA Chairman Kenny Maciver confirmed the two had failed to agree but revealed his excitement of competing in another Midsummer.
He explained: “A two night stay means a three day travelling weekend for us which is something we simply can’t look at from a financial perspective just now and as such we have stated a preference for sticking to the traditional format of travelling down on a Friday and returning the following day.
“But we are absolutely delighted to be taking part in the Midsummer Tournament in the format which has well served the competition for many a year.”