Fraserburgh chairman Finlay Noble reckons the Highland League’s governance allows it to best preserve its future.
Each club has a representative on the league’s management committee, allowing equal say in key matters for all 17 clubs.
They have taken important decisions over the last seven months, such as calling the 2019-20 season to a halt early and crowning Brora Rangers champions, as well as pushing the start of the new campaign back at a meeting last week.
The Highland League has taken the stance that they will not begin the new season without fans in grounds, something which looks a distant prospect at present. November 28 is the earliest they have earmarked to start, with Noble stating last week they could go as late as January.
But whatever route they plot ahead, Noble believes they have the right setup in place to look after the league’s best interests.
Noble said: “It was a unanimous decision. We’re one of the few leagues that the management committee has a representative from every club. The Lowland League have got a board of six – if we had a board of six, it’d be a difficult decision to make.
“Everyone turns up, everybody’s got a say. If they just want to listen they can. We just felt it was the right thing to do. All the information we were getting said it wasn’t going to get any better any time soon.
“We didn’t think for a minute we wouldn’t be starting the league at the normal time. We find ourselves in October and November even and not playing, we certainly didn’t think that. Even if we did it wouldn’t have changed our decision; the one thing with the Highland League is when the chips are down, everyone sticks together. Long may that continue.”
The issue of no spectators in grounds is a well-trodden issue across the country at present and the Highland League is a division that would feel it more than most.
Clubs rely on footfall and income generated from paying customers, with hospitality a big source of revenue.
Noble added: “Just now it’s the uncertainty that’s an area we’ve not been in before. It’s unprecedented. You’d have to go back to World War II to get anything similar and even back then there was still football matches being played with crowds.
“The restrictions and movement, it’s a different game. You watch the TV and see the games – players need supporters to gee them up, criticise them, boo them.
“One of the positives may be that young players don’t have supporters on their back, so they can ease in to the games a bit better. There’s no fear of getting criticism because it must be playing on their minds.
“If you’re a goal down chasing a game, or if in the last two or three minutes you get a corner, the crowd’s shouting. You miss that. Football needs crowds and crowds need football.”