July 22, 2009 at 23:56 #12139
I’ve made a unilateral decision on behalf of all TRF members and decided that, as an antidote to all teh Manchester City spending and the like, my home team, Wick Academy FC will be the ‘official’ Racing Forum football team for the 2009/10 season.
Last year they had their best ever season, including a Scottish Cup run which included the longest journey to an away tie in Scottish Cup history, and had their highest placed finish in the Highland League (5th).
So, before the season is out you’ll all be familiar with names such as Hughes, Weir, McAdie, Lamb and the like and hopefully we’ll all be celebrating a top 3 finish in the Highland League itself.
The season starts on Friday night with a tie in the NUTEL North Of Scotland Cup against local rivals Halkirk. I’ll be at the game so will post a quick report on Saturday.
In the meantime you can get yourself acquainted with all things Academy on their website. (Why not register on their site, if you do be sure to give The Racing Forum a mention).July 23, 2009 at 02:06 #240525PompeteMember
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Nice idea Corm.
Good luck to the lads on Friday.
How far away from you is Nairn and will you be playing them? It’s where I intend to retire toJuly 23, 2009 at 02:23 #240528Neil WatsonParticipant
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The ground looks just like how Football used to be.
On the plus side all the London based forumited can shout out "Wickay" if they make the effort to turn up on match day.July 23, 2009 at 14:29 #240558CavParticipant
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Good idea, will follow with interest (in between watching Liverpool take a historic 19th title of course). The ground looks nice. God I’m really missing the colour green at the moment.July 23, 2009 at 15:12 #240563
In that case I shall do my best to take in a Wick Academy game or two in the Highland League this season. I’ve only done in Clachnacuddin in the Highland League so plenty of new ones to choose from.
As well as other achievements, I think they rattled up their best run of consecutive wins in the League last season. Something like in 10 in succession from memory.
Three teams added to the League this year as the North Junior ‘giants’ (err, that’s tongue in cheek by the way) Turriff, Formartine and Strathspey take their place amongst the ‘Seniors’. Might give Fort William a fighting chance of getting more than one point this season!
RobJuly 23, 2009 at 16:29 #240582
Pompete – Nairn is a lovely spot, lots of people retire there I think. Wick is two hours North of Nairn (just 17 miles from John O’Groats) so is a bit of a hike. To put it into context I’m travelling up there tomorrow by coach and car, via Inverness, and I’ll be leaving at home in the Borders at 9am and won’t get there til 5pm.
Yes we do play Nairn so we’ll keep an eye on that one with interest.
Rob – absolutely correct about their sparkling run of 10 consecutive wins. You obviously know your Higland League (in addition to your Grade 5 chasers!!).July 23, 2009 at 19:10 #240599DroneParticipant
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More a Thurso man myself…backwards out of Georgemas Junction…cm’on The Vikings!
Nairn is indeed a beaut, as is the whole Moray coast across to Peterhead. For those with an interest in geology, the cliffs around Banff (IIRC) are a fascinating mixture of rock types.July 23, 2009 at 22:27 #240617
Thurso – Noooooooooooooooo Drone.
I’ve spent many an hour at Georgemas junction waiting for the Thurso connection over the years. Gerorgemas meant ‘almost there but not quite’.July 24, 2009 at 11:27 #240668Nathan HughesParticipant
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Enjoy the game Cormack, look forward to your write up.
The cup draw looks ok until the semi final stage when if successful might come up against Inverness CT.Member since March 2008July 24, 2009 at 12:03 #240670
I suspect that would be either Caley’s reserves or youth team. I can’t imagine they would play their first team in this competition.
Elgin City had entered their first team, but they have scratched from the competition as it clashes with Round One of the Alba Challenge Cup. This was about the only way Fort William were going to make it to Round 2……July 26, 2009 at 22:43 #241078GoldikovaMember
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Cormack, you and your fellow Joe the toffs in the main section could club together a couple of bob and sponsor their shirts with the sites name on their jerseys.
I’m gonnae check that site out because i absolutely love the look of these matches when you see these wee teams take part in the Scottish cup.July 27, 2009 at 15:10 #241144
I might look at sponsoring the match ball to coincide with a trip up North one of these weekends Graeme. They already have a shirt sponsor, a local haulage firm, and I think even Highland League sponsorship packages are well beyond the Forum’s meagre advertising budget!July 27, 2009 at 17:39 #241161GoldikovaMember
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Not a bad idea. How would Wick compare to a team like Lochee Utd ? I’m asking because i remembr watching a brief highlight last season of Lochee playing Ayr United i think it was, and the place was an absolute mudbath. To me that is football. If you look at the FA cup, the best rounds are always the early ones aswell. After you reach a certain round it’s the same old, same old.July 27, 2009 at 17:51 #241165
On last season’s form I’d say Wick would not be far short of Lochee United in terms of ability. It’s not easy to judge since sides don’t play each other often but I would think the top junior sides would match the top Highland sides. I can’t imagine a Highland side would relish a trip to Auchinleck or Irvine.
In terms of strengths the Senior leagues would see Highland League as the strongest, East Of Scotland second strongest and the South Of Scotland as a weak league. I would expect the top Junior sides to be better than the top East of Scotland sides, and when South teams have met the Juniors they have been hammered.
RobJuly 29, 2009 at 14:47 #241501
Here is some Academy background penned by a friend of mine, thanks Alan.
Wick Academy are indeed a semi-professional outfit. Founded in 1893, the club gained admission to the Highland League just over a century later, in time for the start of season 1994/95.
Academy have long been affiliated to the SFA and enjoyed some high-profile Scottish Cup adventures in the mid-1930s.
Last season’s restructuring of the national tournament meant that the long-established Qualifying Cup (North and South) competitions were discarded. For the first time, all Highland League clubs – along with their counterparts from the East of Scotland and South of Scotland leagues – were admitted to the Scottish Cup proper, playing in the first round along with a number of sides from the junior ranks (the previous side’s top two HFL teams were each given bye into the second round).
Under the new format, lower-division Scottish League teams are introduced gradually and the SPL clubs enter the draw at the fourth-round stage.
Last season Academy were drawn away in the first round of the revamped Homecoming Scottish Cup to St Cuthbert Wanderers, of the South of Scotland League. Wick’s trip to Kirkcudbright became the longest ever undertaken for an away tie in the Scottish Cup – beating (just) the journey made in the opposite direction by Threave Rovers when they visited Wick in 2001.
Academy were convincing 3-0 winners over St Cuthbert Wanderers, with Gary Weir becoming the first Wick player ever to score a Scottish Cup hat-trick. (Incidentally, this was Academy’s first win in the Scottish Cup proper since 1956 when they beat Girvan Amateurs at home before losing in the second round at Vale of Leithen.)
Wick’s Scottish Cup exploits last term captured the imagination of The Sun, who dispatched a reporter to follow the team’s progress. Club captain Martin Gunn was even given a regular diary column in the newspaper in which he provided updates on the squad’s preparations and engaged in some banter at the expense of his team-mates.
Unfortunately for Academy, the cup run was to be a brief one: it ended in round two. After drawing 0-0 away to Edinburgh City at a rainswept Meadowbank Stadium in a game they really should have won, Academy failed to rise to the occasion in the replay and were thumped 4-1.
They recovered from that disappointment to achieve their best-ever position in the Highland League, finishing fifth in the table. The team’s run of 10 league victories in a row last season may well be a Highland League record.
Along the way Academy have earned the praise of rival managers and neutral observers for their slick, intelligent, attractive style of football, stringing together incisive passing moves as they look to carve open defences.
Academy’s efforts in 2008/09 were rewarded at the end-of-season Highland League awards dinner when co-managers Richard Hughes and Ian Munro (both former Academy players) were named as joint winners of the Manager of the Year accolade and midfield dynamo Richard Macadie won the HFL player of the year trophy.August 6, 2009 at 01:34 #242701douginhoMember
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I was reading today that one of Wick Academy’s league rivals have seen major investment (when you consider the level) from a Sheikh Oil company. Formartine United are one of the newbies in the Highland Legaue having stepped up from the North Juniors. They have received an investment of £100,000 from KOSTCO (a shortened name for some oil company in Abu Dhabi). The money will be used to update the ground (a ground I played on as a juvenile player a decade ago), the facilities and to invest in players.
We’ll need to keep an eye on that in the coming season.
As regards arguments between level of highland league sides and Lochee United (or top junior sides) I would suggest Southern and Eastern Junior Sides in Scotland are on a par with Highland League sides. However, Junior sides do not have to abide by the sfa rules like highland league sides do and this can be contentious when they compete in the Scottish Cup.
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