Mackney talks comp problems

STEVE Mackney is not the kind of general manager who goes into hiding when questions are asked of him and his organisation.

In yesterday’s edition of the Tweed Daily News, Uki Pythons coach Joe Scholl questioned the viability of a seven-team Football Far North Coast First Division.

Scholl’s concerns came after three southern clubs Richmond, Woodburn – both semi-finalists in 2009 – and Bryon Bay nominated themselves for second division duty.

“I’m shocked and I put the blame on the FFNC association for allowing competitive clubs to simply pick and choose where they play ... (because) they are more interested in silverware,” Scholl said.

Mackney, now in his second term, was also contacted by this reporter yesterday and when questions were put to him, was more than willing to express his thoughts on the situation.

“It’s easy to be critical, but harder to find solutions,” he said.

“The problem is directly related to clubs that are prepared to nominate

“The concern that I have exists across all divisions and age groups outside of premier men and that is that clubs have an overwhelming desire to play down, rather than up.

“They come with all sorts of reasons why prospective teams can’t play in certain divisions.

“The argument gets complicated though for the promotion-relegation first division because some of the clubs already have a Premier League side and so there is little incentive for them.

“It was the same last year when we almost had to collapse first division until I pulled some strings and got a 10-team comp up and running.

“This year there were only five teams initially so no hope of 10, and if there’s not going to be 10 (each team plays each team twice, totalling 18 weeks) the only other number that works is seven (each team plays each three times, totalling 18 weeks).

“We know it’s a problem that needs to be addressed. The challenge is to find a competition that caters for different requirements of individual clubs and teams and that is exactly what we will be working towards for next season.”

Scholl also expressed concern about the amount of travel that will be involved with Uki and Burringbar, when not playing each other three times, having to travel as far as Kyogle, South Lismore and Dunoon several times for fixtures, as opposed to just once to each.

Mackney again acknowledged the issue.

“It’s a situation where we need to find a better comp that suits various sectors of zone,” he said.

“People talk about north to Tweed and south to Lismore, but the reality is that there is east to Byron Bay and west to Kyogle.

“Underlying this is the Joe’s opinion that suggests there is some lack of appreciation of issues facing Tweed clubs, which is not the case.”

Scholl also proposed a northern conference, similar to the former Tweed District competition, to entice Tweed-based teams competing in the Gold Coast Soccer competition to return south of the border.

He will head a conference with all heads of Tweed clubs at Tumbulgum FC on May 2 and Mackney, who was instantly open to the concept, has agreed to attend.

“I’m very receptive to the concept of a northern division in theory,” Mackney said.

“I would very much like the opportunity to meet with these Tweed clubs, particularly those in in GCS, and to work on getting them back where they belong, in FFNC.

“I think the idea could potentially be a great thing and I am more than happy to attend.”

Mackney finished by saying that club officials can ring him anytime to discuss their concerns, as long as the facts are right.

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