26 July 2012

SFL3 Preview: Peterhead FC

by Peter Ewart | Contributor


Bears on their travels this season are likely to be into some unfamiliar territory as we work our way around SFL3. First up is Peterhead.

So what can we expect?

Admittedly, I knew very little about the place to begin with. It is a fishing town (it was a base for the cult “Trawlermen” documentary series, subtitles and all) and has a prison. The football team has been around the lower SFL leagues for a while. With that as a starting point there was definitely a need for more info.

THE TOWN

Approximately 30 miles north of Aberdeen, Peterhead is a town of around 19,000 people, where fishing and agriculture are main support of the town and surrounding area. (Peterhead is the number one white fish port in Europe). The harbour supports the oil and gas industries in the North Sea as well as the providing a port for cruise ships. It is also Alex Salmond country, as part of the Banff & Buchan constituency. It claims to have the 18th oldest golf course in the world (who the hell worked that out?) and yes, it has its own Wetherspoons. It’ll be a good 3 and half hours on the coach from the central belt.

THE CLUB

Founded in 1890, Peterhead FC have been in the SFL set up since 2000 when they were admitted along with Elgin, filling the two vacancies created by the SPL’s move from ten to twelve teams.

Nicknamed ‘the Blue Toon’ and a former Highland League side, Peterhead were promoted to the second division after season 2004/05, and came close to back-to-back promotions in 2006 but just lost out on a place in the first division to late equaliser and subsequent playoff loss on penalties to Partick Thistle.

Relegated to SFL3 in 2010-11 after a six year stay in division two, a fifth place finish last season saw them just miss out on the playoffs. With Alloa and now Stranraer promoted, they will have a playoff spot in their sights and the chance of promotion which would be bring even greater financial benefit next season, assuming Rangers get promoted as well.

THE GROUND

Peterhead’s current home Balmoor opened in 1997/8. Like many others their previous ground Recreation Park was swallowed up by a large supermarket. Balmoor is well within the main body of the town within half a mile of the centre and is adjacent to more parkland.

The ground has a grass pitch (sounds obvious but not all will have) with 2 stands, each taking in about half the length of the touchline on each side. The remaining areas around the pitch are undeveloped and accommodate standing. There is a social club at the back of the main stand.

Balmoor is a 4000 capacity ground, with 1000 seats.

Away ticket chances – 6/10 (6 out of 10)

Despite a 4000 capacity, highest attendance at Balmoor was in January 2012 when around 4,500 watched the cup defeat to Celtic courtesy of temporary stands. (Or the Seville Calculator, perhaps?)

Hopefully similar arrangements can be made for our visits. Distance and potential TV kick off time may deter some, however it will be our SFL3 bow and given all that has gone on, expect tickets to be tough to get hold of, particularly at £12.

ANYONE WE KNOW?

Peterhead have a predominantly Scottish squad. Manager Jim McInally and striker Robbie Winters will be familiar faces.

VIEWS ON THE RANGERS SAGA

Chairman Rodger Morrison on 12 July 2012: “We would welcome Rangers here and it would be fantastic for the fans and I’m sure we could cope with it given that we faced Celtic in the Scottish Cup tie.

“As I have always said, I believe Rangers should do the honourable thing and take relegation to the Third Division. Although that is not the opinion of the manager as his view is that it will spoil our chances of promotion.

“But I can see the bigger picture here and it will hold great excitement value for the whole of Scottish football.

“Most fans want an expanded SPL and this would be a chance to break the mould. Rangers fans are shouting for them to go into the Third Division and I think it would be interesting, I’m sure they would do well but it would raise the profile of our team at the same time.”

Shortly after the vote into SFL3, their perceptive chairman was happily reporting significant interest from TV companies’ looking for the rights to their opener against us.

Whatever happens the Blue Toon stands to be a deeper shade of blue on opening day.

More can be found at: www.peterheadfc.com

Twitter: @pfcofficial

Blue Toon Media: @BlueToonTV

Photo credit: www.myfootballtravels.com

If you're a Peterhead supporter wanting to set us straight, contact us on twitter: @CoplandRoadorg