Highland Football League

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The Highland Football League (HFL) is a league of football clubs operating not just in the Scottish highlands, as the name may suggest, but also in the north-east lowlands (Moray and Aberdeenshire). It is one of the three 'senior' non-leagues (that is a league that is not the Scottish Football League (SFL), Scottish Premier League or one of the Scottish Junior Football Association's leagues) in Scotland. The HFL is a full member of the Scottish Football Association.

History[change | edit source]

Formation[change | edit source]

The HFL was formed on 4 August 1893, at the Inverness Workman's Club. The original league consisted of seven teams: Inverness Thistle, Caledonian, Clachnacuddin, Forres Mechanics, Inverness Union, Inverness Citadel and Cameron Highlanders. Ross County were an eighth original member, but resigned membership in November 1893. Of the original teams, two are still playing in the league today (Clachnacuddin and Forres Mechanics), and two merged to become current Scottish Premier League club Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Recent History[change | edit source]

Many of the member clubs have performed well when competing against SFL clubs in the Scottish Cup. However, from the 1990s onwards, the HFL has been a victim of its own success, with various teams defecting to other leagues. Furthermore it has also had to contend with overexposure of large teams in the area, such as Aberdeen and Inverness Caledonian Thistle, as well as the Old Firm to the South, and to an extent English football. However, the lack of Premier League, and to a lesser extent First Division, teams in the area, has worked in its favour, with some football fans being less willing to travel long distances to games in southern Scotland.

The league has been somewhat weakened in recent years by the departure of many former members who have subsequently joined the SFL. This happened in 1994 when Caledonian, Inverness Thistle and Ross County left. Until then the HFL had operated with 18 clubs; this was reduced by the departure of the three mentioned clubs, but Wick Academy from the North Caledonian Football League were elected, to create a league of 16 clubs. This was the state of affairs till 2000 when Elgin City and Peterhead were elected into the SFL. In 2002 Inverurie Loco Works were elected into the HFL to give it a membership of 15 clubs, with which it continues to operate.

In 2008, North Region Junior League sides Formartine United and Turriff United both submitted bids to join the Highland League, following in the footsteps of past Junior League side Inverurie Locos. If both teams were to join, the Highland League would have a total of 17 teams. An even team league is preferred, so only one club's application was likely to be successful. Whichever team is successful in their application was planned to join in the 2009–10 season. However Banks O' Dee and Strathspey Thistle also applied, giving the potential for an 18 team Highland league in 2009-10 if three of these four clubs were elected. On February 25 2009, Formartine United, Turriff United and Strathspey Thistle were accepted into the league for the following season, with Banks O' Dee being the unsuccessful club.

Results from the HFL and the Highland League Cup have featured on the Press Association vidiprinter since the start of the 1997–98 season.

The Highland League is the subject of a song of the same name by the popular music ensemble I, Ludicrous [1].

HFL Members[change | edit source]

Current members[change | edit source]

Club Joined
Brora Rangers 1963
Buckie Thistle 1909
Clachnacuddin 1893
Cove Rangers 1986
Deveronvale 1938
Formartine United 2009
Forres Mechanics 1893[2]
Fort William 1985
Fraserburgh 1922[3]
Huntly 1928
Inverurie Loco Works 2001
Keith 1924
Lossiemouth 1946
Nairn County 1919
Rothes 1938
Strathspey Thistle 2009
Turriff United 2009
Wick Academy 1994

Former Members now playing in the Scottish Football League[change | edit source]

Linked Competitions[change | edit source]

The HFL also administer several other competitions contested by some or all of the clubs. These competitions are:

List of HFL championship winners[change | edit source]

Season Winner
1893–94 Inverness Thistle
1894–95 Clachnacuddin
1895–96 Inverness Caledonian[5]
1896–97 Clachnacuddin
1897–98 Clachnacuddin
1898–99 Inverness Caledonian
1899–00 Inverness Caledonian
1900–01 Clachnacuddin
1901–02 Inverness Caledonian
1902–03 Clachnacuddin
1903–04 Clachnacuddin
1904–05 Clachnacuddin[5]
1905–06 Clachnacuddin
1906–07 Inverness Thistle
1907–08 Clachnacuddin
1908–09 Inverness Citadel
1909–10 Inverness Thistle
1910–11 Inverness Caledonian
1911–12 Clachnacuddin
1912–13 Aberdeen 'A'
1913–14 Inverness Caledonian
1914–15 unfinished
1919–20 Buckie Thistle
1920–21 Clachnacuddin
1921–22 Clachnacuddin
1922–23 Clachnacuddin
1923–24 Clachnacuddin
1924–25 Aberdeen 'A'
1925–26 Inverness Caledonian
1926–27 Buckie Thistle
1927–28 Buckie Thistle
1928–29 Inverness Thistle
1929–30 Huntly
1930–31 Inverness Caledonian
1931–32 Elgin City
1932–33 Fraserburgh
1933–34 Buckie Thistle
1934–35 Elgin City
1935–36 Inverness Thistle
1936–37 Buckie Thistle
1937–38 Fraserburgh
1938–39 Clachnacuddin
1946–47 Peterhead
1947–48 Clachnacuddin
1948–49 Peterhead
1949–50 Peterhead
1950–51 Inverness Caledonian
1951–52 Inverness Caledonian
1952–53 Elgin City
1953–54 Buckie Thistle
1954–55 Winner undecided
1955–56 Elgin City[5]
1956–57 Buckie Thistle
1957–58 Buckie Thistle
1958–59 Rothes[5]
1959–60 Elgin City
1960–61 Elgin City[5]
1961–62 Keith
1962–63 Elgin City
1963–64 Inverness Caledonian
1964–65 Elgin City
1965–66 Elgin City
1966–67 Ross County
1967–68 Elgin City
1968–69 Elgin City
1969–70 Elgin City
1970–71 Inverness Caledonian
1971–72 Inverness Thistle
1972–73 Inverness Thistle[5]
1973–74 Elgin City
1974–75 Clachnacuddin
1975–76 Nairn County[5]
1976–77 Inverness Caledonian
1977–78 Inverness Caledonian
1978–79 Keith
1979–80 Keith
1980–81 Keith
1981–82 Inverness Caledonian
1982–83 Inverness Caledonian
1983–84 Inverness Caledonian
1984–85 Keith
1985–86 Forres Mechanics
1986–87 Inverness Thistle
1987–88 Inverness Caledonian
1988–89 Peterhead
1989–90 Elgin City
1990–91 Ross County
1991–92 Ross County
1992–93 Withheld [6]
1993–94 Huntly
1994–95 Huntly
1995–96 Huntly
1996–97 Huntly
1997–98 Huntly
1998–99 Peterhead
1999–00 Keith
2000–01 Cove Rangers
2001–02 Fraserburgh
2002–03 Deveronvale
2003–04 Clachnacuddin
2004–05 Huntly
2005–06 Deveronvale
2006–07 Keith
2007–08 Cove Rangers
2008–09 Cove Rangers

Notes[change | edit source]

  1. http://jeffhiggott.topcities.com/iludicrous/discography/discog.html
  2. Forres Mechanics did not compete 1895-1896 and 1901-1902.
  3. Fraserburgh did not compete 1926-1928.
  4. Inverness Caledonian Thistle F.C. were formed by the merger of Caledonian and Inverness Thistle
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 won after a play-off
  6. Elgin City won the league, but had the title removed from them

Other websites[change | edit source]