The Match That Never Was

Remember Scotland v Estonia. Well now it's Back v Lochs as Back failed to turn up for a Hebrides league decider with Lochs over a church induction row. The game that never was was abandoned after just one second of official play.

Back FC stand to forfeit three points over the fiasco amid talk that other island teams should boycott the no-shows as the season winds down. 

The furious controversy erupted over the last few days when Back FC were keen to postpone the potential league decider against bitter rivals Lochs.

The unholy row has caused the resignation of a match fixture official after he was allegedly threatened. The fallout has created a huge amount bad feeling in the island’s sporting community.

The Lewis and Harris Football Association are due to debate the chaos next Tuesday.

Stay-at-home Back said it sought the postponement out of respect for a supposedly huge group of volunteers preparing a meal which was to follow a special church service tomorrow night when new minister Rev Calum Iain Macleod is being inducted into Back Free Church.

The hall is at the Coll pitch and both venues share the same access and car park.

Despite the 24-hour delay, Back FC maintained it was not appropriate to hold the match this evening as it would clash with an expected large crowd of volunteers preparing the hall to cater for nearly 1000 people attending the induction. 

In the event, just a small handful of women were busy in the hall and their half dozen or so vehicles took up hardly any space in the vast car park. 

It is understood that the Garrabost pitch was offered as an alternative venue. 

Many of the 150 spectators or so who braved the biting midges for the 7pm kick-off at the Coll ground claimed that Back chickened out of the potential league decider. A Lochs win against an alleged temporary weakened Back side would push them comfortably in the lead for the title.

Lochs fan John Macdonald of Leurbost echoed the feeling of the annoyed crowd when he said: “Back claimed the hall and the carpark would be full. They apparently also claimed police said the game should not go ahead because there would be a big crowd.

“It turned out to be a load of nonsense. The real reason is that they have players missing. It is a complete farce. It is a disgrace.” 

Another Lochs supporter said: “It is childish that nobody turned up.”

Atop a brae some 300 metres away, a group of the missing Back players spied on the scene as the referee waited 15 minutes in vain before starting the game against the invisible home side. One second later, and a couple of taps of the ball, and ref D J Maclean whistled full time. 

Earlier, Back FC manager James “Bommie” Macarthur vehemently denied accusations of underhand tactics to put off the match to when he could field a stronger team.

He said the island’s football association agreed to postpone provided it had written evidence. But it then ruled the necessary letter of support invalid because it missed a deadline Back was never informed about.
Mr Macarthur says claims of an injured squad are “nonsense and ridiculous” and they knew for six months about the absence of their only unavailable player.

He explained: “What is happening is there is a community function in the hall. They are catering for nearly 1000 people for the induction and we felt there would be a conflict with game going on and the large number people in and out of the hall and using the kitchens. In addition car parking will be an issue.”

I am much obliged to Thin Soup on Twitter for the heads up on this one

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