HUNTER BACKING SUMMER SOCCER MOVE
CONNAH'S Quay Nomads secretary Bobby Hunter has thrown his weight behind proposals to make the Welsh Premier League a summer competition.
And although Hunter feels that winter postponements are a reason for switching to summer, he feels that attendances and the poor performance of Welsh clubs in Europe are more pressing reasons.
"I've always been an advocate of summer football," he told the Flintshire Chronicle.
"It's been suggested for a number of reasons - take our game against Llanelli. Even if it had gone ahead we wouldn't have got a big crowd because Everton were on the television later that day and we can't compete with them because of the support they've got round here.
"But if there are no games to go to in the summer, like Everton or Liverpool, we may have more of a chance."
Hunter is keen to follow the example of the Irish Eircom League, which runs from March-November each season.
Attendances over the water have since switching to a summer league, while Hunter thinks the greatest example of the shift's benefit came when Premier Division Shelbourne held Spanish giants Deportivo La Coruna to a 0-0 draw in this season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.
He said: 'The Irish have had major success with regards to how they've done in Europe. Shelbourne made the qualifying stages as they were ready for them, as their season was well under way.
"But if you look at the likes of Rhyl and TNS - and hopefully ourselves one day - we don't do well because our season has just finished when the preliminary rounds begin. As all the teams apart from TNS are part-time that makes it very difficult.
"But I fully understand that Ireland is different to Wales in the way football is run, and there's no doubt there'd be problems if we changed.
"A summer league is all hypothetical but it's an idea that won't go away, and I'm definitely behind it," he added.
14 January 2005