IRVINE Meadow co-manager Colin Spence says he is “over the moon” that a provisional start date for the new West of Scotland Football League (WoSFL) has been pencilled in for October.

League chiefs for the new set-up which will see all West Region junior sides join the pyramid system, have emailed teams confirming plans to start the season in October with training to resume in August provided COVID-19 continues to be suppressed.

However, Spence, who will embark on his first full season in charge of Meadow alongside fellow co-manager James Latta, believes that if fans are not allowed to attend matches when the season starts in the autumn then it won’t be possible to play.

Spence said: “We have all been looking for that for a while now just to get some sort of start date pencilled in so we can start preparing things and start focussing on the season ahead. We are over the moon to finally have some sort of light at the end of the tunnel.

“It is massive for clubs to be allowed fans back and I don’t know if it would be possible without them.

“At our level I do not see how they can shut the fans out and play behind closed doors.

“I don’t know how the clubs would be expected to pay wages if you don’t have fans coming in and paying.”

He added: “Now we are in the pyramid you can be as ambitious as you want and there is no doubt we would have been hoping to capitalise on that and get a few extra fans through the door with the excitement that this new league is generating so it would be really disappointing if we could not get fans through the door.

The chairman of the WoSFL, Dave McKenna, hopes that when the new league season starts, fans will be allowed to safely attend matches but he admitted that “everything is conditional on the control of the virus continuing the way it is”.

He said: “It is a big question whether you can afford to put on football matches and pay players if your main source of income is not coming in. Ideally we would like the start of the league season to coincide with the return of fans.”