I came across these results the other day, Scottish Cup 1st round, 1930, and it got me thinking, how many of these teams are now defunct?
There follows a tale of back-stabbing, corruption, neglect of fiduciary duties by directors, and a lack of governance by the so-called Governing Bodies. Plus ça change.
Airdrieonians: Formed in 1878, liquidated in 2002. They had finished as runners-up in the 1st Division the in 2001/02 season, but went out of business when David Murray froze their share of the gate receipts for a Scottish Cup tie against Dundee United, causing a cash-flow crisis culminating in the club being wound up. Reformed as Airdrie United, and applied for entry to the SFL, but were refused as Gretna had a more compelling case. They got round this by buying ailing Clydebank FC and, with SFL approval, relocating to Airdrie. This effectively means that the club is a continuation of Clydebank FC, but is almost universally accepted as a reincarnation of Airdrieonians.
Galston: Formed in 1891, dissolved in 1940. Had been part of the old 3rd Division of the SFL in the 1920’s (the division only lasted 3 seasons), but resigned midway through the final season as they were unable to provide match guarantees. They had tried to generate more customers at the turnstiles by reducing the entry price, but were censured by the league for doing so. They were then blamed for the collapse of the league by being the first team to pull out of it. In 1932 they were invited to join the Scottish Football Alliance, and did so until Hamilton Accies proposed they and Beith FC be expelled to allow the league to be made up of 1st Division Reserve teams only. Despite the fact that they had been invited into the league to prop it up in the first place, and the chairman writing to every other club chairman for support, only 5 clubs backed them and they were expelled. An attempt was made to set up a new Scottish Football Alliance, but war intervened. Galston did not want to join the Juniors, so the club was dissolved.
Bo’ness: Formed in 1882, dissolved in 1945. Joined the SFL Division 2 in 1921, promoted to Division 1 in 1927, relegated in 1928. They struggled financially due to the decline of the local coal and shale oil industries, and in an effort to boost gates they offered free entry to local unemployed people after 30 minutes of each home game. They struggled to raise the £50 match guarantee, and eventually were expelled from the league in 1932/33 season. After WW2, they merged with Bo’ness Cadora to become junior club Bo’ness United.
Inverness Caledonian: Formed in 1885, dissolved in 1994. After a long and illustrious period in the Highland League, in which they won the Rothmans Football Yearbook aware in 1981/82 and were described as the outstanding team of their grade in the UK, and went undefeated in season 1982/83, they applied to join the newly expanded SFL in 1993. 2 places were available, and both they and Inverness Thistle applied. The SFL suggested a joint bid would be more likely to be accepted, and Thistle and Caley decided to merge, forming Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Clydebank: Founded in 1899, merged with East Stirlingshire FC in 1964/65 season. Reformed as a club in their own right in 1965, became members of the SFL in 1966, bought out in 2002 by Airdrie United after experiencing chronic financial difficulties. Reformed as a Junior Club in 2003, and regaining senior status in 2020.
King’s Park: Founded in 1875, dissolved in 1945. Joined the SFL Division 2 in 1921, missed out on promotion to Division 1 in season 1927/28 by 1 point. Biggest win was a 12-2 league victory against Forfar, notable for Jim Dyet scoring 8 goals in the game (which was his debut), a record goal tally for a debut in British football which still stands today. In 1040, the club’s ground was bombed by the Luftwaffe, and they never played again, having been refused entry to the North Eastern League in 1944 due to not having a playable home ground. The club was officially wound up in 1953 when the War Office finally settled their claim for bomb damage.
Bathgate FC: Formed in 1893, dissolved in 1938. Joined the SFL in 1921, and were taken to court by Junior club Larkhall Thistle for allegedly poaching their players without adequate compensation. The club suffered financially by the severe downturn in gates during the 1926 miners strike, and eventually resigned from the league in 1929. The financial difficulties continued and they were dissolved in 1938.
Solway Star: Formed 1911, dissolved in 1947.Played for 2 seasons in the Southern Counties Football League, before the league was incorporated into the SFL as the new Division 3 in 1923/24 season. When the league was wound up, they continued as a club only playing friendlies and Cup ties, until 1947 when they were wound up.
Rangers: Founded 1872, liquidated 2012. The club folded amidst the biggest financial scandal in British sport, with HMRC being denied £millions by the club utilising 2 illegal tax evasion schemes. The club was sold by its Chairman and the architect of the tax evasion schemes, David Murray, to a speculator, Craig Whyte, who stopped paying taxes as they fell due after the club had failed to reach the lucrative group stages of European competition. Rangers were subsequently placed in administration, and subsequent liquidation in 2012. A new club was formed when they administrators sold the club’s assets to Charles Green, and despite not fulfilling any of the entry criteria, they were allowed to join the SFL in Division 3 ahead of other properly qualified clubs. Attempts had been made to allow the new club to take the liquidated club’s place in the SPL, but this was defeated by the other member clubs. A further attempt was made to allow them to start in Division 1, but the other SFL clubs also defeated this.
St Bernards: Founded in 1874 (as Third Edinburgh Rifle Volunteers), dissolved in 1943. Were involved in the discussion that led to the formation of the SFL in 1890, but were not themselves allowed to join as the other clubs refused to let them do so. That same year, the SFA expelled them for “concealed professionalism.” They were eventually allowed to join the SFL in 1893. In seasons 1934-1936, they scored 100goals in each season, but failed to win promotion in due to poor defensive displays. Their last competitive game was in May 1942, when they decided to mothball the club until the was finished. Later that year, one of the directors died and the Executors of his will demanded the immediate repayment of a loan he had given the club, forcing them to sell their only assed, the Royal Gymnasium Ground. They sold their 1200 seater stand to Leith Athletic, hoping that they would be allowed to play at their ground until they could find a new venue, but once they had acquired the stand Leith Athletic refused to ground-share. With no source of income, and no ground, the club was wound up in 1943.
Third Lanark: Founded in 1872, liquidated in 1967. Began life as the football team of the Third Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers, and was a founder member of the SFL in 1890. The club fell into financial difficulties in the 1960’s, at which time the clubs proxy shares were hoovered up by Bill Hiddleston. Allowing him to oust the sitting board and take effective control of the club. A long period of decline then started, as the club was starved of funds and fans stayed away. Players were being paid late in coins from the turnstile takings, and the corruption at the club extended to the club lottery, which very rarely paid out the weekly £220 prize. Transfer fees for players didn’t find their way into club coffers, and players had to get the buying clubs to pay their signing on fees direct, otherwise they would never see the money.
When the press started asking questions, they were fobbed off with statements effectively saying, nothing to see here, move along. They club claimed they were one of the richest clubs in Scotland, despite being days from bankruptcy, because” they owned their own ground.”
In 1967, the Court of Session issued a winding up orders and appointed an official liquidator. They were offered the opportunity to appeal the winding up order, but were 7 days late in doing so, by which time a judge had closed them permanently. They had planned to sell the ground for housing, but when Glasgow City Council refused their application the game was up.
In 1968 a Board of Trade investigation into the club was carried out, concluding that serious fraud had taken place, and describing the club as an “inefficient and unscrupulous one-man business.” 4 directors were fined for breaches of the Companies Act. Hiddleston died before he could be prosecuted.
The above is by Sol Kitts. Fancy the front page the email as usual is firstname.lastname@example.org