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Shannon

Oldest Junior Football Team?

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I'm far from a historian so hopefully someone with greater knowledge than me can step in but...

It is my understanding that in the early days, clubs played cup ties. League football came much later. The senior Scottish Cup was first held in 1872-73. Now the birth of the SJFA as a national organisation came after the various regional efforts and I assume any organisation that took place among them was cup competition.

In 1885-86, I make it that 117 sides entered the Senior Scottish, but there were hundreds of clubs in existence that were Senior and did not enter or were classed as Junior.

I've never really quite got what it was that separated these 'also rans' of the time and why Junior football developed. I know once it did take hold, there was a time when both competed against each other but eventually Senior non-league shrank and shrank until it was only found in the rural north and south, and Edinburgh/ Borders. The Juniors accepting professionalism seems to have brought about the SAFA's formation quite promptly. Would it be right to say that the early days of the Juniors was what the Amateurs currently is?

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2 minutes ago, cmontheloknow said:

I'm far from a historian so hopefully someone with greater knowledge than me can step in but...

It is my understanding that in the early days, clubs played cup ties. League football came much later. The senior Scottish Cup was first held in 1872-73. Now the birth of the SJFA as a national organisation came after the various regional efforts and I assume any organisation that took place among them was cup competition.

In 1885-86, I make it that 117 sides entered the Senior Scottish, but there were hundreds of clubs in existence that were Senior and did not enter or were classed as Junior.

I've never really quite got what it was that separated these 'also rans' of the time and why Junior football developed. I know once it did take hold, there was a time when both competed against each other but eventually Senior non-league shrank and shrank until it was only found in the rural north and south, and Edinburgh/ Borders. The Juniors accepting professionalism seems to have brought about the SAFA's formation quite promptly. Would it be right to say that the early days of the Juniors was what the Amateurs currently is?

I could buy into that.

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Logically there HAD to be Junior clubs in existence before they could get together and form an "Association".

The key thing is, when did the term "Junior" in its Scottish football sense first start being applied to any club, team or competition?

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Just on topic of what sort of games might have been played, here's Celtic's card for the 1889-90 season (from Bob Crampsey's SFL history), on the eve of the SFL's formation. Dates are set aside for Scottish and Glasgow Cup ties but that apart it's friendlies all the way.

28mp755.png

Edited by cmontheloknow

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I came across some articles on Auchinleck's senior side who only played in the Scottish and Ayrshire Cups and then friendly matches. Mind you they were woeful it seems.

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2 hours ago, cmontheloknow said:

t03-Nv6q_400x400.jpg

The Scottish sports newspaper Scottish Referee (Friday 12 August 1892) says the following:

"Mr E M’Phee the late secretary of the Vale of Clyde, has favoured me with the following interesting history of his club. The club was formed on 23rd March, 1885 by a number of very young lads resident in the village of Tollcross, and the first ground they secured was called Bogleshole, near the River Clyde. After finding their feet the youngsters in 1886 entered the Cambuslang and District competition…."

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26 minutes ago, archieb said:

Logically there HAD to be Junior clubs in existence before they could get together and form an "Association".

The key thing is, when did the term "Junior" in its Scottish football sense first start being applied to any club, team or competition?

Well, pre 1886 as the fledgling Scottish Junior Cup was for members of the existing associations.

Stewart Davidson's #3 in the Scottish Football Miscellany series gives some dates - a few known cups began pre-1886 and all known leagues thereafter with most starting in the late Victorian / Edwardian period.

The 100 Years... (McGlone/McLure, 1986) book gives these dates for local associations:

Glasgow: 1884
Cambuslang: 1883
Ayr: 1880
Dundee:  1885
Lanarkshire: 1885
Kirkcaldy: 1886
Greenock: 1882
Dumbarton: 1886
Edinburgh: 1885
Arbroath: 1883
Forfar: 1885
Perth: 1886

The quoted preface of the 1886-87 Junior Football annual makes it sound like a different sport to Association Football ("no branch of outdoor sport has progressed so much of late as Junior Football") that was "limited almost entirely to our public parks" and was confined to "comparatively few clubs".  "Look around our public parks today and you find them fairly swarming with clubs while the majority of the leading Juniors can boast of private ground".

A later quoted annual (1888) states that some clubs attribute their downfall to the "allurements and seductive influences of senior organisation" where the player's "desire to excel and the vanity of appearing in public... proves irresistable".

Edited by cmontheloknow

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1 hour ago, Hillonearth said:

Ah, but that's new testament - I give you this from Genesis which proves they were playing junior in Lanarkshire pre-Adam:

[1:24] And God said, "Let the earth bring FORTH living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind." And it was so.

5bbd357223c61_ecumenicalmatter.jpg.df56def782dc1dbffc7ec544ef072dee.jpg

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1 hour ago, Blackie Gold said:

It was a friendly I'm lead to believe and that is why Hearts do not have it in their records. Lugar do have one claim to fame and that is the fact they might be the only club in Scotland to play at three grades of football. Senior, Junior and Juvenile.

Cove Rangers have played Juvenile, Amateur, Junior and Senior. 

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6 hours ago, Cyclizine said:

Cove Rangers have played Juvenile, Amateur, Junior and Senior. 

Well thats my mates party piece hit on the head:lol:

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From the little that's available at this remove the junior/senior thing seemed to be a lot more nebulous certainly until the advent of leagues in the 1890s.

We formed in 1884 - it's all documented, and I could give you the exact date and address the meeting took place if I could be arsed digging it out :) - but not explicitly as a junior club, and we seemed to flit between the two for the first decade or so, with most of the sides we played in friendlies (no leagues, remember) being smaller clubs including some recognisable junior teams, although we also entered the "big" Scottish on several occasions, normally to get a hiding off the first big side we played!

I suspect the junior/senior divide was initially artificial as the "bigger" clubs eventually formed an informal closed shop in as much as they would tend more and more to play friendlies amongst themselves as they would draw bigger crowds and play better opposItion.

The smaller - for this read "junior" - clubs were left to play themselves and the two groups coalesced into what eventually was formalised with the advent of leagues...it certainly looks like it was much more of a continuum than a formal divide in the early days though.

 

Edited by Hillonearth

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11 hours ago, archieb said:

The key thing is, when did the term "Junior" in its Scottish football sense first start being applied to any club, team or competition?

The first mention of the term Junior football that I can find in the British Newspaper Archive is of “Dundee Junior Football Club” playing in the early 1870’s. However, in November 1873 the name was changed to “Dundee United Football Club” and the club appears to have played in the early days of organised Junior football in Dundee until 1886. Why they chose “Junior” is a mystery as Dundee FC had not been formed so they did not have to differentiate themselves from another club. However, the reference to “Junior” appears to be a one-off and it does not come  into common usage until the 1880’s as mentioned by other posters.

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12 hours ago, Blackie Gold said:

It was a friendly I'm lead to believe and that is why Hearts do not have it in their records. Lugar do have one claim to fame and that is the fact they might be the only club in Scotland to play at three grades of football. Senior, Junior and Juvenile.

Lochee United ? Their badge claims they were founded in 1892 which means they are claiming continuation from the Senior club that played under that name. They have also played juvenile and junior. Wait a minute though the club list made by respected historians considers the senior club a separate entity from the junior/juvenile team.  Who to believe?

 

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4 hours ago, Blackie Gold said:

Well thats my mates party piece hit on the head:lol:

They were formed as a juvenile club, then were amateur until 1985, played  one year in the juniors then joined the Highland League in 1986-87. There's possibly some other clubs up North that've played Amateur (or Welfare), Junior and Senior - Turriff Utd would be one, maybe Inverurie Locos too.

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Just on topic of what sort of games might have been played, here's Celtic's card for the 1889-90 season (from Bob Crampsey's SFL history), on the eve of the SFL's formation. Dates are set aside for Scottish and Glasgow Cup ties but that apart it's friendlies all the way.
28mp755.png&key=08ccde7a8a93fead1f9f3799e5a3a1f65729455907bb48e14e64a80435c04cd0
I see they had problems back then with scheduling fixtures as well

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16 hours ago, bluedragon said:

The Scottish sports newspaper Scottish Referee (Friday 12 August 1892) says the following:

"Mr E M’Phee the late secretary of the Vale of Clyde, has favoured me with the following interesting history of his club. The club was formed on 23rd March, 1885 by a number of very young lads resident in the village of Tollcross, and the first ground they secured was called Bogleshole, near the River Clyde. After finding their feet the youngsters in 1886 entered the Cambuslang and District competition…."

This is in agreement with Mark Donnelly's excellent "Scottish Junior Histories" book, a collection of articles written in 1932/33.  Mr McPhee got the name 'Vale of Clyde' from the side of a Govan tramcar.  Don't know where Vale Of Clyde are getting their 1873 from?

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35 minutes ago, justthejuniors said:

I see they had problems back then with scheduling fixtures as well emoji3.png

Gaps in the "first eleven" fixtures are explained by the fact that the dates where the team has no fixtures are down for Scottish and Glasgow cup ties (see top right hand side)  Over 6o games scheduled between the two teams and that's with no devil illuminations. Not bad for a team just entering their second full season:)

Edited by gogsy

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