Scottish Football Association

Scottish_Football_Association_logoIn the 1860’s football set down its roots in Scotland with the formation of a number of clubs including Queen’s Park from Glasgow founded in 1867, who to this day is Scotland’s oldest club. The organization of the game however lacked structure and in 1873 Queen’s Park placed an advertisement in the paper to invite other teams to meet in Glasgow with a view to addressing this through the formation of a governing body.

On the 13th March 1873 representatives of Clydesdale, Dumbreck, Eastern, Granville, Third Lanark and Vale of Leven met with those of Queen’s while Kilmarnock, founded in 1869, sent a letter stating their willingness to join. On that day, these eight clubs formed the Scottish Football Association (SFA), and resolved that:

The clubs here represented form themselves into an association for the promotion of football according to the rules of The Football Association and that the clubs connected with this association subscribe for a challenge cup to be played for annually, the committee to propose the laws of the competition.

This new footballing body collected over £56 in order to institute a Challenge Cup, the Scottish FA Cup.  Sixteen teams entered the competition and on 18th October 1873 Kilmarnock faced Renton at Queen’s Park’s Crosshill ground (the forerunner to Hampden Park) in what was the first competitive game played in Scotland under the new football association’s rules. The team from Dunbartonshire triumphed 2-0 on that historic day while Queen’s Park defeated Clydesdale by the same score in the first final on 21st March 1874 at Crosshill.

Ayrshire Football Association

On Thursday 17th May 1877  representatives of the principal football clubs in Ayrshire met in the Crown Hotel, Kilmarnock for the purpose of considering a proposal to obtain if possible a “cup” for annual competition throughout the cup. The meeting was convened by circular, each club being requested to send two delegates. No fewer than 20 clubs responded to the invitation. The meeting unanimously agreed to form an Ayrshire Football Association and to try to raise and amount of money by subscription, sufficient to purchase a handsome cup for competition. Office-bearers were elected and a committee appointed along with a sub-committee to draw up a code of rules for the conducting of the Association’s affairs and competition, to be submitted to the various clubs for approval, and also to issues subscription sheets.

  • Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald,  May 19, 1877

The following twenty sevens clubs, including Lanemark from New Cumnock, joined the association and entered to competer for the  Ayrshire Cup  —

Ayr Academicals, Beith, Beith Thistle, Burnfoothill Ramblers, Catrine, Cumnock, Dalry Rangers, Girvan, Hurlford,  Irvine, Kilbirnie, Kilmarnock, Kilmarnock Cricket and Football Club, Kilmarnock Dean, Kilmarnock Hawthorn,  Kilmarnock Portland, Kilmarnock Star, Kilmaurs Floors, LANEMARK (New Cumnock), Mauchline, Maybole Carrick, Maybole Ladywell, Rankinston Mountaineers, Stewarton, Tarbolton, Vale of Irvine (Galston).

  • Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald,  October 27, 1877

New Cumnock Senior Clubs

Lanemark Football Club, founded in 1875 in the parish of New Cumnock, played at senior level until they folded after the Great War. Other senior, albeit short-lived, clubs in the parish were Ardnith, Bank, Vale of Afton and Afton Lads; the latter later reforming to play in the Junior ranks (see below)

  • Lanemark (1875-1920)
    • Afton Lads (1879)
    • Ardnith (1879)
    • Bank (1879)
    • Vale of Afton (1890)

Scottish Junior Football Association

LOGO SJFA fullcolourWith the roots of what became known as ‘senior’ football now well established the popularity of the game blossomed across the country.  The demand to play and watch the beautiful game encouraged the formation of what were called ‘junior’ teams (a reference to the grade of football compared to the ‘senior’ game as opposed to the age of players) which were governed by Junior Associations .

In another landmark year for football in Scotland representatives from several of the Junior Football Associations that already existed, namely Greenock & District (1882), Glasgow (1884) Edinburgh (1885), Lanarkshire (1885) and Kirkcaldy (1886) met together on Saturday 2nd October 1886 in the SFA Rooms, Waterloo Street, Glasgow to discuss the proposal to form a national association. The delegates on the day along with  letters of support from other associations that were unable to attend strongly favoured the proposal and the Scottish Junior Football Association was formed. The Constitution and Rules that all clubs affiliated with Junior Associations would eligible for membership subject to the approval of the Committee. Clubs would be divided into counties and districts and subscription for each Club would be Five Shillings per annum.

A national cup competition was established and its inaugural year 39 clubs competed for the‘King Challenge Cup’ named after its donor Mr Percival King, an Edinburgh based Cricket and Athletic outfitter who had kindly endowed the Association with an ‘exceedingly handsome challenge cup’. No Ayrshire teams entered the competition and the honour of winning what effectively was the first Scottish Junior Cup fell to Fairfield (Glasgow) who defeated Woodburn (Edinburgh) by three goals to one in the final at Argyle Park, Govan.

Ayrshire Junior Football Association (AJFA)

On 23rd November 1888 representatives of seven clubs met in the Baker’s Arms public house Kilmarnock to form the Kilmarnock Junior Football Association. The association  effectively disbanded some six months later on 26th April 1889 to facilitate the formation of the Ayrshire Junior Football Association. The founding 24 clubs included six of the seven Kilmarnock JFA clubs, namely Barkip Rangers Galston Athletic, Kilmarnock Caledonian, Kilmarnock Roslyn, Shawbank and South Western (while Stewarton Cunninghame had decided to join the senior ranks). The remaining 18 clubs were Beith Thistle, Glengarnock, Largs Thistle, Saltcoats Victoria , Kilmarnock Parkhouse, Rugby Park XI, Arthurlie (Kilmarnock), Overton Thistle, Irvine Rangers, Newmilns, Sons of Labour, Troon Academicals, Tarbolton Burns, Maybole Gardenrose and nearer to home Benwhat Heatherbell , Cronberry Eglinton, Glenbuck Athletic and Skares.

New Cumnock Junior Teams

Craigbank from the parish of New Cumnock (yet often referred to as Cumnock Craigbank) joined the AJFA.   This was the real beginning of New Cumnock’s passion for Junior football. A host of other junior clubs fromthe parish would follow including the reformed Afton Lads along with short-lived sides such as Afton Lily, Afton Thistle, Ardnith Rovers, Coalburn and Seaforth Rangers while there were a number that carried the Lanemark name –  Lanemark Athletic, Lanemark Juniors , Lanemark Thistle and Lanemark 2nd XI.

Neither junior side Craigbank nor senior side Lanemark reformed after the Great War and in 1920 it fell to the newly formed junior side New Cumnock United to quench the insatiable thirst for football in the parish. The U’s did so with some style before folding in 1928 and two years later the vacancy was filled by Glenafton Athletic continue to fly the flag for Junior football to this day.