Football fun day marks 50 years of Glenrothes Juniors

Glens players celebrate with the Scottish Cup at a civic reception in 1975
Glens players celebrate with the Scottish Cup at a civic reception in 1975
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Glenrothes Juniors will mark their 50th anniversary this Saturday with a football fun day at Warout Stadium.

The festival starts at 10.00 a.m with a competition featuring around 120 local children, followed by a challenge match between Glens and their first ever opponents, Thornton Hibs, at 1.00 p.m before a Legends game involving former players at 3.00 p.m.

The day will be rounded off with a function in the Warout social club and it promises to be a fantastic occasion for the Glens as they look back on a rollercoaster half-century in junior football.

The club was formed back in May 1964 when brigadier R.S Doyle, the chairman of Glenrothes Development Corporation, decided the town had grown large enough to have its own junior football team.

The Corporation donated £250 to get the club started and on August 15, 1964, the Glens played their first competitive match in the old Fife Junior League, a derby with local rivals Thornton Hibs at Dovecot Park, which they lost 3-2.

Glens would go on to become one of Fife’s most successful sides winning almost every regional title available, as well as reaching two Scottish Junior Cup finals, finishing runners-up in 1968 before lifting the coveted trophy in 1975.

The club moved from Dovecot to a new home, Warout Stadium, in 1971, with a new stand and new facilities, and the record attendance came in 1974 when 5600 watched a sixth round Scottish Cup tie against Cambuslang.

The club’s success dried up during a 10-year barren spell in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, but the club eventually got back among the silverware, with the most recent success coming in 2010 when they lifted the Fife League Cup. The club currently competes in the East Premier League.

Glens secretary Willie Drew is the club’s longest-serving office bearer, having served on the committee for the past 42 years.

“I’ve been at the club since 1972 and thoroughly enjoyed myself,” he said.

“It’s been a great experience. meeting lots of great people and having lots of great laughs along the way.

“We’ve never paid great money so we’ve always had players who play for the jersey, and apart from the 10 barren years, we’ve had some great success over the past 50 years.

“We might not be in the top league at the moment, but Glens are still in a big name in junior football. I go to most of the Scottish Cup draws and Glens are still one of the most talked about teams.”

The highlight of Glens’ history thus far was the Scottish Junior Cup final win in 1975, when they defeated Rutherglen Glencairn 1-0 at Hampden Park in front of a crowd of 17,776.

“That was a fantastic day for the club,” Willie said, before reciting the entire team from memory.

“Cooper, White, Baker, Dair, McKenzie, Duncan, Cunningham, Judge, McInnes, Thomson, Walker,” he recalled. “The subs were Hynd and Jack – there were only two subs in those days.

“The manager was John Forsyth, who played for Raith, and he was a fantastic manager. It was a great time to be involved with the Glens.

“We still meet up with that ‘75 team – they regularly come along to our club functions.

“A lot of our former players have still got the club at heart.”

Glens’ only other appearance in the final came in 1968 when they lost 4-3 to Johnstone Burgh in a replay after the first match ended in a 2-2 draw.

Willie added: “By all accounts, it was one of the best ever finals at Hampden.”

Glenrothes Heritage Centre will mark the club’s 50th anniversary with a display of memorabilia, which will be available to view in the boardroom at Warout Stadium on Saturday before moving to the Kingdom Centre for a month.

Any former players who have not yet been in contact regarding Saturday’s event should contact Willie Drew on 07927385918 or (01592) 759189. Admission to Warout Stadium on Saturday is free for all spectators.

Glenrothes Juniors

Founded – 1964

Ground – Dovecot Park, Warout Stadium

Honours:

Scottish Cup

Winners – 1975

Runners up – 1968

Fife & Lothians Cup

Winners – 1972

Runners up – 2003

National Drybrough Cup

Winners – 1975

East of

Scotland Cup

Runners up - 2009

Fife County League

Champions – 1965/66, 1966/67, 1967/68

Fife Regional League

Champions – 1969/70, 1970/71, 1974/75, 1975/76, 1977/78, 1983/84, 1984/85

Runners up – 1973/74, 1976/77, 1985/86, 2001/02

Towns, Fields and Clubs of Fife

Fife Regional League East Division

Runners Up -1972/73, 1978/79, 1986/87

East Region League Division 1

Champions – 2006/07

Fife Junior Cup

Winners – 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1986, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2004

Runners up – 1970, 1974, 1978, 1988, 1990, 2002, 2007, 2009

Cowdenbeath Cup

Winners - 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1984

Runners up – 1975, 1980, 1981, 2002

Fife League Cup

Winners – 2010

Runners up – 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011

Fife Drybrough Cup

Winners – 1975, 1979, 1984, 1985

Runners up - 1983

Laidlaw Shield

Winners – 1982, 1983

Runners up – 1991

Montrave Cup

Winners – 1967, 1971, 1972

Runners up – 1968, 1969, 1970, 1973

Fife & Tayside Cup

Runners up – 2002, 2009

Tennents Caladonian Cup

Winners – 1975, 1976

Runners up – 1974

WT Men’s Cup

Winners – 1995

Kingdom Kegs Cup

Winners – 1997, 1999

Stella Artois Cup

Winners - 2002, 2004

Kingdom Kegs Cup

Winners - 2008.

A personal recollection of supporting the Glens...

I think the period of years in the ‘80s I spent supporting the Glens all over the country was possibly the most fun I’ve had watching football.

As a seven-year-old I was at Hampden to see them win the Scottish Cup in 1975 but, being so young, the memories are vague.

However, I can still recall fondly the many trips I made, more often than not accompanied by my friend Garry, to such far flung outposts of the junior game as Largs, Ellon, Ardrossan, Luncarty – and most points in between.

We couldn’t afford to go to senior football and anyway, there was much more of a connection following your local team.

There were also some great characters around the club at the time and even if the results didn’t always go the right way, the banter and laughs on the sidelines among the supporters more than made up for it!

Of the players, the names that immediately spring to mind are the likes of keeper Mike Mallin, Ian Paterson, the fearsome Ian Blackadder, the mercurial Jimmy Smith, Ian Dair, Jock McAndrew, Tam Brown, goal machine Les Hooley, the list could go on.

My connection went deeper than merely supporting, however, as my late dad was trainer for the Glens for many years, firstly under the tutelage of the great Willie Hunter, then in his own right until ill-health prevented him carrying on.

This allowed me access to the inner sanctum of the club (and free use of the heat machine on my dodgy knee!), and for a time I helped the kit man with the hanging of the strips before games, which, in a small way, made you feel part of the team. It wasn’t so much fun collecting the used gear afterwards right enough, especially after a January match in Comrie!

For a spell, I even took over linesman duties, at a time when the only ‘official’ was the referee, which involved raising the flag to indicate when the ball was out of play. I remember getting more abuse from my own supporters than the opposition if they didn’t agree with a decision!

And on a couple of occasions, the team was so short of players I had to be named as a substitute, just in case. I never actually saw any action but perhaps somewhere, filed away in a dusty archive, there is still a teamsheet for Glenrothes Juniors which has my name on it.

GORDON HOLMES