Vale of Leven F.C.

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Vale of Leven
Vale leven logo.png
Full name Vale of Leven Football & Athletic Club
Nickname(s) The Vale
Founded (Current club) 1939; 75 years ago (1939)
(Original club) 1872
Ground Millburn Park
Leven Street
Alexandria
Ground Capacity 3000
Chairman Scotland Angus Wallace
Manager Scotland Hugh Hamill
League SJFA Central District Second Division
2013–14 6th
Website Club home page

Vale of Leven Football Club are an association club based in the town of Alexandria, Scotland, in the Vale of Leven area of West Dunbartonshire. Nicknamed the Vale and formed in 1939, they play at Millburn Park. They play in the Scottish Junior Football Association, West Region, and wear blue and white strips.

History[edit]

Original club[edit]

In the early days of Scottish football, Vale of Leven (based in Alexandria) and their neighbours Renton were real powers in the land. Vale won the Scottish Cup three times in succession (1877, 1878 and 1879). In 1878 they travelled down to England and beat the F.A. Cup winners, The Wanderers, 3-1 at Kennington Oval. The Wanderers had the advantage that the game was played under the English throw-in rule, but the Vale's Scottish passing game proved superior to the English game of individual dribbling. [1][2] The club also won the Celtic Society Cup in shinty in 1879.

Vale of Leven was a founder member of the Scottish Football League when it was formed in 1890. By this time, the club was being eclipsed by the rising stars from Glasgow and Dumbarton. In their second season they failed to win a single game and finished last. Rather than face re-election for the second time, the club withdrew and joined the rival Scottish Alliance where they played for a single season.

Between 1893 and 1902 the Vale played only friendly matches and in cup competition before joining the Scottish Football Combination. In 1905 they applied successfully for readmission to the Scottish League when the Second Division was extended with two additional places. They finished as runners-up in 1907 and in 1909 but did not receive the votes they needed to be elected to the First Division. As the following decade wore on, Vale of Leven struggled and regularly finished near the foot of the table. When the Second Division was suspended in 1915, Vale joined the Western League.

After World War I ended Vale of Leven returned to the Scottish League for the third time as members of the reformed Second Division. After a decent fourth place finish in their first season, the club was relegated to the new Third Division in 1924. This ill-fated competition was abandoned in 1926 when it became clear that the cost of meeting match guarantees and additional travel expenses were beyond the means of its members.

After a season playing in the Scottish Alliance, financial constraints forced the club into a local district league before being discontinued in 1929: victims of the Great Depression which had proven so disastrous for many small Scottish football clubs at professional and amateur level. There was every intention of reviving the club once local economics made it viable; however, unlike previous occasions they were struck off the SFA club roll after withdrawing from their Scottish Qualifying Cup match against Dykehead

In the meantime Millburn Park continued to be used by a new amateur side, Vale of Leven Old Church Old Boys Association (usually known as "Vale Ocoba"), who took part in the Scottish Cup from 1931 until 1938, and who enjoyed success in first the West of Scotland Amateur League and then the Scottish Combinations: ironically, they also won the Scottish Qualifying Cup (North) in 1937. Despite the church team name, Vale Ocoba appeared to be a flag of convenience for the Vale of Leven Football & Athletic Club struck off the SFA's roll, as events proved.

Original club colours: Dark blue shirts, dark blue shorts, red socks.

Modern club[edit]

Milburn Park

Vale Of Leven OCOBA were invited to be part of a reconstituted Scottish Football Alliance, along with Babcock & Wilcox (a works team), fellow former Scottish League and Alliance member Galston, Girvan Athletic, another former Scottish League member Nithsdale Wanderers, Queen's Park Strollers (Queen's Park third team), and Stranraer, which they duly did, but as Vale of Leven Football & Athletic Club - "Vale Ocoba" promptly vanishing from the face of the earth.

Disaster struck however when the start of World War 2 obliged the league to be suspended due to restrictions on travel by December 1939. In order to survive, Vale Of Leven promptly joined the ranks of the Scottish Junior Football Association - suffering an abrupt vacancy in their Central League due to the bankruptcy of Springfield Athletic - and thus bringing to a final end 67 years of membership of the Scottish Football Association they'd helped to create.

Technically, the current club is unattached to the former senior club, but in reality it is the continuation of it. Scottish Junior football has a number of clubs (e.g. Arthurlie, Beith, Royal Albert, Port Glasgow Athletic) that were forced to fold as Senior sides due to financial reasons or as a result of the collapse of the old Scottish Division Three in the late 1920s. (Some initially found a home in the Scottish Alliance, until this too was discontinued at the behest of the Senior sides.) This is more prevalent on the West Coast where no non-amateur Senior league exists any longer. The most recent example of this trend has been the former Junior turned Senior turned Junior again side Clydebank.

Vale of Leven should not be confused (but frequently are by non-Scots) with the slightly differently named East of Scotland League club Vale of Leithen. Most Scottish teams with the name "Vale of" had their name inspired by the Alexandria side, who along with Queen's Park and Third Lanark toured throughout Scotland in their early years doing exhibition matches to increase interest in football.

Squad-[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Scotland Mark Bowie
Scotland David Brannigan
Scotland Alan Brown
Scotland William Brown
Scotland Jack Buchanan
Scotland Jack Carr
Scotland Craig Cowan
Scotland Thomas Crawford
Scotland Craig Docherty
Scotland Kearn Docherty
Scotland Patrick Fairlay
Scotland Jamie Goudie
Scotland Martin Grindlay
Scotland Andrew Jenkins
Scotland Alex Lacy
Scotland Robert Lambie
Scotland Gordon Martin
Scotland Craig McCallum
No. Position Player
Scotland Jamie McDonald
Scotland Lee McGeachy
Scotland Graeme McKenzie
Scotland David McNaught
Scotland Gavin Orr
Scotland Mark Pawsey
Scotland Graeme Ross
Scotland Alistair Shields
Scotland Charlie Smith
Scotland Gary Stillwell
Scotland Brooks Tadlock
Scotland David Telfer
Scotland Keith Thomas
Scotland Scott Thornton
Scotland Hugh Ward
Scotland Brian Wardle
Scotland Ross Willis
Scotland Kenny Wilson

Honours[edit]

  • Scottish Cup (3):
  • Scottish Qualifying Cup (2):
    • 1909, 1937
  • Celtic Society Cup (1) (shinty)
    • 1879
  • Scottish Junior Cup (1):
    • 1953
  • Central Junior Football League
    • B Division champions 1969-70
    • C Division champions 1978-79
    • D Division champions 1946-47
  • Evening Times Cup Winners Cup (2):
    • 1947, 1970
  • Kirkwood Shield (4):
    • 1951, 1954, 1958, 1965
  • Dunbartonshire Junior Cup (2):
    • 1940, 1965
  • Dunbartonshire Junior Charity Cup (5):
    • 1943, 1946, 1947, 1953, 1954
  • Erskine Hospital Charity Cup (1):
    • 1970

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Old Vale and its Memories
  2. ^ Dumbarton Herald 18 April 1878

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°58′53″N 4°34′41″W / 55.98149°N 4.57794°W / 55.98149; -4.57794