Abercorn F.C.

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Abercorn Football Club was a football club based in Paisley, Scotland, which played in the Scottish Football League from 1890 until 1915. The club's colours were blue and white stripes. Abercorn were founder members of the Scottish Football League, but eventually could not compete with local rivals St. Mirren and closed down during the 1920–21 season.[1]

History[edit]

Abercorn F.C. was formed on 10 November 1877 with an initial membership of 200, a few months after St. Mirren had been formed in the town with their first game been played in December against the 79th Highland Reserve Volunteers with the match ending in a 1-1 draw with Robert Fulton the president of the club getting the first goal and gate receipts of £3. In June 1878 at a meeting at the Star Hotel in Paisley were the representatives from Abercorn, Arthurlie, Barrhead, Barrhead Rangers, Barrhead Thistle, Bridge of Weir, Caledonia (Thornliebank), Cartvale, Clydevale (Greenock), Glenkilloch, Johnstone Athletic, Jordanhill, Levern, Linwood, Mearns Pollock, Thornliebank, 17th Renfrewshire Rifle Volunteers and 23rd Renfrewshire Rifle Volunteers. At the meeting these clubs became the founder members of Renfrewshire County Football Association and a cup was purchased a year later from Summerton Jewellers of Paisley. Abercorn would win the Renfrewshire County Cup on five occasions. Their home matches were initially played at East Park (1877–79)on the corner of Seedhill Road and Mill Street, before moving onto Blackstoun Park (1879–89)in Well Street. In 1887 they managed to make their first semi-final of the Scottish Cup, losing out to Cambuslang by 10–1 scoreline, which is a joint record margin of defeat for the semi-final stage of the Scottish Cup. They would repeat the achievement of reaching the cup semi-finals in each of their next two seasons.

In 1889 they moved to 200 yards to Underwood Park, and it was whilst playing there they became initial members of the Scottish Football League in 1890along with Cambuslang, Celtic, Cowlairs, Dumbarton, Heart of Midlothian, Rangers, Renton, Saint Mirren, Third Lanark R.V. and Vale of Leven with Saint Bernards failing to be elected as they had been found guilty of being a professional club, Renton were to be thrown of the Scottish Football League for playing them under another name of Edinburgh Saints. Abercorn hosted a Home International Championship tie between Scotland and Wales at the Underwood Park ground on 22 March 1890, the first time an international match had been played in Paisley. The club finished the inaugural season of the league in seventh place out of ten, but had the satisfaction of finishing ahead of St. Mirren, who ended in eighth place. This success was short-lived, however, as when a Second Division was created in 1893, Abercorn and Clyde who had been voted of the Scottish became founder members along with Greenock Morton, Hibernian, Motherwell, Northern, Partick Thistle, Port Glasgow Athletic and Thistle (Glasgow)[1] The club did gain promotion back to the top division for the 1896–97 seasonafter winning the Division 2 championship and along with Clyde were elected in the ballot back to Division 1, where to be dropped back down after just one season after finishing bottom and were replaced in the top division by Partick Thistle.[1]

In 1899 the club moved from Underwood Park to their Old Ralston ground in East Lane in the Ralston area of Paisley which was 700 yards from there first ground at East Park. Abercorn won the Second Division championship in 1909 and were runners-up in 1912, but failed to win re-election to the First Division in either year.[1] The club dropped out of the Scottish Football League in 1915, when the Second Division went into abeyance.[1] Of the Scottish Football League's former members, they are the sixth longest serving club after Airdrieonians, Third Lanark, St Bernard's, Leith Athletic and Clydebank.

The last big achievement of the club were winning the Scottish Qualifying Cup in the 1912–13 season. During their run in this competition the club got its highest attendance at their New Ralston ground—which they had moved into in 1909 10 yards from Ralston Park but still on East Lane (beside today's Renult Garage and Artificial football pitches), when 7,000 spectators attended the semi-final match with Nithsdale Wanderers. The club played in the Western League from 1915–16 until 1919–20, when their lease on their New Ralston ground was ended at the behest of the local town council. This was ostensibly in order to build an Ice Rink, which did not happen for another four years. It was long accused that St. Mirren had used their connections with Paisley Town Council to kill off their rival.

Unable to secure another ground within the town, this effectively spelled the end of Abercorn.[1] Despite not being entered in any league competition they played one game in season 1920–21 with effectively a scratch team in a Scottish Cup defeat away to Vale of Leven. 2000 spectators witnessed this, the last game that Abercorn played, which resulted in an 8–2 victory for Vale of Leven. Abercorn retained membership of the Scottish Football Association until 29 March 1922, when they were disbarred for failing to secure their own private home ground. Effectively though the club were defunct in 1920 when it played its last game, although an annual Abercorn Football Club dinner was still held in the town until 1939 just before the outbreak of the Second World War.

In season 2009-10, 90 years after the original club disappeared, a new club was formed under the Abercorn name in Paisley.[2] The new club has had a marked lack of success, however. In its inaugural 18-game season, it lost all its matches.

Grounds[edit]

  • 1877–1879: East Park
  • 1879–1889: Blackstoun Park (Well Street)
  • 1889–1899: Underwood Park
  • 1899–1909: Old Ralston (East Lane Ralston)
  • 1909–1920: New Ralston (East Lane Ralston)

Colours[edit]

  • 1877–1881: Royal blue & white striped shirts, white shorts.
  • 1881–1883: Navy blue shirts, white shorts.
  • 1883–1908: White shirts, navy blue shorts.
  • 1908–1916: Royal blue & white striped shirts, royal blue shorts.
  • 1916–1920: Royal blue & white striped shirts, white shorts.

Honours[edit]

Scottish Football League Division Two
  • Champions (2): 1895/96, 1908/09
  • Runners up (1): 1912/13
Scottish Qualifying Cup
  • Winners (1): 1912/13
Renfrewshire Cup
  • Winners (4): 1886, 1887, 1889, 1890
  • Runners up (3): 1888, 1903, 1910
Paisley Charity Cup
  • Winners (7): 1886, 1889, 1892, 1895, 1905, 1909, 1913

References[edit]