Ayr United F.C.

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Ayr United
Ayr United Crest.png
Full nameAyr United Football Club
Nickname(s)The Honest Men[1]
Founded1910; 109 years ago (1910)
GroundSomerset Park
Capacity10,185[2] (1,597 seated)
ChairmanLachlan Cameron
ManagerIan McCall
LeagueScottish Championship
2017–18Scottish League One, 1st of 10 (promoted)
WebsiteClub website

Ayr United Football Club are a football club in Ayr, Scotland, that plays in the Scottish Championship, the second tier of the Scottish Professional Football League. Formed in 1910 by the merger of Ayr Parkhouse and Ayr F.C., their nickname is The Honest Men, from a line in the Robert Burns poem "Tam o' Shanter". They play at Somerset Park.[3]

The club have spent 34 seasons in Scotland's top division, the last being 1977–78, and have been the champions of the second tier of Scottish football on six occasions, and of the third tier on three occasions. The club's most successful manager, Ally MacLeod, went on to manage the Scottish national football team. In 2018, Ayr United secured promotion to the Scottish Championship as champions of League One.


Ayr United were founded in 1910 by the merger of Ayr Parkhouse and Ayr F.C.. Although Inverness Caledonian Thistle are also the product of a merger between two clubs, Ayr United are the only Scottish Football League club to have been formed from a merger of two existing league clubs.

The club's honours include winning six Second Division titles (as the second tier championship) and a further three titles (as the third tier championship), most recently in 2017–18. They have not won any national cup competitions, although they were runners-up in the 2001–02 Scottish League Cup, and in the Scottish Challenge Cup in the first two seasons in which the competition was held: 1990–91 and 1991–92. They have won the local competition the Ayrshire Cup on 26 occasions, most commonly facing fierce local rivals Kilmarnock in the final. The Ayrshire Cup was last played for in season 1996–97, since when the competition has been suspended.

The club's record scorer in a single season is Jimmy Smith, who scored 66 goals for Ayr in only 38 league matches in 1927–28 and currently holds the British goalscoring record for the most league goals scored in a single season.[4] The club's overall record scorer is Peter Price, who scored 213 times in competitive matches for the club between 1955 and 1962.

Former Scottish national team manager Ally MacLeod is regarded as the club's most famous and most successful manager. He led the club on three separate occasions spanning 15 years, during which his teams recorded a record 214 wins, and won two league titles. In 1973 MacLeod was voted Ayr's Citizen of the Year. More recent managers have also included the recent Scottish national team manager, George Burley, and former Scottish League Cup winner with Raith Rovers, Gordon Dalziel. Gordon Dalziel is the only manager to take Ayr to a National Cup Final on 17 March 2002 when they lost to Rangers 4–0. Their current manager is Ian McCall.

Although the club has spent 34 seasons in Scotland's top division, they have played in the second and third tiers of Scottish senior football since the 1977–78 season. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the club established a record of defeating teams which played in higher leagues in cup competitions, including Hibernian, Dundee, Dundee United, Motherwell, Dunfermline Athletic and four consecutive wins in cup competitions against their fiercest rivals Kilmarnock.

In 1988, Ayr United fan and businessman Sir David Murray offered to buy the club but the club's shareholders rejected the bid by a vote of 60 to 56. The manager at that time, Ally MacLeod, had threatened to leave if Murray's bid had succeeded: Murray went on to become chairman of Rangers, which coincided with a period of financial growth and league success for that club. During much of the 1990s and 2000s, a period of relative success both in league and cup competitions, the Ayr United chairman was local construction magnate Bill Barr. After Barr stood down, there were occasional boardroom struggles: the club suffered significant cashflow problems in 2004 although it survived with a combination of efforts. Prestwick-based Roy Kennedy failed to take over the club in 2005, and his company Kennedy Construction went bankrupt in 2006.

On 24 May 2009, Ayr won the Scottish First Division Play-off against Airdrie United 3–2 on aggregate to win promotion to the First Division. The following season, to celebrate the club's centenary, Ayr United played in black and white hoops, the club's original black and white kit. The away kit was crimson and gold with blue shorts to reflect the original club colours. But it was not a successful season. Ayr were relegated on the last day of the season after losing 2–1 to Morton. The club bounced back the following season, winning promotion after defeating Forfar Athletic and Brechin City in the play-offs. That same season, they knocked out Hibernian in the Scottish Cup, winning 1–0 at Somerset Park in a replay.

In the 2011–12 season, Ayr enjoyed success in the 2011–12 Scottish League Cup, beating SPL sides Inverness, Hearts and St Mirren on their way to the semi-finals. Ayr United played Ayrshire derby rivals Kilmarnock in the semi-finals, the first time the two clubs had met at this stage. Kilmarnock won one-nil. But the league campaign was less successful, as United were relegated to the Second Division following a play-off defeat to Airdrie United.[5]

Following relegation, United announced that Brian Reid's contract would not be renewed. The club appointed Mark Roberts, top scorer in the previous three seasons, manager, with head of youth development, Davie White, as his assistant.[6] In January 2015, Ian McCall was appointed Ayr's new manager, taking over from Roberts. After saving the club from relegation on the final day of the 2014–15 season, McCall led Ayr back to the Championship with a penalty shoot-out victory over Stranraer in the Playoffs.[7] Following their relegation in 2017, Ayr competed in League One but finished the season as Champions, regaining their Championship status at the first time of asking and winning their first league title in over twenty years in the process.

Crest and colours[edit]


From 1948 to 2016, Ayr United used a crest which is a shield containing a Scottish saltire, with a scroll beneath stating the club's name.[8] In 2015, the club became subject to a legal action which claimed that the crest was an unregistered coat of arms.[8] After it had emerged that the clubs badge was in jeopardy, a petition was started by fans and gained 700 signatures in 24 hours.[9] The campaign gained support and many political, footballing figures and fans alike lent support to keep the Ayr badge intact. Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party leader Ruth Davidson stated "If archaic rules are forcing the team to change the badge, then I think we need to look at those rules again. When John Scott brought this issue to my attention, I was happy to take it all the way to the UK Government."[10] Another prominent name to join the campaign was former Ayr United and Bayern Munich striker and now a Sky Sports pundit on Soccer Saturday, Alan McInally, who said "Badges are so important to football supporters and are treasured by everyone. They are worn with pride by grandfathers, dads and sons as they represent the club that they support. New stadiums get built and re-named but the club badge always stays the same”.[11]

In 2016, after a fan competition to design a new club badge, a design incorporating most of the old features of the old badge was introduced.


The club's original jerseys were red and gold, inherited from Ayr,[12] with navy blue shorts and socks. In 1914, Ayr adopted black and white hoops, which were worn, with several modifications, up to 1930, when The Honest Men switched to a plain white jersey, with navy blue shorts and socks, worn until the outbreak of World War II. After the war, the club retained the white jersey, and switched back to the black shorts that had originally complimented the hooped shirts, kits similar to these were worn up to 1958, when Ayr had changed the black and white look for a white with a blue trim, used until 1963, when they once again reverted to the black and white hoops, that were kept until 1968 and not used again until the 2009–10 centenary season. From then until 1994, Ayr maintained white jerseys trimmed with black with either black or white shorts and socks, then switching to a striped shirt for a single season. The following season, Ayr wore an all-black jersey for the first and only time. Ayr went back to keeping an all-white jersey with either white or black shorts and socks until the centenary season. For the 2011–12 season, a half-black-half-white shirt was worn for the first time, however, Ayr FC had previously wore a similar jersey between 1899 and 1903. The 2013–14 season saw Ayr return to the white jersey, black shorts and socks for the first time since 1973.

Home Kits[edit]


Away Kits[edit]



Period Sportswear Home sponsor Away sponsor
1977–1981 Umbro none
1981–1987 Barr Construction
1987–1988 Ayr Advertiser
1988–1990 Bukta Centrum
1990–1991 Riberio
1991–1993 Arrow
1993–1994 Sports Division
1994–1995 Core What everyone Wants
1995–1996 The Ayr United Collection
1996–1997 Ayrshire Post
1997–1998 Premier Marketing UK
1998–1999 Barr Construction
1999–2000 TFG Sports Strachans Motors Barr Construction
2000–2001 Leader Newspaper Barr Steel
2001–2002 Aurigin
2002–2004 Kerr & Smith Iveco Daily
2004–2005 Kennedy Construction Simply Purchasing
2005–2006 The Home Bakery Honest Men Trust
2006–2007 The Events Company Greig Lucas
2007–2008 Lotto Sports Rodie Carrick Bathrooms
2008–2010 Surridge Sports Paligap
2010–2011 Nike
2011–2014 Bodog
2014–2018 Adidas
2018– Bitcoin BCH


Ayr play their football at Somerset Park in Ayr's New Town. One of the few surviving traditional stadium designs, it consists of one stand, two covered terraces, and one open terrace. It has a capacity of 10,185.[2] The first match to take place at Somerset Park was between the former Ayr and Aston Villa in a 3–0 victory for Ayr.

During the 1990s the club's chairman Bill Barr, who owned and managed a company which built modern-style stadiums and stands for several other clubs around the UK sought — and obtained — planning permission from South Ayrshire Council for a new 10,200 all-seated stadium at Heathfield in Ayr with an associated retail development. The Scottish Executive then "called in" the application and reversed the decision in respect of the retail development. Since the club considered this aspect of the proposal necessary to fund the construction, the development did not proceed.[13]

In November 2006, United signed a contract with Barratt Homes for the sale of Somerset Park, having secured a 20-acre (81,000 m2) site in the Heathfield area of Ayr. The site would house a new £18 million stadium seating 7,650 as part of a "sports and business campus".[14] The project ultimately did not proceed.

First-team squad[edit]

As of 31 January 2019[15]

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

No. Position Player
1 Scotland GK Ross Doohan (on loan from Celtic)
3 Scotland DF Daniel Harvie
4 Scotland MF Mark Kerr
5 Scotland DF Michael Rose
6 Scotland MF Andy Geggan
7 Scotland FW Michael Moffat
8 Scotland MF Rab Crawford
9 Scotland FW Craig Moore
10 Scotland MF Alan Forrest
11 Scotland MF Declan McDaid
15 Scotland DF Steven Bell
16 Scotland MF Jamie Adams
No. Position Player
17 Scotland FW Lawrence Shankland
18 Scotland MF Andy Murdoch
19 New Zealand GK Ellis Hare-Reid
20 Scotland MF James Hilton
21 Scotland DF Finn Ecrepont
22 Scotland DF Nathan Baird
23 Scotland MF Ross Docherty (captain)
25 Scotland MF Luke McCowan
27 Scotland DF Liam Smith
28 Scotland MF Nicky Cadden (on loan from Livingston)
29 Scotland DF Calvin Miller (on loan from Celtic)
30 Scotland DF Aaron Muirhead

Out on loan[edit]

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

No. Position Player
2 Scotland DF Chris Higgins (at East Fife)
12 Scotland MF Craig McGuffie (at Raith Rovers)
14 Scotland DF David Ferguson (at Dumbarton)
No. Position Player
24 Scotland MF Leon Murphy (at Glenafton Athletic)
26 Scotland MF Stuart Faulds (at Largs Thistle)

Coaching staff[edit]

Role Name
Manager Ian McCall
Assistant Manager Neil Scally
Goalkeeping Coach Derek Stillie
Physiotherapist Steven Maguire
Kitman Graham Steel
Head of Youth Development David White


Dates[16] Name
1910–1914 Committee
1914–1915 England Herbert Dainty (Ayr United's first manager)
1915–1918 England Lawrence Gemson
1918–1919 Scotland John Cameron
1919–1923 Scotland James McDonald
1923–1924 Scotland Jimmy Richardson
1924–1926 Scotland Jimmy Hay
1926–1931 Scotland Archie Buchanan
1931–1935 England Alex Gibson
1935–1940 Northern Ireland Frank Thompson
1945–1948 England Bob Ferrier
1949–1953 Scotland Archie Anderson
1953–1955 Scotland Reuben Bennett
1955–1956 Scotland Neil McBain
1956–1961 Scotland Jackie Cox
1961 Scotland Bobby Flavell
1961–1962 Scotland Gerry Mays
1962–1963 Scotland Neil McBain
1963–1964 Scotland Bobby Flavell
1964–1966 Scotland Tom McCreath
1966–1975 Scotland Ally MacLeod
1975–1978 Scotland Alex Stuart
1978 Scotland Ally MacLeod
1979–1983 Scotland Willie McLean
1983–1985 Scotland George Caldwell
1985–1990 Scotland Ally MacLeod
1991–1993 Scotland George Burley
1993–1995 England Simon Stainrod
1995–2002 Scotland Gordon Dalziel
2002–2004 Scotland Campbell Money
2004–2005 Scotland Mark Shanks
2005–2007 Scotland Bobby Connor
2007 Scotland Neil Watt
2007–2012 Scotland Brian Reid
2012–2014 Scotland Mark Roberts[6]
2015– Scotland Ian McCall






  • Ayrshire Cup
    • Winners (26): 1911–12, 1925–26, 1928–29, 1932–33, 1935–36, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1949–50, 1957–58, 1958–59, 1960–61, 1964–65, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1970–71, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1977–78, 1979–80, 1985–86, 1987–88, 1988–89, 1990–91, 1994–95, 1996–97
  • Ayr Charity Cup
    • Winners (17): 1911–12, 1912–13, 1913–14, 1914–15, 1915–16, 1918–19, 1920–21, 1923–24, 1925–26, 1926–27, 1928–29, 1929–30, 1930–31, 1931–32, 1935–36, 1937–38, 1951–52
  • Kilmarnock Charity Cup
    • Winners (4): 1930–31, 1932–33, 1935–36, 1936–37




All players are from Scotland unless otherwise stated.

Hall of Fame[edit]

Year Inducted Name Years at Ayr Utd. Role(s) at Ayr Utd.
Ally MacLeod[21] 1964–1965, 1966–1975*, 1978*, 1986–1989* Player and Manager
Ian McAllister[21] 1977–1992 Player
Peter Price[21] 1955–1962 Player
Sam McMillan[21] 1952–1968 Player
John 'Spud' Murphy[21] 1963–1978 Player
Henry Templeton[21] 1987–1991 Player
Alex 'Dixie' Ingram[21] 1966–1970, 1970–1977, 2008–[22]** Player and vice-chairman
Alex 'Sanny' McAnespie[21] 1964–1978 Player
Davie Stewart[21] 1967–1974 Player
Rikki Fleming[21] 1968–1978 Player
Dick Malone[21] 1964–1971 Player
The 1987–88 Squad 1987–88 Team

* years involved as a manager
** years involved as vice-chairman

Scottish Football Hall of Fame
Year Inducted Player Years at Ayr United
Sir Alex Ferguson CBE
Steve Archibald
Alan Rough
Ally MacLeod


* years involved as manager

English Football Hall of Fame
year Inducted Player Years at Ayr United
Sir Alex Ferguson CBE

International players[edit]

Only includes caps won while playing for Ayr United.


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External links[edit]