Airdrieonians Football Club is a Scottish professional football team in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, who are members of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) and play in Scottish League One. They were formed in 2002 as Airdrie United Football Club following the liquidation of the original Airdrieonians club, formed in 1878. The club's official name was changed in 2013 with the approval of the Scottish Football Association to the traditional name of Airdrieonians. As with the previous club, this is often colloquially shortened to simply "Airdrie".
|Full name||Airdrieonians Football Club|
|Founded||2002as Airdrie United FC|
|Ground||Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie|
|League||Scottish League One|
|2021–22||Scottish League One, 2nd of 10|
The club have won two trophies in their short history – the Scottish Second Division in 2003–04 and the Challenge Cup in 2008–09. Once described as "the luckiest team in the Scottish League", the club have benefited in league division placements due to other club's misfortunes on three occasions (2008, 2009 and 2012).
Formation as Airdrie UnitedEdit
Airdrieonians had finished runners-up in the Scottish First Division in the 2001–02 season but went out of business with debts approaching £3 million. The collapse of "The Diamonds", as they were known due to their distinctive kits, created a vacancy in the Scottish Football League (in the Scottish Third Division). Accountant and Airdrieonians fan Jim Ballantyne attempted, with the help of others, to gain entry with a club called "Airdrie United" who were essentially to be a reincarnation of Airdrieonians. Their application however was rejected as the then English Northern Premier League side Gretna were preferred by league members over the new Airdrie United.
Airdrie United then went on to complete a buy-out of the ailing Second Division side Clydebank and with SFL approval the club was relocated to Airdrie, the strips were transformed to resemble that of Airdrieonians, and the name was changed to Airdrie United. While this means that the club is therefore officially a legal continuation of Clydebank, it is almost universally accepted as a reincarnation of Airdrieonians, with a new version of Clydebank being reformed by supporters' groups and entering into the West Region Junior League.
Early years – league title & new manager (2002–2006)Edit
Managed by Sandy Stewart, Airdrie United's first match took place at New Broomfield against Forfar Athletic in August 2002, with captain Stephen Docherty scoring the only goal of the game with Airdrie United winning 1–0. Their debut season saw the club only narrowly fail to achieve promotion by one point due to a late injury-time goal from Brechin City which saw them promoted instead. The club reached the second round of the Challenge Cup, the third round of the Scottish Cup and the third round of the Scottish League Cup having beaten Premier League side Kilmarnock in the second round.
During the rest of Stewart's tenure the club reached the final of the Challenge Cup in 2003 (losing 2–0 to Inverness Caledonian Thistle), and won the Second Division title in 2003–04 season. Having started poorly Airdrie went on a run that saw them unbeaten in the last 18 games of that season, including the final game of the league campaign which saw a crowd of over 5,700 at New Broomfield to watch Airdrie defeat Morton 2–0 and lift the League Championship trophy, the club having been confirmed champions the previous week following their 1–0 victory away to Alloa Athletic at Recreation Park.
Mixed fortunes – play-offs, cup win & club changes (2006–2013)Edit
Under Kenny Black the club suffered four successive play-off defeats:
- In the 2006–07 season as relegation play-off finalists (losing 5–4 on aggregate to Stirling Albion).
- In the 2007–08 season as promotion play-off finalists (losing 3–0 on aggregate to Clyde). However the enforced relegation of Gretna to the Third Division, after being put into administration, prompted a restructuring of the leagues, and Airdrie were promoted to the First Division as the losing play-off finalists.
- In the 2008–09 season as relegation play-off finalists (losing 3–2 on aggregate to Second Division runners up Ayr United). Again Airdrie were given a reprieve as the continued uncertainty over the future of Livingston meant that the West Lothian club were relegated to the Third division, so Airdrie were reinstated to the First Division as losing play-off finalists.
- In the 2009–10 season as relegation play-off semi-finalists (losing 3–1 on aggregate to Brechin City). Unlike the previous two seasons there was no reprieve.
The club won the Challenge Cup in 2008, defeating Ross County 3–2 on penalties after a 2–2 draw, and after this success manager Kenny Black signed a long term contract (until 2012). A club decision to focus on developing youth was vindicated in January 2011, as Celtic signed teenager Tony Watt for a sum of £80,000 plus add-ons.
The first league game between Airdrie United and local rivals Albion Rovers took place at New Broomfield on 10 September 2011, with Airdrie winning 4–0. After another play-off defeat by 6–2 on aggregate to Dumbarton in the promotion play-off final at the end of 2011–12 season Airdrie were lucky again as the liquidation of the company that operated Scottish Premier League side Rangers and the decision by Scottish Football League clubs that Rangers should play in the Scottish Third Division, meant that an additional team from each tier of Scottish football was promoted for the 2012–13 season. As Airdrie were runners up in the previous season's Second Division promotion play-offs, they were promoted to the Scottish First Division. A season in the First Division came to an end in May 2013, with the club finishing bottom of the league and relegated to Division Two.
Airdrieonians name returns (2013–2015)Edit
In June 2013, the club officially changed its name from Airdrie United Football Club to Airdrieonians Football Club. The name change revived the name of the club it was formed to replace in 2002, following the liquidation of the original Airdrieonians. The Airdrieonians all red club crest was also revived, with an alternate black and red version used for the away kits.
New ownership at the club (2015–2018)Edit
In June 2015 Jim Ballantyne sold control of the club to Tom Wotherspoon, a Lanarkshire businessman and owner of M & H Logistics (who had previously sponsored Hamilton Academical, East Fife and BSC Glasgow). Wotherspoon became Chairman and Ballantyne Vice-Chairman, appointing former Scottish Sun newspaper Head of Sport Iain King as Chief Executive (King left the club in June 2016).
Despite retaining his majority shareholding Tom Wotherspoon resigned as chairman and director of Airdrieonians on 5 June 2017, with former chairman Jim Ballantyne taking Wotherspoon's place as chairman.
Takeover, COVID-19 & play-off disappointments (2018–2022)Edit
In January 2018, it was announced that a consortium of various businessmen (including former Airdrieonians manager Bobby Watson) had taken control of Tom Wotherspoon's controlling shares, bringing to an end a tumultuous period for the club. The majority of the previous board was replaced, including Jim Ballantyne, and subsequently Director of Football Gordon Dalziel (appointed Oct 2016) departed. With Excelsior Stadium representation on the new board the club also indicated that they would be abandoning Ravenscraig Sports Complex in Motherwell and returning to training at the stadium.
Manager Ian Murray led the club to 5th, 3rd and two 2nd place finishes in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively, with the club missing out on play-off games (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) in 2020, losing to Championship side Morton over a 2 legged play-off final in May 2021, and losing to Scottish League One side Queen's Park over a 2 legged play-off final in May 2022. After this defeat Murray departed the club for Raith Rovers in the Scottish Championship.
Airdrie play their home fixtures at Excelsior Stadium, also unofficially known as New Broomfield. For sponsorship reasons the venue was originally known as The Shyberry Excelsior Stadium and from 2018–2022 as The Penny Cars Stadium. The ground was built when now defunct Airdrieonians' previous home, Broomfield Park, was sold to supermarket chain Safeway, who were given permission to build a new store on the site. This transaction has been cited as being the cause of the financial ruination of the club, as their old ground was demolished several years before they acquired planning permission for the new stadium. In the intervening years the club ground-shared Broadwood Stadium, in Cumbernauld, the home of Clyde.
Excelsior Stadium has an all-seated capacity of 10,101. At the end of the 2009–10 season a new 3G artificial surface was installed. This was replaced at the end of the 2021–22 season. The main pitch and adjoining small-sided facilities are all made available for local community use.
In 2003 a ground share was proposed with Falkirk as their ground did not meet SPL requirements; this was later refused as Falkirk could not prove the SPL fixtures would have priority. Queen of the South played their Uefa Cup tie in 2008 at the stadium, as did Motherwell in 2009. Queen's Park utilised the stadium for their "home" games from December 2013 until May 2014, due to the redevelopment of Hampden Park for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Colours and crestEdit
Airdrie United inherited Airdrieonians' distinctive playing colours of a white shirt with a red diamond. The design was the basis of Airdrieonians' nickname, The Diamonds, which has also been adopted by Airdrie.
When Airdrie United were formed, they used a blue double-headed eagle device on a white shield for their badge, with a red scroll below the shield that read "Airdrie United F.C.", amended to bearing "Airdrie F.C." when the club rebranded in 2012. The eagle recalled the Airdrie town arms.
When the club inherited the Airdrieonians name in 2013, they also restored the badge worn by their predecessors: the original AFC bore this emblem from 1974 until their demise in 2002, excepting the 2000–01 season. This badge featured a cockerel sitting atop a shield containing two lions passant and the club's initials. The club were informed by the Lord Lyon King of Arms in March 2015 that as their badge features a shield, it constitutes a heraldic device, and heraldic devices are not permitted to carry lettering. On 19 June 2015, Airdrieonians unveiled a new crest, removing the shield and instead using a chevron–representing the "Airdrie Diamond"–to separate the scroll from the remainder of the badge.
- As of 23 June 2022
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- Sandy Stewart (2002–2006)
- Kenny Black (2006–2010)
- Jimmy Boyle (2010–2013)
- Gary Bollan (2013–2015)
- Eddie Wolecki Black (22 December 2015 – 31 October 2016)
- Danny Lennon (10 March 2016 – June 2016)
- Lennon was appointed Acting Head Coach from March 2016 until May 2016, whilst manager Wolecki Black recovered from an illness.
- Kevin McBride (June 2016–30 October 2016)
- McBride was originally appointed Acting Head Coach from June 2016 until such time as Eddie Wolecki Black was fit and able to return to work after suffering from a stroke (away to Cowdenbeath in March 2016).
- Mark Wilson (31 October 2016 – 17 June 2017)
- Willie Aitchison (4 August 2017 – 20 August 2017)
- Stevie Findlay (29 September 2017–8 October 2018)
- Ian Murray (19 October 2018–24 May 2022)
- Rhys McCabe (26 May 2022–)
- Manager: Rhys McCabe
- Assistant Manager: Callum Fordyce
- First Team Coach: Bryan Prunty
- Goalkeeping Coach: David Hutton
- Logistics Manager: Gordon Thomson
- Head Physiotherapist: Vacant
- Junior Physiotherapist: Adam Skinner
- Sports Scientist: Vacant
Club honours & recordsEdit
- Scottish League Second Division: Winners: 2003–04 Runners up: 2007–08
- Scottish Challenge Cup: Winners: 2008–09 Runners up: 2003–04
- Meldrum Cup: Winners: 2015
|Record type||Record||Additional information|
|Most league points in a season||72||in League One 2021-22|
|Most league goals by a player in season||23, Andy Ryan||in League One 2016-17|
|Record total league appearances||159, Stephen McKeown|
|Record total league goals||40, Bryan Prunty|
|Record home attendance||9,044||v Rangers on 23 August 2013 in Scottish League 1|
|Record win||11–0||v Gala Fairydean on 19 November 2011 in Scottish Cup 3rd Round|
|Record league win||7–0||v Dundee on 11 March 2006 in Division One|
|Record loss||0–7||v Partick Thistle on 20 October 2012 in Division One|
Official club awardsEdit
Player of the YearEdit
|Season||Senior Player of the Year||Young Player of the Year|
|2021–22||Dylan Easton||Callum Smith|
|2020–21||Callum Fordyce||Leon McCann|
|2019–20||Callum Fordyce||Leon McCann|
|2018–19||David Hutton||Josh Edwards|
|2017–18||Scott Stewart||Dean Cairns|
|2016–17||Andy Ryan||Scott Stewart|
|2015–16||David Cox||Nicky Cadden|
|2014–15||Paddy Boyle||Luca Gasparotto|
|2013–14||Jim Lister||Liam Watt|
|2012–13||John Boyle||Chris O'Neil|
|2011–12||Ryan Donnelly||Nathan Blockley|
|2010–11||Ryan McCord||Jamie Bain|
|2009–10||No Award||No Award|
|2008–09||Stephen Robertson||Bobby Donnelly|
|2007–08||Allan Russell||Kevin Watt|
|2006–07||Neil McGowan||Stephen McKenna|
|2005–06||Bryan Prunty||Steven McDougall|
|2004–05||Marvyn Wilson||Stephen McKenna|
|2003–04||David Dunn||Willie McLaren|
|2002–03||Jérôme Vareille||Stephen McKeown|
Hall of FameEdit
- "Airdrieonians Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- Kenny, Stuart (16 July 2012). "How Airdrie United became the luckiest team in the Scottish League". STV. Archived from the original on 8 January 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- "New Airdrie 'will honour debts'". BBC. 14 June 2002. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
- "Airdrie United change name to Airdrieonians following Scottish FA approval". STV News. 3 June 2013. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- "2001–02 First Division". Scottish Football Archive. Archived from the original on 21 April 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
- "End of the line for Airdrie". The Scotsman. 2 May 2002. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
- "Airdrieonians". Historical football kits. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
- "New hope as Airdrieonians die". BBC. 21 May 2002. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
- "Gretna are league newcomers". BBC. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
- "Airdrie buy Bankies". BBC. 9 July 2002. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
- "New SFL boss Jim Ballantyne admits he fears for future of league clubs". Daily Record. Scotland. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
- "Clydebank FC – A History". ClydebankFC.co.uk. Archived from the original on 16 July 2017. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
- "Airdrie Utd win sponsorship deal". BBC Sport. 1 August 2002. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- "Airdrie United make winning start". The Scotsman. 4 August 2002. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
- "2002/03 Scottish Division Two Table". ESPN FC. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- "Scottish Second Division guide". BBC Sport. 5 August 2003. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- "Airdrie United 2002–2003". Statto. Archived from the original on 19 June 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- "Thompson double sinks Diamonds". BBC Sport. 29 October 2002. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- "Airdrie shock Killie". BBC Sport. 23 September 2002. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- "Inverness CT claim cup win". BBC Sport. 26 October 2003. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- "2003/04 Scottish Division Two Table". ESPN FC. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- "AIRDRIE CELEBRATE TITLE WIN Alloa 0 Airdrie U 1 Diamonds ace on cloud nine". thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- "Airdrie United 2003–2004". Statto. Archived from the original on 19 June 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- "Victory for champions Airdrie consigned long-time league leaders Morton to a fourth place finish in Division Two". BBC Sport. 15 May 2004. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
- "Airdrie part company with manager". BBC. 13 November 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
- "Black Appointed new Airdrie boss". BBC Sport. 17 November 2006. Retrieved 2 July 2008.
- "Stirling Albion won promotion to Division One and relegated Airdrie United after a fine performance in their play-off final second leg". BBC Sport. 12 May 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- "Clyde 2–0 Airdrie United (3–0)". newsimg.bbc.co.uk/. BBC Sport. 10 May 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "One of the oldest football fans in UK passes away aged 108". www.scotsman.com. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
- "Gretna forced into administration". The Guardian. 12 March 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Gretna relegated to Third Division by SFL". The Herald. Glasgow. 30 May 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Ayr United won promotion with a Division One Play-off final aggregate victory over Airdrie United". BBC Sport. 24 May 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Livi relegated to Division Three". BBC Sport. 5 August 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Diamonds consigned to Second Division as Brechin triumph". The Scotsman. 8 May 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Airdrie Utd 0–1 Brechin (1–3)". BBC Sport. 8 May 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Airdrie United win 3–2 on penalties". BBC Sport. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- "Airdrie United set to earn £20,000 Tony Watt windfall". The Telegraph. 23 April 2012. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
- "Airdrie United romped to victory against local rivals Albion Rovers in the Second Division". BBC Sport. 10 September 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Dumbarton won promotion to the Scottish First Division after a second-leg victory over Airdrie secured a 6–2 aggregate play-off final win". BBC Sport. 20 May 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Lord Hodge approves liquidation of former Rangers FC". BBC News. 31 October 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Life in Scottish Division Three beckons". BBC Sport. 14 July 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Rangers: Airdrie United and Stranraer are promoted". BBC. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Airdrie United relegated after loss to Partick". Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser. 14 April 2013. Archived from the original on 19 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Airdrie change name to Airdrieonians". The Scotsman. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
- "Airdrieonians name revived after SFA approval – Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser". Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
- "AIRDRIEONIANS CREST TO RETURN". Retrieved 4 June 2013.
- "Airdrieonians are back as SFA approve name change". Daily Record. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
- "Tom Wotherspoon new Airdrieonians owner and chairman". BBC Sport. BBC. 3 June 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
- "Club statement". Airdrieonians FC. 5 June 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
- "Club statement". Airdrieonians FC. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
- "Excelsior Stadium". Scottish Football Grounds. Archived from the original on 30 November 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
- "Airdrie install artificial pitch at Excelsior Stadium". BBC. 22 May 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
- "Sport Facilities available for hire at Airdrieonians FC". Archived from the original on 26 October 2020.
- "Falkirk wait goes on". BBC. 8 May 2003. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
- "Falkirk denied promotion". BBC Sport. BBC. 23 May 2003. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
- "Queen of the South 1–2 FC Nordsjaelland: Lax defending proves costly for Queens". The Scotsman. 14 August 2008. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
- "Well confirm Euro ties in Airdrie". BBC Sport. 13 June 2009. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
- "SFA considers moving away from Hampden Park". BBC. 10 June 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
- "Spiders hope for change of luck at Airdrie". SPFL. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
- Moor, Dave. "Airdrie United". historicalkits.co.uk. Historical Football Kits. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
- Moor, Dave. "Airdrieonians". historicalkits.co.uk. Historical Football Kits. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
- Paterson, Colin (26 March 2015). "Airdrieonians 0 Lord Lyon 1: Diamonds told to stop using club badge as it breaks heraldic law". Daily Record. Glasgow. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
- "New Club crest unveiled". airdriefc.com. Airdrieonians F.C. 19 June 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
- "Airdrieonians FC squad". Airdrieonians FC. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- "STEWART TAKES OVER AS BOSS WITH NO CLUB; Airdrie pin revival hopes on veteran Sandy". The Free Library. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
- "Black appointed new Airdrie boss". BBC. 17 November 2006. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
- "Relegated Airdrie sack Black and turn to Boyle". The Scotsman. 20 June 2010. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
- "Airdrie United appoint Jimmy Boyle as manager on a permanent basis". Daily Record. 15 September 2010. Archived from the original on 29 January 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
- "Gary Bollan leaves Airdrieonians post". BBC Sport. 20 December 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
- "Eddie Wolecki Black: Airdrieonians appoint former Glasgow City coach". BBC Sport. 22 December 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
- "Club statement". Airdrieonians FC. 31 October 2016. Archived from the original on 1 November 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
- "Danny Lennon takes temporary charge at Airdrieonians". BBC Sport. BBC. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
- "Mark Wilson: Airdrieonians part with head coach by mutual consent". BBC Sport. BBC. 17 June 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
- "Findlay takes on First Team Coach role". Airdrieonians FC. 29 September 2017. Archived from the original on 29 September 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
- "2007/08 Scottish Division Two Table". ESPN FC. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
- "AIRDRIE made history in the William Hill Scottish Cup with this third round thrashing of Gala". airdriefc.com. Airdrie United F.C. 19 November 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
- "Partick Thistle 7-0 Airdrie United". 20 October 2012 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- "Airdrieonians FC - Player of the Year". airdrie.
- "Hall of Fame". Airdrieonians FC.