Berwick Rangers F.C.
Berwick Rangers Football Club is a football team based in the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, England, just south of the border with Scotland. Founded in 1884, they currently play in the Lowland Football League, the fifth tier of Scottish football, and were the only club from outside Scotland in the Scottish Professional Football League until their relegation in 2019. The club play at Shielfield Park, which has a capacity of just over 4,000 and are currently managed by Ian Little.
|Full name||Berwick Rangers Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||The Black & Gold, The Borderers, The Dream Team, The Wee Gers|
|Capacity||4,099 (1,366 seated)|
|2018–19||Scottish League Two, 10th of 10 (relegated via play-offs)|
Berwick Rangers was officially formed on 7 January 1884 after a match was played in the town between a team of millworkers from Dunbar and a team of railway clerks from Newcastle. For much of the club's history it was believed that they had formed in 1881, though recent research indicates that 1884 is the more likely date of formation. Their first competitive match was against another team from Berwick, 'The Royal Oaks' on 16 February 1884. Berwick Rangers won the match by "one goal to nil".
Berwick Rangers affiliated to the Scottish Football Association around 1905 and entered the Scottish Border League in 1905, followed by the Border Amateur League (1908–09). Recent research has revealed that the club joined the East of Scotland League immediately after the First World War, a new competition formed to replace the Borders League. The club made several attempts to join the North Northumberland League but were rebuffed. It was not until 1951 that they were admitted to Scottish League Division C Division (North & East). This third tier, made up largely of reserve sides, had been created in 1946 and was regionalised in 1949. The division was scrapped in 1955 and Berwick, along with the other non-reserve teams, were placed in an enlarged Division B (renamed Division Two the following season). Berwick Rangers have played in the Scottish Football League ever since, despite low attendances and frequent financial problems.
Following its foundation, the club had had a nomadic existence before eventually settling down at Shielfield Park in 1954.
A notable early success was a 3–0 win over Dundee in the Scottish Cup in 1954 in a run which saw them reach the quarter-final, only to lose to Rangers 4–0. Ten years later they reached the semi-final of the Scottish League Cup, losing to Rangers 3–1.
Arguably their greatest success came in 1967, when they beat Rangers 1–0 in the Scottish Cup under the management of player manager Jock Wallace. It was the highlight of a memorable cup run, which had seen them break a club record in beating Vale of Leithen 8–1 in the first round. The result sent shockwaves around Scottish football and led to a number of the Rangers players leaving Ibrox; it was also the club's greatest home attendance of 13,365. They were paired with Hibernian in the following round but lost 1–0 in front of a crowd of nearly 30,000.
The following years saw little progress until the late 1970s, when under the management of Dave Smith they won the Division Two title in 1979. Despite that success they were unable to build and suffered a slow decline through the 1980s. The nadir came in season 1988–89 when they were nearly bankrupted and the club were locked out of Shielfield, having to play their games elsewhere. In 1988 Jim Jefferies took over as manager and led the team to a club record 21 game unbeaten run.
The club weathered this and other crises in the early 1990s, narrowly avoiding going into administration in 1994. Later in the decade Berwick enjoyed a bit more in the way of success only missing out on promotion to Division One due to league reorganisation in 1994. They were relegated to Division Three in 1997 but under the management of Paul Smith regained promotion in 2000. Under Smith's stewardship they took both Rangers and Heart of Midlothian to replays in the Scottish Cup.
They were again relegated to the Third Division in 2005, and narrowly missed out on an instant return to the Second Division the following season, this time losing to Alloa Athletic in the Second Division play-offs. Despite losing a good deal of the squad to other clubs in the close season, manager John Coughlin exceeded expectations by rebuilding the team and guiding them to the Third Division championship in 2007, their first title in 28 years, in a season which also saw a new record for consecutive league wins.
John Coughlin resigned as Berwick Rangers manager after a 3–0 home loss to Alloa Athletic on 6 October 2007. He left with Berwick at the foot of the table with only 5 points after 9 games. Cowdenbeath coach Michael Renwick was appointed new manager on 25 October 2007. However after a dismal season which saw Berwick finish bottom and ship 101 goals, including a 9–2 defeat to Peterhead, Renwick was relieved of his duties on 19 April 2008. The official website reported on 12 May 2008 that Camelon manager Allan McGonigal would take over as manager. He resigned from his post on 13 November 2008. His announcement came in the wake of a deal which saw a fan led consortium take control of the club. On 27 January the consortium concluded their deal to buy the club.
Following McGonigal's resignation Jimmy Crease became manager for the fourth time, initially as a caretaker, but then on a permanent basis in December 2008. Following a 4–0 defeat to Deveronvale in the second round of the 2011–12 Scottish Cup Crease stood down as manager. Player Ian Little was named caretaker manager until the end of 2011 when his position was to be reviewed. On 28 December 2011, Little was given the managers job at least until the end of the 2011–12 season. On 26 August 2012, Rangers FC played their first ever league game in England when they faced Berwick Rangers at Shielfield Park, in a repeat of their famous cup game in 1967. Berwick Rangers earned another famous result, with a 1–1 draw – Fraser McLaren scoring in the 62nd minute of the game.
On 12 January 2014, Berwick Rangers sacked manager Ian Little, with the club third bottom in Scottish League Two. A few days later Colin Cameron was appointed as the club's new player manager.
On 18 May 2019, Berwick Rangers became the second club after East Stirlingshire to be relegated out of the SPFL pyramid and into the Lowland Football League, after a 7-0 loss on aggregate to Highland League champions Cove Rangers.
Until relegation from the SPFL in 2019, Berwick Rangers were one of a handful of teams in the world to play in a national football league other than their own country's, where both countries have their own fully professional competitions.
Berwick-upon-Tweed is 2 1⁄2 miles (4 km) south of the Scottish border and is closer to the Scottish capital Edinburgh than to Newcastle upon Tyne, the nearest major city on the English side of the border. The town had previously been part of Scotland and changed hands many times until finally taken by England in 1482. The club also formerly played in the East of Scotland League, which contains other nearby Borders teams, prior to joining the Scottish League.
There is also some controversy over the town's identity. The time (and expense) involved in travelling to away matches against English opposition would be greater than it is to travel to matches in Scotland; for example a match at England's southernmost and westernmost league team Plymouth Argyle would result in a round-trip of almost 1,000 miles. Were Berwick to make the transition they would be more likely to initially compete in one of the regional divisions below the Conference North, as Gretna did before making the opposite move (England to Scotland).
Berwick have never played in the Scottish top flight, so questions of potential competition in European tournaments have not arisen.
Berwick's status as a club physically located in England led to the anomaly of them being the only team in the Scottish leagues who were subject to the implementation of the Taylor report following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.
- Scottish League Division Two:
- Scottish League Division Three:
- East of Scotland League:
- North Northumberland League:
- Winners: 1896–97
- Scottish Border League:
- Winners: 1898–99
- East of Scotland Shield:
- Winners (2): 1980–81, 1983–84
- Record league win: 8–1 v Forfar Athletic, Division II (25 December 1965)
- Record cup win: 8–1 v Vale of Leithen, Scottish Cup First Round (December 1966)
- Record league defeat: 1–9 v Hamilton Academical, Scottish First Division (9 August 1980)
- Record home attendance: 13,365 v Rangers Scottish Cup Third Round (28 January 1967)
- Most goals in a season: 38 by Ken Bowron 1963–64
- Most goals: 115 by Eric Tait 1969–88
- Consecutive league wins: 8, Scottish Third Division 2006–07
- Longest unbeaten league run: 21, Scottish Second Division 1988–89
- Most appearances: 435, Eric Tait 1969–1988
- As of 15 September 2019
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- Honorary Chairman: John Hush
- Chairman: John Bell
- Directors: Ian Beresford, Moray McLaren, Sarah McMorn, Colin Pike
- Associate Director: Graham Exley
- Football Secretary: Dennis McCleary
- Company Secretary/Solicitor: Mark Pentecost
- "A Club History". Berwick Rangers.co.uk. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- "Summer 2006 – Berwick Rangers trust" (PDF). Berwickrangers.org. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- Berwick turn to Renwick as boss BBC Sport, retrieved 2007-25-10
- "Berwick part company with Renwick". BBC Sport. 21 April 2008. Retrieved 22 April 2008.
- "Crease takes over as manager". Berwick Today. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
- "Jimmy Crease steps down as manager of Berwick Rangers". BBC Sport. BBC. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
- "Little given four games to prove his credentials". Berwick Advertiser. 24 November 2011.
- "Little to stay in charge to end of the season". Berwick Today. 28 December 2011.
- "Berwick Rangers sack manager Ian Little". bbc.co.uk/sport. BBC Sport. 13 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- "Berwick Rangers appoint Cameron as new player-manager". berwick-advertiser.co.uk. Berwick Advertiser. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- "A tale of one town". BBC News. 8 October 2004.
- "REVIEW OF THE FOOTBALL SPECTATORS (DESIGNATION OF FOOTBALL MATCHES IN ENGLAND AND WALES ORDER) 1990" (PDF). Hillsborough Independent Panel. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
- "2018–19 Berwick Rangers FC squad". Berwick Rangers FC. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
- "Colin Cameron chosen as new Berwick Rangers manager". bbc.co.uk/sport. BBC Sport. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- "Berwick Rangers part company with Colin Cameron". berwickrangers.com. 31 October 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
- "Coughlin named new Berwick boss". SPFL. 6 November 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2015.