East of Scotland Football League
The East of Scotland Football League (EoSFL) is a league of football teams from south-east Scotland, which was formed in 1923. The league sits at level 6 on the pyramid system, on par with the South of Scotland Football League and West of Scotland Football League. It is a feeder to the Lowland Football League.
|Country||Scotland (48 teams)|
|Other club(s) from||England (1 team)|
|Number of teams||60|
|Level on pyramid||6–7|
|Promotion to||Lowland Football League|
|Domestic cup(s)||Scottish Cup|
South Region Challenge Cup
|League cup(s)||East of Scotland League Cup|
King Cup (First Division only)
|Current champions||Bo'ness United (1st title) |
|Most championships||Whitehill Welfare (16 titles)|
|Current: 2021–22 East of Scotland Football League|
Its clubs are largely located in the Edinburgh, Lothians and Scottish Borders areas, although in recent years clubs from Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, Fife, Stirling and Perth have joined the league. A total of 60 teams are competing in the 2021–22 season, drawn from the 74 members of the sister organisation, the East of Scotland Football Association (EoSFA).
Since 2014–15, and subject to both clubs meeting the licensing criteria for promotion, the winners of the East of Scotland Football League and the South of Scotland Football League have taken part in an end of season play-off for a place in the Lowland Football League.
An earlier East of Scotland League existed between 1896 and 1906, when the supplementary Edinburgh Football League changed its name, after accepting Dundee as a member. There is no connection between the two incarnations of the league.
The EoSFL was traditionally one of Scotland's three "senior" non-leagues which sat outside the Scottish Football League (SFL), the other two being the Highland Football League and the South of Scotland Football League (SoSFL). It was generally viewed as being weaker than the Highland League (with fewer of their club sides defeating SFL sides in the Scottish Cup competition as opposed to the HFL), but was still regarded as being stronger than the South of Scotland League.
Some SoSFL clubs opted to join the EoSFL, including Annan Athletic before they were elected to the SFL in 2008. Dalbeattie Star and Threave Rovers also joined however both subsequently left to rejoin the SoSFL and then later the Lowland League.
A number of the sides in the EoSFL have applied to join the SFL in the past, with Annan Athletic applying in (2000, successfully in 2008), Edinburgh City (2002, 2008), Gala Fairydean (1994, 2000, 2002), Preston Athletic (2000, 2002, 2008) and Spartans (2008).
In 2004, Threave Rovers pulled out of the league to concentrate their efforts on the South of Scotland Football League. This left the league with an uneven number of clubs, and they were expected to fill the vacancy in the summer of 2005, with Gala Rovers widely touted as likely candidates. However, this did not happen. The only change that happened at that year's AGM of the league, was that Tollcross United announced that they would be competing as Tynecastle from the 2005-06 season.
In 2006, Peebles Rovers merged with several local amateur sides to become Peebles, who took Rovers' place in the league. At the 2007 AGM, agreement was reached to admit the reserve side of Berwick Rangers as the twelfth member of the First Division. They also entered the League Cup, but no other cups during the 2007–08 season. However, the reserves lasted only one season following Berwick Rangers' relegation to the fourth tier of Scottish football. They were replaced by Stirling University, but returned for the 2010–11 season.
Gretna 2008 entered the league in 2008, formed in the wake of the financial disaster that befell Gretna's former club, Gretna F.C.. They initially had to play home matches in the nearby town of Annan, the club that took their place in the SFL.
Lowland League and declineEdit
In 2013, the Lowland Football League was formed to act as a direct feeder to the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), covering an area of Scotland south of the Tay Road Bridge. Nine EoSFL clubs gained entry to the Lowland League, reducing the EoSFL to 20 teams. Hibernian entered a reserve team into the league at the start of the 2013–14 season, but withdrew after one season due to their first team being relegated. Further departures saw the league merged into a single division of 16 teams in 2015–16, which was then reduced to just 11 teams during 2016–17 as more clubs moved to the Lowland League, Juniors or resigned.
Influx of Junior clubsEdit
Beginning in 2017 the league experienced a resurgence with SJFA East Superleague champions Kelty Hearts joining from the Juniors. In April 2018, thirteen clubs—most of them from the East Juniors—were accepted into the league for the 2018-19 season, doubling the league's membership. When the window for applications was extended to the league's AGM in June, even more clubs quit the Junior grade, bringing the total membership up to 39 clubs, split over three conferences. The following season Glenrothes made the same switch. In 2020 a further ten clubs, including the return of Eyemouth United after a year out, boosted the league's membership to 49 clubs ahead of the 2020–21 season. The remaining East region junior clubs south of Dundee (all from West Lothian) joined the league for 2021–22, giving the league a total of 60 members.
East of Scotland Football AssociationEdit
While the EoSFL oversees the leagues and League Cup competitions; the East of Scotland Football Association (EoSFA) is a technically independent body, which organises all of the other cups. Most of the officials sit on both bodies, and the Executive Committee is a joint organisation. The current President of the EoSFA is Andy McDonald (of Edinburgh City), while the President of the EoSFL is John Greenhorn (of Ormiston).
There are 63 members of the East of Scotland Football Association (EoSFA). Three members play in the SPFL:
- Heart of Midlothian (Scottish Championship)
- Hibernian (Scottish Premiership)
- Edinburgh City (Scottish League Two)
The first teams of these three members have little involvement in EoSFA competitions. Youth teams of Hearts and Hibernian contest the East of Scotland Shield, while Edinburgh City participate in the East of Scotland (City) Cup final.
12 EoSFA members play in the Lowland League:
- Berwick Rangers
- Bo'ness United
- Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic
- Civil Service Strollers
- East Kilbride
- Edinburgh University
- Gala Fairydean Rovers
- Gretna 2008
- Kelty Hearts
- Stirling University
- Vale of Leithen
The EoSFL and EoSFA are full members of the Scottish Football Association.
The EoSFL's two-tier format, which began in 1987–88, was abolished for the 2015–16 season due to dwindling numbers and replaced with a single division. To cope with the influx of new members in 2018-19, the league consisted of three conferences running in parallel. For 2019–20, the EoSFL was reorganised back into a two-tier setup, with a 16-team Premier Division and two First Division conferences. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no relegation took place in 2020 meaning the Premier Division has been temporarily increased to 18 clubs.
Listed below are the 49 clubs in the EoSFL for the 2020–21 season.
- Blackburn United
- Broxburn Athletic
- Camelon Juniors
- Crossgates Primrose
- Dunbar United
- Dundonald Bluebell
- Hill of Beath Hawthorn
- Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts
- Jeanfield Swifts
- Linlithgow Rose
- Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale
- Musselburgh Athletic
- Newtongrange Star
- Penicuik Athletic
- Sauchie Juniors
- Tranent Juniors
- Whitehill Welfare
- Scottish Cup: For full SFA members and winners of the East of Scotland League, who all enter at the preliminary round stage. Knock-out tournament, with replays until the quarter-finals.
- SFA South Region Challenge Cup (The SoccerShop Challenge Cup for sponsorship reasons): This competition was introduced in 2007–08 as a replacement for the Scottish Qualifying Cup (South) which was abolished under the new Scottish Cup format. It is for all senior non-league clubs in the south of Scotland and has 142 entrants for the 2020–21 season - 17 from the Lowland League, 47 from the EoSFL, 12 from the SoSFL, and 67 from the WoSFL. Reserve teams do not take part. It is a straight knock-out tournament, without replays.
- King Cup: Open to the 31 First Division clubs. Straight knock-out tournament without replays. Previously, this was open to all EoSFL clubs. The King Cup final is traditionally the last game of the season.
- East of Scotland League Cup: All EoSFL teams enter this straight knock-out competition. Previously, only the group winners and runners-up from the Qualifying Leagues competed in this tournament.
- Alex Jack Cup (formerly known as the East of Scotland Consolation Cup): Competition for the EoSFL clubs who are not competing in the Scottish Cup, usually played on the same weekends as Scottish Cup matches. Straight knock-out, without replays. The winner goes on to play in the South & East of Scotland Cup-Winners Shield against the Southern Counties FA Alba Cup winner for a place in the following season's Scottish Cup.
- East of Scotland Qualifying Cup (sponsored by Football Nation): Competition for all EoSFA members outwith the SPFL. Straight knock-out without replays.
- East of Scotland (City) Cup: The winner of the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup joins Edinburgh City in the final, which goes straight to penalties if drawn after 90 minutes. The 4 EoSFA members in the national leagues (Berwick, Hearts, Hibernian, Livingston) used to all enter, but now the Hearts and Hibernian reserve teams contest the East of Scotland Shield - albeit intermittently.
- East of Scotland Shield: since the mid-1980s, this tournament has become a one-off match for youth/reserve teams of Hearts and Hibernian, however it was last held in 2015–16.
- East of Scotland Qualifying Leagues: Removed for 2019–20 due to the increase in league fixtures. Added in 2011–12, this was a pre-season warm-up competition where clubs were split into ten groups and each played the others within their group once, with the group winners and runners-up progressing to the League Cup.
2019–20 winners unless stated.
- South Region Challenge Cup: East Kilbride (2018–19)
- East of Scotland League Cup: Bo'ness United (2018–19)
- Alex Jack Cup: Musselburgh Athletic
- South & East of Scotland Cup-Winners Shield: Musselburgh Athletic
- King Cup: Tranent Juniors (2018–19)
- East of Scotland Qualifying Cup: Spartans (2018–19)
- East of Scotland (City) Cup: Edinburgh City (2017–18)
List of winnersEdit
|Season||East of Scotland League|
|1923–24||Coldstream||Does not appear|
|1924–25||Vale of Leithen|
|1925–26||Civil Service Strollers|
|1926–27||Civil Service Strollers (2)|
|1932–33||Peebles Rovers (2)|
|1933–34||Peebles Rovers (3)|
|1934–35||Peebles Rovers (4)|
|1935–36||Peebles Rovers (5)|
|1937–38||Penicuik Athletic (2)|
|No league championship for the duration of the Second World War|
|1945–46||Peebles Rovers (6)||Does not appear|
|1946–47||Berwick Rangers (2)|
|1948–49||Hibernian 'B' (2)|
|1949–50||Heart of Midlothian 'B'|
|1950–51||Hibernian 'B' (3)|
|1951–52||Hibernian 'B' (4)|
|1952–53||Hibernian 'B' (5)|
|1955–56||Eyemouth United (2)|
|1956–57||Eyemouth United (3)|
|1961–62||Gala Fairydean (2)|
|1963–64||Gala Fairydean (3)|
|1964–65||Gala Fairydean (4)|
|1965–66||Gala Fairydean (5)|
|1966–67||Hawick Royal Albert|
|1967–68||Hawick Royal Albert (2)|
|1968–69||Gala Fairydean (6)|
|1970–71||Eyemouth United (4)|
|1972–73||Civil Service Strollers (3)|
|1973–74||Hawick Royal Albert (3)|
|1977–78||Vale of Leithen (2)|
|1978–79||Vale of Leithen (3)|
|1980–81||Whitehill Welfare (2)|
|1981–82||Whitehill Welfare (3)|
|1982–83||Whitehill Welfare (4)|
|1983–84||The Spartans (2)|
|1984–85||Whitehill Welfare (5)|
|1985–86||Whitehill Welfare (6)|
|1986–87||Vale of Leithen (4)|
|Season||Premier Division||First Division|
|1987–88||Whitehill Welfare (7)||Annan Athletic|
|1988–89||Gala Fairydean (7)||Peebles Rovers|
|1990–91||Gala Fairydean (8)||Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare|
|1991–92||Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare||Manor Thistle|
|1992–93||Whitehill Welfare (8)||Civil Service Strollers|
|1993–94||Whitehill Welfare (9)||Tollcross United|
|1994–95||Whitehill Welfare (10)||Pencaitland|
|1995–96||Whitehill Welfare (11)||Edinburgh City|
|1996–97||The Spartans (3)||Lothian Thistle|
|1997–98||Whitehill Welfare (12)||Peebles Rovers|
|1998–99||Whitehill Welfare (13)||Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare|
|1999–00||Annan Athletic (2)||Threave Rovers|
|2000–01||Annan Athletic (3)||Pencaitland & Ormiston|
|2001–02||The Spartans (4)||Preston Athletic|
|2002–03||Whitehill Welfare (14)||Edinburgh University|
|2003–04||The Spartans (5)||Kelso United|
|2004–05||The Spartans (6)||Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare|
|2006–07||Annan Athletic (4)||Dalbeattie Star|
|2007–08||Whitehill Welfare (15)||Heriot-Watt University|
|2008–09||The Spartans (7)||Tynecastle|
|2009–10||The Spartans (8)||Stirling University|
|2010–11||The Spartans (9)||Gretna 2008|
|2011–12||Stirling University||Heriot-Watt University|
|2012–13||Whitehill Welfare (16)||Craigroyston|
|2013–14||Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale||Hibernian reserves|
|2014–15||Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale (2)||Peebles Rovers|
|2015–16||Leith Athletic||Does not appear|
|2016–17||Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale (3)|
|2017–18||Kelty Hearts *|
|2018–19||Championship play-off: Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic *
Conference A: Penicuik Athletic
Conference B: Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic
Conference C: Broxburn Athletic
|Season||Premier Division||First Division|
|2019–20||Bo'ness United *||Conference A: Tynecastle
Conference B: Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale
|2020–21||Null and void||Conference A: Null and void
Conference B: Null and void
* Team promoted to the Lowland League
Total titles wonEdit
Clubs currently playing in the league are shown in bold. Clubs no longer active are shown in italics.
|Rank||Club||East of Scotland
|East of Scotland
|6=||Vale of Leithen||4||0||4|
|9=||Civil Service Strollers||3||0||3|
|9=||Hawick Royal Albert||3||0||3|
|9=||Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale||0||3||3|
|16=||Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic||0||1||1|
|16=||Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare||0||1||1|
|16=||Heart of Midlothian 'B'||1||0||1|
- Brown, Anthony (6 June 2014). "Hibs quit East of Scotland League set-up". Edinburgh Evening News. Johnston Publishing. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
- McLauchlin, Brian (8 June 2018). "East of Scotland League vote signals exodus of 24 junior clubs". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
- "Nine newcomers to East of Scotland League are approved". www.fifetoday.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
- "Hibs secure berth in East of Scotland League". Edinburgh Evening News. Johnston Publishing. 7 June 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
- "East Seniors agree on a new setup". Edinburgh Evening News. Johnston Publishing. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.