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.

East of Scotland Football League
East of Scotland Football League logo.png
Founded1923
Country Scotland (48 teams)
Other club(s) from England (1 team)
ConfederationUEFA
Divisions2
Number of teams60
Level on pyramid6–7
Promotion toLowland 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 championsBo'ness United (1st title)
(2019–20)
Most championshipsWhitehill Welfare (16 titles)
Websiteeosfl.com
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.

HistoryEdit

Original EoSFLEdit

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.

Recent historyEdit

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.

The admission of Duns prior to the 2011–12 season, and then Burntisland Shipyard in 2012–13 brought the number of sides in the EoSFL to 26, the highest it had ever been.

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] 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:

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:

The first teams of the Lowland League members contest the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup. Hibernian,[4][1] Berwick Rangers, and Spartans have all fielded reserve teams in the EoSFL.[5]

The EoSFL and EoSFA are full members of the Scottish Football Association.

Member clubsEdit

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.

Premier DivisionEdit

Cup competitionsEdit

CurrentEdit

  • 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.

InactiveEdit

  • 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.

HoldersEdit

2019–20 winners unless stated.

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)
1927–28   Berwick Rangers
1928–29 Peebles Rovers
1929–30 Bathgate
1930–31 Bathgate (2)
1931–32 Penicuik Athletic
1932–33 Peebles Rovers (2)
1933–34 Peebles Rovers (3)
1934–35 Peebles Rovers (4)
1935–36 Peebles Rovers (5)
1936–37 Jedburgh Artisans
1937–38 Penicuik Athletic (2)
1938–39 Bo'ness
1939–40

to 1944–45

No league championship for the duration of the Second World War
1945–46 Peebles Rovers (6) Does not appear
1946–47   Berwick Rangers (2)
1947–48 Hibernian 'B'
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)
1953–54 unfinished
1954–55 Eyemouth United
1955–56 Eyemouth United (2)
1956–57 Eyemouth United (3)
1957–58 unfinished
1958–59
1959–60
1960–61 Gala Fairydean
1961–62 Gala Fairydean (2)
1962–63 unfinished
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)
1969–70 Cowdenbeath 'A'
1970–71 Eyemouth United (4)
1971–72 The Spartans
1972–73 Civil Service Strollers (3)
1973–74 Hawick Royal Albert (3)
1974–75 Selkirk
1975–76 Selkirk (2)
1976–77 Selkirk (3)
1977–78 Vale of Leithen (2)
1978–79 Vale of Leithen (3)
1979–80 Whitehill Welfare
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
1989–90 Annan Athletic Coldstream
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
2005–06 Edinburgh City Craigroyston
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 *
Season Conferences
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

2021–22

* 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
League
(pre 1987–88)
East of Scotland
Premier Division
(1987–88–present)
Total Titles
1 Whitehill Welfare 6 10 16
2 Spartans 2 9 9
3 Gala Fairydean 6 2 8
4 Peebles Rovers 6 0 6
5 Hibernian 'B' 5 0 5
6= Annan Athletic 0 4 4
6= Eyemouth United 4 0 4
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
9= Selkirk 3 0 3
13= Bathgate 2 0 2
13= Berwick Rangers 2 0 2
13= Penicuik Athletic 2 0 2
16= Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic 0 1 1
16= Bo'ness 1 0 1
16= Bo'ness United 0 1 1
16= Coldstream 1 0 1
16= Cowdenbeath 'A' 1 0 1
16= Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare 0 1 1
16= Edinburgh City 0 1 1
16= Heart of Midlothian 'B' 1 0 1
16= Jedburgh Artisans 1 0 1
16= Kelty Hearts 0 1 1
16= Leith Athletic 0 1 1
16= Stirling University 0 1 1

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Brown, Anthony (6 June 2014). "Hibs quit East of Scotland League set-up". Edinburgh Evening News. Johnston Publishing. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  2. ^ McLauchlin, Brian (8 June 2018). "East of Scotland League vote signals exodus of 24 junior clubs". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Nine newcomers to East of Scotland League are approved". www.fifetoday.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-05-01.
  4. ^ "Hibs secure berth in East of Scotland League". Edinburgh Evening News. Johnston Publishing. 7 June 2013. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  5. ^ "East Seniors agree on a new setup". Edinburgh Evening News. Johnston Publishing. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.

External linksEdit