Scottish Football Alliance

The Scottish Football Alliance was a league football structure set up in Scotland in competition with the Scottish Football League. Its success in the early years of professional football in both England and Scotland made the Alliance the basis for a second division in both countries. The Alliance attracted a number of Junior clubs to the League system, which boosted its future viability.

1891–97 edit

Originally founded in 1891 to rival the League, the Scottish Alliance was one of a number of leagues set up a year after the Scottish Football League was formed. The original members were Airdrieonians, Ayr, East Stirlingshire, Morton F.C., Kilmarnock, King's Park, Linthouse F.C., Northern, Partick Thistle, Port Glasgow Athletic, St Bernard's F.C. and Thistle. Two other clubs (Leith Athletic F.C. and Aberdeen) also pledged to join but dropped out; Queen's Park F.C. turned down an invitation.[1]

In 1892, several clubs left and the league was reconstituted with a smaller membership; the league decided to reduce to 10 clubs, and, with 2 vacancies, attracted applications from nine clubs. St Bernard's – who had sought to leave – was re-elected, and Vale of Leven were also elected; the disappointed clubs were Albion Rovers, Arthurlie, East Stirlingshire, Hurlford, Morton, Port Glasgow Athletic, and Glasgow Wanderers.[2]

In 1893 a number of clubs returned, but during the summer, the Alliance became the backbone of the new Second Division of the Scottish League. The league, bolstered by the inclusion of a number of clubs from the Scottish Football Federation, continued for four more years by recruiting new members. One candidate club, Gaelic of Coatbridge, was advised to improve the quality of its pitch to gain admission in 1895,[3] but lost its ground entirely and was wound up.

Champions edit

  • 1891–92 Linthouse
  • 1892–93 Cowlairs
  • 1893–94 Royal Albert
  • 1894–95[4] Wishaw Thistle
  • 1895–96[5] Wishaw Thistle
  • 1896–97 Third Lanark "A"[6]

Membership edit

1905–06 edit

The Scottish Alliance was reformed for a season in 1905–06. However it was unfinished and was eventually superseded by the creation of the Scottish Football Union.

Membership edit

1919–38 edit

In 1919, the Scottish Alliance was re-formed for a second time, principally as a reserve team league for Scottish Football League First Division clubs.[7][8] Not all of the First Division clubs fielded a reserve team due to the additional costs involved.[7] In 1932–33 season they were joined by Beith, Galston and Bo'ness, who were unable to pay their opponents match guarantees.[9] From 1920, it had a policy of including at least one non-reserve team. On the collapse of the Scottish Football League Third Division in 1926, a large number of clubs found a place in the Alliance.[10] So much so that for one season the competition was split into regional sections. This split lasted only one season, after which the Alliance was amalgamated again into one division.

In 1938, the First Division clubs decided to create a formal league for reserve teams, which meant that Beith and Galston had to be expelled because they were first teams.[10] It also meant that Dundee's reserve team were expelled; as the club had been relegated from the First Division but had still maintained a reserve team in the Alliance.[7]

Champions edit

  • 1919–20 Kilmarock "A"
  • 1920–21 St Mirren "A"
  • 1921–22 Celtic "A"
  • 1922–23 Airdrieonians "A"
  • 1923–24 Rangers "A"
  • 1924–25 Heart of Midlothian "A"
  • 1925–26 Airdrieonians "A"
  • 1926–27 East – Heart of Midlothian "A" (Overall champions) West – Airdrieonians "A"
  • 1927–28 Rangers "A"
  • 1928–29 Rangers "A"
  • 1929–30 Rangers "A"
  • 1930–31 Rangers "A"
  • 1931–32 Rangers "A"
  • 1932–33 Aberdeen "A"
  • 1933–34 Celtic "A"
  • 1934–35 Rangers "A"
  • 1935–36 Aberdeen "A"
  • 1936–37 Celtic "A"
  • 1937–38 Celtic "A"

Membership edit

1939–40 edit

In 1939 the Scottish Alliance was re-formed by Babcock & Wilcox, Galston, Girvan Athletic, Nithsdale Wanderers, Queen's Park Strollers, Stranraer and Vale of Leven but disbanded after only a couple of games because of World War II.

1956–57 edit

In 1956–57, six reserve sides formed a new Alliance – Dumbarton, St Johnstone, Clyde, Dundee United, Third Lanark, and Queen's Park Victoria XI. Cowdenbeath came in for the Spring tournament.

References edit

  1. ^ "Football". Lothian Courier: 6. 7 March 1891.
  2. ^ "Football". Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser: 5. 18 June 1892.
  3. ^ "Round the country". Scottish Referee: 2. 15 February 1895.
  4. ^ 1894/95, Hamilton Academical Memory Bank
  5. ^ 1895/96, Hamilton Academical Memory Bank
  6. ^ Scottish Alliance (1891–1897, 1905–06, 1938–39), Scottish Football Historical Archive (updated source 2022)
  7. ^ a b c (Bob Crampsey 1990, p. 103)
  8. ^ Scottish Football Alliance (1919–1938), Scottish Football Historical Archive (archived version, 2017)
  9. ^ Donald Caskie, Possilpark to Ibrox: The Career of Jimmy Caskie, 1931 to 1952, Norwood publishing, 2014)
  10. ^ a b (Bob Crampsey 1990, p. 292)

See also edit