Thistle Football Club (also known as Glasgow Thistle[3] and Bridgeton Thistle)[4] was a 19th-century football club based in Glasgow. The club was briefly a member of the Scottish Football League Division Two, and has been described as the most insignificant and least successful to have entered the league.[3] They played at Braehead Park during their Scottish League season.

Full nameThistle Football Club
Nickname(s)The Jags,[1] the East-Enders[2]
Ground1882–1884: Dalmarnock Park
1884–1892: Beechwood Park, Dalmarnock
1892–1894: Braehead Park, Oatlands

History edit

Original club edit

The original Thistle club was among the oldest in Scotland, formed in the wake of rudimentary versions of the game played on Glasgow Green which themselves had roots in the traditional Handsel Monday holiday mass-participation events,[5] introduced to the city by men from Callander in Perthshire.[6] They are known to have been active with a club structure by 1868, as that year Thistle were the first opponents faced by the country's oldest documented club Queen's Park.[7] By 1873 however the club was defunct, with many of its members joining the Eastern club.[8]

Revived club edit

The revived Thistle was founded in 1875, still playing on Glasgow Green; because the club was still playing there in 1877, the club was originally turned down for membership of the Scottish FA, on the basis that the SFA did not want member clubs without their own grounds.[9] At the time, the area was becoming both densely populated and heavily industrialised, and several aspiring teams formed among the tenements and factories.[10][11] Thistle were early rivals to Clyde[4] whose first ground was nearby at Barrowfield Park, which had been the home of Eastern until 1877.

Thistle joined the Glasgow Football Association in 1883[12] and became a founder member of the Scottish Football Alliance in 1891, by which time Celtic had been formed in the neighbourhood,[13] quickly attracting bigger crowds. In 1892 Thistle were unable to use Beechwood Park,[4] moving to Braehead Park[14][15] in the Oatlands neighbourhood (previously known as Hibernian Park, it was built in 1889 for Glasgow Hibernian who went defunct by late 1890).[16][17] This new site was only a short distance away from the streets where their core support resided[18] but on the opposite bank of the River Clyde; in previous and future decades it would have been easily accessible via Rutherglen Bridge at Shawfield, but the move took place between the demolition of the old bridge at that site (1890) and the completion of its replacement (1896),[11] making travel more difficult during those years via a temporary wooden structure.

Although they had struggled in the Alliance competition (finishing bottom of 12 teams in 1891–92 and fifth of 10 the following year),[19] Thistle's Campbell, Mackie, and Gemmell were selected for the prestigious Glasgow v Sheffield match in 1892.[20] Thistle were one of the clubs invited to form the new Division Two of the Scottish League for the 1893–94 season. They failed to make an impact, suffering some heavy defeats, including a 13–1 reverse at fellow new entrants Partick Thistle on 10 March 1894,[21][22] the largest defeat in the Scottish League up to that point; it has only been exceeded by Dundee Wanderers' 15–1 loss to Airdrieonians the following season.[3] Thistle had beaten their Partick namesakes 6–2 in the Alliance League in October 1892,[23] but by the time they first met in the SFL, Braehead Park was said to have been in a state of disrepair and its team was struggling financially, although in that match the score was only Thistle 3–4 Partick Thistle.[22]

Finishing bottom of the league, the club folded before the re-election meeting, despite takings of £118 at a benefit match between Sunderland and a Scottish Football League XI.[3][24][25] Their final fixture was a friendly against Clyde.[4]

A group of Thistle supporters almost immediately formed a new club, Strathclyde F.C., named after the street where Beechwood Park stood.[4] They entered the Junior setup, initially playing back in Dalmarnock at New Beechwood Park[26] and eventually settling at New Springfield Park (towards Parkhead and close to Celtic Park);[27][28] they won the Scottish Junior Cup three times before eventually folding in the 1960s.

Colours edit

The club played in 1" blue and white hooped shirts (at the time, described as stripes), and hose, and white shorts until 1886, with blue shorts thereafter.[29]

Grounds edit

The club started at Glasgow Green, and played across the Clyde at Shawfield in 1881-82. After playing at Dalmarnock Park for two seasons,[30] from 1884, the club played at Beechwood Park in the Dalmarnock district of Glasgow, fairly close to Glasgow Green[4][14] (not to be confused with the ground of that name which was home to Leith Athletic F.C. in the same era).

Honours edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Cups and Contests". The Scottish Referee. 15 August 1892. Retrieved 11 March 2022 – via London Hearts Supporters Club.
  2. ^ "Queen's Park v Thistle". North British Daily Mail: 6. 8 September 1890.
  3. ^ a b c d Twydell, Dave (1993). Rejected F.C. of Scotland Volume 2: Glasgow & District. pp. 230–239. ISBN 1-874427-30-5.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Junior Football". Parkhead History. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  5. ^ Perthshire Rugby celebrates 150 years since 1st game, Perthshire RFC, 10 January 2019
  6. ^ The man who owned ‘the first football in Glasgow’ - a hidden history of the 1860s, Andy Mitchell, Scottish Sport History, 4 July 2021
  7. ^ "History: 1867– 1874". – A Historical Queen's Park FC Website. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  8. ^ Robinson, Richard (1920). History of the Queen's Park Football Club 1867 - 1917, chapter 7. Glasgow: Hay Nisbet.
  9. ^ "Scottish Football Association". North British Daily Mail: 4. 12 September 1877.
  10. ^ "History of Bridgeton and Dalmarnock - Industry". Glasgow History. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  11. ^ a b Origins - Barrowfield Park - 1877-98 Clyde FC
  12. ^ Chapter XXV—Glasgow Association, History of the Queen's Park Football Club 1867 - 1917 (via Electric Scotland)
  13. ^ "Brief History". Celtic FC. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Scotland Football Club Directory 1829-2009". Scottish Football Historical Archive. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  15. ^ Paul Smith & Shirley Smith (2005) The Ultimate Directory of English & Scottish Football League Grounds Second Edition 1888–2005, Yore Publications, p227 ISBN 0954783042
  16. ^ Vain Games of No Value?: A Social History of Association Football in Britain During Its First Long Century, Terry Morris; AuthorHouse, 2016, ISBN 9781504998529
  17. ^ Glasgow Hibernian: The short-lived team with ties to Celtic created after Hibs refused to leave Edinburgh, Patrick McPartlin, Edinburgh Evening News, 11 March 2021
  18. ^ OS 25 inch Scotland, 1892-1905, Explore georeferenced maps (National Library of Scotland)
  19. ^ Scottish Alliance (1891-1897), Scottish Football Historical Archive (archived version, 2017)
  20. ^ "NOTEBOOK". Scottish Referee. 4 November 1892. Retrieved 13 June 2022 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  21. ^ J. Rollin, The Guinness Football Factbook, Enfield: Guinness Publishing, 1993, p. 140
  22. ^ a b 1893-94 Members of the Scottish League, Partick Thistle - The Early Years
  23. ^ Saturday's Football. The Glasgow Herald, 3 October 1892
  24. ^ Football., The Glasgow Herald, 27 April 1894
  25. ^ 1893-94: Testimonial Match | Scottish League 3 Sunderland 0, The StatCat
  26. ^ "Sporting Venues". Parkhead History. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  27. ^ "East End (West of Scotland Archaeology Service, 1950) [aerial image, New Springfield Park shown bottom left]". The Glasgow Story. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  28. ^ "View around Belvidere Hospital, Glasgow, facing south-east, 1952 [showing three Junior grounds including Strathclyde bottom centre]". RCAHMS - Britain from Above. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  29. ^ {{cite book |last1=McDowall |first1=John |title=Scottish FA Annual 1886–87 |date=1886 |publisher=Hay Nisbet|page=48}
  30. ^ "Club Directory". Scottish Football Historical Results Archive. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  31. ^ "FOOTBALL". Glasgow Herald. 25 April 1881.
    "FOOTBALL". Wishaw Press. 30 April 1881 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  32. ^ "Royal Standard and Grand National Halls Cup". Scottish-Football-Historical-Archive. 29 June 2021.
  33. ^ "Cups and Contests". Scottish Referee. 22 May 1893. (via) British Newspaper Archive.

External links edit

55°50′20″N 4°12′52″W / 55.838790°N 4.214379°W / 55.838790; -4.214379