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Dumbarton 0-0 Airdrieonians

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 8/2/20.

Not a win, but not a defeat either. A clean sheet is welcome too.

And we’ve nudged four points ahead of Peterhead with the same no of games played.

Next week against Montrose at their place is going to be tricky. I’d take a point now, but fear worse.

Airdrieonians 3-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, New Broomfield,* 2/11/19.

Not so good. Our clean sheet run ended after less than a minute of this one. It’s a bit uphill from then on but we got an equaliser and then lost two quick goals before half-time.

And three of the teams below us won, unfortunately.

Our next two games are against teams above us. Even if they are both at home that’s likely to be tough.

They’re followed by another home game, this time in the Cup. Busy times at the Rock.

*You can call it the Penny Cars Stadium if you like.

Dumbarton 1-0 Peterhead

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 26/10/19

A win – never to be sneezed at – another clean sheet (two in a row now.)

Odd that last time out we didn’t win and went up one place in the league but this time, when we did win, we went down one.

Football can be a funny game.

It’ll now be a big game next week against the team (Airdrieonians) we swapped those places with. A chance to get revenge for defeat to them earlier in the season.

Or not.

Dumbarton 0-1 Airdrieonians

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 14/9/19.

I wasn’t at this game – I was away in fact, on a trip down south, but it sounds like we ought to have scored at least once and many folks were convinced we had the ball over the line just before half-time.

From the SonsTV footage it looks as if the ball might have crossed the line but from the angle it’s impossible to tell for sure. The still photo on the club’s match report makes it look not in but the keeper had possibly clawed it back by the time the shutter released.

Otherwise the game looked pretty even. At their goal Conor Brennan again seemed to flap at the ball from a corner kick and got nowhere near it. Such is life.

Dumbarton 3-3 Airdrieonians

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 2/4/19.

Well, we scored first, and then did our best to throw the game away.

We looked bright at the start finding joy on the left with Bobby Barr one of whose crosses was headed just past the post by Calum Gallagher. They seemed to be able to get through our midfield too easily, however, without really threatening further forward.

The goal came from a piece of quick thinking by Ross Forbes, playing a free-kick early to Dom Thomas on the edge of the box. Dom cut in and hit a shot which looked as if it was likely to be blocked but it hit the back of the net.

The equaliser came from a flicked on throw in, a header which Grant Adam got a hand to but not enough to keep it out. (He had also conceded the throw by palming a ball away which he might have been better not going for – or preferably catching.)

Not long after they were ahead. The lad who got on the end of the pass through looked a head offside to me when the ball was played to him. Our defending in the middle was a shambles though, the scorer standing all alone to tap it in.

They were breaking well and giving me the fear every time they got beyond the halfway line but the half ended at 1-2.

The second half more or less repeated the first to begin with except our pressure was stronger and they continued to look lively moving into our half. We had several corners in a row without much result. Grant Adam made a good stop on a one-on-one and the rebound was also blocked.

Manager Jim Duffy started to go for broke, taking off David Ferguson and putting on Boris Melingui. This shunted Stuart Carswell to right back. Boris it was who headed a Ross Forbes free-kick back across goal for an unchallenged Calum Gallagher to head in at the far post.

We continued to press – and that was our undoing. In a quick break they had a four on two and eventually scored but from where I was there looked to be a handball in the build-up.

By this time I was resigned to the defeat but Ross Forbes pinged one just inside the near post from the far edge of the area to cue delirium in the home end.

It’s a draw I’ll take – the fourth between these two sides in the league this season, a unique statistic for us since ten-team leagues were introduced in Scotland – but we really needed a win. It makes Saturday’s game against Brechin an absolute must-not-lose (guess what will happen) but a win would be even more desirable. It’s tighter than a gnat’s chuff at the bottom, only four points separating four teams. I don’t know if my nerves will stand it.

Scottish Cup Again – With a Manager!

Well this has come around reasonably quickly.

Sons face Airdrie away on November 24th in the third round.

The way things have been going, though, I don’t know that we’ll be in the fourth round draw.

Hoiwever, in other Sons news, we have a manager again. The club has appointed Jim Duffy to the post.

On the face of it his should be a safe pair of hands. I hope he brings a bit of defensive solidity with him.

His appointment sees the departure of former assistant manager Ian Durrant. Former stalwart between the sticks Jamie Ewings stays on as goalkeeping coach.

The New “Rangers”

Rangers Football Club no longer exists.

The company comprising it has been liquidated, the club along with it. So why are the Scottish football authorities scrabbling around trying to accommodate a new club apparently still claiming to be Rangers?

The sleight of hand which has seemingly transferred the assets to a new company – but miraculously without also transferring its debts! – cannot carry the history with it.
It is a new company – and a new club. As such they merit no special consideration – certainly not elevation to Div 1 of the SFL when any other new club would have to start in Div 3 (and moreover would have to provide three years’ worth of audited accounts for the privilege.)

In the same way, Airdrie United are not a continuation of Airdrieonians. (They are arguably Clydebank; except Clydebank fans do not consider them so.)

Whichever title the new “Rangers” takes (I append a few suggestions below*) the club is not and never will be Rangers. The SPL, SFA and Sky may wish them to be but they simply aren’t. As I understand it they also have not much of a squad of players. That many of last season’s Rangers players are taking themselves elsewhere shows they do not think the new company is a continuation of the old.

The threats, distortions and scare stories of the SPL (and apparently, to its shame, the SFA) with regard to the potential financial apocalypse they claim will happen should the new “Rangers” not be admitted to Div 1 are a form of blackmail. What they imply is that they intend to break a contract (the annual payments the SPL makes to the SFL) or incite others to break theirs (the two years’ notice requirement for clubs to leave the SFL.) This stuff is beyond sordid. I do not believe any of the administrators, chairmen etc who put forward such arguments give a stuff for Scottish football – only for the feathering of their own nests. The hidden agenda is of course to cast adrift (via the formation of SPL 2) the smaller clubs, in other words that portion of Scottish football where its true soul actually resides.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the true good of Scottish football to be asserted, to break the stranglehold that the Old Firm had/has on the neck of the Scottish game, to make the playing field more level again.

I fear it will be thrown away.

*Not the Real Rangers, (Dis)continuity Rangers, I-Don’t-Believe-It-Is-Rangers, All-Too-Real-Rangers.

Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie (New Broomfield)

This is the Excelsior Stadium,* home of Airdrie United FC (or, as some of us like to remember them, Clydebank.)

Main entrance to Airdrie United’s stadium. (Stitch of two photos.)

Excelsior Stadium, Main Stand

It’s a tidy ground but a bit soulless. The capacity is way above what Airdrie can attract as a crowd.

This is the view of the ground from the east car park.

New Broomfield, Airdrie (Excelsior Stadium)

Main Stand from East Stand

Excelsior Stadium, Main Stand from east

AFC crest at back of main stand.

AFC Crest

The North Stand:-

North Stand from east, New Broomfield.

Its main purpose, like its mirror image to the south (both are rarely, if ever, occupied) is to house an electronic scoreboard.

*So why New Broomfield?

Broomfield was the home of Airdrieonians FC who shortly before their demise moved to New Broomfield or, as it was known then for some sponsorship reason, the Shyberry Excelsior Stadium.

Broomfield was an idiosyncratic ground which had an old pavilion.

Broomfield

Compare Fulham’s Craven Cottage.

The reincarnation of a football team in Airdrie (Airdrieonians went defunct in 2002) was due to the fact that a local businessman, after failing to achieve election to the SFL with his new entity Airdrie United, took over the ailing Clydebank FC and moved it lock, stock and players to Airdrie, thereby effectively killing off the team who had been for 37 years Dumbarton’s local rivals.

Hello! Hello! We Are The Bully Boys

I heard Gordon Strachan on the news the other day referring to the Rangers situation. He said something along the lines of, “How can you let a club which all those players and managers have put so much into, with so much proud history, go to the wall? It wouldn’t be right.”

Well, Gordon. Airdrieonians were a club that players and managers had put a lot into and had a proud history – four Scottish Cup finals among that. They went to the wall.

The third Clydebank FC died as a result of Airdrieonians demise as they were taken over and moved to Airdrie to become Airdrie United. Lots of players and managers and maybe not so proud a history, but they did make it into the Premier Division and reached a Scottish Cup semi as a second tier team. Their fans were powerless to prevent the takeover but did set up a junior team.

Third Lanark were a club that players and managers had put a lot into and had an undeniably proud history – including a League Championship and two Scottish Cup wins. No one acted to save them.

Going further back St Bernard’s have a Scottish Cup win to their credit and ultimately went out of business due only to the untimely death of their main benefactor. No one helped them.

Was it right that these clubs were allowed to die, Gordon? Just because they were smaller clubs doesn’t mean their fans were any less passionate about them. Just because Rangers have a large following does not mean they should be extended concessions those clubs were not.

Gretna FC’s story is more akin to that of Rangers. Grossly overspending and over-reachinbg themselves they had to be bailed out to the end of their only SPL season and were then punted. They had a Scottish Cup final along the way, though, if that was something they could be proud of considering how they achieved it.

And as for Sandy Jardine’s vainglorious statement about Rangers fans taking action against other clubs this reminded me of the playground bully and is exactly the sort of thing we real football fans (as opposed to glory hunters) have come to expect from the institution that he is trying to defend. Sandy; you’ve done the crime, now do the time. Take your punishment like a man. At the least, this should mean expulsion from the SPL.

To those real fans of Rangers who recognise their club is in the wrong here and that its behaviour cannot be condoned nor encouraged in the future by any holding back of sanctions now, I offer my condolences and my apologies for the intemperate nature of the previous paragraph.

Prepare To Meet Thy Doom?

Take a look at these historical league tables (top four only) which show when Cowdenbeath FC has won the Scottish Second Division.

Scottish League Division Two 1913-14

1 Cowdenbeath P 22 pts 31
2 Albion Rovers P 22 pts 27
3 Dundee Hibernian P 22 pts 26
4 Dunfermline Ath P 22 pts 26

In those days promotion wasn’t automatic so Cowdenbeath were in Division Two the next year. Cowdenbeath were one of three teams on equal points at the top.

Scottish League Division Two 1914-15

1 Leith Athletic P 26 pts 37
2 St Bernards P 26 pts 37
3 Cowdenbeath P 26 pts 37
4 East Stirlingshire P 26 pts 31

A three-way play-off decided the league winners. Cowdenbeath defeated Leith Athletic at East End Park and St. Bernards at Easter Road to take the title.

Scottish League Division Two 1938-39

1 Cowdenbeath P 34 pts 60
2 Alloa Athletic P 34 pts 48
3 East Fife P 34 pts 48
4 Airdrieonians P 34 pts 47

Cowdenbeath’s only other Championship was in Div 3 in 2006. Their other promotions came as runners-up, through play-offs or as a result of another club’s financial problems leading to a readjustment in the leagues.

So does anyone spot something here?

Well, I notice that every time Cowdenbeath have been Champions of a Division 2 in Scotland the UK has been involved in a major (world) war the next September.

Now take a gander at the present position in the SFL Div 2 (as of 7/2/12) :-

1 Cowdenbeath P 20 pts 41
2 Arbroath P 20 pts 39
3 Stenhousemuir P 20 pts 31
4 Dumbarton P 19 pts 28

Gulp!

Come on Arbroath!!! (And the Sons, obviously.)

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