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Clyde 2-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Broadwood Stadium, 7/3/20.

I suppose this was always a likely result given the balance of incentives. They were seven points closer to the relegation zone than us. After today’s results they’re effectively six points further away since all the teams below them lost. They can reckon themselves safe now too.

Next Saturday we’re at home to Falkirk. They need the points more than we do. But we’ve not lost a goal at home for over four games. Who knows what will happen?

Dumbarton 1-0 Clyde

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 25/2/20

That’s a relief.

Not only is it a welcome win – our first since the Saturday before Christmas – but we also stretched the gap over every team below us.

I had been planning to go through to this but the weather we’ve been having put me off the trip. It doesn’t seem to have been a good game though.

Still; a win’s a win.

Can’t see another against Raith on Saturday however. (But I’d be delighted to be wrong about that.)

Dumbarton P-P Forfar Athletic

I wasn’t surprised at the postponement given the weather, even if the park had looked OK a couple of days ago.

Had it been on it might have been the best opportunity to put a win on the board for the first time this year but at least the teams below us didn’t gain anything on us.

If the pitch is truly soaked Tuesday’s rearranged game against Clyde might be off too.

Montrose 2-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Links Park, 15/2/20.

I was about to report that we’d failed to score – again – but then PJ Crossan got one back in injury time. So that’s three for this year so far – and two of those were in the one game.

At least nobody below us won.

Our next two games, at home to Forfar and Clyde, are real must-not-lose affairs if we’re not to be drawn into the relegation equation.

Falkirk 3-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, The Falkirk Stadium, 4/1/20.

Not too surprising really.

Despite recalling two players from loan spells elsewhere we still had only two outfield players on the bench – the two returners.
We still apparently managed to look good for the first half – even hit the bar – and ought to have had a penalty according to a Falkirk fan on Pie and Bovril.

Amazingly we’re still sixth and still four points away from fourth and six ahead of seventh but unless we get more players either in or fit we’ll only be going one way.

Next week against Clyde is a mustn’t lose.

Clyde 1-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Broadwood Stadium, 30/11/19.


I didn’t quite expect this, what with them beating us by the same score at the Rock earlier in the season – but I’ll take it.

It’s especially pleasing as we came from behind to win. Was the last time we did that the game up at Peterhead?

Good to see Joe McKee on the scoresheet too, with his first for the club. And Isaac Layne with his second in two games.

Plus that’s us up to fifth again.

Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld

Home of Clyde F C (and also of Cumbernauld Colts F C.)

From west (away) car park:-

Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld From West Car Park

Main and south stands from east (home) car park:-

Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld, Main and South Stands

Main stand from north-east (stitched photo):-

Broadwood Stadium, Mainstand (Stitch)

West stand from main stand:-

West Stand, Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld

South stand from main stand, part of west stand to right:-

South Stand, Broadwood Stadium

View along main stand towards south stand:-

View Along Main Stand, Broadwood Stadium

There is no stand at the north end of Broadwood Stadium. In that it resembles the west end of Kilbowie Park, once the home of Clydebank F C, which housed the social club.

It’s not quite so stark as the east end of Firs Park, Falkirk, which had a concrete wall built to stop the ball ending up on an access road when a retail park was built on the ground’s west side.

North end, Broadwood Stadium:-

North End, Broadwood Stadium

Football Again

The new season doesn’t take long in coming around.

Sons’ opponents in the League Cup (Betfred Cup) will be Kilmarnock, Ayr United, Clyde and Annan Athletic. Matches to be played during the second half of July.

A quick reunion with Ayr, then. Doubtless we’ll get nothing out of that. They had the hex on us last season. It’s a long time since we played Kilmarnock.

A Personal History of Dumbarton FC

A slightly shorter version of this post appeared as “€œDumbarton FC, The Sons of the Rock”€ in The Bayview, Official East Fife Matchday Magazine, Issue 5, Saturday 27th August 2011.

Just what collection of players to wear their team’s colours fans will look back on with fondness must to a large extent depend on their age. Though someone of my years and long experience of following Dumbarton might say we rather lucked into it, young(ish) Dumbarton supporters will no doubt regard the promotion winning team of 2008-9 – none of whom now remain at the club only two short years later -€“ with a rosy glow; albeit forever tinged with sadness at the tragic death of captain Gordon Lennon only a few weeks after lifting the trophy. And that side does have to its credit not only a 3rd Division championship but the longest consecutive playing time without conceding a goal in the club’€™s history; over 350 mins.

But no-one alive will remember what must be Dumbarton’€™s greatest achievements; a single Scottish Cup (in 1883) -€“ a time when we were in the forefront of tactical innovation in using the 2-3-5 formation -€“ and twice winning the top division, in 1891 (shared) and 1892.

In my memory Dumbarton have won promotion a total of six times; -€ a seventh lies in the distant mists of 1913 when we were elected upwards -€“ from sixth position! (In those days promotion wasn’€™t automatic. A Second Division Championship in 1911 still saw us in Division 2 for 1911-12.)

My father’s generation had much less to celebrate. It was fifty long years from relegation in 1922 till the Sons finally lifted themselves back into the top Division, with only the (Festival of Britain) St Mungo Quaich win of 1951 to lighten the darkness. There was, though, a tendency to romanticise the nearly men of the mid to late 1950s; a team that flirted with promotion but always fell short. It featured Tim Whalen and Hughie Gallacher (the club’€™s all time record scorer with 205 goals overall) whose stays overlapped with those of the long-standing full back partnership of Tommy Govan and Andy Jardine (250 and 299 appearances respectively, according to a website I consulted, most of them together.) I actually remember seeing those guys play but it was the fact that Hughie Gallacher took over in goal one game -€“ no substitutes at all, never mind goalies, in those days -€“ that really sticks in my mind. He was pretty good at stopping them as I recall, but we still lost that game.

One of the promotions was the elevation to the Premier Division in 1984, an adventure that lasted only the one season. A final taste of the elite alas, as we have never made it back. That team featured Bolton manager (and ex-Son) Owen Coyle’€™s two brothers in its midfield and leant heavily on the goals of Kenny Ashwood.

The Second Division winners of 1991-2, when Charlie Gibson and John McQuade starred, scored the single best Dumbarton team goal I can remember. Cowdenbeath had just equalised in a crucial top of the table clash at Boghead. From the kick-off the ball circulated round the team in a great passing move before, over a minute later, and without an opposition player touching the ball, John McQuade planted it in the net. Promotion was secured on the penultimate day of the season as Cowdenbeath and Alloa, the other contenders, both one point behind, only had each other to play. The Championship was duly sealed in a draw with Arbroath.

League reconstruction (as in 1922!) saw us demoted for 1994-5, placed in the new third tier. With Murdo McLeod as manager the side needed to win at Stirling -€“ who themselves only needed to draw with us – in the last game to be promoted as runners-up. A 2-0 win sent Dumbarton fans into delirium. What happened in the next three seasons, though, was dire. Two successive relegations, including a period of over a year when we did not win a single game, ended up with us bottom of the whole pile in 1998. The following four seemingly endless years of Division 3 football saw our tenure at Boghead, at the time the longest occupancy of a single site in British football, come to an end. In this forum, though, I’€™d better not dwell on the result of the final game there.

Another runners-up promotion swiftly arrived in 2002. The prolific if frustrating Paddy Flannery (77 goals for the club in 175 games) was the spearhead of that side, with the less heralded Andy Brown a willing side-kick. The promotion hero, though, was goalkeeper John Wight who saved a penalty in the last minute of the last game to make sure we could not be overtaken.

For me, though, the one that sends the memory banks into raptures is 1972. That year it all came together. The club’s centenary season, 50 years since top flight football, the town’€™s 900th anniversary of Royal Burgh status. Kenny Wilson had an astonishing 38 goals in 36 league games, some of them in vital 1-0 wins. Mid-season he made it onto the scoresheet in a record twelve consecutive matches, and he scored all five in a 5-0 rout of Raith Rovers. And that 38 doesn’€™t include the free-kicks and penalties he won for Charlie Gallagher to bang in. But big Roy McCormack scored the peach. At Love Street on Christmas Day 1971 he walloped a volley from out near the touchline about fifteen yards into St Mirren’€™s half. It flew over the keeper’s head, hit the stanchion full on and bounced out beyond the penalty spot. It was astounding. The ref thought it had hit the bar but the linesman gave it. Roy thumped two others not quite so good in the games either side against Alloa the previous week and Clydebank the next. Sweet, sweet.

Other highlights are Jumbo Muir’s waltz all the way from our penalty area through half of the Clyde team at Shawfield before finally putting the ball in the net, Lee Sharp’s belter at Almondvale in 1996, the 5-2 win at Tynecastle in 1982* against a Hearts side desperate for promotion (we were up the park three times in the second half and scored each one) and the 0-0 draw in 1970 in the League Cup semi-final against the Celtic team that made the European Cup Final that season. The replay was 2-2, then in extra time a (Lou Macari?) cross was flagged by the linesman as out of play until Wilson headed it in. The flag mysteriously went down. (Bitter? Me? No. It’s only been forty one years.) We did have a bit of revenge. Celtic had scored another and started to play keep-ball. When we got it back we played keep-ball too. Except we suddenly switched to a quick passing move up the left, put in a great cross and scored. In subsequent seasons we had 3-3 and 2-2 draws at Parkhead in the league. After our second equaliser in the latter of those the ref was looking round desperately for someone to give him a reason to chalk it off. The linesman didn’€™t help that time.

Yet the real emotion wasn’€™t for these or any promotion. Somehow the crucial last day relegation avoiders in 1973, 4-1 against Dundee Utd, and 2003, 4-1 again, Raith the victims, have meant much, much more. Perhaps it’€™s the release of the fear that makes sure it’€™s so. The hope fulfilled. We non-glory hunters who follow lower league sides don’t get that very often.

*It seems I have misremembered this game slightly. Big Rab’€™s blog a week or so ago featured a newspaper clipping which says we were 2-1 down at half time that day. So we were up the park not 3, but 4 times in the second half; and scored each one. Even better.

In his afterword to the article the programme editor says that in addition to being a long-term Sons fan, “Jack Deighton lives in Kirkcaldy and has taught in Cowdenbeath and Dunfermline. Jack knows all about pain.”

Not Any Time Soon

While looking up Eddie Turnbull’s career for my post on his death I noticed something remarkable.

Hibs won the league three times during Turnbull’s playing career; in 1948, 1951 and 1952. Not only that: in the seventeen years spanning their first win till Kilmarnock’s sole league title in 1965 no less than five different non-Old Firm sides won the league. Apart from Hibs and Kilmarnock, Hearts (1958, 1960,) Aberdeen (1955) and Dundee (1962) are on the roll of honour. That beats even the early years of the Scottish League when in its first 14 years Dumbarton – 1891 (shared with Rangers) and 1892 (outright) – Hearts (1895, 1897,) Hibs (1903) and Third Lanark (1904) all were champions of Scotland.

Can anyone imagine that sort of thing happening now?

The Old Firm duopoly is so entrenched that the mere thought is instantly dismissable.

The only team to upset the Old Firm domination of the league between the two World Wars of the last century was Motherwell, in 1932. (See here for the full list of winners.) The 28 year run from Third Lanark’s title in 1904 till Motherwell’s is the longest such period of unbroken Old Firm hegemony. So far.

At present it is 26 years since anyone but Rangers or Celtic won the league. (Aberdeen 1980, 1984 and 1985) and Dundee United (1983) are the only provincial sides to win a championship since the 1960s. Neither look likely to repeat the feat soon. Barring extraordinary circumstances, circumstances that are unforeseeable, to me at any rate, that 28 year record will be broken in 2014.

The Scottish Cup has always been a more likely prize for a “smaller” club to win but even so that 1950s and 60s period saw no fewer than seven non-Old Firm clubs lift the trophy. Aberdeen in 1947 (and 1970,) Motherwell (1952,) Clyde (1955 and 1958,) Hearts (1956,) Falkirk (1957,) St Mirren (1959) and Dunfermline Athletic (1961 and 1968.)

Of course, in those days the playing field was a bit more even as each club shared its gate money with the away team. Since the introduction of the system whereby each club keeps its own home gates the imbalance between the Old Firm and the rest has grown bigger. This is merely exacerbated by the Champions League money available to Celtic and Rangers nearly every season. (Though none of that stopped Rangers getting into substantial debt recently.)

The other clubs are simply not in a position to compete. It’s a sad and unhealthy situation.

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