Falkirk & District Charity Cup

On Wednesday the Fourth of March 1885, The Falkirk Herald published the following -

"Proposed Charity Football Cup for the Eastern District of Stirlingshire - On Thursday evening a number of gentlemen of the town met in the commercial room of the Blue Bell Hotel, to consider what steps should be taken with the view to getting up a charity cup to played for by clubs in and around Falkirk. It was stated that the object in getting up the cup was that the local clubs should contest for its possession, and the proceeds derived in the way of gate money should be devoted dolely to the charities of Falkirk. The proposal was heartily received, and expressions sanguine of the success of the movement made. It is believed that funds will be forthcoming sufficient to enable the promoters to purchase a cup of some material value. A Committee was appointed to make initiatory steps, and arrange an early meeting. It is perhaps a little late in the season to bring this subject to the front now; but with a little exertion the promoters might succeed in making arrangements that would enable them to have the fixtures played off within a few weeks."

This was the birth of the first cup competetion based in Falkirk District. Unlike the later, and similar, competition the Falkirk Cottage Hospitals Shield [Falkirk Infirmary Shield], the Charity Cup was open to all senior clubs in the district, this is shown by the number of clubs [many short-lived] that competed in its relatively short twelve year existence. However there were two notable absentees - Denny and Dunipace. Both of these clubs instead played in the Stirling & District Charity Cup. Whether this was to do with geographical proximity or that the boundaries have drastically changed in the last hundred years I am unsure. What is sure is that every senior team except Grahamston Corinthians and Erin Rovers [and the two above] competed at some time or another.

With the exception of the 1886/87 First Round all ties were to be held at neutral venues, however the logistics meant that sometimes this rule had to be relaxed.

In a marked contrast to most of the Twentieth Century East Stirlingshire almost totally dominated the competition, not losing a game until their fourteenth. However what is most noticeable is how just East Stirlingshire and Falkirk dominated the teams who, to be honest, made up the numbers. The only serious threat coming from Camelon early then Stenhousemuir later on.

To the consternation of the smaller clubs the draw was often 'skewed', for example in 1886/87 Camelon, East Stirlingshire & Falkirk were in one pot, whilst Carron, Grahamston, Harp & Laurieston were in another. However, to be fair to the organisers, the competition was for charity, so to have Falkirk v East Stirlingshire and Harp v Carron in the first round would have done little to bolster the coffers.

In the end, the competition was proving more of an inconvenience than an event: the final two editions were largely a farce, with teams withdrawing or simply not turning up for matches, and although the competition was never formally abandoned it was allowed to lapse.

Finally, in 1913 the clubs met with the intention of reviving the competition, however it seems that Kaiser Wilhelm took against the idea of a local football cup for Falkirk, and started off a psychotic bid for European dominance in order to halt it for once and for all.

Winners


1884-85 East Stirlingshire
1885-86 East Stirlingshire
1886-87 East Stirlingshire
1887-88 East Stirlingshire
1888-89 East Stirlingshire
1889-90 Falkirk
1890-91 East Stirlingshire
1891-92 Falkirk
1892-93 Stenhousemuir
1893-94 Falkirk
1894-95 Stenhousemuir
1895-96 East Stirlingshire
 
1913-14 Falkirk