Showing posts with label Bonnybridge Grasshoppers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bonnybridge Grasshoppers. Show all posts

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Grasshoppers v Caldercruix - Sat 7th Oct 1876


Falkirk Herald - Sat 14th October 1876


A match between the above teams was played at Bonnybridge on the ground of the former, on Saturday last, in presence of a considerable number of onlookers, and resulted in the favour of the Grasshoppers by two goals to one. The toss being won by the Grasshoppers, the ball was kicked off by Peters, the Caldercruix captain. A brilliant run was made up to the enemy's goal by the strangers, but it was soon returned and kept there until Clarke kicked a goal for the home team. Shortly after, ends being changed, a goal was secured for the strangers by George McGuire. Both teams seemed now to play in better order, but it was evident that the home team had the advantage of their opponents, the ball being kept ringing off their goal lines, and eventually another goal was kicked for the home team by James Clarke.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Smith & Wellstood's v Grasshoppers - Sat 25th March 1876

Falkirk Herald - Thu 30th Mar 1876


Smith & Wellstood's Glasgow Warehouse Employees v Grasshoppers - Owing to the undecided manner in which the match on the 18th inst. was finished, these two teams arranged to meet again on the 25th inst., when the final contest for superiority took place. The game, which was a decided improvement on the last, both with regard to the individual and combined play of the teams, was played on the "Rovers'" field, Glasgow, they having kindly lent it for the occasion. The ball was kicked off at 3:15, and was for some time kept in the centre, till the Grasshoppers' forwards got away with it, when, after some neat passing and dribbling by Mitchell and Clarke, the latter succeeding in scoring a goal. On the ball being again kicked off, the Glasgow men settled well to their work and tried their utmost to equalize the game, but their efforts were vain, for again their opponents' forwards got the ball amongst them, and after a good run down the field Dobson centered the ball and Clarke skillfully shot it through below the tape, thus scoring goal number two. Ends having been changed, with the wind in their favour, the Glasgow forwards Laine, Smith, and Todd, made some capital efforts to score, but without success, the ball always being returned from the feet of king and Lapsley. The game thus ended in a win for the Grasshoppers by two goals to none. Besides those before mentioned, Paterson, Ure, and Smith for the Grasshoppers, and Smith, Bell, and Marshall for Glasgow did good work for their respective sides. After the match the strangers were hospitably entertained to a substantial dinner and tea by the Glasgow team, and a most enjoyable evening was spent.

Grasshoppers v Smith & Wellstood's Employees - Sat 18th Mar 1876

Falkirk Herald - Thu 23rd March 1876


Bonnybridge Grasshoppers v Smith & Wellstood's Employees, Glasgow - These two teams met on the ground of the former on Saturday last, and a well contested game was the result. Up till half-time neither side succeeded in scoring, and it was thought that the game would be a draw, but, as the end approached, the Grasshoppers redoubled their efforts, and succeeded in securing a goal about five minutes before time was called. The goal was, however, disputed by the strangers for a time, but, on seeing that they were wrong, several of those who "had a right to know" gave in; though several others maintained that a foul had occurred before the goal was taken. Lane, Smith and Todd, for the strangers, and Clarke, Mitchell and Paterson for the home team played well through the game.

Midland v Grasshoppers - Sat 5th Feb 1876

In my ongoing attempt to cover early football in Central Scotland I have to cover some of the really early matches about which, it sometime seems, I am the only person that has any interest, but, the sooner I do it, the sooner I can get on to the later stuff.

This match was part of the first 'derby' in Stirlingshire, in effect the "Bonnybridge Derby". It would seem that the first match is lost, but luckily was referred to in this report [which is a shame because the Greenhill side won the first game].

Falkirk Herald - Sat February 12th 1876

Football- Midland Club v Grasshoppers - This match was played on Saturday on the ground of the former at Greenhill. The ball was kicked off at 3:30, and was kept well in the centre of the ground for a time, until Watson got away with it, and after some skillful dribbling, passed it to Marshall, who scored a goal for the Midland. On the ball being again kicked off, Mitchell and Clarke carried it well up to the Midland goal line, but failed to put it through. The ball was kept constantly going from one goal line to the other till half-time, both teams playing well, and their utmost to score. On ends being changed, the Grasshoppers' forwards got the ball well down into their enemy's quarters, and in spite of the efforts of Watson (who dribbled well, but always found Glaister at his post and one too many for him), they kept it there, and succeeded in scoring two goals before time was called, their own goalkeeper only once handling the ball after half-time. Besides those already mentioned, Mackie, Fotheringham, and Murray for the Midland, and Lapsley, Crombie, McPhie, and Paterson for the Grasshoppers played well through the whole game, which was witnessed by a large company. The Grasshoppers showed a decided improvement since their last match with the Midland (which they lost by one goal and two disputed to none) both in their style of playing and the position of their men, which added greatly to their success."

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Grasshoppers v Airdrie Football Club - Sat 20th November 1875

In the mid 1870s football reporting at a local level was very rare, local papers did not really report on away matches, and a lot of the football was simply a scoreline, so it is delightful to find the occasional match that was reported in full.
This match was Grasshoppers second match for which any evidence survives and of course the club they were playing had nothing to do with Airdieonians.


This match came off on the ground of the former at Bonnybridge on Saturday last, and resulted in a win to the Airdrie team by two goals to none. The superior weight of their opponents, and the manner in which they used this advantage, made up for the loss of one of their men, and rather astonished the home team, who - this being their first match with any regular club - were entirely unacustomed to such rough handling, and were often unexpectedly "floored" by their opponents when the ball was at another part of the field. As soon, however, as they saw the aim of their antagonists they began to watch better, and after the first quarter of an hour the game was very well contested, though rather in the favour of the Airdrie team throughout, both sides exerting themselves to their utmost. At about ten minutes to time the second goal was scored for Airdrie - the first having been taken within ten minutes of the kick-off. For Airdrie - H.Hendrie, J.Skelton, J.Laird and J.Mulvey; and for the Grasshoppers - H.Lapsley, J.Mitchell, J.Roscoe and J.Glaister played well throughout the whole game. As the Grasshoppers turned out in their new uniforms - red, white and black jerseys - which showed well against the blue jerseys of their opponents - white knickerbockers with green strip and red stockings - the field presented a very bright appearance, and the day being fine, the game was witnessed by a large number of spectators. The following are the teams :- Airdrie - Goal-keeper, H.Kenny; back F.Skelton; half-backs A.Diamont, J.Skelton; forwards C.Docherty, H.Hendrie (Captain), J.Mulvey, W.Skelton, J.Laird, J.Delaney. Grasshoppers - Goal-keeper, M.Dobson; backs J.Glaister, J.Roscoe; half-backs R.Dobbie, W.Crombie; forwards A.Lapsley (Captain), J.Clarke, J.Mitchell, T.Smith, H.McPhie, W.Forrester.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

St Andrews v Grasshoppers - Scottish Cup 1876

The first Scottish Cup match played by a team from Falkirk District, in fact from Stirlingshire, was played in Edinburgh of all places. I believe that back then the early rounds of the Scottish Cup were regionalised, so the fact that Grasshoppers were in the Edinburghshire group shows the lack of football in Central Scotland.

The match itself was probably played on the Meadows [or perhaps Bruntsfield Links], and was the first match of the season for the Grasshoppers. They lost. It was their only competetive game. The teams had a strange relationship with competitions back then.

From the Falkirk Herald Thursday 5th October 1876.


These two clubs opened their seasons on Saturday by engaging in an Association Cup tie. The Grasshoppers, who hail from Bonnybridge, took the defensive first, and the Edinburgh team kicked off with the wind favouring. The visitors, although looking heavier than their opponents, were well pressed, and the play was pretty often in their quarters. In the second three-quarters, when ends had been changed , the forwards, whose strength was somewhat increased by an influx of members from the defunct Heart of Mid-Lothian got well in, and T.Purdie kicked a goal. This, although the play still went on, practically decided the tie. Teams:- St Andrews - Messrs R.Winton, goal; G.Purdie and D.Grosset, backs; R.Purdie and R.Rolly, half-backs; D.Ross, D.Brunton, T.Purdie, J.Cochrane, G.Mitchell and J.Alexander, forwards. Grasshoppers - Messrs T.Ure, goal; A.Lapsley and J.King, backs; J.Paterson and W.Anderson, half-backs; T.Smith, H.Macfie, W.Crombie, W.Forester, J.Mitchell and J.Clarke, forwards.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Lost Football Grounds of Falkirk District - Milnquarter Park

I just came across a fantastic new 'thing' on the NLS maps website, where you can look at the 1898 Ordnance Survey map cross-checked with the current bing maps to give it a historical context. So when I was playing about earlier, looking at the parts of Falkirk that I do not have on paper I came across a couple of grounds, some of which I am not sure about and will need to research a bit further, but some I knew but had never looked at on the map.

Football in Falkirk District started in Bonnybridge, but although they were enthusiastic the Grasshoppers never quite had the ability challenge on the field of play. As a result of this they never really managed to establish themselves so paid the ultimate price when the great cull of village clubs came in the wake of professionalism and league football.

Local knowledge has it that Grasshoppers' first ever match was played on a the field where Bonnybridge Library now stands [sometimes known as Bonnyside]. Exactly where the Grasshoppers played over the next couple of seasons is difficult to pin down. Occasional match reports state "Peathill" whilst others state "Highland Dykes" and whilst it is possible they were the same ground it still only vaguely locates it to the area about modern Larbert Road in Bonnybridge.

Around 1880-1881 Grasshoppers moved to what would be largely their permanent home for the rest of their history: Milnquarter Park. The club had relocated to the, then, largely vacant, fields between Bonnybridge and Greenhill. I say it was largely their permanent home because they spent season 1886/87 in Longcroft.

Since I have never come across any descriptions of the actual ground in any match reports I do not know what it was like, but it is fairly safe to assume it was very basic, probably just a roped off area in a field, the teams getting stripped in a nearby pub or similar hostelry. In the map [below] it is quite a bit off the local roads, this would affected access, and the fact that there was unlikely to be any Grandstand would have made it virtually impossible for the club to charge the any crowd for the privilege.

Milnquarter in 1896

According to the OS map it seems that the ground was partly built over the Antonine Wall, which leads one to presume that at least that part had been dismantled by 1880. Another thing which is missing from this map which is in later maps, is that the land immediately to the East on the other side of the railway lines was the home of Bonnybridge Cricket Club, part of which is now the playing area of the Antonine Primary School.

The exact same area taken from Bing Maps 2015

Although Milnquarter was never the greatest of grounds in the district, it was important enough. Several Scottish Cup matches were played on the ground, so we can tell that the ground was up to scratch in the eyes of the SFA, there are countless recordings of teams being forced to replay matches, or play matches away from home simply due to the quality of the ground.

I must admit to ignorance at this point though, I am not completely sure if the ground was shared in latter days with Bonnybridge Juniors, and even if so, how long football was played on the ground after Grasshoppers became defunct. I will get round to looking up these things in time, but for the time being I'd like to think that the ground was at least being used in the Junior Cup matches until it was finally built over.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Bonnybridge Grasshoppers sometime before 1898

I have recieved an e-mail from one of the decendents of William Roy who played for Grasshoppers in the 1890s, and said descendent believes he is in this picture of the Bonnybridge Grasshoppers.

NB- I have seen a lot of pictures of Falkirk District Clubs in my time, and have never seen this, and the tops are definitely Grasshoppers.

Grasshoppers were almost ever present in the Senior Football Scene from their birth in 1875 until they folded about 1900, but they could really only recruit locally, and the expansion of League Football in the 1890s to 1900s really spelt the death knell of the 19th Century Village Clubs.

If you know more than I of this photo, please get in touch.

+John Meffen @John_Meffen

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Grasshoppers of Bonnybridge

A couple of years before people got round to playing 'the Association Game' in the town of Falkirk, a couple of miles to the West football in the County of Stirlingshire began in the form of the Grasshoppers from the now unlikely location of Bonnybridge.

I say unlikely because Bonnybridge is little but a local identity these days. It has since the war been amalgamated into a sprawl of former villages between Falkirk and Cumbernauld [encompassing, Bankhead, Banknock, Bonnybridge, Denny, Dennyloanhead, Dunipace, Fankerton, Greenhill, Head of Muir, Longcroft & Milnquarter [the Metropolis of Greater Herbertshire as I have decided to call it]]. The borders are still signposted, but few other than the locals know where one place ends and the other begins.

But in 1875 the situation was far from this. Bonnybridge was the only one of these villages which straddled the Forth & Clyde Canal and it was for this reason that Smith & Wellstood's, the Glasgow Stovemakers, decided to build a foundry [the Columbian Works] just to the South of the Canal, soon to be followed by Singer's [the Sewing Machinists]. This had two main impacts on the village, it helped take the focus away from Falkirk in terms of trade, and more importantly, it brought workers from the city.

Tradition has it that in the Autumn a group of workers met in the library of the Columbian Works Halls and decided to form a football team, writing to their boss H.N.Smith of Queen's Park FC [Scotland's referee in the first ever international], to send them a ball and a copy of the association rules, and that was that. Within months they were playing a team from the firm's Glasgow Warehouse and football had begun in Stirlingshire.

'The Falkirk Herald' Edition - Thursday October 21st 1875.

NB - The only reason that I can think of as to why they chose the name 'Grasshoppers' is because sand for the moulds in foundries was moved about in big Hoppers, but that is just a guess on my part.

Thursday, 4 October 1979

Grasshoppers v King's Park - Sat 4th Oct 1879

Stirling Journal - Fri 10th Oct 1879

Grasshoppers (Bonnybridge) v King's Park (Stirling)

This match came off on the ground of the former on Saturday last, and resulted in favour of the Stirling team by 2 goals to 1. the play of both teams was excellent. Teams:- Grasshoppers - goal, Alex. Brown; backs, James Paterson and Alex. Paterson; half-backs, Messrs. Irvine and Gardiner; forwards, Hamilton (captain), Mitchell, Cherry, Smith, Moffat, and Crombie. King's Park - Goal, W.Wordie; backs, J.Shaw and W.Gentles; half-backs, J.M'Laren and J.Leishman; forwards, W.M'Beath, J.M'Kay, J.M'Donald, P.Lennie, D.Stewart, and J.Oliphant (captain).

Thursday, 27 September 1979

Falkirk v Grasshoppers - Sat 27th Sep 1879

Falkirk Herald - Sat 4th Oct 1879


This match came off on Saturday last on the ground of the former at Randyford. Owing to this being the first draw for the association cup, great interest was manifested by the large number of spectators who appeared on the ground - there being about 400. The home team won the toss, and played off with a little win in their favour, pressing the strangers' goal, evidently determined that their first essay for the cup would be a success. After some hard playing on the part of both clubs, half-time was called with one goal and a disputed one to the credit of Falkirk. The ends now being changed, the wind by this time blowing stronger than the first half, was more favourable to Bonnybridge, who, taking the advantage of this, played with a vigour, seemingly resolved to retrieve lost honours; but the "bairns" showed an impregnable front, and having pressed their opponents' goal pretty hard for about half an hour, were successful in placing other two goals to their credit. Towards the end of the game play was getting very loose on the part of the home team, for which they payed dearly by Bonnybridge securing two goals. For the Falkirk team, Leishman, A.Ferguson, and Johnston played well: while James Richardson, as back, was always on the spot, and saved many dangerous attacks. The Bonnybridge team played well, the only name worthy of mention being Paterson (back) who appeared to be in rare form and kicked well. The following are the teams:- Falkirk - Forwards: Leishman, A.Ferguson, Johnstone, A.Smith, Neil, Hamilton; half-backs - Service, Wm.Ferguson; backs - J.Richardson, Smith; goal - D.M'Nair. Bonnybridge - Forwards - Dobson, Irvine, Moffatt, Sutherland, Smith, Mitchell; half-backs - Crombie, A.Paterson; backs - J.Paterson, Forrester; goal - J.Anderson.


Throughout the article referred to Bonnybridge, however the village's club was correctly called Grasshoppers.

I believe this was the first time Falkirk FC were referred to as the "bairns" in print.

Friday, 15 December 1978

King's Park v Grasshoppers - Sat 17th Nov 1878

Stirling Journal - Thu 22nd Nov 1878


A match between the above clubs came off on the ground of the former on Saturday, and resulted in a draw, both teams scoring two goals. The game was greatly interfered with by some of the spectators rushing in on the ground whenever a dispute arose, and it is to be hoped the same will not be repeated. Teams:- King's Park - Goal, ?.Taylor; backs, W.Gentles, D.Mackenzie?; half-backs, J.Leishman, H.Lundie; forwards, James McInnes, J.McDonald, James Gray, J.Shaw, J.Hay and J.Oliphant (captain). Grasshoppers - Goal, J.Anderson (captain); backs, J.Ure, J.Paterson; half-backs, A.Paterson, J.Hamilton; forwards, W.Shirra, J.Hamilton, H.McPhee, M.Dobson, W.Forrester and A.Moffat.

Monday, 11 December 1978

Grasshoppers v Britannia - Sat 6th Apr 1878

Falkirk Herald - Thu 11th Apr 1878


A friendly match at football came off here on Saturday between our local club and the Britannia, Glasgow. The game commenced at 5 o'clock PM. The Britannia, having won the toss, very wisely chose the end from which a pretty stiff breeze was blowing, thus giving them a very great advantage over the Bonnybridge team, who also had a bright sun full in their faces. Notwithstanding these disadvantages, coupled with the fact that one or two of their best players were unable to be present, Bonnybridge scored a goal in about twenty minutes. By the time sides were changed the sun did not shine on the ground, and there was scarcely any wind, so that the Britannia never had the disadvantages which were so much against Bonnybridge during the first half of the game. After sides were changed no more goals were won on either side, but Bonnybridge had by far the best of the play, the 'fighting' being in front of the Britannia's goal two-thirds of the time. As 'time' drew near Britannia seemed to lose hope, as their efforts were concentrated in the defence of their goal, and the kicks which they got, when fortune favoured them were devoted to kicking the ball not toward their enemies' goal, but beyond the boundaries with the evident desire of 'killing time'. altogether the Britannia showed poorly.

Grasshoppers v Caldercruix - Sat 30th Mar 1878

Falkirk Herald - Sat 7th Apr 1878


A friendly match at football was played on the green here between the Bonnybridge Club and that of Caldercruix on Saturday last. The Caldercruix company were expected by 3 o'clock pm, but it was close on 5 o'clock before they arrived. However, they were in fine time, although the Bonnybridge team and the large concourse of spectators were somewhat out of patience at the unneccessary delay. The game began by the Caldercruix "kicking off" and then commenced the tug of war. From the appearance of the Caldercruix men, they were lithe looking fellows, and swifter of foot than the Bonnybridge men. It was thought that Bonnybridge would have a small chance with them, but the Bonnybridge team held at it manfully, and although the war was oftener on the territory of Bonnybridge than on the other side they battled their foes to put the ball through their goal. again and again it seemed as if the ball were to be sent through, and as often was it dexterously hurled back by vigilant goal-keeper; and although Caldercruix scored the first goal, it was because the ball struck one of the poles and went through the goal at a tangent in a manner that no vigilence could prevent. After positions were changed another hard tussle ensued; and this time Bonnybridge scored a goal. Time was called before anymore goals were scored, so that the match ended in a draw. Altogether the match was one of the best that has been played here, and was watched with very great interest by the onlookers, as from beginning to end it was doubtful which of the teams were best; for, although Caldercruix team were certainly swifter of foot than the Bonnybridge one, it must be said that Bonnybridge showed, if anything, the greater skill and determination. It may be added that the state of the ground and the weather were all that could be desired, saving that the latter was rather cold for the onlookers.

Sunday, 10 December 1978

Falkirk v Grasshoppers - Sat 23rd Mar 1878

Falkirk Herald - Sat 30th Mar 1878


A return match was played between these clubs on the ground of the former at Campfield on Saturday before a large concourse of spectators. As this is the first match that has been played in Falkirk, it was watched with unusual interest, and a better day for the sport could not have been. For the first part of the game Bonnybridge had the best of it, securing two goals in about twenty minutes. The Falkirk men, however, warmed to their work, and for the remainder of the first half the most of the play was on the Bonnybridge territory. On changing ends, the Falkirk men, working well together, soon succeeded in securing a goal, and shortly afterwards another was placed to their credit. From this to time was called the Falkirk men had the best of it, and a close and well-contested game resulted in a draw. For Bonnybridge, Mitchell and Moffat showed to advantage, and for Falkirk the splendid forward play of Neil observed special mention. R.Peddie, W.Peddie forwards and Richardson half-back played well. The following composed the teams:- Bonnybridge - A.Moffat, J.Mitchell, W.Foster (Captain), J.Clark, T.Smith and A.Paterson, forwards; Wm.Anderson and A.Lapsley, half-backs; Jas.McVee and -.Stark, backs; John Mitchell, goal. Falkirk - J.Leishman, R.Peddie (Captain), Wm.Gentleman, -.Bennet, W.Peddie and -.Neil, forwards; J.Taylor and G.Richardson, half-backs; J.Taylor and R.Service, backs, A.McQueen, goal.

Nota Bene - The published article mispelled the Falkirk Goalkeepers's name, he was actually Angus McEwan, The Falkirk back, J.Taylor was actually Thomas Taylor.

Friday, 10 December 1976

King's Park v Grasshoppers - Sat 25th Nov 1876

Falkirk Herald - Sat 2nd December 1876


Played at stirling on Saturday, and resulted in a draw, each side having scored a goal, the ball being kept in the Stirling ground nearly the whole of the time, during which several shots were made at goal, but owing to the slippery condition of the ground the aim was not certain.


Played on the ground of the former, at Bonnybridge, on saturday, and resulted in a victory for the home team by three goals to nothing.

Stirling Journal - Fri 1st December 1876


On Saturday a match was played in the King's Park between the 1st eleven of the Stirling King's Park and Bonnybridge Grasshoppers. The game resulted in a draw, both teams having secured a goal. After the game both teams adjourned to the Sun Inn where refreshments were served. On the same day the second elevens of the fore-mentioned teams met at Bonnybridge, and had a friendly match, which resulted in favour of the Grasshoppers by three goals to nothing. The match was played during a drenching rain, which rendered play very difficult.