Showing posts with label Grangemouth FC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grangemouth FC. Show all posts

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Lost Football Grounds of Falkirk District - Muirhead Park

Grangemouth Football Club, never world-beaters, nonetheless had one of most centrally located and easily accessable grounds in all of Stirlingshire. Their home for most of their history was Caledonian Park, in the centre of town and most importantly only yards away from Grangemouth Train Station. But for a couple of years before this they had played at just the other side of the Grange Burn at Muirhead Park.

Grangemouth FC started in January 1886 as most clubs did, playing on the local public park, but the Portonians had ambition, and in order to compete, SFA rules stated that clubs had to have their own enclosed ground. So the committee started to look for a potential site of their own. Just in time for the start of the 1886/87 season the Club announced that it had secured the lease of a field from Peter Muirhead Esq. of Grangemouth for £15 per annum. This ground, which came to be known as Muirhead Park, has been erased from the face of Grangemouth, making it very hard to locate exactly. It seems to have been placed between the South Shore Road and Grangemouth's "New Dock": The Falkirk Herald [14th Aug 1886] stated that "their new field ... is situated at the back of Muirhead's Buildings". The big problem being that Muirhead's Buildings also no longer exist.

I had always suspected that Muirhead Park was under the BP for some reason, not quite, but I was in the right direction. First I had to find some clue about it's whereabouts, it came in a notice in the Herald earlier that year that the Surveyor General of the Post Office in Edinburgh was to include "the Hospital, Muirhead's Buildings, Grangemouth Saw Mill, and Grangemouth Iron Works" in the Grangemouth postal delivery. Since I have looked at the 1897 OS map of Grangemouth several times, I knew there was a huge foundry just to the east of the town, and checking it again I noticed it was situated in between a hospital and a saw mill, with the buildings on Zetland Street, presumably Muirhead's Buildings.


Grangemouth Foundry, Saw Mills and the previous site of Muirhead Park 1897

This leaves me with a final problem, from the only locator I have, the ground was 'at the back of Muirhead's Buildings" which to me looks like the Hospital and Foundry, so I can only suppose it really meant at the back of the foundry, just to the north of 'Saw Mills' on the map. But without some other clues I will be tantalisingly close whilst never completely sure of the exact location, and of whether it was aligned North-South or East-West [or even on a diagonal!].


Current site of the Foundry, Saw Mills and Muirhead Park from NLS Maps [click to explore]

The ground was 'christened' with a friendly visit from Camelon on the 4th of September, a 3-3 draw, and was celebrated by the Zetland Brass Band playing the players on to the pitch, the Falkirk Herald's only reference to the ground itself being that it was too narrow.

However the biggest game at Muirhead Park was undoubtedly when Grangemouth somehow contrived to get the full Rangers side down to the Port for a friendly in March 1887, and although only 300 hardy souls turned up, and Grangemouth were beaten, though at 4-1 not hammered it still stands as an impressive coup for the club.


However, only one match that could in anyway be considered official for the purpose of records took place on the ground, when East Stirlingshire defeated Grangemouth 5-2 in the First round of the Scottish Cup Matches on the 3rd September 1887, strangely all four of Grangemouth's Stirlingshire Cup matches at the time were drawn away, and the Falkirk District Charity Cup matches were always played at neutral venues.

In June of 1888 Grangemouth FC were informed that the ground was needed 'for storing purposes' in future, and that they would have to find a new park.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Falkirk Footballers v Grangemouth Footballers 1879

I cannot be 100% sure, but I think I may have found the first occasion in which Falkirk FC took part in a sporting occasion outside of football. The following cutting was in the Falkirk Herald of Thur 6th February 1879, and relates to a curling match in Grangemouth.


The difficulty in asserting this is pretty obvious though: for a start "Footballers of Falkirk" is not the same thing as Falkirk Football Club. On the other hand there is no record of other football going on in Falkirk at the time. There is also the fact that there was a Grangemouth Football Club at this time [however they played their football with the oval ball], and that there was contact between the two clubs is beyond doubt, due to the fact that the Peddie brothers played for both clubs.

So all in all I think that it is most likely that the two local clubs, in the middle of the season, instead of playing a match at one or other code of football, had a friendly competition in a completely different sport.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Early Football in Grangemouth


Grangemouth is the relative new town in Falkirk District, only coming to life with the opening of the eastern end of the Forth & Clyde Canal in the 1770s. But it was well situated therefore quickly profited with the completion of the canal due to the increase in trade from both the West Coast and from further abroad.

Started by Lawrence Dundas [a majority shareholder in the canal, who clearly wished to maximise his profits] Grangemouth [or Sealock as it began life] was originally situated between the north bank of the canal and the River Carron, the large influx of workers for the docks meant the town quickly grew and soon expanded south onto the carse lands which is now the centre of the town.

By the time of the football boom in Central Scotland had taken off Grangemouth felt secure enough in itself to join in, after a fashion. The first serious attempt to bring senior football to the town seems to be Zetland FC in June 1882 [largely at the hands of Richard Peddie, a former Falkirk FC forward [he lived in the port, but was actually from Sunderland [one of the many who moved to Grangemouth to work in the docks], he had a brother William [also ex-Falkirk but it not is known what, if any, part he had in Zetland FC].

Next to nothing is known of the players or the nature of Zetland FC [all reports in the press gave the barest of details] except that they played their home matches on the Public Park [Now Zetland Park] [Zetland Park was not named for the club, but for the above Lawrence Dundas, the Earl of Zetland, upon whose land Grangemouth was born, this is shown especially by the fact that the earlier village side of Laurieston [Lawrie's town] a mile or so to the north also played on a Zetland Park].

Zetland’s first match seems to have been against East Stirlingshire [themselves only founded in 1880/81] when a 1-1 draw was played at Grangemouth on the 12th of August 1882. Though the team played a fairly high level of opponents [Bo'ness, Grahamston Victoria, Stenhousemuir] that season it seems the main problem was that they rarely came away victorious in these encounters.

The following season the footballing picture becomes very muddled down on the port, though this might be largely down to poor press coverage. 1883/84 is the first season that matches by a team named Grangemouth appear, playing home and away matches with Tayavalla [from Lime Wharf in Tamfourhill]. But in between these two matches a curiosity occurs, for on the 17th of November East Stirlingshire sent both their 1st & 2nd teams to play in Grangemouth. The 2nd XI defeating ’Zetland’ by a goal, whilst the 1st XI played out a goalless draw with ‘Britannia’ on the same day. Both matches on the public park.

This leaves many questions unanswered. 1) was East Stirlingshire playing two distinct clubs that day? 2) Was Britannia the same club as the ‘new’ Grangemouth? 3) Had Zetland changed name to Grangemouth/Britannia [with their 2nd team styling themselves 'Zetland' in the same way that Falkirk often fielded a 'Brockville XI']? Were there, in fact, three teams now in the port? Sadly lack of any concrete info means we will probably never know.

What is certain is that none of the names, Britannia, Grangemouth or Zetland were amongst the entrants to the inaugural Stirlingshire Cup that season, and until the end of the season there is no more mention of football in the town, but that final mention is interesting because for once the report actually mentioned the players and gave a line-up, the match was Britannia against Grahamston 2nd XI in Falkirk on the 17th of May 1884.

Britannia – Muir; Egan & Syme; Johnston & Anderson; Dixon & Robertson, Drysdale & Proudfoot, McDunachie & Latters.
Albert Dickson! [from Dublin], went on to play for Falkirk and Hodge Drysdale for Grahamston.

The next seasons 1884/85 & 1885/86 senior football completely disappears from the radar in Grangemouth, only a couple of references to the [new?] junior club Grangemouth Thistle appear in the press, and most games were against Linlithgowshire junior teams. Followed with a single mention of St Mirren, seemingly a junior team from the town later on.

In fact, it was not until 1886 that anything like senior football returned to the town, when Grangemouth got its one and only serious claimant to a senior team, they went on to join first the Stirlingshire FA then the Scottish FA playing competitive matches at the highest level in the land [The Scottish Cup]. But it started from very humble origins

Falkirk Herald – 20th February 1886

“A club having been got up in Grangemouth, the 2nd Falkirk Harp kindly consented to play their opening match. The Grangemouth won by eight goals to one. For Grangemouth, Miller and Fenney played well on the right, and James Cox in the centre, and the left wing had some fine runs at goal. The back division played well. Ewen was a host in himself, and the goalkeeper played well. For the Harp the right and left wings played best, and the goalkeeper saved some good shots.”

Though never stated, the club most probably started playing on the same Zetland Public Park, but soon moved to Muirhead Park [on the grounds of Muirhead sawmills, currently part of the BP complex] before moving to their more permanent home of Caledonian Park [behind the Grangemouth Town Hall, on the grounds of the Caledonian sawmill [or where ASDA is now [2014]], the rest, as they say, was history, until the Scottish League killed off Senior Football in all but the largest towns.

Thursday, 29 June 1989

Grangemouth Sports Four-a-Side Competition 1889

Grangemouth FC & Grangemouth CC Four-a-Side Competition 1889 Held at Caledonia Pk, Grangemouth, Sat 29th June 1889, Scores are Goals+Touchdowns
Shettleston                   2+1    Grangemouth Wanderers      1+2       First Round
Falkirk                       2+0    Royal Albert               0+0       First Round
Zingari Strollers             3+0    Graham's Select            0+0       First Round

Shettleston                   3+1    Falkirk                    0+0       Semi-Final
Zingari Strollers - Bye

Shettleston                   3+0    Zingari Strollers          2+1       Final

Teams -
Zingari Strollers - (Smellie [QP], Robertson [QP], A.Hamilton [QP], Paul [PT])

4-a-side and 5-a-side Competitions