Dunfermline Athletic

Dunfermline Athletic 2 Edinburgh University 1

Sunday, 13th Jun 2010

"Full of energy" 125 years ago today on 13th June 1885, Dunfermline Athletic played their first ever match.

Dunfermline Athletic's first ever match was played 125 years ago on 13th June 1885 at East End Park. Edinburgh University provided the opposition and DA won 2-1.

In 1874, members of Dunfermline Cricket Club formed a football section for much the same reasons as others like Aston Villa - fitness during the wintertime. The Dunfermline Cricket Club, had established themselves on land near the Curling Pond at the east end of the town. Lying just beyond the Parliamentary boundary on the south side of the Dunfermline Upper to Thornton railway line, this wasn't a particularly attractive part of the town. The Jail, Poorhouse, Fever Hospital and Cemetery all lay on the north side of the railway but it did have one tremendous advantage.  In the hilly town of Dunfermline, it was a rare area of flat ground.  They played both cricket and football there until in 1879 they moved to Lady's Mill (known as McKane Park since 1906).

A dispute among the members caused this Football section to split from the Cricket Club in 1885.  In April that year the Cricket Club passed an amendment to their constitution of the football club that was to have serious repercussions for sport in the town. In altering it in such a way that "no one be admitted a member of the Football Club unless he be a member of the Cricket Club" the committee seriously underestimated the footballer's commitment to the game.

Tired of playing second fiddle to the cricket team and resentful of the attempt to gain control of members of their club, the footballers decided to establish a new club dedicated solely to football.

After meetings on 26th May and again in the Old Inn on Tuesday 2nd June 1885, Dunfermline Athletic Football Club was formed, with its headquarters at East End Park which, at that time, was just to the west of the present day stadium.

The interim committee of the newly formed club consisted of many members of the original club and they were able to use their experience and knowledge to set everything up very quickly.  With East End Park leased from the North British Railway Company, Dunfermline Athletic was ready for its first match.

An announcement in the Dunfermline Journal on 13th June read:-
"Dunfermline Athletic FC, a new organisation, which promises to be full of energy, will tackle the Edinburgh University at Town Green today".

The reason for the haste in arranging their first match was down to bitterness between Dunfermline Athletic Fc and the Cricket Club who were playing Edinburgh side, Grange - "the premier club in Scotland" at Lady's Mill on the same day. The fotball match against Edinburgh University was simply a counter attraction and an attempt to spoil the cricketers' party.  At least the new club got off to a successful start, winning the match 2-1.

In the early days, the club colours were maroon jerseys with blue shorts but in 1886 these were changed to black and red hooped jerseys. The black and white stripes were not introduced until 1912.

First success came in 1887 when the Athletic won the Fife Cup but in 1888, through rivalry with a Dunfermline Club which had continued to play at Ladysmill, they were suspended from the fife Football Association. This eventually led to them playing as juniors on 6th August 1892. Their support grew and on 21st May 1900, at their Annual General Meeting, it was agreed to continue the senior team on a professional basis, from which point they, and football, were firmly established in the "Auld Grey Toun".

In owing their existence to the game of cricket, Dunfermline Athletic are in the good company of clubs like former European Champions Aston Villa and AC Milan. The boys of the Wesleyan Chapel cricket team decided in 1874 to play some football to keep fit during the winter months. They were to become Aston Villa Football Club. In 1889, AC was founded jointly by a group of Englishmen and Italians and were first known as the Cricket and Football Club of Milan.

SEASON 201011 BE PART OF IT!



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