Football in Tayport Through the Ages

Team Picture Gallery

The Archive is currently creating a gallery of team photos from pre-WW1 through to the present day.

Most of the team pics will have names appended but some from the early years, unfortunately do not.

Recognise anyone from old family photos?  If so, then please let us know. Also pics pre 1970 which do not subsequently appear in gallery would be welcomed

Any assistance in this respect will be greatly appreciated

When it all started

Organised football first kicked off in Tayport around 1878 when the town’s population was around 2,600. Approaching 150 years further on, in 2022, the population had risen to 3,800. In the intervening 144 years there was always at least one football club representing the town.

The period during which the Scottish Football Association (1873), the Scottish Junior FA (1886) and the Scottish Amateur FA (1909) were founded was a boom time for football throughout the country and Tayport was no exception.  Until then, well-established golf, curling and cricket clubs were the main sporting pursuits for the townspeople.

From 1878 to 1914 no fewer than 27 different football clubs were established in the town. With large families and a thriving industrial economy in Tayport there was no shortage of players. Furthermore, Tayport was well connected by the railway. A line from Dundee and the north, to Fife and Edinburgh in the south, ran through Tayport. In fact, the line ran alongside the club’s present ground at Canniepairt which was at that time, a farm.  Such excellent communications benefited the clubs through the choice of matches they could play on both sides of the Tay.

In addition, it wasn’t unusual for Tayport teams to sail across the Tay for matches with Broughty Ferry sides. Indeed, on one occasion in 1907 they went further as the press reported:

Many of the matches played in the early days were cup ties or friendlies. Each of the cup competitions was organised by its own association. The emphasis on league games as the main football competitions would evolve later.

For example, in the 1904/05 season Tayport FC would enter nine different cup competitions. As has been the case through to the present day, Tayport’s geographical position, to a large extent, allowed our clubs to pick and choose which competitions to enter. In that particular season Tayport FC entered the Scottish Junior Cup, the Fife based East of Fife, M’Arthur, Davidson and Armitage Cups and across Tay, the Dundee and Broughty Ferry based Telegraph, Courier and Guide Cups as well as the Lorne Shield.

The East Common was the main venue for football matches but games in the town in those early days were also played at venues variously described as Garpit Park, Garpit Links, Burnside Park, The Loch, The Links and the Mill Park.

Many of the clubs were only one or two season wonders and were described as 1st and 2nd class Seniors, Ist & 2nd class Juniors and 1st and 2nd class Juveniles.

So, what were the names of these teams?

 From 1878 to 1900 we had

 1st Fife Artillery Volunteers FC 

Tayport FC                    Scotscraig FC                Tayport Union

Tayport Thistle             Victoria      FC               Fiery Cross FC

Strathearn FC               Stella FC                        Tayport Taybank FC   

Tayport Hawthorn       Craigmount FC             Our Boys Rangers

Abertay      FC              Viewbank FC                Perseverence FC

Rosebank FC                Tayport Engineers FC  Strathtay FC

Rosevale FC                  Tayport Athletic           Tayport Rangers

Red Star FC                   Tayport Oddfellows     Tayport Crescent

Clubs founded in the 19th century and still playing in as a new millennium dawned were Tayport Rangers, Tayport Athletic, Red Star Tayport and Tayport FC. In addition, new clubs (various age groups) founded from 1900 to 1914, were Craigmore FC (1900-03) and Tayport Violet (1905)

By the end of that first decade, the novelty of starting up a football club had waned somewhat and there was only Tayport FC and the Juvenile sides Red Star and Tayport Violet playing regularly in the town.

Some photos from this era have no names. It would be speculation to put names to these players but names from team line-ups might be familiar or faces from old family photos might ring a bell. If so, please get in touch.

5-a-sides c.1895

One of the early pics in the collection is of a five-a-side team pictured outside Scotscraig Golf Club. The Garpit Park football pitch would have been close to the Golf Club, likely on what is now part of the golf course. This is photograph is possibly from July 1895 when Tayport Athletic emerged victorious from the 18 teams which entered a five-a-side competition in St Andrews. Tayport defeated St Andrews East End 3-0 in the final and received gold centred silver badges as mementos. Unfortunately, we have no names

1897 – Red Star Tayport

Red Star (Tayport) was founded as a Juvenile club in 1897 and a team of that name was still playing in 1912. The photo below is thought to be a line–up from the 1897/98 era as it is known that boys around 13 years old played for Red Star around that time. Unfortunately, the photo has no names.

1898 – Tayport Rangers

Tayport Rangers first appeared on the scene in 1898, often playing on the Garpit Park and participating in the Cupar and District Juvenile League.

The line-up for the Davidson Cup Final v Cupar Renton at Kinness Park in St Andrews in April 1900 which finished 1-1, was J.C.Cowie; J.Cook, Hopton; Berry, M.Simpson, Crichton; J.Campbell, Rae, D.Coss, D.Wood and L. Kinnear.

It should be remembered that all line-ups in those days were listed, numbered 1-11, in traditional 2-3-5 formation ie right & left backs; right half, centre half and left half; outside right, inside right, centre forward, inside left, outside left. No substitutes, only reserves

This photograph is thought to have been taken prior to the Davidson Cup Final, although this is speculation. In the replay Tayport, who had Hill playing in place of Kinnear, were beaten 7-1. Other players in the regular Rangers Juveniles’ line-up that season were Smith, Mackay, Braithwaite and Oswald.

Here’s the football activity with three of the town’s teams on 14 October 1899:


Strathtay FC (1899-1902) and Red Star (1898 -1912) were Tayport Juvenile teams in action around the turn of the century.  Strathtay FC’s line-up for a match played on East Common in 1902 was Coss; Kinnear, Thomson; N.Oswald, Graham, Crichton; Cowie, Mudie, Hill, Primrose and A.Oswald.

Another Tayport side, Craigmore FC, was active 1901-1903. Craigmore lifted the Armitage Cup in March 1902, beating Kettle United before a large crowd at Leuchars. “During the evening after the teams had tea’d up in Ye Olde Hotel, the cup was presented to the winners with great enthusiasm”. The cup winning Craigmore team was J.Ross; Craig and Littlejohn; Anderson, Holmes and J.Cowie; T.Petrie, Rankine, R.Ross, W.Dailly, D.Henderson.

May 1902.Tayport’s two Juvenile teams played a benefit match in aid of the Ibrox Disaster Fund.

We don’t know which team this is below but it’s clearly a Juvenile team (no moustaches!). The goalkeeper would appear to be David Coss who would feature in the successful Tayport teams of the first decade of the new century

As mentioned above, some photos from this era have no names. It would be speculation to put names to these players but names from team line-ups might be familiar or faces from old family photos might ring a bell. If so, please get in touch.

In 1903 Tayport FC’s profile was rising and the Evening Post recognised this with a profile of the club’s captain:

Scottish Junior Cup Baptism

Several players who had cut their teeth with the various Juvenile sides at the turn of the century would graduate to Tayport FC, the Junior team, which from 1903, would give the town its first taste of winning runs in the Scottish Junior Cup.

When Tayport FC first entered the Scottish Junior Cup in 1903 (the first occasion on which ‘North’ clubs were invited to participate), the town’s name was on Scotland’s football map for the first time. During the next ten years, Tayport twice reached round 3, twice reached round 4 and had their best run in 1906 when, from an entry of some 240 clubs, Tayport appeared in the last 16.

It would be another 90 years before a Tayport team would again raise the town’s profile through achievements in the Scottish Junior Cup, this time to the ultimate level, finalists in 1993 and winners for the first time in 1996

In February 1904 Tayport lifted the M’Arthur Cup, coming from 2-3 behind at half time to beat Vale of Eden by 4-3 at Back Lebanon Park in Cupar. Line –up was Coss; Thomson and A.Oswald; N.Oswald. J.Cowie and J.Rae; A Rae, Campbell, Ross, Messer and Wilkie.

Messer’s star quality didn’t go unnoticed and he was selected to played in a Reds v Blues Scottish Junior International trial at Kilbowie Park, Clydebank. Apart from Tayport’s Messer and Kelty Rangers’ full back Inglis, all players were from Glasgow and West of Scotland clubs.

Tayport lost the services of James Messer at the end of the season when he signed for Raith Rovers.

More silverware for Tayport less than 12 months later when they won the Armitage Cup in January 1905, defeating Cupar Rovers by 3-2 in the final at Ladebraes Park, St Andrews. Tayport lined up that day Kinnear; A.Oswald and Gowans; N.Oswald, Hill and Caird; Rae, Wallace, Gray, Campbell and Wilkie.

The East of Fife Cup final of 1904/5 between Tayport and Dunnikier Athletic was held over until August 1905. In a final described as the ‘event of the moment in Fife Junior circles’ which hanselled a new ground at Buckhaven, local councillor Bailie Kinnear performed a ceremonial kick-off before ’Port went on to win 3-1. The cup was presented at a post-match social function held in the Auld Hoose in Buckhaven.

On this occasion Tayport lined up Coss; Cowley and Oswald; Campbell, Cowie and Butters; A. Rae, Wallace, Gray, J. Rae and Wilkie.

Pictured below is a Tayport team from this era with the East of Fife Cup and the Armitage Cup. Back (l-r) Andrew Gordon, Norman Oswald, Jock Coss, Walter Pillans, Cook Cowie, George Cowley, Albert Oswald, Tam Mitchell (manager), John Black and Butters; Sitting – Jock Heggie, Alex Rae, Johnny Gray, Jim Wilkie, Alex Mackay. Front – Chic Campbell and Jim Rae.

The photo was taken on East Common. The Mill Bridge (demolished in the 1970s) can be seen in the background:

Tayport’s football clubs’ achievements in Scottish Junior Cup during the first and last decades of the 20th century will be chronicled in future Archive articles.

Season 1905-06

Tayport FC’s exploits this season in reaching last 16 of the Scottish Cup, [see Tayport in the Scottish Junior Cup: Part 2 – 1905/06 to 1906/07 ] had the town buzzing.

The club followed up their Scottish Cup run by again reaching the East of Fife (Montrave) Cup final. There was never a dull moment in football 1900s style, and once again there was controversy…

Leading up to the match the Press reported that ‘Violet will be unable to play Borthwick who is compelled to play in the inter-Association game at Innerleithen’.  Of course, it was maybe just a coincidence that the kit went astray en route to Bayview!

At a meeting of the East Fife Junior FA

‘The principal business was the fixing of the postponed final tie, which was the result of Wemyss Violet losing their hamper with the necessary uniform. The Tayport representative informed the meeting that his club could not again undertake to travel to Methil unless the players were guaranteed full railway fares…It was eventually agreed to grant Tayport half railway fare if the “gate” should realise £7 and full railway fares if the “gate” was £12’.  

It was subsequently reported that ‘the Tayport lads flatly declined to cross the county and no East Fife final is to be fought this year’.

Tayport weren’t playing any league football but given the club’s geographical position, were able to enter cup competitions on both sides of the river – there were plenty – and in 1905-06 Tayport were having an excellent season.

As well as their Scottish and East of Fife Cup exploits, Tayport were finalists in the previous season’s unfinished Armitage Cup and Davidson Cup and were also runners-up after extra time to Dundee West End in the Courier Cup, a match reported as “brilliantly contested all through, neither side sparing themselves, and ding-dong went the play all the time”. It was one of the matches of the season locally, drawing ”a good gate of £16” [£2,300 in 2022 money].

As a point of interest, the Davidson Cup semi-final victory v Cupar Rovers was the first game to be played on the Carthaugh [opposite Fluthers car park], courtesy of Cupar Town Council.

In press coverage of this season, Tayport were variously given the appendage, ‘United’ and ‘Athletic’ but the three were one and the same club.

It was a season in which Red Star FC (Tayport) competed with Dundee based clubs in 2nd Class Juniors games. There was also a different Armitage Cup in which an occasional Tayport team, Tayport Violet, competed. There is a record of this Violet team playing in this Armitage Cup final at Waterstone Crook, Newport against the Mars FC. No, not Peter and Jimmy’s team or a team from a factory which made chocolate bars but the boys from the Mars Ship* anchored off Newport. “A hard and fast game was witnessed and the Mars, by better combination, ran out winners by 3 goals to 1, thus taking the cup for the first time on board the ship”

*The Mars, a training ship for homeless and destitute boys berthed in the Tay from 1869-1929

Tayport players in demand

The scouts, no doubt attracted by Tayport’s high profile, had been circling, and at the end of season 1905-06, key players were on the move. Alex Rae went to East Fife     

Albert Oswald was in demand

 Even the bright lights of London proved no attraction for Oswald who turned down a move to Spurs and ultimately signed for Dundee FC. where his promising career was curtailed by a bad injury

John Wilkie signed for East Fife but he wasn’t long at Bayview before Partick Thistle were in for his transfer. Described by East Fife FC as ‘the Junior capture of the season’, Wilkie moved to the Glasgow side at the end of August

Season 1906-1907

Football close seasons in more modern times often featured 5-a-side competitions, the North End Fives, for example, but in 1895 as noted previously, the demand for football entertainment was significant and ten years later nothing had changed.

In June 1906 the Junior…and the Senior… 5-a side competition was an integral part of Dundee FC’s Annual Sports Day at Dens Park. Tayport had qualified for the quarter finals before a crowd of 2,000 at Dens on the Thursday night. On Saturday before a 3,000 crowd, Tayport reached the final only to finish runners-up, beaten 1-0 by Lochee Harp after extra time.

Two weeks later at Tayport’s Annual Athletic Gathering on the East Common, Tayport’s footballers dominated the track events as well as winning the 5-a-sides.

Last season’s unfinished Armitage Cup final (2-2) v St Andrews City was early on the 1906-1907 season’s agenda and was replayed at Leuchars, Saints turning a half-time deficit into a 3-1 win to claim the silverware. Tayport got their revenge a few weeks later in the final of the Davidson Cup (also unfinished from the 1905-06 season) beating City by 3-1, also at Leuchars.

Scottish Junior Cup Disappointment

The 1906/07 Scottish Junior Cup run ended at the first hurdle. After receiving a 1st round bye, Tayport went down 3-4 at home to Dundee Arnot in round 2.

It wasn’t a season to remember for Tayport clubs, Tayport FC,  Tayport Red Star or Tayport Violet FC, the latter who played occasional friendly matches.

Tayport FC’s usual line-up that season was Heggie; Campbell and George; N.Oswald, Cowie and Guthrie; Keddie, J.Rae, Gray, Campbell and Greig.

Full-back Campbell was selected to play for the Fife Juniors Select v  Glasgow Junior Select at Bayview Park, Methil

Tayport FC , the holders,  did reach the final of the Davidson Cup and they were fancied to retain the trophy but Anstruther Rangers had other ideas, upsetting the odds by winning 3-0 at Kinness Park in St Andrews. It was reported that ‘Rangers made a triumphal procession through Anstruther and Cellardyke in the brake [coach]’

In February 1907, two of the Tayport players who had gone Senior at the end of season 1905/06, Oswald and Wilkie,  were in opposite camps when Dundee FC faced Partick Thistle in a  replayed Scottish Cup 1st round tie at Dens Park, a tie which drew a cumulative attendance of 31,160, just a few more than the players were used to appearing in front of, on the East Common!

…and haven’t things changed

Season 1907-1908

The summer of 1907 saw Tayport’s footballers again playing in the popular 5-a-side competitions.  In July, Tayport Violet was one of 17 teams entered in the 5s at Bonvil Park in Cupar, while the same day at Guardbridge, Tayport FC players were also in 5s action.

The well supported cricket team, Tayport United, was in action as usual on the East Common, the summer sport which had been enjoyed in the town since at least the early 1860s.

Football in the new century continued to be a thriving activity throughout the country and fans couldn’t wait for the new season to start as a newspaper article evinced in July.

“Strong longing for the commencement of football was evidenced by the extraordinary demand for season tickets at Dundee FC’s offices in Murraygate. Indeed, it constituted a record”

In the 1907/08 season Tayport Violet played in the Dundee Eastern League against such teams as St Paul’s, who played at Scott Street Park in Dundee, and Dundee Rosearthur when the Violet line-up was often J.Anderson; Henderson and D.Rae; C.Rae, F.Anderson and Kidd; Brown, Morgan, Riddell, H.Rae and Scott.

In 1907/08 Tayport FC, the 1st Class Juniors, would rekindle the Scottish Junior Cup excitement of 1905/06 [see ‘Tayport in the Scottish Junior Cup’ elsewhere in the Archive] but there was still no place for the club in the closed shop of the Dundee Junior League therefore friendlies and cup ties would be the order of the day. In December however, following the withdrawal of Victoria Athletic, Tayport accepted an invitation to join the Inter County League. Playing catch-up, they quickly made their mark, collecting both points from their first game against high flying Ardmere FC. But they were never going to complete the season and this was how the table looked at the end of May 1908

There was a whole host of local cups in which to compete on both sides of the Tay but there would be no silverware at the end of the season. Tayport were hot favourites in the Davidson Cup final v Cupar FC at Kinness Park in St Andrews but it wasn’t to be. Cupar, down to 10 men, then nine men for a spell through injury, upset the odds to win 2-0.

The Cupar press summed up the game as follows

Tayport’s regular squad during the season was Coss, Heggie; Lonie, Crawford, Balfour, E.Oswald, George, Connelly, Greig, Mills, Campbell, Rae, Guthrie, Henderson, F.Oswald.

James George had signed for North End in the close season and would become the subject of a transfer wrangle as Tayport sought to bring him back over the river.

Albert Lonie was selected to play for the Inter County League Select.

Match collections couldn’t sustain the club therefore fundraising was a necessary activity and a significant part of the town’s social calendar.

Martin Anderson referred to in this article is better known as Cynicus, the Scottish artist, political cartoonist, postcard illustrator whose business premises was in Tayport

As would also be the case towards the end of the century, the club’s fundraising efforts could be innovative (eg Fat man dash 1980s) and this report of Road Match as part of the club’s sports day is an example

Season 1908 -09

Tayport FC were again in the Dundee based Inter County League but before the season got underway, they were plundered by Dundee & District League clubs. West End FC signed Tayport’s Crawford, George and J Greig while Stobswell signed Connelly.

Regardless, Tayport would go on to have a good season, reaching the 6th round of the Scottish Junior Cup [see Scottish Junior Cup:Tayport’s History]. The side, sometimes referred to as Tayport United (the name of the Tayport cricket team) had a regular line-up of Heggie, Lonie and Berrie; J.Nicol, Irvine and N.J.Oswald; Greig, W.Campbell, E.Oswald, C.Campbell and R.Nicol

Tayport Violet were playing in the Tayside League and regulars in the line-up were J.Anderson; E.Morgan, D.Rae, C.Rae, T.Rae, B.Calvert, J.Melville, J.Kidd, Y.Rae, Briggs, A.Henderson, F.Anderson, S.Scott, T.Henderson.

Tayport Red Star FC, the youth team were still functioning but playing friendlies. A normal line-up was Taylor; Wilkie and W.Berrie; Gilmour, Brand and J.Berrie; Ness, Henderson, Anderson, Riddell and Beaton. Another team playing the occasional game was Rangers (Tayport) who in the Spring of 1909, played a game v Newport’s Kinbrae FC at Waterstone Crook

Season 1909-10

In what was now traditional fashion, the close season highlight was the Five-a-Side competition which formed part of a Sports Day at Dens Park. In 1909 it was the City Police Sports which attracted a magnificent attendance of 12,000 spectators. The Tayport FC Five reached the final but lost 2-1 to East Craigie.

It was a season in which football in the town, which had been so vibrant over the past decade, was now at something of a low ebb. A number of erstwhile Tayport players were now turning out in the colours of Guardbridge United and there were familiar faces, too, in a Newport FC team, based at Waterstone Crook, which was planning to join the Forfarshire Inter County League. Junicus in the Evening Telegraph (my, hasn’t he aged well!) commented on the Tayport FC situation in September when he said: ”What has come over our friends from across the water – Tayport to wit? I regret to learn that there is a likelihood of the Port going to the wall this season”.

Tayport hadn’t entered the Scottish Junior Cup and weren’t in league competition, so in October were appealing for “First class Juniors for friendlies”

The Juvenile Tayport Red Star FC were playing in the Dundee based Central League and a typical line-up was selected from – Simpson; Berrie, Rae, Brand, Balfour, Wilkie, Gilmour, Henderson, Anderson, Scott, Pryde, Smith and Findlay.

 Former Tayport FC centre forward, 23 yr old John Wilkie, who had signed for East Fife in 1906 before moving on to Partick Thistle, was on the move again this season when he made the move to Reading. 

Another of the 1905/06 Tayport team, Albert Oswald, had returned to the Dundee FC line-up in 1909 but over a year out through illness and injury had taken its toll and he was now with East Fife.

Season 1910-1911

The Dundee & District Junior League [D&DJL] was still a closed shop, so this season Tayport had joined the 9 team Inter County League based in Dundee. With Newport dropping out of the league this season, newcomers Tayport and Lochee Hibs made up the numbers. A host of Cup competitions supplemented the season’s fixture list.

Several local lads were still at Guardbridge United but 1910-11 was to be a better season for Tayport who kicked off their season with the following line-up – Anderson; Wilkie & Guthrie; Pearson, A.Rae, and D.Rae; Connelly, Oswald, Henderson, Walker and Y.Rae. Sadly, in October they lost talented full back James Wilkie (23) who died of pneumonia.

That same month it required three games to separate Tayport and high-flying Dundee Violet, the defending D&DJL league champions, in the Telegraph Cup. 3-3 at Fairmuir, then 3-3 in the replay on East Common. ‘For a consideration’ Violet agreed to play the third game at Tayport, winning by 3-2.

Tayport were one of 248 clubs who entered the Scottish Junior Cup this season, eliminating Balgonie Scotia and Cupar Athletic before going out to Lothians side Loanhead Mayflower, losing 2-1 after extra time in a third game following two drawn ties. [see ‘Tayport in the Scottish Junior Cup Part IV’]

A Janetta Cup-tie at St Monans Swifts in January had to be replayed. Tayport had “travelled down the coast by motor, but on the road, they ran into a cart of coals which delayed their arrival by quarter of an hour”. St Monans were leading 2-0 when “A rather unpleasant incident occurred owing to the Tayport team arriving quarter of an hour late. The referee, who had made arrangements to go to Aberdeen, stopped the game with ten minutes to go without the permissions of the captains of the teams, and to the surprise and anger of the spectators who made a rush for him thinking he was stopping it for darkness”

The game was replayed at St Monans in February, finishing 0-0.  It was noted that “Owing to the boats not getting in to harbour on Saturday through quiet weather, a very poor attendance was present” The third game, the second replay, took place in March when St Monans won 2-0 on East Common.

Cup-ties continued to dominated the season. Tayport were beaten 2-1 by Leslie Hearts in the semi-final of the East of Fife Cup at Bayview Park, Methil and then lost by the same score to St Andrews City in the semi-final of the Armitage Cup. It was a busy spring and luck was also out in the M’Arthur Cup semi-final, Tayport losing 2-3 to the home side at Windygates. The match was described thus “The game was of the typical cup-tie order, the visitors putting plenty of energy into their play, which was much resented by a portion of the spectators”

Tayport finally got their hands on some silverware when they won the Davidson Cup, defeating Anstruther Mercantile by 2-1 in the final.

With cup action taking precedence, the Inter County League programme was falling way behind as the league table at the beginning of April demonstrated.

With cup action taking precedence, the Inter County League programme was falling way behind as the league table at the beginning of April demonstrated.

Tayport kicked off a busy spell in their attempts to climb the table and got off to a good start with a 2-1 win over Central on the Coup but Central protested that Tayport “had played an ineligible man” and claimed the points. The Association agreed and Tayport forfeited the two points and were fined 2/6d

Tayport managed to get their games played, though, and by the end of May had completed their fixtures to finish fourth in the table.

As is the case with all sports clubs, fund raising is crucial to a club’s survival and amongst the fundraising initiatives in the 1910/11 season was a concert as the following news item demonstrates.

Also in action during this season, was Tayport Juvenile side Red Star FC, sometimes confusingly called Tayport Violet by their opponents.

A typical Red Star line-up during the season was from – Irvine, Berry, Scott, Rae, Wilkie, Henderson, Wm. Coss, Low, Brand, J.Coss, Balfour, Miller and Bryant.

Season 1911-1912

Applications to join the Dundee & District Junior League by Tayport, Osborne, Fernbank and Lochee Central were once again turned down. Tayport were therefore once again in the Inter County Junior League with eight Dundee clubs.

Again, there was confusion as to which Association Tayport should belong but on application by the club, the East Region of the Junior FA agreed that Tayport should be allowed to join the Forfarshire JFA. Then when the SJFA made the draw for the 1st round of the Scottish Junior Cup, Tayport found themselves in the Fife section of the draw, at home to Lumphinnans Swifts.

As well as the Scottish Cup, in this season Tayport were participating in the Telegraph Cup, the Courier Cup, the Janetta Cup, the East of Fife Cup, the M’Arthur Cup and the Davidson Cup. The best of both worlds it seemed, entering cup competitions on both banks of the Tay.

Tayport’s early season line-up was Coss; A.Rae, Gallacher,; Anderson, N.Oswald, Kidd; Croll, Connolly, E.Oswald, Rae and Pryde.

Other Tayport teams playing this season, but only friendlies, were Red Star FC and Tayport Violet FC. Both were Boys’ teams. Violet advertised for opponents who had to apply to ‘Charles Walker, Dalgleish Street’.

Fairfield was the top side in the Dundee & District Junior League this season and they went on tour during the new year holiday period, playing v Peterhead FC on New Years Day and on 2nd January at Fraserburgh

In March, after a 2-2 draw at home v Cupar Athletic in the semi-final of the Janetta Cup, Tayport won the replay at Bonvillette Park in Cupar but would lose out to St Monans Swifts in the final at St Andrews.

The same month Tayport knocked Anstruther Rangers out of the M’Arthur Cup at the semi-final stage and on 25th May would travel from Tayport to St Andrews on the 2.06pm train for the final and go on to lift the Cup, beating Windygates Rangers by 2-0.

Tayport, by virtue of contesting so many cup competitions, had a hectic end of season playing catch up and by the second week in June it was neck and neck

Tayport’s last match was a 3-2 win over Fernbank to finish on the same points as Lochee Central and share the championship title. Neither goal average nor goal difference was taken into consideration in those days – just as well!

Tayport’s title winning squad was Coss; A Rae, Gallacher, F.Anderson, N.Oswald, Kidd, F.Oswald, Connolly, Y.Rae, Niven, Pryde, Wilkie, Henderson, Main, Walker and J.Anderson

Season 1912-1913

The new season opened on August 1st and the press previewed Tayport’s prospects

Mr Mitchell, incidentally, was the President of the Inter County League.

Tayport had expressed a wish to be drawn with the Forfarshire [ i.e. Dundee and Angus] clubs in the regional draw for the Scottish Junior Cup’s early rounds but “Forfarshire could not see their way to grant this request”.

It was also reported that “Dundee Violet [Dundee & District League] suffered a 3-1 defeat at Tayport but as it was only a friendly game it mustn’t be taken as a criterion”

Tayport Violet FC were playing in the City Boys League Division 1 this season. The team was sometimes labelled as Tayside and an early season line-up was Pow; Falconer & Kidd; Black, Christie and Mitchell; Stuart, Beaton, Pow, Urquhart & Clunie

In the Scottish Junior Cup Tayport had made their exit by September.

Protests and appeals were never far away and during this season Tayport protested that St Josephs had played an ineligible player against them in the Telegraph Cup. The saga went on for literally months. The Telegraph Cup Association dismissed the protest and kept the 5/- [25p] protest fee. Tayport weren’t happy so lodged an appeal. It was eventually heard by the ‘Scottish’ who dismissed the appeal but returned the 10/- [50p] appeal fee. Tayport weren’t finished and as the Scottish had seen fit to return the appeal fee, they felt their actions in appealing had been vindicated by getting this fee returned. As the saga drew to a close, Junicus commented “The Tele boys held on to the 5 bob and Tayport will just have to grin and bear it”

It was a disappointing final league placing for Tayport whose football activities had been split between north and south of the river.

1912-13 Inter-County Junior League

Lochee Central141211561125
Dundee Osborne14725322316
Dundee Roselea14635333015
Dundee Parkhead14626273114
Royal Field Artillery14111215473

Tayport won the Janetta Cup, deeating Crail United in the final but there is no record of the score. There is no record either of the final score in the Davidson Cup where Tayport beat Anstruther Rangers.

Season 1913-1914

Tayport FC had a new secretary – J.A.Gilmour, 24 Tay Street, Tayport

The pre-season newspaper notes had a quirky phrase to describe Tayport’s Connolly signing for Osborne. Also, a major change in the laws/rules of the game. This was the season in which the distance back from a free kick being taken, changed from 6 yards to 10 yards

Tayport FC was again playing in the Inter County League.

Early season teams would include – Mathers, Robertson; Rae, Guthrie, J.Anderson, F.Anderson, T. Henderson, N.Oswald, Duthie, Ross, Campbell, Christie, Parnell, Latto.

Tayport Violet were again playing in the (Dundee) City Boys League this season with Samuel, Pow; Ferguson, Kidd, Black, Falconer, Clunie, W.Urquhart, E.Urquhart, W Beaton, Davidson, Lyall, Buist and Mitchell regularly listed.

 Most of the players will be in the photo below and we’re fairly sure that the boy in the striped shirt is Samuel…but we stand to be corrected

Tayport Violet FC who played in the Dundee City Boys League in 1913/14

Tayport FC had started the 1913/14 season well and led the Inter-County League, which was now, effectively, the Dundee & District League Division Two.

Referees weren’t so tolerant in 1913 (maybe not a bad thing!) as we see here:

Tayport reached the 3rd round of the Scottish Junior Cup with a bye and a win over Lumphinnans Swifts before bowing out at Arniston Rangers.

Historically, in local [Dundee] cup competitions, Tayport had never fared particularly well and a tie v Dundee & District League leaders Fairfield in the Telegraph Cup was seen as a challenge for the Tayport club which had for years been seeking membership of the Dundee & D. League. The tie would go to three replays.

The replay at Tayport ended 1-1 and when the clubs could not agree on an equidistant yet neutral venue for a second replay, the Association secretary decided it would be played at Barnhill. Equidistant only if the width of the River Tay was taken into consideration!

It may have been chilly February weather, but the Tayport team crossed the Tay on the 2.16pm boat from Tayport harbour.

Again, the tie after extra time, finished level at 1-1 so a fourth game was required. This time Windmill Park, Newport was the chosen venue. Fairmuir finally made the semi-final with a convincing 4-1 win…but the game wasn’t without incident.

Note – the reporter was getting his Tele Cups and his Courier Cups mixed up!

Newport Town Council, at their monthly meeting, heard ex-Baillie Thomson refer to disgraceful behaviour at Saturday’s football match and wanted to know who gave permission for out-of-town clubs to play in Newport. My goodness, hooligans from Dundee and Tayport upsetting the genteel ambience of a Saturday afternoon in Newport tch tch!!

We have no knowledge of the commission’s findings. Of course, they may not have tracked down the referee!

For their part in the “scene at Newport” the two players ordered off were “strung up for two months”. It should perhaps be noted that Fairfield’s Boath was no stranger to monthly suspensions, having been in receipt of the same punishment in each of the previous three seasons!

The issue can perhaps be best summed up by this letter to the local newspaper:

The Final League Table 1913-14

Tayport’s league challenge may have faltered but they won a couple of local (north Fife) cups to end the season on a high.

In the Davidson Cup Final at the beginning of May 1914, Tayport faced Anstruther Rangers at Lade Braes Park, St Andrews and comfortably saw off the men from the East Neuk to lift the Cup with a 4-0 win.

Two weeks later in the Janetta Cup Final, also at at Lade Braes Park, Tayport defeated St Andrews Violet, also by 4-0. Tayport fielded Main; Rae and Coss; Cowie, Anderson and Henderson; Oswald, Anderson, Rae, Campbell and Guthrie. Rae (2), Anderson and Cowie were the Tayport goalscorers.

In common with many of the games in those days, it seemed to be a fairly bruising encounter. The match report in the St Andrews Citizen noted that the ‘Maroons’ [Tayport’s shirt colour] employed a ‘stop-them-at-any-cost style’ and also that Rae scored Tayport’s second goal by ‘kicking the ball through the goalkeeper’s hands’. Cowie’s goal was a doubtful penalty.  Then later, the report went on…’ by kicking the custodian in the face, a Tayport forward got into bad grace of the crowd and much excitement was caused during the temporary stoppage’.

The report continued – ‘After the interval Tayport forced matters and at a corner kick Todd [Violet] was rendered unconscious and had to be taken off the field.  These backs [Rae and Coss] played the “follow -through” with dexterity, however, and the risk of tackling them was not included in the game’.

‘Todd was cheered when he again took the field but not long afterwards Henderson deliberately fouled Anderson, the St Andrews captain, and both were sent off the field’.

The Citizen summed the final up thus –

Season 1914-1915

World War 1 had started in the close season, prior to the 1914/15 season kicking off and the hostilities would see organised football in Tayport come to a halt.

However, Tayport FC and another nine teams did kick off the season in the Inter County League. They also got as far as a Scottish Junior Cup 2nd round tie at Glencraig Celtic after 1st round opponents Cupar Violet had scratched. The miners prevailed to the tune of 3-0.

In September the local press editorial read “The Premier [Herbert Asquith, Tayport’s constituency M.P.] and the Press….and ladies were all urging young men to enlist and so great has been the boom in recruiting that the military authorities have been overwhelmed. The manhood of the country is aroused to the magnitude of the issue involved in this great European war”

It was no surprise then, that organised football in Tayport wouldn’t be revived until the armistice in November 1918. In common with other communities, Tayport wouldn’t be spared when it came to footballers’ loss of life.

Season 1919-1920

Things…football wise… were getting back to normal by July 1919 and Tayport FC joined the newly formed City & District League

When the new League got underway in August there were 14 teams including neighbours Newport and the first derby was in November 1919 when the teams shared 6 goals on East Common. Tayport fielded J.Coss; Main, W.Coss; Rae, Blues, Henderson; Kidd, Beat, Rankine, McKenzie & Forbes. Newport: Rankine; Dowie, Anderson; A.Brown, W.Brown, Spark; Cram, Thomas, Cartwright, Spalding and A N Other.

Tayport faced two Dundee Junior League teams in the Scottish Cup, eliminating Arnot in the 1st round and going out to North End in R2.

By May 1920 in the C&D League three teams had fallen by the wayside but Tayport had secured a mid-table position.

A regular line-up was- Rennie; Kidd, Ireland; Manzie, Anderson, Lawson; Rankine, Rae, Stewart, Wilson and Forbes.

Tayport’s Rankine had been selected to play for the City & District League Select v the Dundee & District Junior League Select at Tannadice Park.

Season 1920-1921

Tayport FC again had a team in Dundee’s City & District Junior League but would be without T.Blues who had been transferred to Dundee Violet.

There were two Junior teams playing in the town this season, the newcomers being Tayport Comrades. It was a name given to teams in many communities, formed by those returning from the Great War. Tayport Comrades weren’t members of any league, playing only friendlies and in cup competitions.

Both clubs had entered the Scottish Junior Cup with Comrades losing 4-1 to Clepington in a replay at Gussie Park and although Tayport FC got past Downfield in the 1st round, another Dundee side, North End, would once again eliminate Tayport at the next stage.

Tayport team was Laidlaw; Cabrelli and Morrison; Rennie, J.Ross and Moyes; R.Ross, Kidd, Rankine, Cavanagh and Leckie. Later in the season Colville, Milne and McDiarmid also turned out.

Comrades fielded J.Anderson; Robertson and T.Rae; D.McDonald, F.Anderson and Wilkie; P.Hanlin,D.Beat, Dall, C.Rae and Studley.

Junicus noted that Tayport had a whip round for an injured opponent. This would suggest that the Freemasons’ Arms (now Cobbies Inn) was the players’ choice of watering hole in 1920:

An early season league table

As the league table suggested, Newport FC were struggling and when they failed to appear for a match at Lochee on 21st December, Junicus suggested  ‘[they] were busy at their Christmas Dinner or something’. Newport wouldn’t finish the season. At a C&D L meeting in March 1921, they intimated they wished to ‘be exempt from playing their fixtures but wished to retain their membership’. The League said no, and expelled them.

Strange goings on at Tayport too.  Despite holding a gala night at the end of January with a ‘benefit concert and entertainment, for which some good talent has been secured’, ten days later,Tayport FC, sitting comfortable in the table despite having played fewer games than most teams, intimated to the C&DL that they were withdrawing from the League.

The completed C&D League table minus Tayport FC and Newport was completed as follows

Being able to play in cup competitions on both the north and south of the Tay resulted in a back-up of league fixtures and this could well have been the reason for Tayport withdrawing from the league programme.

Cup football for Tayport FC continued but there was little in the way of success on that front. 

Tayport did reach the final of the Janetta Cup, but lost 7-3 to Elie Thistle at Links Park, St Andrews, despite being ahead at half time.

Youngsters in the town played for Juvenile side Tayport Violet. Their line-up which lost 2-3 at home to Arbroath Waverley in the first round of the Forfarshire Juvenile Cup was Heggie; L.Williamson and Flynn; Longair, McKay and Hanlon; P.Williamson, Meldrum, Mathers, Ross and Dempster. Mathers and Dempster were the Violet marksmen.

Season 1921-1922

There were only two football clubs in town this season, Tayport Ex- Service FC, probably the Tayport Comrades FC of the previous season. Ex-Service FC entered the Scottish Junior Cup but promptly scratched when drawn v Rosslyn Juniors. The other team, Tayport Violet, played in the Dundee and District Juvenile League. Violet also played in the Fifeshire Juvenile Cup, receiving a bye in round 1 and losing 2-4 to Cupar Hearts in round 2.

Their usual Violet squad during this season was Heggie; Balfour, McAndrew, Longair, McKay, Hanlin, Williamson, Mathers, Menzies, Milne, Rankine, Ross, Law, Dempster, McDiarmid, Wilkie and S.Moyes.

Season 1922-1923

16,000 attended Dundee FC’s pre-season trial at Dens Park where one of the trialists was Tayport lad R.T.Blues.

There were no Tayport teams in the Dundee Junior Leagues this season. Tayport Violet, although now Juniors, restricted their activities to Cup competitions on both banks of the Tay, Courier and Telegraph Cups v Dundee clubs and Davidson Cup, M’Arthur Cup and Janetta Cup in north Fife. Consequently, from time to time, Violet were often ‘open for fixtures…apply secretary, D.Watson, 16 Nelson Crescent, Tayport’.

Violet’s squad this season included G/ks Heggie and Anderson; Kidd, Dempster, Balfour, McKay, Hanlon, Brown, Law Rankine, Longair, R.Ross, Wilkie and J.Ross.

Violet locked horns with Hearts of Beath in the Scottish Junior Cup but their trip to central Fife was in vain, losing 3-0 in round 1.

It wasn’t the best of seasons for the Violet. They lost in the semi-finals of both the M’Arthur and Davidson Cups to St Andrews United and Pittenweem Rovers respectively.

The team fared no better across the river, although they didn’t lack support.  The press reported “Last night Broughty Ex-servicemen defeated Tayport Violet 5-1 in a Guide [Broughty Ferry Guide & Gazette] tie. Lawson and Taylor each had a couple of goals for the ‘Sodgers’. The Fifers weren’t without support, although the game was at the Ferry a special boat having been chartered to carry them across”

Season 1923-1924

After a season playing only Junior cup ties and friendlies, Tayport Violet had made the decision to return to Junior league football as the report of the club’s annual general meeting noted.

This season there was also Tayport Thistle FC and Scotscraig Athletic playing in the town.

Thistle was a Juvenile team in the Panmure Juvenile League Div 2, which played on Mill Park beside the Spinning Mill. A regular Thistle line-up was selected from Gatherum; Walker, Moore, McLean, Rennie, Bruce, Brannan, Rankine, Briggs, Westwater, Vesey, Cook, Legg & Mitchell. On the October 1923 Monday holiday Thistle lost 0-3 to Whitehall FC on Mill Park ‘before a big crowd but play was stopped 8 minutes from time when spectators broke in after two men had been ordered off’.

Scotscraig Athletic played only friendly matches and their regular line-up was chosen from Blues or Fleming; Bruce, Briggs, Foggie, Duncan, Kemp, Bell, Wilkie, Macready, Buchan, M’Leod, Cook, Watson, Hendry, Henderson, Hart and Legg.

Violet, as well as playing in the City & District League, continued to compete in cup competitions in Dundee, Broughty Ferry and north Fife.

During the close season Violet had lost key players, full back Kidd and outside right Rankine, to Dundee Arnot and their player pool this season comprised Dick, Heggie, Cabrelli, Dempster, Manzie, Lawson, Longair, Dryburgh, Hanlon, McKay, Williamson, Paterson, Cook, Hershell, D.Milne, F.Milne, Coss, Anderson, Brown.

Violet’s Scottish Junior Cup run ended at the first hurdle, beaten 4-1 by Rosslyn Juniors. No substitutes in these days and Violet could offer up a decent excuse for their exit, finishing the match with eight men. Anderson was carried off, Dempster displaced a kneecap and Longair succumbed to an old injury.

Violet led the City & District table early in the season but would finish third.  Two teams, Monifieth and Waverley, didn’t stay the course, hence the imbalance between teams and games played.

A couple of local semi-final appearances – Janetta Cup (north Fife) and the Guide Cup (Broughty Ferry)- was the extent of Violet’s cup progress. Local interest was high in the latter. Violet drew 1-1 with Broughty Ex-servicemen FC on East Common and for the replay across the water…

The press reported that on Monday 26th May 1924 “over 2,000 gathered at the Recreation Grounds, Broughty Ferry last night to witness the semi-final in the Guide Cup competition”.  Sadly, for the ‘Port support, it would be a subdued sail back across the river, their favourites losing 5-1 to the Ferry lads.

As with all clubs, fundraising was essential and one of Violet’s sources of funding was by staging concerts and dances in the Temperance [now Gregory] Hall.


Violet’s all-night rave!


Season 1924-1925

The Dundee Junior league had been re-organised to form a first and second division and Tayport Violet, Carnoustie Comrades and Arbroath Ardenlea were invited to join the new division 2.

It wasn’t a great season for Violet but they recovered from being bottom of the league in November to take a respectable mid-table position come the end of the season in May.

An early season defeat was from neighbours across the water, Broughty Ex.Service. The press comment suggests that Broughty may have toasted their success in the Bellrock Tavern or Freemasons Arms!

In Cup football Violet were eliminated from the Scottish Junior Cup at the first hurdle, losing 0-4 to Dunfermline’s Broomhall on East Common.

Broomhill’s local press reported pre-match “Broomhall make the long, long trail to Tayport for which journey it will take them nearly a whole day to get there and back but secretary May and his handymen were ever optimistic and simply won’t hear of defeat”. And of course, they didn’t!

Locally, Violet contested the Davidson, M’Arthur and Janetta Cups in north Fife and the Courier and Telegraph Cups in Dundee. Only performance of real note was reaching the semi-final of the Courier Cup where Harp, who would finish runners-up in Division 1, edged out Violet by 3-2. The gate receipts were £12 [valued at £777 in 2022]

Tayport Violet’s fundraising concert in the Temperance Hall this season had a guest appearance.

And there was a further football connectionwhereby It was reported that Noweybek, during his stay in this country, had been to London “to see the wonders of Wembley”.

Tayport would lose their centre forward Alex Young at the end of the season. Young, manager at Tayport Gas Works, had obtained a similar post at Bridge of Allan and had been selected from 96 applicants for the vacant post.

Tayport Violet players in 1924/25 included Dick, Imrie and McArthur (goalkeepers); Bruce, Brown, Mathers, McKay Jackson, Brown, Mitchell, Young, Milne, McClure, Manzie, Rae, Bricknell, Paterson, Longair, Hughes, R.Dempster & Coss

Tayport Violet photo from this era but it is difficult to determine from what exact season

During this season, there were two other football clubs in Tayport.

Tayport Thistle, now playing in the Dundee & District Amateur League with their home matches either on Mill Park or the East Common. Their players were goalkeepers Barr & Ross; Walker, Dempster, Anderson, McGuckin, Guthrie, Brannan, McGrady, Manzie, Moore, Gray, Westwater, Robertson, Christie, Niven, Ross, Low and Leith.

The other club, Scotscraig Athletic, a young team, played only friendly matches, usually on the Mill Park. Regular players were G/ks Campbell & Cowie; Ross, Duncan, Kemp, F.Wilkie, G.Legg, R.Legg, Foggie, Briggs, A.Wilkie, Buchan, I.D.Milne, W.Milne, Paterson, Bruce, D.Wilkie, R.Dempster, J.Dempster, McGrady.

In January 1925, Scotscraig Athletic played host to Grove Academy 2nd XI on the same afternoon as Grove Academy’s 1st XI played a match at Leuchars. Match arrangements showed that both Grove Academy XIs crossed from Broughty to Tayport by boat, the 2nd XI for their match at Mill Park, and the Ist XI to catch a train from Tayport to Leuchars. A sail across the Tay to play a football match in January! They must have been tough in those days brrrr!

Season 1925-1926

Tayport Violet, this season playing in the Dundee and District League, had a new secretary, Robert L. Buchan of Dernancourt, Tayport. He would be replaced in February by Thomas Russell of Mercury Cottage.  The start of the D&DL was delayed but finally got underway with 18 clubs.

Raising finance was crucial and Violet were fairly innovative in this respect as the cutting below suggests

In the close season the club had lost Milne to Dundee Violet and Brown to Lochee Central. Campbell from Scotscraig Athletic had an early season try out in goal but regular keeper M’Arthur was soon back between the sticks.

The regular squad was M’Arthur; Bruce, Kidd, Mathers, Manzie, Stewart, Brown, Rankine, Mitchell, Smith, Lindsay, Kidd, Hanlon, Williamson, McClure, T.Stewart.

In the Scottish Junior Cup 1st round, after two draws, Tayport eventually overcame Valleyfield Juniors by 5-3 in the third and deciding game. In round 2 Portobello Thistle were drawn to play Violet on East Common. Portobello offered Tayport a guarantee of £25 (£1,620 in 2022 value) to switch the game. Tayport declined the offer and although losing 0-3 to a side flying high in their own league, were rewarded with a big attendance.

Although playing in a Dundee based league, Tayport Violet’s location allowed them to play in Fife competitions, the Fife Cup, the M’Arthur Cup and the Janetta Cup, but there would be no cup success south of the Tay.

Just before Christmas it was reported that Tayport Violet’s clever right-wing combination will be broken up by the departure of Willie Rankine, who has decided to cross the ‘Pond’ again, after a short period in this country. He will play for his old club Niagara Falls FC

As Violet’s uninspiring season wound down, they were trying out some new players, one of whom was inside left Harry Smith, the Dundee bantam weight boxer.

The delayed start to the season ensured that the Dundee and District League season wouldn’t be completed, with Violet finishing mid table.

At the end of April 1926, the Junior league tables were as follows

In May 1926 it was reported that “The commission of the Scottish Junior Football Association have decreed that the Midlands Junior Football League [Midland Counties League] be scrapped next season and that the Dundee and District League be resumed on automatic lines, with twelve clubs in each of two divisions. But what is to become of the other clubs in the district?”

In 1925/26, Tayport Thistle FC, playing under 21 Juvenile football friendly matches, had an excellent season. In March 1926 they were still undefeated for the season, P 13 – W11 – D2 – F77 – A18.                C. Dempster was top scorer with 23 goals. The team had conceded 12 penalties but keeper Ross had saved 9 of them!

“The team is absolutely composed of Tayport boys and their energetic secretary is Mr J.G Clark, Links Cottage”, the Press noted.

The regular line-up was A.Ross; Guthrie, Moore; McGrady, Wilkie, Campsie; J.Dempster, Brannan, R.Dempster, H.Ross, Melville.

The report of Thistle’s AGM demonstrated that the club was on a secure footing as it looked forward to another successful season

Tayport Thistle FC 1925/26

Back: (l-r) John Garvie, Charlie McKenzie, Mr D C Campsie, William McKay, Hugh Ross snr. 2nd row: Joe Cavanagh, Dickie Ross, Gordon Clark, Fred Wilkie, Andrew Ross, Jim Campsie, Jim Wilkie, Johnny Hughes, William Black. 3rd row: Andrew Westwater, John Dempster, Tommy Weir, Robert Dempster, Hugh Ross jnr, Tommy Walker. Front row: Eddie McGrady, Christopher Moore, David Melville

Tayport Boys Brigade had a football team during this season which played v St Andrews BB, Falkland BB and Guardbridge BB.

Season 1926-1927

In May 1926 the Junior game locally was in a state of flux “The commission of the Scottish Junior Football Association have decreed that the Midlands Junior Football League be ‘scrapped’ next season, and that the Dundee and District League [D&DL] be resumed on automatic lines with 12 clubs in each of two divisions. But what is to become of the other clubs in the district?”

And in July “The final stage in the local impasse in Junior Football was reached…. a lengthy discussion ensued and after exploring every avenue, with a view to an eleventh hour settlement, the meeting decided by a 2 to 1 majority to support a motion for a two division league consisting a 1st division of 12 clubs and a 2nd division of 14 clubs”.  Each committee, it transpired, had its own committee, president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer!

The controversy wasn’t finished, however. Ericht Rovers [Blairgowrie], Stanley and Alyth were in the D&DL but the Perthshire Junior FA (PJFA) demanded they play in the Perthshire Junior League. At the end of August, the Scottish Junior FA ruled in the PJFA’s favour.

The three clubs weren’t happy and were left in limbo as the saga rumbled on until November when it was agreed that the three Perthshire based teams be allowed to stay in the D&DL on the understanding that Perthshire, Currie and other constitutional cup ties take precedence over D&DL games.

Tayport Violet were in the 2nd Division of the new Dundee & District League (D&DL) whilst Tayport Thistle were one of three new clubs playing in the Fife Juvenile League, the others being Newburgh and Milton Violet.

Fundraising, as always, was crucial to the club’s well-being and it was reported that “Tayport Violet were building a strong team for the coming season, having made some ‘important captures’ and it will be a surprise when they first trot out. Last the held their annual Fancy Dress Parade and it turned out a great success, the costumes worn being very pretty and original”

Violet, with new signings Milne (Dundee Violet), Simpson (Anchorage) and goalkeeper Doonan from Kirkintilloch Rob Roy selected from the following squad during the 1926-27 season – Doonan; Rennie, Don, Kidd, Simpson, Brown, Manzie, Hanlin, Williamson, Livingstone, Mathers, McDonald, Cuthbert, Lonie, Milne, Leith, Lindsay, Mitchell and Low.

After four games, Violet were top of the League and unbeaten but went out of the Scottish Junior Cup at the first round stage, beaten 4-2 by Rosslyn Juniors, who could also boast an unbeaten record, in a replay at Dysart after a 1-1 draw on East Common.

This would be the last occasion a Tayport team would play a Scottish Junior Cup tie until a home tie with Larkhall Thistle in 1990.

Violet’s fundraising efforts continued with a concert in November 1926. Note Baillie Melville’s comment re recreational facilities. It took a while, 50 years to be exact but, Tayport did eventually get recreational [football] facilities but the initiative didn’t come from the local authority

Violet …or the Tayport Pansies as they had been dubbed…still topped the league at the turn of the year but their fortunes waned in the new year, finishing fourth and failing to make any significant cup progress on either side of the Tay.

There was an attempt in the spring of 1927 to set up a new 6 club Junior League to coincide with the advent of summer time. Those participating were Carnoustie, Arbroath Ardenlea, Arbroath Victoria, Forthill Athletic, Broughty Ex-Service and Tayport Violet. It would be known as the Broughty Ferry and District Guide League [the Guide being the local weekly newspaper]. Games would be midweek except for Tayport whose games would be midweek. The plans, however, never came to fruition.

Two Tayport players had been catching the eye during the season and were fancied by the Seniors. Goalie Doonan had been out on trial with Arbroath FC and Dundee FC had taken a fancy to Violet’s flying outside right, J.Dempster

1926-27 League table

This was the season St Josephs advertised in Lost or Found for two footballs lost in the Tay and suspected they might come ashore at Tayport. Footballs weren’t too plentiful in those days!

Tayport Thistle, the town’s Juvenile team carried on an unbeaten record from the previous season and were buzzing as they embarked on their season in the Eastern Section of the Cupar & District League.

Thistle shared the East Common pitch with Tayport Violet and this could occasionally cause controversy [see Tayport in Scottish Junior Cup 1926-27]

Thistle were relying on many of the players who had stood them in good stead the previous season. Their squad was A.Ross; Guthrie, Moore, Duncan, McGrady, Wilkie, Kinnear, Walker, Anderson, J.Dempster, Brannan, R.Dempster, H.Ross, Melville and Buchan.

Thistle went out of the Scottish Juvenile Cup in round 2, beaten 2-1 by local rivals Guardbridge but reached the last 8 of the Fife Juvenile Cup, losing to Milton Violet.

Cupar & District League 1926-27

In April 1927 for an 8/- [40p] 3rd class return fare, you could travel to Glasgow from Tayport Railway Station with LNER to support East Fife in the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden. A crowd of 80,000 saw the Fifers lose 3-1 to Celtic.

Season 1927-28

Junior football’s close season had been dominated by more fractious behaviour.

Lochee United proposed that, ‘as there was word of the Perthshire JFA claiming Ericht Rovers, Stanley FC and Alyth, and the Fife JFA claiming Tayport Violet, we propose to let them go, to have [in a Dundee League] Division 1 of 10 clubs and Division 2 of 8 clubs’

The debate carried on, with a further proposal by Lochee Harp ‘… to achieve this end [2 divisions, each of 12 clubs], the following clubs, Invergowrie, Tayport Violet, Arbroath Ardenlea and Carnoustie Comrades are to be asked to retire. With a Dundee League (with boundaries extending from Lochee to Barnhill and Downfield to the river), surely a wide enough field is opened for a most successful competition.’

Anchorage supported Harp, stating that Dundee clubs usually found travelling to the districts a financial failure. Dundee Violet chipped in and suggested ‘Fifeshire take back Tayport Violet and were supported strongly by Arnot’

Tayport Violet Expelled!!

Tayport Violet and Invergowrie hadn’t been at the meeting and there was a proposal that 7 days be allowed for them to make their case. Lochee United opposed this procedure so the expulsion was carried by 14 votes to 11.

The natives weren’t happy, prompting Commoner to express his views in the local newspaper

In September 1927, Tayport Violet and Carnoustie Comrades wrote to the Dundee Junior League asking what had become of their share of the balance of the Dundee & District League[D&DL] which had finished last year. The D&DL secretary said the delay was due to the inability to obtain names of the secretaries but they had now been received and money would be forwarded.

The same month the press reported ‘Tayport Violet are now defunct, owing to the decision of the Dundee Junior League barring them from admission this season. A new club has been formed. They are awaiting confirmation of admission to the Dundee Amateur League’

A sad situation and for the next 63 years there would be no Junior football in Tayport.

Sixty three years on, when Tayport FC applied to join the Scottish Junior FA [SJFA] in 1990, at least one Dundee club was still of the opinion that Tayport should play their football in the Fife Junior League rather than the Tayside Junior League. However, the SJFA supported Tayport’s argument that the Tay Road Bridge and Tayport’s geographical location meant that Tayside was the sensible option.

With Tayport again having a Junior club, Tayport FC made up for lost time, and how! The word karma would spring to mind on May 29th 2005!

In September 1927 it was reported that with the assistance of veteran player Louis Cabrelli and George Smith, the ex-president of the old Juniors, a new club had been formed under the name of ‘Tayport Amateurs’.  A fruitless attempt was made to join the Dundee Amateur League and for the early part of the season Tayport Violet/Tayport Amateurs played occasional friendly matches.

The local football focus now fell on Tayport Thistle, first class Juveniles again playing in the Cupar and District League.

Highlight of the 1927-28 season was the Cura Cup Final in May at Duffus Park in Cupar against Prinlaws United from Leslie. Tayport officials had organised a special train to take supporters to Cupar for the final. The train left Tayport at 2.30pm, for a 3.30pm kick-off returning from Cupar at 6.05pm.

Thistle had the better of the first half to lead 1-0 but Prinlaws lifted the cup with two second half goals. Thistle fielded A.Ross; Guthrie and Moore; Foggie, Kinnear and McGrady; J.Dempster, R.Dempster, Cowie, H.Ross and Lindsay. Reserves were Brannan and Rae.

Tayport Thistle’s Cura Cup semi-final line-up v Newburgh Tayside at Springfield in March 1928 back row (l-r): J.Garvie, H.Ross, C.Moore, A.Ross, J.Kinnear, A Foggie, E.McGrady, unknown, Referee Leckie, Front: G.Simpson, J.Dempster, A.Guthrie, W.Cowie, R.Dempster, J.Lindsay, J.Rae.

Season 1928-29

With the loss of the Junior team, the town’s football profile dimmed considerably, a situation which would not be change until the closing years of the century.

Tayport Thistle was again in the North Section of the Cupar & District League and fielding a side which had shown few changes over recent seasons, had their most successful season to date.

Thistle reached the 3rd round of both the Scottish Juvenile Cup and the Fife Juvenile Cup. Players were attracting the attention of the Seniors. Nottingham Forest and Dundee FC had been monitoring the form of Jock Dempster, Thistle’s flying outside right. Following one of the Fife Cup ties, Forest had made an approach to the Thistle player. For whatever reason the interest petered out.

Tayport won the North Section of the Cupar & District League, the championship of which would be determined in a play-off against Markinch Victoria Rangers, the winners of the South section,.

Despite being backed by a great support travelling by special train, Tayport went down 6-3. Moore, Dempster & Cowie had the Thistle goals.

There was further disappointment before the season ended in late June 1929. Tayport had reached the Edwards Cup final by default after Prinlaws United couldn’t get conveyance for their semi-final vs. Tayport at Newburgh.  Tayport faced Markinch VR in the final at Newburgh’s East Shore Park and again found them too strong, losing 4-2 after leading 2-0 through goals from Ross and Stuart.

Tragic death of 33 years old David Kidd who had survived being injured in France during WW1, had played for Junior Football for his local team Tayport and also St Andrews and Dundee Arnot. David was a painter on the Tay Railway Bridge.

Season 1929-30

LG Clark of 20 Linksfield was the secretary as Tayport Thistle kicked off their new season in the Cupar and District Juvenile League, a division of 12 clubs.

Tayport Thistle’s squad this season was Ross; Guthrie, Cowie; Stewart, McDonald, Foggie, Brannan, Lindsay, Thomson, Kinnear, Moore, Redpath, Stewart, Milne, Grant and Dempster.

It was a disappointing season, with not even a scent of silverware from a number of cup competitions, the Cura Cup, the Stein Cup, Edwards Cup and the Fife Juvenile Cup.

The cup with most kudos, though, was the Scottish Juvenile Cup. Tayport eliminated Markinch Victoria Rangers (away) in round 1 of the national trophy thanks to the home side missing a penalty with 5 minutes left, which would have levelled the game. In Round 2, Rosyth were eliminated after a replay but progress was halted by Blairhall and in no uncertain matter in the next round, the eventual cup winners winning 7-1. The Dunfermline club went on to become the first ever Fife based club to lift the cup.

School Team

The future for football in the town, looked promising with Tayport Higher Grade School team, under the guidance of the sports master Mr Ferguson, winning the Heathcote Trophy for boys’ clubs in the local area.

Football Enthusiasm Taken Too Far?

The locals’ enthusiasm for the game in 1930 had perhaps been taken a bit far, to the extent that some lads could have ended up in jail!

Season 1930-31

It was all change for Tayport Thistle this season when then decision was made to leave the Fife Juveniles and re-connect with the north of the Tay and join the Midlands Amateur Football Association which had been formed in 1926. New secretary was George Farquhar Jnr., Links Cottage. Furthest trips this season would be at Forfar Academicals and Arbroath HSFP.

Thistle players that season were A. Ross; Guthrie, Mitchell, Stewart, Mathers, Lindsay, Foggie, McGrady, J.Dempster, Brannan, Thomson, Ross, Melville, McDonald, Connor, R.Dempster, Manzie.

As always, fundraising was key and as well as matchday collections, football in Tayport was supported by events such as this concert in 1930

Tayport Thistle made their debut in the Midlands Amateur Cup, losing 3-2 at Woodside Rangers, now part of the modern Glenrothes. The Midlands Amateur Cup which had brought together clubs from both the Kingdom and Forfarshire, would eventually be superseded by the Fife Amateur Cup and the North of Tay Cup, the latter being contested by clubs from Dundee, Forfarshire and Perthshire.  Tayport, Newport and Wormit’s unique geographical location gave them a choice of which cup to enter.

Thistle had made a promising start to the season but as the local newspaper columnist commented ‘Tayport have been going backwards in recent weeks and I hope to see a revival here in a week or two’. In March though, they lost their key defender Andrew Foggie (pictured) who signed Junior with Dundee Violet.

Thistle’s Andrew Foggie who signed for Dundee Violet

Midlands AFA final table 1930/31

Although not a particularly memorable season, it had been a solid start to life in the Amateur League for Tayport Thistle.

Tayport retain trophy                                                                      

Tayport H.G. School retained the Heathcote Trophy

Season 1931-32

After an absence of four seasons, the name Tayport Violet would rise from the ashes of expulsion from the Dundee Junior League to enter the Dundee & District Amateur League.

Despite a relatively comfortable final league position in their inaugural season in the Midlands AFA, Tayport Thistle were not to be seen in any league this season. Whereabouts unknown!

Not surprisingly a number of former Thistle men would be found in this season’s Tayport Violet selections from the following Harris, Campbell & Payne (goalkeepers); Guthrie, Robertson, Brannan, McKenzie, Arnott, McLean, Brighton, R.Dempster, Ward, Melville, Lindsay, Briggs, Johnstone, Redpath, Grant, Logie, J.Dempster, H.Ross and towards the end of the season, Moore, Cowie, Reid and Milne.

An uneventful season, no cup joy and a mid-table league finish.

In January 1932 Tayport lost one of the players who had helped raise the town’s football profile during the early years of the century

Season 1932-33

Tayport Violet continued their membership of the Dundee & District Amateur League and showed significant on-field improvement. League football dominated the fixture card but Violet made their mark in the few cup competitions open to them, the most prestigious of which was the Midlands Cup but unfortunately, they were eliminated by eventual winners Pittenweem Rovers.

The long wait to bring some silverware to Tayport was finally ended however when Violet lifted the Carnegie Shield, beating league champions Bullionfield before a big crowd at Glenesk. ‘Nomad’ commented Tayport Violet are winding up the season with a bang. They are the most improved team in the League and won the Carnegie Shield, taking a first trophy to Tayport for a number of years.

The Shield winning line-up was Wright; Cowie, Arnott; Brannan, Milne, Grant; Mathers, J.Smart, R.Dempster, R.McKenzie and Young; Reserve was Rae.

Tayport Violet 1933
Back (l-r) J.Rennie (secretary), Brannan, Arnott, Wright, Cowie, Milne, Harley (trainer). Sitting:  T.White (reserve), J.Dempster, J.Smart, Rae, Grant, Philip and Manzie. Front: F.Wighton

Dundee & District Amateur League

During this season there emerged another club in the town, Tayport Rangers – soon to change their name to Tayside Rangers and in a future season change it back again – composed of a younger generation of Tayport footballers. In 1933/34 they played only friendly fixtures.

A typical line-up, such as that which played Barnhill Rovers in Broughty Ferry, would be Smart; Low, Philp, Mills, McKenzie, Smart, Reid, Oswald, McKenzie, Dickson, Wilson. For the match in February 1933 the players would travel across the Tay from Tayport to Broughty by boat which left the harbour at 1.45.

Season 1933-34

Fundraising as always, was important and Violet teamed up with the local Swimming Club (based at Tayport harbour) to organise a fancy dress parade and raise £11 15s which in 2022 value amounted to £900, for sharing between the clubs

Tayport Violet were without full back Davie Cowie this season. At the end of last season Cowie had ‘been procured by Dundee Violet and had improved so much he was described as the whole cheese and was now being fancied by Heart of Midlothian’

Tayport Violet continued this season in the Dundee & District Amateur League. There was a plethora of football leagues in the Dundee area during the 1930s. As well as the Dundee & District Amateur League we had the Midlands AFA, the Angus AFA, the East Fife AFA, the Dundee Juvenile League, the Eastern Juvenile League, the Dundee Churches League, the Dundee Welfare League and the Half-holiday League.

As was always the case in this era, very few clubs from the Dundee Leagues entered the Scottish Amateur Cup. The sole entrants were usually Roineach Mhor and YM Anchorage.

Tayport Violet’s squad to open the season was – gks. Wright & Couttie; Foggie, Brannan, Manzie, Grant, Rae, Milne, Dempster, Moore, Ross, Weir, Mathers, Gall, Guthrie, Rattray. The team got off to a good start and was top of the league and unbeaten after 5 games.

They couldn’t keep it up though and would finish third. The final league table gave the appearance of being unfinished through the mid-season withdrawal of Bullionfield and Dura.

Violet got within a whisker of silverware however by reaching the final of the Buist Cup but succumbed to unbeaten league champions Hillbank.

Tayport Rangers were members of the newly established Tayside Amateur League and during the season changed their name to Tayside Rangers

It wasn’t the top level of the amateur game but it was certainly better than playing a season of friendlies and Rangers were delighted to finish top of the pile.

Violet’s fund-raising concerts, such as this one in January 1934, continued to be popular.

Season 1934-35

Two football clubs in the town again this season. Tayport Violet had applied for membership of the East Fife AFA but the application had been refused and they continued their membership of the Dundee & District Amateur League.

Tayside Rangers this season were in the Angus Amateur Football League, having been one of the clubs which had moved en bloc from the Tayside Amateur League.  The Angus Amateurs operated two divisions. The first division was established clubs and their Alliance League was for those which were less well established.

Throughout the season, Tayside Rangers were often confusedly referred to as Tayport Rangers, but they were one and the same as the Angus AFA league tables show.

Although Tayport’s clubs weren’t in the top echelon of the game locally, it was a most successful season for the town’s footballers.

Tayport Violet

Violet’s teams were usually selected from Bell; Arnott, Guthrie, Moore, Brannan, Grant, Henderson, Dickson, Dempster, Humphreys, Ross, Craig, Curran, Hanlin and Manzie.

Violet topped the league from day one and still had a 100% record when they won 5-2 v Auchterhouse in late September. Interestingly, Auchterhouse fielded 5 players named Low and 3 named Anderson!

Violet had won 4-3 v Stratheden at Strathmiglo in the Midlands Amateur Cup but were beaten 5-2 on the East Common by the renowned St Monance Swifts in round 2. Although being refused entry to the East Fife AFA, Violet had been seeded with the Fife clubs in this competition rather than with those north of the Tay where they played their league football.

The Dundee & District Amateur League title was secured before the end of March and the Carnegie Shield, which took the form of a mini-league was a further addition to the silverware. The trophy collection which was complete when they defeated Lochee Parish FC 3-0 in the final of the Association’s Buist Cup.

The semi-final at Riverside v Strathmartine had been a tousy affair. Although Tayport won 6-2, they had a player ordered off with 10 minutes to play, after which spectators invaded the field. The pitch was cleared however and the game finished with no further disturbance.

Tayside (Tayport) Rangers

Tayside Rangers team was regularly selected from Fearn; Pattie, Johnstone, Weir, R.McKenzie, M.McKenzie, Reid, Ferrier, Cuthill, G.McKenzie, Philip, Fairbairn, Gove, Lindsay, Webster and Thomson

A 4-1 win over Newtyle saw Rangers secure the Angus AFA’s Alliance Championship title and they completed the double with a 3-0 win over Ogilvie BC in the Glenesk Park final of the Angus AFA’s Alliance Cup.

The local amateur football columnist had previewed the final thus ‘Those young teams play delightful football and I am looking forward to a most interesting encounter’

Rangers celebrated their season of success with a dinner in the Masonic Hall attended by Association officials and other dignitaries.

Times were hard times in the 30s as we can see from this press cutting from 1935

Footballing Wolf Cubs

Football in the town wasn’t confined to grown-ups. The 1st Tayport Wolf Cub Pack played a friendly game at Windmill Park, Newport against their local rivals the 1st Newport Wolf Cub Pack. There’s no record of the score but we can assume that the Tayport boys won! The cubs travelled by train up to East Newport fielding J.Thomson; D.Campsie and I. Kidd; B.Kirkcaldy, J.Roger and H.Strachan; J.Gorham, R.Millar, G.Smith, A,Auld and S.Paton. Reserve was S.Reid.

Footballers participate in Silver Jubilee Celebrations

May 6th 1935 was the Silver Jubilee of King George V. The Burgh, in common with everywhere else, celebrated the occasion. Tayport Town Council’s programme included a match between the town’s two successful football clubs [For the occasion Tayside Rangers again became Tayport Rangers!]

Season 1935-36

This season saw Tayside Rangers move to the Dundee & District Amateur League and rumours had been rife for some time that Tayport Violet were also looking to change Associations. They again applied to join the join the East Fife AFA at the Association’s AGM and this time they were successful, being accepted along with RAF Leuchars.

As well as League fixtures, Violet were sure of increased cup tie activity, given the large number of trophies up for grabs in the EFAFA.

Tayport Violet

Violet didn’t get off to the best of starts in their new environment, taking a couple of heavy defeats from Pittenweem Rovers and Cupar Hearts, so former players David Dow and Willie Cowie were reinstated from the Dundee Juniors to strengthen the side.

As always, the winter weather caused postponements and one weekend in January 1936 the only game to be played was on the East Common where Violet knocked Pittenweem Rovers, the holders, out of the Davidson Cup.

Unlike local rivals Cupar Hearts, Violet didn’t enter the Scottish Amateur Cup. Cupar didn’t have the best of times in the national competition. They left on Saturday at 9am for the long journey to play Greenock only to discover on arrival that because of snow, the game had been postponed on the Friday. No new was bad news in this case!  An appeal to the SAFA proved fruitless and they had to travel west the following week and lost 6-1. The Hearts lads put their defeat down to being accustomed to playing on a cinder pitch!

Tayport Violet were never far from controversy this season and regularly had players up before the beaks, J.Henderson received a month’s suspension and as we see from the cutting below, J.Hanlin was suspended for two months.

Violet appointed a new secretary mid-season, J.G.Innes, 3 Castle Terrace.

The team maintained good cup form and had reached the semi-finals of the Janetta, M’Arthur and Davidson Cups. St Monance Swifts, who would carry all before them this season, eliminated Violet in the Davidson and Janetta semis but a 3-1 win over Hearts in Cupar put Tayport in the M’Arthur final v St Monance. It was 1-1 after 90 minutes but Swifts took the Cup, winning 3-1 after extra time.

It was no disgrace to lose to St Monance Swifts. They were Scottish Amateur Cup semi-finalists, won the EFAFA league title, won the Midlands Cup 3-2 v YM Anchorage at Dens Park, the Montgomery Cup 6-2 v Cupar MS, the Davidson Cup 2-1 (aet) v Cupar Hearts, the Janetta Cup 2-0 v Crail, the M’Arthur Cup v Tayport Violet before losing the Lindsay Cup final 0-2 v Cupar Mutual Service FC. It was an incredible finish to the season by Swifts who played 16 games in 28 days including 5 cup finals in successive nights, winning 4 in a row.

Tayport Violet pictured at Recreation Park St Andrews prior to the M’Arthur Cup Final v all-conquering St Monance Swifts. Pic shows (back l-r) John Innes, Joe Weir, Wallace Hughes, Morris Cuthbert, George Morrison, Will Redpath, George Ferrier, David Ross, James Wyles (president), David McDiarmid. Sitting: Rabbie Dempster, J.Duncan, Will Cowie, Alf Dickson, Jim Henderson, Front: Dave Arnot, Dave Dow, Peter Harley (trainer)

Tayside Rangers

Rangers got off to a good start in the 1935/36 Dundee & District League but in the Midlands Cup they were seeded in the south of Tay section and were eliminated at the 1st round stage by Lomond Thistle. Rangers went to the top of their league in December with a 2-0 home win over nearest rivals Auchterhouse but fell away as the season progressed.

In the D&DL there was only the Buist Cup to contest and Rangers reached the final but lost 3-6 to Alyth at Gussie Park

Violet and Rangers concluded their season with a charity match in May on East Common in aid of Dundee Royal Infirmary. The match was kicked off by Bailie J.R.Donaldson

Although this was billed as Rangers (front) v Violet (back), one or two players swapped teams for the occasion. Those we are fairly sure we can identify are –

Back (l-r): Violet – J.Duncan, R.Dempster, M.Cuthbert, G.Morrison, D.Arnot, J.Henderson, W.Cowie, D.Dow, G.Ferrier, A.Dickson, W.Redpath

Front: Rangers – dk, dk, W.Reid,  dk, D.Philip, A.Ross, W.Douglas, C.Moore, B.Fairbairn, Fowler and Beatt

dk = don’t know

Violet reported on the season just finished at their Annual General Meeting held in June 1936

Season 1936-1937

Two clubs again representing the Burgh this season, the Violet and Tayport Rangers, the latter having officially changed their name from the confusing ‘Tayside’ to ’Tayport’.

Violet were again in the East Fife AFA while Rangers were still playing in the Dundee & District Amateur League

Newburgh Juniors, last season’s wooden spoonists of the Fife Junior League had made Violet half-back Cowie one of their new signings.

Violet’s secretary J.Litts was president of the East Fife Amateur FA this season

East Common had to accommodate both teams and this occasionally created problems. Violet were reported to have played a home game on Burnside Park, the location of which is a mystery, and also played a league game vs Cupar Hearts at Newport as ‘East Common was booked’.

In common with most of the local amateur clubs, neither Tayport club entered the Scottish Amateur Cup.

Violet didn’t get off to the best of starts, without a win in six games and being knocked out of the Midlands Cup by Kennoway. Things improved at the turn of the year including a win over holders St Monance Swifts in the Davidson Cup. But there would be no silverware despite reaching three local cup semi finals

Violet regulars were Henderson; Arnott, Cuthbert, Weir, Redpath, Ferrier, Brannan, Dempster, Henderson, Dickson, Yule, Laing, Wilson

East Fife AFA

Rangers had a somewhat unfortunate start to their season in the Dundee & District Amateur League with three games early in the season being abandoned.

With the teams level at 3-3, the league game vs East Port was abandoned with 20 minutes to go when heavy rain caused the lines to be obliterated. Later in the month Rangers were 1-4 down to Strathmartine when, with 9 minutes left, the ball burst and, being unable to procure another, the referee had to abandon the game.

League leaders Coupar Angus United were the visitors to Tayport in November when early darkness meant the game couldn’t be finished and the referee abandoned the game.

Rangers were eliminated from the Midlands Cup, losing 7-1 to Pittenweem Rovers and efforts to retain the Buist Cup were scuppered in a 7-2 defeat by Auchterhouse in a replayed semi-final.

Regulars for Rangers were Payne, Law, Campbell; McLean, Anderson, Smith, Douglas, Henderson, Doonan, Adam, Officer, Brown, Paul.

Dundee & District League Table

Season 1937-1938

This season saw both Tayport teams joining the Midlands Amateur FA and for the best part of the next 60 years there would be a Tayport club playing in the MAFA

Violet were in the premier League whilst Rangers were in the Alliance League, although unlike Alliance Leagues of the future, Alliance membership wasn’t confined to premier clubs’ second strings and consequently Rangers were able to enter the same cup competitions as their premier League counterparts.

The Midlands kicked off with an abbreviated league card as ‘some grounds were still occupied by cricket enthusiasts’

Although, as always, there would be changes throughout the season, particularly in Rangers’ selections, below are the Violet and Rangers’ line-ups in early September 1937

The first ever Midlands’ derby saw Tayport Violet draw 2-2 at Newport but Violet had made a good start to the season and 2nd top after 4 games.

Again, no Tayport club chose to enter the Scottish Amateur Cup but there was Scottish Amateur Cup controversy in Fife. Close rivals St Monance Swifts and Pittenweem Rovers had been drawn together in round 1. At half time, with Swifts winning 2-0, Rovers players questioned the referee over his decisions, the outcome of which was a Pittenweem player being sent off. After play had resumed, two more Rovers players were sent to the pavilion and following that, the remaining eight players walked off after 50 minutes

For funds, Violet ran whist drives during the season and in December held their annual dance in the Temperance Hall (now Gregory Hall). Wallace Hughes presided at the dance and Mr C.Moore was convener.

Violet had got over their sticky start to the season and their first game of 1938 was described thus ‘The game of outstanding interest in league competition is the meeting of Tayport Violet and YM Anchorage at Tayport. The Midlands Champions will have to give of their best if they wish to keep their undefeated record intact’.  They did and it ended 2-2. Anchorage would, later in the season, reach the last eight of the Scottish Amateur Cup, losing 1-0 away to the holders Gogarburn FC.

Anchorage would later end Violet’s interest in the Bremner Cup with a 2-1 win on East Common.

Apart from those in the line-up above, others in action for Violet during this season were Philip, Hunter, Wilson and Thomson

As well as those listed when the season kicked off in September, during the season Rangers also fielded Milne, Elder, Officer, Murray, Law, G.Cooper, R.Wighton, McLaren, Murray, Harley, Tosh, Ritchie, Pattie, Johnstone, Berry, Oswald and Lancaster. Rangers could make no mark in their three Cup competitions but despite never having a settled line-up, they would have been pleased with mid-table finishes in both Alliance League competitions.

The Midlands AFA was now recognised as being the premier amateur association locally, so a runners-up spot was a credible performance from Violet.

Season 1938-1939

Tayport’s football clubs Violet and Rangers were now established in the Midlands AFA. James Rennie was Violet secretary and Fred Wighton was his Rangers’ counterpart. The new season kicked off in September with Violet quickly making their mark to go top of the table with three wins from their opening three games. Not such a good start for Rangers with only one win from their first five games. Rangers also had the misfortune to be drawn against St Andrews University and made a quickfire exit from the Fife Amateur Cup.

Heavy snowfall virtually wiped out the Midlands card in early December but as was often the case, Tayport Common was an oasis as was the RAF base at Leuchars. Both Tayport clubs managed a game that weekend, Violet thumping Arbroath HSFP by 5-0 and the RAF’s Alliance team crushing Rangers by 10-1. It was probably quite reassuring to know that airmen had their eye in, given that World War 2 was only nine months away!

Rangers’ form during the season may have been indifferent but in Robertson, their young centre forward, they had a player being fancied by a number of Junior clubs, turning down several offers before signing for Forthill late in the season.

Three keepers shared the Rangers yellow jersey during the season, Messrs Anderson, Findlay and Harley. Other regulars were Smith, Brunton, T.Brunton, W.Berry, J.Berry, Laird, Wighton, Adam, Robertson, Henderson, Johnstone, Doonan, Skene, Main, Millar and Watt

There were only two entries for the Scottish Amateur Cup from this area, RAF Leuchars and Midlands’ kingpins YM Anchorage. The airmen went out early on but Anchorage reached the semi-final, a feat to be repeated by Tayport FC 47 years later.

Drawn against Viewfield Rovers, the Anchorage appealed to the SAFA when the selected semi-final venue was Johnstone in Renfrewshire, 10 miles down the road from Viewfield and 100 miles from Dundee. No surprise there, and no surprise either when the appeal was dismissed. Anchorage lost 4-1.

Tayport Violet’s impressive league form was carried over to the Midlands Cup (later known as the North of Tay Cup since the introduction of the Fife Amateur Cup) and became the first and only Tayport club to reach the final of that competition. Opponents were Harris FP who had shocked hot favourites YM Anchorage in the semi-final.

In the run-up to the final Violet were still in with a chance of the league title but fell away and Anchorage picked up a sixth successive Championship Shield. It would be 43 years before a Tayport club would get its name on the Shield.

For the Midlands Cup final at Glenesk Park, Violet, who had made four changes from their semi-final their line-up, failed at the final hurdle.

Other Violet regulars that season were g/ks Anderson, Philp and Ross; Dingwall, Chrystall, Rice, Redpath, Ritchie,Henderson, Brannan Law and Bain.

Midlands AFA 1938/39       


A late 1939 pre-war Tayport Violet line-up: Lawson (trainer), Weir, unknown, Anderson, Ferrier, Moore, Bain. Front: Brannan, Adam, Henderson, Cowie and Dickson. Lawson was selected as the Midlands AFA Select XI trainer for their annual end of season challenge match v the Angus AFA