Football in Tayport Through the Ages: Part 3


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 4’]

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.

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


Once again, applications to join the Dundee & District Junior League by Tayport, Osborne, Fernbank and Lochee Central was 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 but 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 J.Coss; A Rae, Gallacher, F.Anderson, N.Oswald, Kidd, F.Oswald, Connolly, Y.Rae, Niven, Pryde, W.Wilkie, T.Henderson, D.Main, C.Walker and J.Anderson


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 William Pow; James Falconer & David Kidd; John Black, William Christie and James Mitchell; Robert Stewart, Walter Beaton, David Pow, William G. Urquhart & Thomas Clunie

In the Scottish Junior Cup Tayport were out 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 the appeal 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 were 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 v Crail United but there is no record of the score. There is no record either of the final score in the Davidson Cup where Tayport met Anstruther Rangers. The sides did turn up for the final but unfortunately the pitch wasn’t properly marked so the teams played a friendly, Tayport winning 1-0.


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 Andrew Samuel; David Pow; James Ferguson, David Kidd, John Black, James Falconer, Thomas Clunie, William G.Urquhart, Ernest J. Urquhart, Walter Beaton, Richard Davidson, Thomas Lyall, Buist and James Mitchell as regulars.

Most of the players will be in the photo below and we’re fairly sure that the boy in the striped shirt is Andrew 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. The tie would go to three replays.

The replay at Tayport ended 1-1 and when the clubs could not agree on a neutral, yet equidistant venue for a second replay, the Association secretary decided it would be played at Barnhill. 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.

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, 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 & Coss; Cowie, Anderson and Henderson; Oswald, Anderson, Rae, Campbell & 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 –