St.Bernard's, Leith Athletic & Spartans

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Carlucci
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St.Bernard's, Leith Athletic & Spartans

Post by Carlucci » Fri Aug 25, 2006 6:14 pm

Could any of you give us some information about two old Edinburgh clubs, Saint Bernard's & Leith Athletic? When were they founded? From which district in the city did they receive support? Could you tell me the name of the grounds where they played their games? ( I think that St. Bernard's played at Logie Green, and then at the Gymnasium, and Leith Athletic at the Marine Gardens). What were their colours & badges and when did they cease to exist ? Could you also tell me the most important players that played for them? . And finally the last question for you. Non-League club Spartans have done very well in the last Scottish Cup. Are they another side from Edinburgh? Could you also provide information about it - date foundation, ground, colours & badgers, outstanding players- ? Thank your very much. Warmest Regards.

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Post by Sat31March1928 » Fri Aug 25, 2006 10:14 pm

8 St Bernards players played for Scotland

http://www.londonhearts.com/scotland/cl ... nards.html

and 5 for the SFL

http://www.londonhearts.com/SFL/clubs/stbernards.html

Their finest moment was winning the Scottish Cup in 1895

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Post by Scottish » Fri Aug 25, 2006 10:42 pm

Plenty of information on Spartans on their official website.

I'm away researching a book at the moment (and taking in Killie v Rangers). I'll post a more detailed response next week sometime.

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Post by Ramalhete » Sat Aug 26, 2006 5:07 pm

This website has the history of St Bernards. It's divided in five pages:

http://homepages.strath.ac.uk/~cjbs13/s ... art_1.html

Cheers,
Pedro

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Post by Scottish » Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:14 am

Leith Athletic were formed in 1887 which was the same year Hibs won the Scottish Cup for the first time. Given their proximity to Easter Road, it was always going to be a struggle to survive. Somewhat surprisingly they were admitted to the Scottish League in 1891 but lost their place in the 1st division in 1895 when they were replaced by Hibs. This was a straight swap. Both clubs played in the same area but Hibs had much greater support and potential.

They won the Second Division title three times between 1906-1915 but were never successful in applications for re-election to the top division. They closed down during the First World War and played minor football afterwards until joining the Third Division in 1924. They were elected to the Second Division to replace Nithsdale Wanderers in 1927 and enjoyed a successful few seasons, winning the title and promotion in 1930. They survived for two seasons in Division One, being relegated in 1932.

In the Second World War there were again periods when they didn’t play. They were in the C Division after the war and were elected to the B Division in 1947 but relegated the following season. Leith kept pushing for admission to the B division but were constantly rejected. They withdrew from C Division in 1953 and were expelled from the league.

They took part in the Scottish Cup in 1953-54 and entered again in 1954-55 but scratched before playing. Ironically if they had clung on until the end of that season in C Division they would have been taken into B Division in 1955-56.

Paul & Shirley Smith’s book on league grounds lists ten grounds they played at:
Bank Park (renamed Beechwood Park in 1895) 1891-1899, Hawkhill, (this was also Leith Athletic’s original ground in 1887) 1899-1900, New Logie Green 1899-1900 prior to moving to Hawkhill, Chancelot Park 1900-1904, Old Logie Green, 1904-1926, New Powderhall 1927-28 (both Logie Green grounds and New Powderhall were very close to each other), Royal Gymnasium (St Bernard’s ground, Leith played one game in 1927-28), Marine Gardens 1928-1936, Meadowbank 1936-1939, 1947-1953 (known as Old Meadowbank from 1947), New Meadowbank 1946-1947). The present Meadowbank Stadium, former home of Meadowbank Thistle and currently used by Edinburgh City is built on the former Old and New Meadowbank grounds.

Not all of these grounds were in Leith though that is where they drew their support from. They may have changed colours over the years but during the inter-war period they wore black and white stripes and were known as the ‘zebras.’

They had two players capped for Scotland – Matthew McQueen who also played for Hearts and Liverpool and managed the latter was capped against Wales in 1889-90 and 1890-91. Robert Clements was capped against Ireland in 1890-91.

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Post by Sat31March1928 » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:41 am

I think LA also played a few 'home' games at Tynecastle due to reconstruction at one of their grounds.

This was around the same time that Hibs played a few 'home' games on Fridays at Tynecastle. A lot of records have the Hibs games as being played on the Saturday when in fact they played on the Saturday evening.

I'll check back and see what I can find out.
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Post by Sat31March1928 » Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:59 pm

It was St Bernards rather than LA. In 1924-25.

Fri 15 Aug 1924


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Fri 29 Aug 1924

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Thu 11 Sep 1924

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Post by Scottish » Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:00 pm

The Smiths' book only mentions Hearts, Hibs, Meadowbank, Berwick & St Bernard's as having used Tynecastle.

But it doesn't cover the C Division or the Scottish Cup so it's possible Leith played there in one or other of those.

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Post by Sat31March1928 » Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:03 pm

Merntion of St B playing at Tynecastle

Sat 30 Aug 1924

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Post by Sat31March1928 » Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:04 pm

scottish wrote:The Smiths' book only mentions Hearts, Hibs, Meadowbank, Berwick & St Bernard's as having used Tynecastle.

But it doesn't cover the C Division or the Scottish Cup so it's possible Leith played there in one or other of those.
My mistake. It was St B.
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Post by Anderson's Tavern » Sat Oct 14, 2006 5:28 pm

Sadly, the St Bernard's site link doesn't seem to work anymore :(

If anyone's intrested, George Campbell's Historic Saints of Edinburgh, a 1983 booklet, gives a great account of Edinburgh's 3rd Cup winning side.

Founded in 1878 they were named for the St Bernard's Well by the Water of Leith and retained a strong connection to the Stockbridge and Canonmills ares. Initially the club had a residential qualification which required all players to live in the St Bernards Ward which encompases Stockbridge and Caonmills. The qualifications quickly went but the local loyalty remained until their 1943 demise.

However, Campbell also makes an unsubstantiated claim that 3rd Edinburgh Rifle Volunteers were probably the direct precursor of the St Bernards club. I'd also read seperately (Gerry Finn, I think) that 3rd ERV, under John Hope were a sectarian club and key factor in the Edinburgh FA's decision not to admit Hibernians in 1875. Does anybody know the veracity of this link and if St Bernard's themselves thus had a religious exclusionist policy.

Also, I've been keen to learn more about Leith Athletic - does anyone know if there is any similar publications about them?
I've seen snippets in historic Edinburgh books with pictures of Old Logie Green (1906) and Marine Gardens (1930) but nothing specifically about Leith (as they were originally).

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Post by Scottish » Sat Oct 14, 2006 5:41 pm

Hi there and welcome to the forum. The link DOES work. Either cut and paste the whole link - up to and including html or go HERE

I'm not aware of any specific books on Leith though there have been several articles in the Scottish Football Historian over the years. Odd, when you consider they were the longest-lived of the ex-Edinburgh league clubs and both St Bernard's and Edinburgh City have had booklets published.

Hmm. Not sure why that link isn't displaying properly but if you cut and paste the whole thing from http to .html it will work.

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Post by Anderson's Tavern » Sat Oct 14, 2006 5:54 pm

:oops: Thanks Scottish. The link was cutting off the Part 1 section.

Fascinating article.

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Post by BMCCOLL » Sat Oct 14, 2006 6:37 pm

I read that Leith Athletic dropped the 'Athletic' suffix between 1906 and 1916 in an old stats book (I think it was 'A-Z of British Football Records' from about 1981). This has been reflected in their entry at http://geocities.com/br1anmccoll/clublist1.htm , but I've never came across a mention of it since. Is my record correct, or is the omission because of a typo?

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Post by Scottish » Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:24 pm

It wasn't in the A-Z published by Hamlyn in 1981. There's a list of name changes there but Leith don't feature. I've had a look through some old SFHs and in a couple of reprinted articles from Edinburgh papers from 1930 and 1951 both dealing with their history there is no reference to any name change and they are referred to as Athletic throughout.

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