A Brief History
Gala Fairydean entered the Border League in 1907 when the
rule requiring participating clubs to own their own pitches
was rescinded. They played for a season in the public park
before acquiring a pitch at Eastlands. They also played a
season at Mossilee before the First World War, however they
returned to Eastlands although they would return to Mossilee
in the future.
During this period clubs played many friendly fixtures although
leagues were run. However league fixtures, particularly to
further flung locations, were often not fulfilled such that
champions were sometimes declared on the basis of those matches
which had been played.
Cup competitions were however numerous and keenly contested
and Gala Fairydean's first honours came in the King Cup which
they won on three successive occasions before the First World
War. In 1914 Gala Fairydean finally progressed far enough
in the Scottish Qualifying Cup to earn a place in the main
draw for the Scottish Cup proper. However the onset of hostilities
in the First World War brought about the end of competitive
football for the duration and Gala had to wait a while longer
for a tilt at the big clubs in the Scottish Cup.
Many players from Border clubs joined the colours during
the war and Fairydean players were no exception. The blackest
day for the Borders during the misnamed Great War was 12th
July 1915 when 230 men from the Kings Own Scottish Borderers
were posted missing following a disastrous attack on Turkish
positions in Gallipoli. Many of these soldiers were subsequently
declared as being presumed dead having been killed in the
aforementioned action including former Fairydean players William
Bennett and Charles Keddie.
A return to peacetime saw little in the way of honours come
the way of Gala Fairydean although they did post one victory
each in the King Cup and East of Scotland Qualifying Cup in
the 1920's. Perhaps the Club's greatest day too date occurred
in 1920 when Fairydean were drawn against Aberdeen in the
Scottish Cup. The game was drawn to be played at the Dean's
windswept Mossilee home but the decision was made to sacrifice
ground advantage for gate receipts and so the match took place
at Pittordrie in front of 17,000 spectators. Despite losing
their goalkeeper in the first minute (there were no substitutes
in those days) Fairydean held Aberdeen to 0-0 at half-time
and only finally succumbed by the narrow margin of 2-0.
On other occasions in their history Fairydean have defeated
league opposition in the Scottish Cup in the form of Stenhousemuir
and Cowdenbeath and held Kilmarnock to a 2-1 margin at Rugby
Park - a remarkable achievement considering that Killie were
Scottish League Champions the following season.
This last result happened during the Alfie Conn era of the
sixties which was a golden period for the Club. The ex Hearts
star injected a new sense of confidence into the Club and
a long list of trophies was captured in the swinging sixties
including five League Championships; three Scottish Qualifying
Cups; four East of Scotland Qualifying Cups and the City Cup.
The sixties also saw the construction of the grandstand and
clubrooms at Netherdale to give the Club some of the best
facilities in Scottish non-league football.
During this same period Fairydean played Celtic at Parkhead
in the Scottish Cup and had the audacity to hit the Celtic
post in the first minute. In 1965 the Club were pitted against
Clydebank in the Scottish Qualifying Cup and trounced them
by nine goals to one but still lost out to Clydebank when
they gained admission to the Scottish League,to fill the vacancy
left by the demise of Third Lanark, ahead of the Borders club.
The following year saw Fairydean selected to play a practice
match against the French national side before they took part
in the World Cup being staged in England.
The seventies was a quieter period with only one cup being
won but the eighties saw a return to former glories with one
championship, six Scottish Qualifying Cups and three East
of Scotland Qualifying Cups being won. It was also in the
1980's that the Club took the bold step of installing floodlights
to further improve the available facilities at Netherdale
with Glasgow Rangers playing a friendly match to officially
switch on the lights before a capacity crowd.
The nineties continued to produce silverware but the Club
was desperately disappointed not to achieve membership of
the Scottish Football League when it was reorganised and enlarged
in 1994. Gala Fairydean received the votes of more clubs than
either Inverness Caledonian Thistle or Ross County but due
to the variable weighting attached to the votes of clubs in
different divisions they came third behind these two clubs
when the votes were counted.
As we enter a new millennium Gala Fairydean remain ambitious
and optimistic despite once again applying for membership
of the Scottish Football League only to lose out to two Highland
League clubs yet again. They did however gain promotion in
1999-2000 back to the ESL Premier League and have an ambitious
programme of improvements to their current facilities so that
they do not fall short when the next opportunity to join the
Gala Fairydean kick off next season (2000-01)with two prestige
friendlies against Carlisle United on the 20th July (kick
off 7pm) and against newly promoted Berwick Rangers on the
26th July (kick off 7.15pm).