Thursday, 13 May 2010

Recent Press

Third Lanark born again after years of regret

19 May 2007
For the past 40 years Bob Laird has made nostalgic wee trips to Cathkin Park. He stands at the same spot on the overgrown terracing where he once watched his beloved Third Lanark, then moves to the other end, as you could then, for the second half.
For the past 40 years Bob Laird has made nostalgic wee trips to Cathkin Park. He stands at the same spot on the overgrown terracing where he once watched his beloved Third Lanark, then moves to the other end, as you could then, for the second half. In his mind's eye he replays the great games before the club went to the wall, owing just £40,000. It was one of the most heart-rending and disgraceful sagas in Scottish football history.
A Board of Trade investigation accused chairman Bill Hiddleston of corruption.
He ran the club down to sell the land for housing. "The circumstances merit police inquiry," they said.
It's no exaggeration to say that generations still bear the emotional scars. Yet Bob, who has written two books on the club, and whose East Kilbride home has become a shrine, will be back at Cathkin today. And he will see his team play again for real.
His field of dreams will come alive as an amateur Third Lanark team meet a Queen's Park under-21 side in an exhibition match to mark the 40th anniversary of the former's demise.
The red Hi Hi strips will bear replicas of the original club crest. Even the corner flags are exactly replicated, courtesy of Laird, and the Celtic supporter who nicked one, and hid it in his attic for more than two decades. Confident the heat had finally died down, he told Laird he could have it if he wanted.
"I was down at his place like a shot," recalls Laird. "It was from a cup-tie against Celtic which was cancelled because there was a heavy snowfall. The teams decided to play a friendly behind closed doors. The crowd broke in. Windows were smashed - and the corner flag was pinched. The guy kept it in his loft until about 20 years ago."
Laird has staged several exhibitions of Thirds photographs, programmes, medals, cigarette cards, ties, scarves, and other memorabilia. There's another exhibition today in the community hall at Cathkin Park. It will open around 12.30pm, but Bob hopes he'll be able to shut the door and see the game which kicks off at 2pm. But he'll re-open later, until 5.30pm.
He questions whether the players today will have the vaguest clue what they are commemorating. Laird is 66 and retired, but works in the Hampden football museum. "It's hard to get used to hearing kids there ask who Kenny Dalglish was," he says, "so they can't have a clue about a team which disappeared 40 years ago."
Johnny Campbell, great, great grandfather of Matthew Curry, who helped organise today's match, played for Thirds in the 1890s and also for Celtic. "This team will be entering the amateur league next season, under the famous grand old Third Lanark name," says Curry.
It may even spark a permanent revival, though they have experienced false dawns before. "Games like this just open old wounds," reflects Laird. One revivalist mission led to a Thirds side winning the Glasgow Under-19 boys league, but they foundered too.
"Keeping the dream alive?" laughs Laird. "I just bore people to death." His wife, Fay, tolerates his magnificent obsession. "We even have bricks from the old stand and pavilion," he confesses, a mite sheepishly, but his three children are indifferent.
"I'd a collection of 560 programmes, but sold them recently. I always bought stuff, never sold it before. A five-figure sum?" he laughs again. "Barely four. It's no pension fund. I'm more interested in the photos. I have a room full of albums. They bring back the memories far more than programmes. And big scrap books with masses of cuttings."
He knows all the old stories, which will doubtless get another airing on June 23, at a Third Lanark speakers' night in Kingswood Bowling Club, with former players including George McCallum, Ian Hilley, Willie Cunningham and Peter Dallas. They often had to be paid in coppers from the turnstile takings.
Founded on December 12, 1872, as Third Lanark Rifle Volunteers, they played their last match on April 28, 1967, losing 5-1 to Dumbarton at Boghead. Drew Busby scored their last goal, and the team squeezed into a mini-bus, oblivious to the impending doom, for the final trip back to Glasgow's south side.
As Third Lanark, they won the Scottish Cup twice, in 1889 and 1905, beating Celtic and then Rangers. By the Second World War 34 players had been capped by Scotland.
In season 1960-61 they scored six goals in their final league game against Hibs, their 100th of the season - 12 more than Rangers, and 36 more than Celtic.
Former First Minister Henry McLeish played for East Fife at Cathkin. The embryonic politician was trying to please everybody. He scored twice - one for each side. He recalls taking lightbulbs from Methil as they had been removed in Cathkin's dressing-room, to keep down costs.
When the Customs and Excise came, chairman Hiddleston had the players hide the fruit machines, and when a youngster broke his arm he ordered Thirds player Mike Jackson to go with him. He had instructions to prevent casualty staff cutting off his jersey: "Tell the doctors to lift the effing jersey over his head and not cut the sleeves, for we'll need it next week."
Four former directors were found guilty of contravening the Companies Act and fined £100 each, but Hiddleston did not live to hear that. He died of a heart attack less than seven months after Thirds' last match. (From The Herald)

"Third Lanark return is only a dream"

By Ewing GrahamePublished: 12:01AM BST 11 Jun 2008

Poor old Third Lanark. Reports of their resurrection are, unfortunately, greatly exaggerated.

It was claimed by a Glasgow red-top yesterday that the famous old club, whose formation in 1872 pre-dates the Old Firm, had applied to rejoin the Scottish Football League in the wake of Gretna's resignation. The story would have had Glaswegians of a certain age welling up. Sadly, the manager of Third Lanark AC, Peter Docherty, admitted any such approach is unlikely.
It's 41 years since Thirds fell into liquidation, following a Board of Trade enquiry, which produced a damning report into the running of the club by the late Bill Hiddlestone.
That was an ignominous end to a club which won the Scottish title in 1901 and the Scottish Cup in 1889 and 1905 and which, six years before their demise, finished third in the top flight behind Rangers and Kilmarnock but ahead of Celtic.
Docherty revived the club as a labour of love five years ago and they operate as an amateur concern in the Greater Glasgow Adult League out of the famous, if dilapidated, Cathkin Park. They own neither the ground nor, crucially, the club's name and both represent obstacles for a return to even semi-professional level.
"Some of the boys were just looking for a bit of publicity for the club," said Docherty. "However, we've no intention of applying to rejoin the Scottish League.
"Although we play at Cathkin, the Culture and Sports department have a 25-year lease on it from Glasgow District Council. They need to return it to the council for us to negotiate to take it over: they might as well give it to us because the ground is a shambles.
"It could take us five years after we finally get the ground and do it up before we're ready to play in the Junior Leagues. Anything after that would be a bonus.
"About five years ago, Billy Connolly joked that he and Sean Connery were going to buy Third Lanark and make a success of it.
"That prompted two men - one from Edinburgh, who registered the name Third Lanark Athletic Club at Companies House, and another from England who registered the name Third Lanark Athletic - to move in and they could still scupper our chances."


  1. Thanks to Craig Stewart at the Scottish Football Leagu for this:

  2. From the BBC website : 21/02/2007

    The name of a famous Glasgow football team is being auctioned on eBay - 40 years after the club went bust.
    Third Lanark were formed in 1872 and grew to be one of Scotland's great clubs before famously declaring bankruptcy in 1967.
    Ed Sweeney, 67, from Dundee, bought and registered the name two years ago at Companies House.
    He is now selling it on eBay in a bid to revive the club. He started the bidding at £2,000.
    Third Lanark was a Glasgow institution with a wonderful and colourful history and I would love to see them resurrected
    Ed Sweeney
    Mr Sweeney, a retired media lecturer, said: "I bought the name two years ago in the hope that I could use the name to start an amateur team.
    "I was a Thirds fan as a child and would go along to watch the team play at their Cathkin Park ground with my grandfather Alex Lorimer in the 1960s.
    "I have a huge empathy with the club, but I live in Dundee and have no real experience of starting up or running a football club."
    Third Lanark, which was started as a football team for the Third Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers, were among the founders of the Scottish Football League.
    Famous former players included Ally McLeod, who went on to manage Scotland at the World Cup in Argentina in 1978.
    Third Lanark won the old First Division in 1904 and also won the Scottish Cup in 1889 and 1905.
    They last reached the Scottish Cup final at Hampden in 1936 but lost to Rangers.

    Great support

    However, the team played its final game on 28 April 1967 when they lost 5-1 away to Dumbarton.
    In a radio interview last year, comedian Billy Connolly said he would like to buy a club like his childhood favourites Partick Thistle or even revive Third Lanark with actor Sean Connery.
    Mr Sweeney said: "Third Lanark was a Glasgow institution with a wonderful and colourful history and I would love to see them resurrected.
    "They have been out of business for exactly 40 years now, but they still have lots of supporters."
    Prospective buyers of the club's name have until 2 March to bid for it on eBay.

  3. Found this on DooYoo Website. Its from the guy who has restarted Ferranti Thistle and Meadowbank. Some interesting points raised!! Enjoy...
    Football shares of course never made anyone any money, they are just for fun I think.
    I recently thought about buying an actual football club.
    I'm not rich, not like Brooks Mileson or Roman Abramovich, just a working class guy. How many footy fans do you know own their own football club, one with a bit of history? Not many I guess. It can be done with a little research though. In 2005 I bought Meadowbank Thistle Football Club for an undisclosed sum of money from Mr Ed Sweeney of Dundee. The company and team are dormant but the potential is still there to expand.
    Retro brands like "Angel Delight" and "Vimto" in the food industry, are coming back and who knows when the babyboomers will come up with the idea of re- launching defunct sports teams on to the market again. I recreated Ferranti Thistle FC as a company just after I bought Meadowbank Thistle Football Club. Ferranti Thistle was formed for the sole purpose of building and supporting a foundation for the construction of a league of dormant or defunct sports clubs with the view of building a new empire one day.
    Focusing on community local establishments of the past that once had a proud history you too could perhaps own your very own entire Football Club and not just one share. Why not check out the history of defunct establishments in your local area? I flicked through the football associations members, past and present, then checked out the story behind the more colourful ex-members on the internet web searches such as google and yahoo. Scottish teams like St Bernards, Kings Park, Renton and Third Lanark AC all have a facinating story to tell on the search engines. A recent dispute between the owner of the defunct name Third Lanark showed up the importance of getting your details correct. While Mr Ed Sweeney had registered "Third Lanark Football Club" at companies house another participant later registered the technically correct name of "Third Lanark Athletic Club" or "AC" for short.
    So please do your homework to clear up any mis-understandings.

    Summary: Why buy shares in a football club when you can buy the whole club??

  4. Heres a wee film, courtesy of CH4 and the Hidden Glasgow forum....