A PLAQUE AND A PINT

A PLAQUE AND A PINT

Central Dunfermline Community Council has teamed up with Dunfermline Athletic Heritage Trust and The Old Inn, to install a ‘blue plaque’ to commemorate the founding of Dunfermline Athletic Football Club at the Old Inn in Kirkgate, Dunfermline on 2nd June 1885.

The plaque, created by Laings Foundry of Lochgelly, will be unveiled at 7.00pm on Thursday 14th June – one hundred and thirty-three years and one day (!) on from the day that Dunfermline Athletic appeared in a football match for the first time – by DAFC Director and Fife Provost Jim Leishman MBE, and Pars fans are invited to come along and share in the event.  After the installation ceremony, celebrations will continue in the Old Inn, who will offer a discount on their famous burgers. Or just come along and enjoy a plaque and a pint.

IN THE BEGINNING

Football played under association rules was in its infancy when David Brown brought football to Dunfermline in 1874.  Brown was a top class cricketer who considered that football would provide a good fitness winter activity for the members of Dunfermline Cricket Club.

By 1876, Dunfermline Football Club arranged their own fixtures, and had joined the Scottish Football Association.  In 1883 the club won the inaugural Fife Cup and by 1885, the Final played at what is now McKane Park, attracted a crowd of around 2,000 when Cowdenbeath defeated the home side 2-1.  Football fever had certainly caught on in Dunfermline and interest rose further when the famous Queen’s Park arrived in the town on Thursday 9th April 1885, just five days after playing in the FA Cup Final against Blackburn Rovers.

Perhaps afraid that this new sport might supersede their own, the Cricket Club soon passed a motion that,“no one be admitted a member of the football club unless he be a member of the cricket club”.  With football enjoying huge success, the Dunfermline players were in no mood to be dictated to by cricket and immediately sought to form their own club and find a pitch of their own.

It is clear that those wishing to establish a new club had been active throughout May 1885 putting in place arrangements.  On Saturday 30th May the first public mention of the new club came in the form of an advert in the Dunfermline Journal advisi ng that “the members of the D.A.F.C. will meet in the Old Inn on Tuesday 2nd June at eight o’clock”.

Although the inaugural meeting of Dunfermline Athletic attracted sixty members, there is no evidence of the names of those who attended.  Those present however were told that the interim committee had secured a lease of part of the Town Green, soon to be called East End Park, from the North British Railway Company.  Strangely perhaps, leading member of the Cricket Club and a prominent Dunfermline citizen Mr A. R. Shearer became President of the new club, while Andrew Westwood and David Knight, both of whom had been centrally involved in the old football club, were elected as Secretary and Treasurer.

Progress was rapid and on 13th June 1885, Dunfermline Athletic played their first-ever football match.  Playing in maroon jerseys and blue shorts, the team secured a 2-1 win over Edinburgh University at East End Park.

And so began the story of one of Scotland’s most famous football clubs, and one that has affected the life and times of so many people and communities in and around Dunfermline, and hopefully will continue to do so for a long time to come.