Albion Rovers Football Club

Standard
2004–current

2004–current (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Albion Rovers Football Club are a Scottish football team from the North Lanarkshire town of Coatbridge, who are currently playing in the Scottish Football League Second Division. Founded in 1882 as the result of an amalgamation of two other teams, the club joined the Scottish Football League initially in 1903 before returning in 1919 and, although they have spent most of their time in the lower divisions, have maintained their league membership since. Their sole major honours during that time have been wins in the old and new Second Divisions (second and third tiers respectively).

The club’s home stadium is Cliftonhill, opened on Christmas Day 1919.

Albion Rovers were formed in 1882 from a merger of the two Coatbridge sides Albion FC and Rovers FC. The club joined the Scottish Football League Second Division in 1903 along with Ayr Parkhouse F.C. following a small expansion in numbers. Rovers (as their fans prefer the team to be called, rather than “Albion”) settled into the League reasonably well, albeit without ever clinching promotion. By 1915 the Scottish Football League had been merged into a single division structure, with the second division scrapped. The Rovers moved to join the Western Football League and whilst members of this set-up moved to their current Cliftonhill home in 1919. They were close to returning to the Scottish League in 1917 but lost out in a vote amongst Clydebank, Vale of Leven and Stevenston United F.C.

With their new stadium completed, Rovers returned to the single division Scottish League for the 1919–20 season. Although they finished rock bottom that season the club also enjoyed possibly their finest hour when they defeated Rangers in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup, before losing 3–2 to Kilmarnock in the Final. Local folklore has it that Rovers’ goalkeeper Joe Shortt had to be bailed out of police custody on the morning of the Final and that his subsequent performance at Hampden had been affected by the lingering effects of his alcohol consumption the night before.

Rovers remained a top-flight side even after the return of the Second Division until their relegation in 1923. It was during this period that John “Jock” White, became Rovers’ only international appearing for Scotland, in a match against Wales. The club remained in the Second Division until the 1933–34 season when they took the title by a point from Dunfermline Athletic. Of the five seasons immediately before the Second World War Rovers spent all but one of them as a top-flight side. They took part in the emergency Western League during the 1939–40 season before transferring over to the Southern Football League. Despite struggling from time to time to get a full side out the Rovers managed to survive the war in good shape because of coaches George McFadden and Alexander McFadden.

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