Vale crest Vale of Leven Football & Athletic Club
Millburn Park, Leven Street, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
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History

The Senior Junior Alliance

Originally founded as a senior club in 1872 the club had, within the short space of only seven years, won the Scottish Cup 3 times - in 1877, 78 and 79. In 1877 (on Friday, 13th April) the 'Dark Blues' as they were then known, beat Rangers 3-2 in the Scottish Cup Final under team captain Johnnie Ferguson.

The following year the Vale again beat Rangers, this time in the 4th round, by 5 goals to 0. They then went on to win the final against the Third L.R.V. on 30th March, 1878 by 1 goal to 0. Season 1878-79 again proved a success for the Vale F.C. On their way to the final they defeated Renton Thistle 11-0, Jameston 16-0, Dumbarton 2-1, and Helensburgh 3-0. The Vale scored 56 goals in the cup that season, and conceded 4. The final against Rangers was drawn 1-1 and the tie was awarded to the Vale when their opponents refused to appear for a replay.

Despite being founder members of the Scottish League in 1890 the fortunes of the Vale F.C. began to slide, especially as players were lost to England by the lure of high wages (a drain on Scottish Football which continues to the present day). In the 1920's the Vale dropped from the 2nd Division into the Alliance League and eventually in December 1939 they sought and obtained membership of the Central League, thus entering Junior Football.

On Saturday 23rd September 1939 Vale beat Babcox & Wilcox 6-2 at Millburn with goals from Hamilton (2), Yuille (2), Kennedy and Costello.

On Saturday 11th November Rangers Reserves win by four goals to two at Millburn with Taylor and Laverty getting the Vale goals.

In December 1939 Vale gain admission to the Central League in place of Springfield Athletic who had become defunct.

On Saturday 13th January 1940 Vale play their first match in the Central League when Vale of Clyde visit Millburn. Alick Galbraith has taken over as Match Secretary in place of Mr. Forrest who has joined the Army. In front of a crowd of 1500, Clarkson, Quinn and McClure gave Vale of Leven a three goal half time lead. With only 15 mins remaining the scores were level at 3-3 when Johnstone (pen), Beattie and Collins netted for the visitors, but the locals regained control and further goals from Clarkson and Quinn made it 5-3. Football enthusiasts in the district were quite impressed with the performance of Vale's new combination, the team being local with two exceptions.

Names from that first season were: Robert Barrie and Berteloni, Willie Findlay, Dan Clancey, John Maule, Jim Murray, J. Curley, Archie Taylor and his goalscoring partner I. McCrae, John Blair, McClure.

A Brief History of the Vale of Leven Football Club

On 23rd May, 1953 Vale of Leven F.C. reached a historic moment in their history when a Willie Cassidy goal defeated Annbank Utd by 1 goal to nil in the final of the Scottish Junior Cup in front of a crowd of 53,000 at Hampden Park. It was a proud moment in the history of the Vale of Leven Football Club, but this was by no means their only achievement.

Vale won the Evening Times Central League Championship in Season 1946-47. A hat trick from Boyle helped Vale beat Renfrew 4-1 in the play off and in the final at Saracen Park on Saturday 28th May in front of 10,000 spectators Vale beat the mighty Petershill 2-0 with goals from McDonald and Boyle.

More recently the club has also been successful; Season 69-70 was a memorable one, in which they won the Central League 'B' Division championship, and went on to victory in the Evening Times Trophy, beating Renfrew 4-1 in the final, again at Saracen. This match featured a hat-trick from John McCourt, the Vale half-back; all three of his goals were scored from the penalty spot. A fine finish to the season occurred when, within days of winning the Evening Times Trophy, the Vale Juniors went on to win the Erskine Cup by beating Port Glasgow 3-1. Drew Busby scored 55 goals for the Vale that season.

During the 70's the fortunes of the club were mixed. In seasons 70-71 and 71-72 the club remained in the 'A' Division of the Central League, but they slide into 'B' Division at the end of season 72-73 and further into 'C' in 73-74 where they remained until gaining promotion as league winners in 78-79 under the management of ex-Celtic goalkeeper Evan Williams. This promotion was short-lived, however, and the following season found them back in 'C' Division. The loss of goalkeeper Tom Carson to Dumbarton F.C. had much to do with the slump in the fortunes of the club.

After two seasons of narrowly missing promotion Vale, under the guidance of John Filshie, earned a well deserved place back in 'B' Division by finishing season 82-83 as runners up to Stonehouse Violet. The following year Vale narrowly missed promotion to the top division but it was a different story for the 1984-85 season, a lack of club funds combined with the waygoing of key players Beattie and Gardiner and the retiral of player boss Filshie saw the club languishing at the foot of the table around the New Year period. At this point John Filshie stepped down and the club appointed ex Dumbarton player James Brown as Match Secretary and with a dozen games left Vale gathered five wins and five draws to avoid the drop. After a couple of mid-table placings Vale eventually regained their Premier Division place by winning promotion at the end of season 87-88 thanks to 33 goals from Paul McGrogan.

Snippets from the Lennox Herald

10-6-39
If the proposal of Babcocks & Wilcox Football Club to revive the Scottish Alliance League comes to fruition, Vale of Leven may have a senior team next season. An invitation was extended to Vale OCOBA to attend at a conference of interested clubs. Since the old Vale of Leven team went out of existence, Alexandria and district have had no representatives in the senior ranks, the nearest approach being Vale OCOBA, which played in the Scottish Amateur League. With better industrial conditions in the district there is a feeling that Vale of Level can now support a team in a higher sphere than juvenile football, and there is hope that this would be the first step towards recapturing some of the football prestige of former days. Should a new club be successfully formed, it is understood that Millburn Park would be utilised.

5-8-39
VALE F.C.'s FIRST SIGNATURE
Mr. James Forrest, secretary of Vale of Leven Football Club, has signed his first player for the season. The new player is James McCaffer, a native of Milton of Campsie, who is an experienced footballer and has seen service with Airdrieonians.

12-8-39
VALE F.C. TRIAL GAME
The newly formed Vale of Leven F.C., which will play in the new Scottish Alliance League, held their first trial game on Millburn Park, Alexandria, on Saturday afternoon, when a team of Blues opposed a team of Whites. After an evenly contested match the Whites emerged the victors by the odd goal in nine. Goalscorers for the winners were Armstrong (4) and White, while for the losers Arneil (2), Garden and Marshall found the rigging. There were no further signings after the game.

19-8-39
NEW PLAYER FOR VALE OF LEVEN

Vale of Leven Football Club signed on Thursday another new player, Dan Clancy, whose position is right half. Clancy is the ex-Dumbarton and Celtic player. He is an experienced player and gave good service while playing with Dumbarton.
Vale of Leven plays Royal Naval Torpedo Works at Millburn Park, Alexandria, tomorrow (Saturday).

VALE OF LEVEN SIGNINGS
After their practice game on Saturday afternoon at Millburn Park, Vale of Leven Football Club signed Joe Jackson, a goalkeeper who has seen service with Forfar Athletic and Dumbarton; Daniel Laverty, outside left, from Londonderry; J. Hamilton, centre forward, from East Stirlingshire, and Bunty Kennedy, inside right, from Dumbarton.

26-8-39
NEW PLAYERS FOR VALE TEAM

The Secretary of Vale of Leven F.C. On Thursday signed-on John Yuill, an ex-Dumbarton and Duntocher Hibs player, as a winger, and Tom McInnes, centre-half. McInnes previously was with Renfrew Juniors and Neilston Victoria.

2-9-39
SCOTTISH ALLIANCE LEAGUE

Vale of Leven 4
Queen's Park Strollers 1
At Millburn Park, Alexandria, last Saturday. Attendance - 1500.
The visitors played most of the game with ten men, Ovens having to retire injured. Strollers had the best of the exchanges in the first half. The opening goal was scored in the early minutes, Ovens converting after a free kick by McDonald. Vale rallied in the second half. Kennedy equalised after six minutes play, and a quarter of an hour later Hamilton gave the home side the lead, Yuill got a third goal and Bradley added to the total near the close.
Vale of Leven were best served by Jackson, Gilmour, Clancy, Yuill and Kennedy. Best for the visitors were Sheppard, Hudson, Howieson, Robertson and Miller.

NEW FORWARD FOR VALE OF LEVEN
Mr. James Forrest, secretary of the Vale of Leven Football Club, announced another signature on Tuesday by the signing of William Bradley, of St. Ninian's Thistle. He is an outside right and hails from Bannockburn. He played a successful trial against Queen's Park Strollers last Saturday and will be included in the Vale's team against Celtic 'A' at Millburn Park, Alexandria, tomorrow (Saturday).

9-9-39
BENEFIT MATCH
A draw was a good result of this match, played at Millburn Park, Alexandria, on Saturday 2nd September.
Celtic got the lead ten minutes after the start, the Vale keeper being at fault in dealing with a clearance from a corner kick which left Doyle an easy chance to score. Ten minutes from the interval the Vale equalised, Bradley scoring a fine goal from a Laverty cross. A draw at the interval would have been a true reflex on the play, but shortly before the whistle Carruth gave Celts the lead. On the resumption the Vale team took command, and 12 minutes after the restart Laird had their equaliser. The game was now of an end-to-end nature, but the respective defences held out.
Atten 800.

Golden Jubilee Celebrations August 1939-1989
Notes from the Millburn Match MAG (August 1989)

This month marks a milestone in the history of Vale Leven Football & Athletic Club, as it is our fiftieth year as a Junior club. To mark the occasion we have organised a wide variety of events, which we hope you enjoy watching or taking part in.

Our major football events involve teams from both Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers visiting Millburn and bearing in mind the great historic connections with the old Senior Vale when all three were founder members of the Scottish League we are pleased to welcome the players, officials and supporters of both sides. Celtic are no strangers to Millburn as it was only six years ago they took part in a challenge match to commemorate the opening of our new pavilion.

Our opening match sees Jim George's Dumbarton side provide the opposition in our annual fixture. Last year's match was part of Tom Robertson's testimonial and a last minute goal gave the Sons a draw, lucky as usual, sorry Jim. This is the game we get most pleasure winning, however that is a rare occurrence these days. Perhaps it will be our turn this time. Probably appearing in a Dumbarton strip will be Paul McGrogan.

The opposition for our Junior match is provided by Ayrshire side Dalry Thistle. Obviously we must have forgiven Jim McQueen's men for knocking us out of the Scottish Cup two years ago. If the Jubilee match is good as our 3 cup games then the fans will be in for a treat.

Still on football we have lined up something special in the way of a film show - Colin Liddell's "Beautiful Vale" features extracts from our 1953 Scottish Cup win. Spectators will also be able to meet the players who won the cup that wonderful day, however, captain Chummy Gilmour is back in Canada but he did pass on his regards when he met Vale President Jim Campbell last month.

Various local teams have entered our Sports Quiz and spectators are welcome at St. Mary's school on all nights. Our Pool and Darts competitions are being organised by the Ladyton Lounge and Bunny's Bar and they have certainly put a lot of work into the events. For those seeking a more energetic pursuit then Greensome Stableford Pairs Golf competition organised by Vale Golf Club or the 3 Mile Fun Run organised by Millburn Harriers may be for you.

The youths' football takes place on two days and we hope the grown ups turn up to lend their support.

League Record from 1990:

2001-02: 10th Central Division 1, 26pts from 26 games
2000-01: 10th Central Division 1, 29pts from 26 games
1999-00: 5th Central Division 1, 47pts from 26 games
1998-99: 7th Central Division 1, 35pts from 26 games
1997-98: 9th Central Division 1, 34pts from 26 games
1996-97: 10th Central Premier, 23pts from 22 games
1995-96: 2nd Central Division 1, 44pts from 26 games
1994-95: 8th Central Division 1, 36pts from 26 games
1993-94: 6th Central Division 1, 28pts from 26 games (2pts per win)
1992-93: 8th Central Division 1, 23pts from 24 games (2pts per win)
1991-92: 12th Central Premier, 11pts from 22 games (2pts per win)
1990-91: 9th Central Premier, 23pts from 26 games (2pts per win)


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