Clubs Reforming

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Clubs Reforming

Postby Alan McCabe » Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:06 am

I thought I'd bring this contentious subject to the attention of the historians and serious football followers on here.

It's a simple question really, but one which has remained unresolved.

WHEN IS A CLUB CONSIDERED TO HAVE FOLDED AND ANOTHER ONE FORMED?

Both Hibernian and Dumbarton have ceased to play in their lifespans yet the clubs are considered to be continuous in both cases. Edinburgh City stopped playing football for decades before the name resurfaces in the 1980s. More recently, East Kilbride appear to be claiming a link to a brief senior side from the 1870s having not played senior in the intervening 130-odd years! There are many more examples in the past.

Seeing as this site is, arguably, as concise a collection of serious football folk as there appears to be out there, I was wondering if we could set the rules, so to speak? Is there a time gap that we feel negates the continuation of one club? Excluding wartime when many clubs went into what was term 'abeyance', what is a reasonable period? I personally think Dumbarton's period of inactivity was of a length to consider a new club to have replaced them, irrespective of press reports suggesting a resurrection of the old. It is easy to suggest that if the name remains the same then its automatically linked to the earlier outfit but I'm not convinced on that.

Can we avoid discussion on Rangers seeing as they are undoubtedly the same club and no period of inactivity was evidenced.

I'd be grateful to hear our collective thoughts and, if nothing else, we could all come to some form of agreement on the issue.
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Re: Clubs Reforming

Postby Alan Brown » Sun Sep 27, 2015 2:23 pm

Quite a tricky one to answer Alan! The only senior club to really have came back twice as separate clubs is Clydebank which is normally indicated in the records. To avoid the upset of the clubs in questions perhaps it is better to just leave things as they are.

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Re: Clubs Reforming

Postby BMCCOLL » Sun Sep 27, 2015 3:25 pm

I reckon it would all be down to who resurrects a particular club; did they have a connection with the previous, were the ground and finances left held over to help in the restarting and so on. I think only in-depth research on those particular clubs would yield an answer.

An example would be the Helensburgh club of the 19th century which broke up on a number of times,
Helensburgh [1] 1874 1882 Latterly played at Kirkmichael Park
Helensburgh [2] 1885 1886 Played at Mossfield
Helensburgh [3] 1886 1886 Played at Mossfield

Helensburgh [4] 1896 1928 Played at Ardencaple Park

In general, did the new club(s) have a tangible connection with the old.
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Re: Clubs Reforming

Postby RobertB » Tue Sep 29, 2015 10:09 am

This is always something that puzzles me, Arthurlie my club were formed in 1874 but in some publications they are listed a few years later when they merged with Barrhead Rangers. They had a season of inactivity, apart from some friendly matches, in 1920 then they withdrew from the seniors in 1929. Months later they started the following season as an amateur side which they eventually withdrew from in the latter stages before joining the intermediate league for a season then starting their junior career in 1931.

There isn't a break in playing as such just a change of levels, I saw an article that stated on at the birth of the amateur that the club stated that they were in no way connected to the pervious Arthurlie and were a completely new entity that just by chance happened to have the same name, the same pitch, ex players and coaches involved and OH the senior club did have a rather hefty debt. Also in their first year Arthurlie amateur were actuality drawn against Arthurlie senior in the first round of the Scottish Cup.

For me they are currently the same club that was formed in 1874 but I would imagine that's open to interpretation due to the events following their birth.
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Re: Clubs Reforming

Postby EastJunior » Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:41 pm

Alan McCabe wrote:Can we avoid discussion on Rangers seeing as they are undoubtedly the same club and no period of inactivity was evidenced.


I know a lot of people who would take issue with that statement, and not just the social media wind-up merchants either. However we'll leave that to one side.

I like the point that if a club was simply closed down/stopped operating, and was then resurrected a year or two later with at least some of the same people involved in the previous club, then that could lay claim to a continuation.

I think however that part of it has to come down to whether a club has been formally liquidated/wound-up in the courts and assets dispersed. If that has happened, then I dont think you can claim any successor club as a continutation.

An example in the Juniors is Penicuik Athletic, who were resurrected in 2003 after a 10 year absence enforced by the sale of their ground. It was not their only period of abeyance over the years. However they have “1888” on their badge and even played a 125 year anniversary match recently. Clearly they have no link to a club that existed in 1888 apart from sharing the same name.

Maybe it’s impossible to set any rules, clubs will claim history regardless of facts that may suggest otherwise.
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Re: Clubs Reforming

Postby Partick Thistle » Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:12 pm

What I can't stand more than anything is the lack of consistency.

As a past thread on here showed, there are a huge number of current Scottish senior clubs who, ever since the 19th century, have had spells of retirement or have went bankrupt and carried on as if nothing had happened.

It's a dilemma over which I've chewed for a long time, for me the issue is manifest when it comes to "head to head" stats records.

I haven't solved the dilemma yet - I fudge it like everyone else - but I'm sure I will develop a consistent and clear position when the time comes to get serious about publishing / presenting my research.

My gut feeling is that I will conclude that club's exist as an emotional entity and it is this which decides whether or not a club's record continues unbroken.

Airdrieonians / Airdrie United are probably the finest case in point. The legal docs say that Airdrie United are a continuation of Clydebank. Aye right! Try squaring that with a supporter of either side! They have been clearly split by the stats databases - but there's absolutely no way that Clydebank / Airdrie United can be lumped together no matter what the paperwork says. I have split Airdrieonians / Airdrie United - but it feels wrong and I feel inclined to rejoin their records together again.

In summary, the spirit of a club can never die if there are still people there who wish that to be the case, and that's probably the most sensible and relevant criteria that could be applied.
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Re: Clubs Reforming

Postby BMCCOLL » Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:41 pm

I've always viewed the present Airdrieonians to be a direct continuation of Clydebank. The latter were homeless, cashless and fan-less, but they were still an entity which was bought over and moved into the vacant Excelsior Stadium and their name changed to Airdrie United. The old Airdrieonians were disbanded while the present Clydebank juniors were only founded after the senior club officially moved out of the town. Clubs moving around is not new... Meadowbank moving to Livingston, Clyde to Cumbernauld, clubs groundsharing etc, and for a while Celtic considered upping sticks to Cambuslang.
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Re: Clubs Reforming

Postby Swampy » Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:12 pm

Consistency is indeed lacking here. Do you date it from when the first record of a club appeared in a dusty newspaper archive? Or when the first limited liability company of that name was formed?

Some people really do take the piss with it. The guys who resurrected (their word) Third Lanark at least had something resembling the blessing of some folk who were connected to the old club, but the EK situation really is beyond parody, putting 1871 on the badge and crowing about it on their website. As someone else said if someone feels a spiritual connection to a club that's their lookout, but I simply don't believe that this exists in EK.

Then again, they don't seem to be harming anyone - and it's not quite as egregious as 1860 Munich, whose football department didn't start until 1899, and didn't even get around to playing another team until 1902!
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Re: Clubs Reforming

Postby the hibLOG » Mon Oct 26, 2015 9:23 pm

Swampy wrote:Then again, they don't seem to be harming anyone - and it's not quite as egregious as 1860 Munich, whose football department didn't start until 1899, and didn't even get around to playing another team until 1902!


To be fair, 1860 Munich's name refers to the (re)foundation of the gymnastics club which technically pre-dated even 1860. The football side of it simply became the dominant element of the club but the name, incorporating the date, stuck. It's not like they claim to have been playing football since 1860.

As to the continuity issue, there are two ways of looking at it - the bureaucratic and the emotional. The erstwhile owner of this site made a most valid point regarding the plumage, call and gait of ducks in reference to the continuity or otherwise of Rangers, whilst the record books record liquidation and various other (inconsistent) incorporations and registerings of a club in the bottom tier. Bureaucratically Airdrie Utd are Clydebank, relocated and sartorially redesigned. Emotionally they are Airdrieonians resurrected. Are there any die-hard Bankies fans who still make the trip to Lanarkshire every other Saturday? I suspect not. Utd are even referred to as the Diamonds on occasion. Only in the most pedantic sense can they be regarded as Clydebank.

For the historian therefore, I think there is nothing for it but to note the bureaucratic origins of a club but give primacy to the emotional, because in terms of identity it trumps the bureaucratic. Thus you would record the foundation of Rangers FC as 1872* with a footnote: *- Aye, right...
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Re: Clubs Reforming

Postby Partick Thistle » Tue Oct 27, 2015 12:37 am

the hibLOG wrote:Aye, right...

Nice design idea for their new badge there : - )
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Re: Clubs Reforming

Postby BMCCOLL » Tue Oct 27, 2015 1:24 am

the hibLOG wrote:
Swampy wrote:Then again, they don't seem to be harming anyone - and it's not quite as egregious as 1860 Munich, whose football department didn't start until 1899, and didn't even get around to playing another team until 1902!


To be fair, 1860 Munich's name refers to the (re)foundation of the gymnastics club which technically pre-dated even 1860. The football side of it simply became the dominant element of the club but the name, incorporating the date, stuck. It's not like they claim to have been playing football since 1860.


Uli Hesse's excellent history of German football, Tor, has a fascinating chapter on club names.
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Re: Clubs Reforming

Postby Skyline Drifter » Tue Oct 27, 2015 9:25 am

the hibLOG wrote:Bureaucratically Airdrie Utd are Clydebank, relocated and sartorially redesigned. Emotionally they are Airdrieonians resurrected. Are there any die-hard Bankies fans who still make the trip to Lanarkshire every other Saturday? I suspect not. Utd are even referred to as the Diamonds on occasion. Only in the most pedantic sense can they be regarded as Clydebank.

You seem to have missed the fact they haven't been called Airdrie United since the summer of 2013 now either. They changed their name back to Airdrieonians two seasons ago.
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Re: Clubs Reforming

Postby HibeeJibee » Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:18 pm

I'm right in saying that this was simply a renaming though. Looking at their website there seems to be no honours list claiming the old Airdrieonians titles (nor indeed the Clydebank titles which the SFL was always assiduous in assigning), and the history page goes through all the travails. Did they buy the copyright of the name off someone?


Another example of the minefield of this whole area is Duns FC. They folded in 1976... a decade after a separate (rival!) club called Duns Amateurs FC formed in 1967. In 2010 that club 'rebranded' as the old Duns FC, joined the EOS League in 2011, and celebrates the original Duns FC's honours and achievements.

What about Edinburgh City?
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Re: Clubs Reforming

Postby the hibLOG » Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:45 pm

Skyline Drifter wrote:You seem to have missed the fact they haven't been called Airdrie United since the summer of 2013 now either. They changed their name back to Airdrieonians two seasons ago.


So I did - but now you mention it I seem to have some vague vestigial memory of it happening. Interesting that they don't list all the old Airdrieonians history though. If they bought the rights to the name maybe they could buy the history too. That's what Charlie Green did anyway, isn't it?
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Re: Clubs Reforming

Postby BMCCOLL » Wed Oct 28, 2015 5:02 am

So it's OK to buy up a history and claim it as your own? Kneel before me, for I am now Charlemagne! :lol:
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