East Fife Football Club
East Fife Football Club 1903
East Fife Football Club was formed in 1903. After spending its first season competing in the Fife League and the Scottish Qualifying Cup as well as playing a number of challenge matches, the club joined the Eastern League for season 1904/05. Amongst the other teams playing in the Eastern League were Hearts' reserves, Broxburn Shamrock and Bo'ness.
The following season East Fife joined the Northern League, which had in its membership clubs such as Dunfermline Athletic and St Johnstone as well as the less well known Kirkcaldy United and Dundee Wanderers. The club remained in the Northern League until season 1908/09.
In 1909 East Fife joined the Central League, which consisted of many of the teams who had played in the Northern League with the addition of Alloa Athletic, Stenhousemuir and Kings Park from Stirling. They remained in the Central League until 1921, apart from a period during the First World War when the Eastern League was reformed.
Bayview Park from the air, early 1920's
In the period following the First World War, the clubs competing for the Central League were mainly from the coal and shale mining communities of Fife and West Lothian. As the mining towns thrived with the growth of the mining industry and its associated influx of miners and their families, so did the local football clubs. The result of this was that by the end of the decade, the Central League clubs could afford to pay their players higher wages than they would receive in the Scottish League. In an effort to stop the migration of its players to the Central League, the Scottish League decided to admit the Central League clubs, including East Fife, to its membership. The Central League therefore became the Scottish Second Division at the start of season 1921/22.
Only six years after becoming members of the Scottish League, East Fife appeared in the 1927 Scottish Cup Final, when they lost 3-1 to Celtic at Hampden Park in front of over 80,000 spectators. This remarkeable feat was surpassed just over a decade later when the Scottish Cup came to Methil in 1938. The 4-2 win over Kilmarnock in the replayed final, in front of a crowd of 91,700, saw East Fife become the first and so far the only Second Division club to win the Cup.
1938 Scottish Cup Winners
East Fife's best years were undoubtedly in the decade following the Second World War. During this time they won the Scottish League Cup no fewer than three times, as well as adding a third Scottish Cup Final to their record.
League Cup winners in 1949, 1951 and 1953
The Fifers' League record is also impressive. In the five seasons between 1948 and 1953 the club finished their First Division ( then the top division! ) campaign twice in third place and twice in fourth. In one of these seasons, 1952/53, East Fife were still in the running for the League Championship with only a few games remaining, eventually finishing only four points behind Champions Rangers!
Unfortunately, these days are long gone. Apart from three seasons during the early 1970's, East Fife have played their football outside the top league since the 1950's.
In August 1998, East Fife will move to a brand new stadium at Methil Docks. Who can tell - with the new stadium and its associated facilities, the club may recapture some of its former glory!
Under construction - a stadium fit for the Twenty-First Century!
I hope you have enjoyed this brief ( and possibly surprising ) history of East Fife Football Club. I have been compiling information about the history of East Fife for several years now and hope to publish a book about the club sometime in the future, possibly co-inciding with their Centenary in 2003.