East Fife Football Club have a proud history dating back to 1903. A lot has happened in that time, as with every football club. There’s been joy and heartache, cup wins, championships, promotions and relegations, and history made by teams and players over the years.
There’s a lot to know. Far too much to do it justice here. But here’s our potted history of East Fife FC in a handy A to Z format.
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DAVE CLARKE holds the appearance record for East Fife playing 617 games for the Club between 1968/69 and 1986/87.
His nearest rival for this honour was SAMMY STEWART who made 521 appearances between 1938/39 and 1960/61 and PHIL WEIR who made 424 between 1922/23 and 1934/35.
In these days of constantly changing squads, it is unlikely that these players will ever have their records challenged.
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Bayview and East Fife go hand in hand.
Bayview Park was the Club’s home ground from 1903 to 1998. When the move was made to a new ground in 1998 it became Bayview Stadium.
“The Bayview” is also the official title for the East Fife programme.
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The record crowd at Bayview Park was set on January 2nd 1950 when 22,515 people turned up to watch East Fife defeat Raith Rovers 3-0 in a Division One match.
The record crowd at Bayview Stadium was originally set on May 10th 2003 when a capacity of 1,996 fans came along to watch East Fife beat Queens Park 1-0 and gain promotion to the Second Division.
That record was broken in the 2013/14 season when special temporary stands were put around the ground for the visit of Rangers in a League One match on October 26th 2013, with 4700 fans in attendance.
The largest crowd ever to watch an East Fife match was 118,262 in the 1950 Scottish Cup Final at Hampden Park on April 22nd, when the Fife lost 3-0 to Rangers.
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There have been a number of dark days in East Fife’s glorious history that have threatened the future of the Club.
The first of such times came during the 1910/11 season when poor crowds and a lack of money coming into the club almost saw East Fife go bankrupt. The solution was to turn the club into a limited company. East Fife’s future was assured and the club went from strength to strength.
More dark days came along during the 1959/60 and 1960/61 seasons when a downturn in fortunes off the field and boardroom unrest almost saw the club fold, but public donations, a “Save East Fife Fund” and some much needed Cup gate revenue saw East Fife stay afloat once again.
In recent times, the Chairmanship of Derrick Brown almost brought the club to it’s knees in 2005 and 2006 when, despite a healthy bank balance this time around, fan disillusionment with the current regime meant that dwindling crowds and enthusiasm for the club were hitting an all-time low. A series of boycotts and fan pressure brought down the Chairman and East Fife have moved forward once again, although it hasn’t felt like going from strength to strength this time around.
In recent seasons, East Fife financial situation has become dire again, with the directors struggling at times to keep the club afloat, as income dwindles and they were left to pick up the pieces following Lee Murray’s disastrous one year stint as Chairman for the 2013/14 season.
It may be strange to include such times in an East Fife A to Z but I feel it is important to never forget these times as complacency can only threaten the future and although the club has come on leaps and bounds in recent seasons under the current stewardship, with all the uncertainty around Scottish football right now, we’re certainly not out of the woods yet.
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The East Fife Supporters Trust is a very important fan organisation to help safeguard the future of East Fife Football Club. The Trust were formed in 2004 and own an ever-growing amount of shares in the Club. They also have an Associate Director on the Board to take forward fan ideas and worries. The ultimate aim of the Trust was to buy East Fife and remodel it as a fan-owned football club. Negotiations have been ongoing, but this dream still seems a far way away from becoming a reality.
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East Fife played the first ever Scottish Cup game under floodlights when they lost 3-1 at Bayview to Stenhousemuir in the Fifth Round on February 8th 1956.
The floodlight boom of the 1950’s saw East Fife as pioneers of the ‘challenge game’, travelling to England to play many friendlies under the lights.
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East Fife’s all time record goalscorer is PHIL WEIR who scored 226 goals in 424 games for the club between seasons 1922/23 and 1934/35.
GEORGE DEWAR holds the post war goalscoring record, with 196 goals in 337 games between 1960/61 and 1969/70.
The single season record for League goals is 41 and is shared between JOCK WOOD in 1926/27 and HENRY MORRIS in 1947/48.
HENRY MORRIS also holds the most goals in all competitions in a season, netting 62 times in 1947/48.
The most goals an East Fife player has scored in a single match stands at seven and that record was set by JOE COWAN in the 9-1 win against Dumbarton at Bayview on September 29th 1934. GEORGE DEWAR netted six times in the 8-0 Division Two win at home to Alloa on November 2nd 1963.
The most goals scored by East Fife in a single season is 114 in the B Division in 1929/30 when the Club were promoted as runners up.
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The first ever player to score a hat trick for East Fife was WILLIE WILKIE when he scored three goals in the 4-1 victory over Broxburn Athletic in a Central League match at Bayview on September 25th 1909.
HENRY MORRIS is also infamously known for scoring a hat trick on his Scotland debut in the 8-2 victory against Northern Ireland in 1949, only to be never capped again.
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The first East Fife player to gain an international cap whilst playing for East Fife was “Dangerous” DANNY LIDDLE who won a cap for Scotland against Austria in a 5-0 defeat in 1931. He went on to win three caps in total for Scotland whilst playing for East Fife.
GEORGE AITKEN is the club’s most capped player, winning five Scotland caps during his time at Bayview between 1949 and 1950.
There have been six players who have received full Scottish caps whilst at Bayview, the last of them being CHARLIE FLEMING in 1953. The others are DAVIE DUNCAN, HENRY MORRIS and ALLAN BROWN.
PAUL HUNTER gained under 21 caps for Scotland whilst at Bayview in the 1990’s.
ARNOLD DWARIKA and CRAIG DENNIM won caps for Trinidad and Tobago during the mid 1990’s and on one occasion East Fife had to have a match postponed against Clydebank on August 31st 1996 because of the number of players we had away on international duty!
A number of former international players have played for East Fife after their international days have been over.
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East Fife’s traditional colours are black and gold with the jersey historically being vertically striped with white shorts, but they were initially hoops.
The club’s first jerseys were green and white hoops. These were replaced by navy blue jerseys for the 1908/09 season and then an all-black strip before settling on the famous colours of today in 1911.
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KINGS OF FIFE
East Fife have better head to head results against their three senior Fife rivals of Raith Rovers, Dunfermline and Cowdenbeath when looking at combined results in the League, Scottish Cup and League Cup.
The club have also won the Fife Cup on 19 occasions, the first coming in 1907/08.
East Fife can truly claim to be the Kings of Fife.
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East Fife almost made the League Cup their own in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, bringing three trophies back to Bayview.
Their first League Cup win came on November 1st 1947 when Falkirk were beaten 4-1 at Hampden in a replay in front of 30,664 fans. The first game had been drawn 0-0 the week before in front of 52,781 fans.
East Fife’s second Cup triumph came two years later on October 29th 1949 when Dunfermline Athletic were comprehensively beaten 3-0 in front of 38,897 fans at Hampden.
The hat trick of League Cup triumphs came on October 24th 1953 when a 3-2 victory over Partick Thistle was witnessed by 88,529 at Hampden.
The club were also losing semi-finalists in the competition the following season, going out 2-1 to Motherwell.
East Fife’s victories made them the first club to win the trophy three times.
In this modern era, it’s sad to see the League Cup devalued the way it now is, seemingly more a burden to the bigger clubs than something they care about winning. The competition will always hold a special place in the hearts of East Fife fans though.
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East Fife have had 30 different managers since they became a limited company in 1911.
The first official manager was DAVE McLEAN, with Secretary Thomas Neill undertaking that role for the first nine years of the club’s existence. McLean is also the club’s longest serving manager, guiding the club for 28 years in two spells.
Next longest is DAVE CLARKE, who also managed the club on two different occasions, clocking up 10 years as manager.
The most successful manager trophy wise was SCOT SYMON, who delivered five major trophies in his time at the helm.
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NOISE IT UP
East Fife’s support are known for their vocal encouragement away from home and their inventiveness in their chants and songs (see the old SONGBOOK section on the old version of the site).
The famous “Cowden Family” song was voted to be the best fan football song by BBC Radio Scotland’s “Off The Ball” programme, and was of course immortalised in AFTN’s infamous cartoon strip of the same name.
“Mary Fae Methilhill” is one of the most popular terracing ditties amongst the support and has even been immortalised on CD by the Dutch punk band Slugger.
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OFF! OFF! OFF! OFF!
There’s nothing like a sending off to liven a game and the crowd up.
The first sending off at Bayview Park came in the match against Bo’ness on December 29th 1928 when the visitor’s Jock Fyffe got his marching orders.
The first East Fife player to be sent off at Bayview then also came amazingly in the same match when SHARKEY saw red.
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East Fife were Penman Cup winners on 4 occasions: 1909/10, 1916/17, 1938/39 and 1961/62.
The Cup competition started in 1905 and was originally contested by clubs from Fife and the Lothians.
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The Scottish Qualifying Cup was played as a single national competition between 1895 and 1931.
The competition was to allow a certain number of non League football clubs throughout Scotland the chance to play in the Scottish Cup.
East Fife’s first national silverware came in the competition when they beat Bo’ness 3-1 on December 18th 1920 in the final at Central Park in Cowdenbeath.
It was the only time that East Fife won the Qualifying Cup and also the last season that the club were eligible to play in it as they entered the Scottish Football League the next season.
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Ah the highs and the lows of football.
East Fife’s record victory in a competitive match came on December 11th 1937 when they defeated Edinburgh City 13-2 in a B Division match at Bayview.
East Fife recorded their biggest ever victory in any match though on October 29th 1958 when the RAF North East were thumped 13-1 in a friendly at Bayview.
The Club’s record defeat came against another Edinburgh side when they lost a Division One league game 9-0 to Hearts at Tynecastle on October 5th 1957.
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East Fife won the Scottish Cup on April 27th 1938 after defeating Kilmarnock 4-2 in a replay in front of 91,700 fans. The first match was drawn 1-1 four days earlier in front of 79,000 people.
By winning the trophy as a B Division side, they became the only club to win the Scottish Cup whilst outside the top flight of Scottish football, a record that still holds today, despite being put under threat in recent years by several clubs.
East Fife have also reached the final on two other occasions, losing 3-1 to Celtic in 1927 and 3-0 to Rangers in 1950.
The club’s first Scottish Cup game was on January 15th 1910 when Hurlford came to Bayview for a first round match, with East Fife triumphing 4-1.
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East Fife’s Cup triumphs from 1938 to 1953 sadly came at a time before there was European football for Cup winners.
The club did take part in an international Cup competition in 1973, the Texaco Cup.
The Texaco Cup ran from 1971 to 1975 and was for clubs from the UK and the Republic of Ireland who hadn’t qualifed for European competition.
East Fife were paired with Burnley in the first round of the 1973 competition and were soundly beaten 7-0 at Turf Moor in the first leg on September 18th in front of 10,374 fans.
The Fife held their own in the return leg on October 3rd, going down 3-2 at Bayview in front of a crowd of 1,657.
This was to be East Fife’s only participation in the Cup and their only foray, to date, in a competitive international competition.
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East Fife have a proud history of causing upsets in Cup competitions.
The biggest upset they have ever caused was winning the 1938 Scottish Cup as a Second Division side (see above).
In more recent times, three huge Cup games stand out.
Premier League side Hibs were beaten 2-0 at Bayview in a Scottish Cup replay on January 31st 1984. East Fife were two divisions below them at the time.
In the League Cup, Premier League side St Mirren were shocked 1-0 at home on August 29th 2007, by an East Fife side three divisions below them.
In 2011, East Fife travelled to Pittodrie for a League Cup tie against Aberdeen. You wouldn’t have known the Dons were two divisions above the Fife, with the Bayview boys winning 4-3 on penalties after the match finished 3-3 after extra time.
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East Fife were granted full membership of the Scottish Football League in time for the 1921/22 season.
Before gaining League status, the Club had first plied their trade in the Eastern League in 1904 before joining the Northern League in 1905 and finally the Central League in 1909, where they remained until the end of the 1914/15 season. World War One saw the Club playing back in the Eastern League then rejoining the Central League in 1919/20 for a final two seasons before finally getting Scottish League admission.
East Fife have remained a Scottish League Club ever since, apart from during World War Two when they played in the localised wartime leagues.
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East Fife have won the Wemyss Cup on six occasions: 1911/12, 1912/13, 1917/18, 1934/35, 1935/36 and 1936/37.
The Wemyss Cup was a competition for Fife’s senior clubs from 1897 to 1939.
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Not us! East Fife have had players play for them from various nationalities including England, Wales, Northern Ireland, France, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, Ghana, Macedonia, Iceland, the US and Canada.
The club have also undertaken several preseason tours overseas and have played matches in Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Germany, Greece, England, Ireland and the US.
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YEAR OF FORMATION
East Fife Football Club were formed in 1903 following meetings held on March 9th and April 2nd.
The club celebrated their centenary year with promotion to the Second Division following a dramatic late winner to defeat Queens Park 1-0 at Bayview Stadium on the last day of the season. Fate it was.
A special centenary dinner was held in 2003, along with a special centenary match against the club’s first ever opponents, Heart of Midlothian. The match was played at Bayview Stadium on September 7th 2003 with the Edinburgh side triumphing 2-1 and no repeat of the initial 2-2 draw between the two sides.
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So what is the Zeitgeist of an East Fife fan? What is our spirit?
It’s easy to support a winning team. A team that wins trophy after trophy and are never just battling to survive.
To support a team like East Fife is what being a football fan is all about. That’s a true fan of football. A real lover of the beautiful game.
And if you ever start to wonder if it’s all worth it, then just read all of the above again for inspiration.