A shining Star for 125 years

Newtongrange Star 1929/30 ' East of Scotland Cup winners, Scottish Junior Cup winners and Edinburgh & District League Champions
Newtongrange Star 1929/30 ' East of Scotland Cup winners, Scottish Junior Cup winners and Edinburgh & District League Champions

On September 20, 1890, Newtongrange Star played their first match, a 7-1 win over Westfield Rovers and began a glittering 125 years for the club.

In that time the village club has been one of the giants in Junior football, with some of Scottish football’s greats pulling on the famous blue Newtongrange Star shirt, including Dave Mackay, John Hughes and Willie Bauld.

New Victoria Park, home of Newtongrange Star

New Victoria Park, home of Newtongrange Star

Now the club are gearing up to mark the anniversary with a series of events planned over the coming season.

Newtongrange Star president Stan Adams reflected on some of the club’s legends.

He said: “We are having a dinner in October and a gala dinner in March next year.

“I think we are going to try and organise a game, possibly with some of the legends of the club playing. We have had many great players here over the years.

Building of Victoria Park in 1924

Building of Victoria Park in 1924

“There has been a lot of quality players that went on to play in senior football at the highest level, but also others that were fantastic for us but didn’t go on to senior football.

“In the ’70s and ’80s we had Stevie Hancock, Ian Anderson, Bobby Hogg, Jas Pryde, all great players. I could go on forever.

“All good Newtongragne Star men and all good players.

“John Buckley was our most successful manager, winning 14 trophies in five seasons.

The great Newtongrange Star side of the early 50's (including a young Dave Mackay)

The great Newtongrange Star side of the early 50's (including a young Dave Mackay)

“The only trophy we didn’t win when he was in charge was the Scottish (Junior) Cup. We played Auchinleck Talbot in the 1991 final but lost 1-0 at Falkirk’s old ground, Brockville.”

The Star started life in 1890 as a juvenile club. When Junior side Newtongrange Athletic folded in 1896, two unsuccessful attempts were made to get the Star registered as a Junior football team before Mr Robert Duncan and Mr Thomas Pearson finalised the registration in February 1900.

Stan believes the club has lasted so long due to its strong links with the local community, which continue to this day.

He said: “I think with it being a mining village, the miners loved their football. And it just went on and on.

“Obviously it’s got harder now that the mines are shut. We just want to keep the club going forever.

“The facilities we have here are second to none. We have got the astroturf there that the team trains on, and we rent it out to the local community.

“We have a youth academy set-up now, so they also use the astroturf a few times a week, and we give it to Newtongrange Primary School any time they want it, free of charge.

“It lets the children get a game of football and it is also a good link between the club and the school as well as the wider community.

“The kids are, after all, the future of the club.”

The first really successful period for Newtongrange Star was from 1905 to 1908, winning a total of eight trophies and three league championships.

Between 1919 and 1930 the Star won eight successive league championships and 14 trophies including the Scottish Junior Cup, East of Scotland Cup twice, Musselburgh Cup twice, Marshall Cup twice, East Lothian Cup, Rosebery Charity Cup, Simpson Shield, the Thornton Shield three times and Carmichael Cup.

The club won four league titles in the 1950s, the 1951-52 side considered by many to be the best Star team of all time– Dalgleish, Mann, Ferguson, Tighe, Skinner, Mackay, Halliday, Elms, Kinghorn, Slater and Hope.

Under manager John Buckley the club also enjoyed a trophy-laden 1990s.

The club moved to their current New Victoria Park home in 1994, which now boasts an impressive football academy, catering for players from the age of five.

However, Stan is desperate to get his hands on the Scottish Junior Cup, the “holy grail” for the club.

He said: “To be the president of Newtongrange Star is a proud thing for me, particularly now during our anniversary season. For somebody that loves the club I’m very proud.

“We have made progress in the last three years since I took over.

“Other clubs have more money than us, as many are from bigger towns, but I still want to win everything we enter.

“I’m certainly proud of the players. We have got some quality players here.

“It’s a huge year for the club. A big birthday, 125 years is a long time. It’s down to all the players that have played for the club and those that have been committee members.

“To win something this season would be great, in this our anniversary year.

“The Super League or Scottish Cup would be great.

“We have won the cup just once, in 1930. To me it’s the holy grail.

“To win the Super League would be great. But the Scottish Cup is the elusive trophy.

“So to have that sitting at the dinner table at the end of this anniversary season would be great.”