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The East of Scotland Football League (EoSFL) is a league of football teams from south-east Scotland formed in 1923. It is one of Scotland's three "senior" non-leagues which sit below the Scottish Football League (SFL), the other two being the Highland Football League and the South of Scotland Football League (SoSFL).

Its clubs are largely drawn from the Edinburgh, Lothians and Scottish Borders areas, although with a number of clubs having opted to join their ranks from the SoSFL in recent years: (Annan Athletic, who left when elected to the SFL in 2008; Threave Rovers, who subsequently left to rejoin the SoSFL; and Dalbeattie Star, who resigned as members in July 2009 to concentrate on the SoSFL) mean there are other clubs, Gretna 2008 and Stirling University, from other areas too.

The EoSFL is split into two divisions, with 11 clubs in the Premier Division and 12 in the First Division. Two clubs are promoted and relegated between the two divisions at the end of each season. The current league sponsor is Central Taxis.

The EoSFL oversees the leagues and League Cup competitions; the East of Scotland Football Association (EoSFA) is a technically independent body, which organises all the other cups. Most of the officials sit on both bodies, and the Executive Committee is a joint organisation. The current President of the EoSFA is Morain Scott (of Coldstream) while the President of the EoSFL is Tom Allison (of Lothian Thistle). The secretary of both organisations is John Greenhorn (Ormiston).

The EoSFL also organises an Under-19 league, along with a League Cup and Challenge Cup. Current members are Spartans, Tynecastle, Whitehill Welfare, Edinburgh City, Lothian Thistle, Civil Service Strollers, Preston Athletic and Berwick Rangers. The Under-19 teams of Hearts, Hibs and Livingston do not participate in EoSFL competitions. All 11 teams play in the Scottish Football Association's Scottish Youth Cup annually.

The EoSFL and EoSFA are full members of the Scottish Football Association.

Contents

EoSFA & EoSFL members 2009–10

The league comprises two divisions, with 11 clubs in the Premier Division, playing home-and-away (20 matches in total), and 12 clubs in the First Division (22 matches in total). At the end of the season, the top two clubs in the First Division are promoted, with the bottom two club in the Premier Division relegated. Annan Athletic were elected to the Scottish Football League on 3 July 2008. Newly-formed Gretna 2008 joined the league on 11 July 2008, and were placed in the First Division, reprieving Selkirk, who had been due to be relegated. Stirling University also joined in the summer of 2008. Dalbeattie Star resigned as EoSFL members in July 2009, after the fixtures had been announced. However, rather than giving relegated Easthouses Lily a reprieve, the league management committee decided to proceed with an 11-team Premier Division for 2009-10. The 2009-10 league will be sponsored by Central Taxis.

  • Premier Division
  • First Division

All 23 clubs enter the League Cup, the King Cup, Image Printers East of Scotland Qualifying Cup and South Challenge Cup, which also includes South of Scotland League clubs as well as full SFA members Girvan, Glasgow University and Burnisland Shipyard.

In addition, the following clubs are also members of the EoSFA only, playing in the national leagues:

All have little involvement in EoSFA competitions: Hearts and Hibs contest the East of Scotland Shield (although this competition is held irregularly), while Berwick Rangers and Livingston participate in the East of Scotland (City) Cup.

Cup competitions

  • Scottish Cup: Only the 12 SFA members play in this competition. Knock-out tournament, with replays until the Semi-Finals and Final.
  • South Challenge Cup: This competition, new from 2007–08, replaced the old Scottish Qualifying Cup (South) under the new Scottish Cup format. It is for all clubs in the south of Scotland, aside from reserve teams - and thus it has 38 entrants, 23 from the EoSFL, 12 from the South of Scotland Football League, two amateur SFA clubs - Burntisland Shipyard F.C. and Glasgow University, and one club in membership of the SFA and SJFA - Girvan. It is a straight knock-out tournament.
  • The King Cup: Open to all 23 EoSFA members playing in the EOSFL. Straight knock-out tournament without replays. The King Cup final is traditionally the last game of the season.
  • East of Scotland League Cup: currently sponsored by Colin Campbell Sports. For season 2007–08, the 24 EoSFL clubs were divided into 4 groups of 6, meeting each team once, thus playing 2/3 times at home and 2/3 times away. The group winners qualified for single-legged semi-Finals and final. The format for 2009–10 has still to be decided.
  • The East of Scotland Qualifying Cup: currently sponsored by Image Printers. All 23 EoSFA members playing in the EOSFL enter. The finalists join the first teams of Berwick Rangers and Livingston in the East of Scotland (City) Cup. Straight knock-out without replays.
  • East of Scotland (City) Cup: Finalists of the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup join Berwick Rangers and Livingston in single-legged semi-finals and final, which go straight to penalties if drawn after 90 minutes. The 4 EoSFA members in the national leagues (Hearts, Hibs, Berwick and Livingston, formerly Meadowbank Thistle) used to all enter, but now Hearts and Hibs reserves contest the East of Scotland Shield - albeit intermittently.
  • East of Scotland Consolation Cup: known as the 'Alex Jack Cup'. Competition for 12 non-SFA members of the EoSFL, usually played on the same weekends as Scottish Cup matches. Acts both as a top-up cup, giving these teams matches on otherwise idle weekends, and as an opportunity for what tend to be smaller clubs to gain trophies. Straight knock-out, without replays.
  • East of Scotland Shield: since the mid–1980s this tournament has become a one-off match for youth/reserve teams of Hearts and Hibs.

History

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Original EoSFL

An earlier East of Scotland League existed between 1896 and 1906 when the supplementary Edinburgh Football League changed its name after accepting Dundee as a member. There is no connection between the two incarnations of the league.

Recent history

The EoSFL is generally not viewed as being as strong as the Highland League (with fewer of their club sides defeating SFL sides in the Scottish Cup competition as opposed to the HFL) but is still regarded as being stronger than the SoSFL. A number of the sides in the EoSFL have applied to join the SFL in recent years, with Gala Fairydean applying in 1994, 2000 and 2002, Preston Athletic applying in 2000 and 2002, Annan Athletic in 2000 and Edinburgh City attempting to join in 2002.

In 2004, Threave Rovers pulled out of the League to concentrate their efforts on the South of Scotland Football League. This left the League with an uneven number of clubs and they were expected to fill the vacancy in the Summer of 2005, with Gala Rovers widely touted as likely candidates. However this did not happen. The only change that happened at that year's Annual General Meeting of the League was that Tollcross United announced they would be competing as Tynecastle from the 2005–06 season.

In 2006, Peebles Rovers merged with several local amateur sides to become Peebles, who took Rovers place in the league. At the 2007 AGM, agreement was reached to admit the reserve side of Berwick Rangers as the twelfth member of the First Division. They have also entered the League Cup, but no other cups, in 2007–08. However, the reserves lasted only one season following Berwick Rangers' relegation to the fourth tier of Scottish football. They have been replaced by Stirling University.

The newest entry in the EoSFL is Gretna 2008, formed in the wake of the financial disaster that befell Gretna's former club, Gretna F.C. The original club had meteorically risen from the Third Division to the SPL in three years due to the support of multimillionaire Brooks Mileson. However, they were not competitive in the SPL in their only season in that league in 2007–08, and Mileson was forced to withdraw his support due to a health crisis that would ultimately claim his life. The debt-ridden club resigned its place in the SFL, and was liquidated in August 2008. In the meantime, local supporters formed a new club to keep senior football in the town—although Gretna 2008 has initially had to play its home matches in nearby Annan.

Gretna 2008 takes the place in the EoSFL, though not the league position, of Annan Athletic, which was elected by the SFL to take the place in the Third Division that Gretna F.C. was forced to resign. Annan Athletic had been in the EoSFL Premiership, while Gretna 2008 begins its life in the EoSFL First Division.

Stadia

Attendances in the EoSFL are not particularly high as clubs in the Edinburgh area must compete with a number of SFL and SPL clubs and in the Borders area the sport of Rugby Union is more popular. Crowds vary from in the hundreds at Gretna, Spartans and Preston, to handfuls at Eyemouth or Easthouses. Generally, the majority of clubs attract a few dozen fans to each match.

The following clubs have seated stands and floodlights at their stadiums: Edinburgh City, Preston Athletic, Gala Fairydean, Hawick Royal Albert, Gretna FC 2008, Spartans, and Peebles (although Peebles lack floodlights).

The following clubs have floodlights only: Edinburgh University (depending what pitch is in use), Lothian Thistle, Heriot-Watt University. Selkirk is believed to be considering fitting floodlights in the next season or two.

Champions Spartans are playing at their new stadium for the first time in season 2009-10. Ainslie Park has a capacity of 4,000, including 504 seats. It has floodlights too. Ainslie Park also has a full size and floodlit artificial training pitch.

Ormiston, Vale of Leithern and Whitehill Welfare have covered standing provision.

The largest stadium in the EoSFL is Meadowbank Stadium, home of Edinburgh City, with a capacity of between 16,000 and 17,000 all seated, an electronic scoreboard, floodlights and various other facilities. The running track, however, means spectators are a long way from the pitch. Most cup finals tend to be played at Whitehill Welfare, Preston Athletic or Heriot-Watt University, or very occasionally at Heart of Midlothian or Hibernian's grounds.

List of winners

1923–24 Coldstream
1924–25 Vale of Leithen
1925–26 Civil Service Strollers
1926–27 Civil Service Strollers
1927–28 Berwick Rangers
1928–29 Peebles Rovers
1929–30 Bathgate
1930–31 Bathgate
1931–32 Penicuik Athletic
1932–33 Peebles Rovers
1933–34 Peebles Rovers
1934–35 Peebles Rovers
1935–36 Peebles Rovers
1936–37 Jedburgh Artisans
1937–38 Penicuik Athletic
1938–39 Bo'ness
1939–40 - 1944–45 No league championship for the duration of the Second World War
1945–46 Peebles Rovers
1946–47 Berwick Rangers
1947–48 Hibernian 'B'
1948–49 Hibernian 'B'
1949–50 Heart of Midlothian 'B'
1950–51 Hibernian 'B'
1951–52 Hibernian 'B'
1952–53 Hibernian 'B'
1953–54 unfinished
1954–55 Eyemouth United
1955–56 Eyemouth United
1956–57 Eyemouth United
1957–58 unfinished
1958–59 unfinished
1959–60 unfinished
1960–61 Gala Fairydean
1961–62 Gala Fairydean
1962–63 unfinished
1963–64 Gala Fairydean
1964–65 Gala Fairydean
1965–66 Gala Fairydean
1966–67 Hawick Royal Albert
1967–68 Hawick Royal Albert
1968–69 Gala Fairydean
1969–70 Cowdenbeath 'A'
1970–71 Eyemouth United
1971–72 Spartans
1972–73 Civil Service Strollers
1973–74 Hawick Royal Albert
1974–75 Selkirk
1975–76 Selkirk
1976–77 Selkirk
1977–78 Vale of Leithen
1978–79 Vale of Leithen
1979–80 Whitehill Welfare
1980–81 Whitehill Welfare
1981–82 Whitehill Welfare
1982–83 Whitehill Welfare
1983–84 Spartans
1984–85 Whitehill Welfare
1985–86 Whitehill Welfare
1986–87 Vale of Leithen
1987–88
(Premier Division) - Whitehill Welfare
(1st Division) - Annan Athletic
1988–89
(Premier Division) - Gala Fairydean
(1st Division) - Peebles Rovers
1989–90
(Premier Division) - Annan Athletic
(1st Division) - Coldstream
1990–91
(Premier Division) - Gala Fairydean
(1st Division) - Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare
1991–92
(Premier Division) - Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare
(1st Division) - Manor Thistle
1992–93
(Premier Division) - Whitehill Welfare
(1st Division) - :*Civil Service Strollers
1993–94
(Premier Division) - Whitehill Welfare
(1st Division) - Tollcross United
1994–95
(Premier Division) - Whitehill Welfare
(1st Division) - Pencaitland
1995–96
(Premier Division) - Whitehill Welfare
(1st Division) - Edinburgh City
1996–97
(Premier Division) - Spartans
(1st Division) - Lothian Thistle
1997-98
(Premier Division) - Whitehill Welfare
(1st Division) - Peebles Rovers
1998–99
(Premier Division) - Whitehill Welfare
(1st Division) - Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare
1999–00
(Premier Division) - Annan Athletic
(1st Division) - Threave Rovers
2000–01
(Premier Division) - Annan Athletic
(1st Division) - Pencaitland & Ormiston
2001–02
(Premier Division) - Spartans
(1st Division) - Preston Rovers
2002–03
(Premier Division) - Whitehill Welfare
(1st Division) - Edinburgh University
2003–04
(Premier Division) - Spartans
(1st Division) - Kelso United
2004–05
(Premier Division) - Spartans
(1st Division) - Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare
2005–06
(Premier Division) - Edinburgh City
(1st Division) - Craigroyston
2006–07
(Premier Division) - Annan Athletic
(1st Division) - Dalbeattie Star
2007–08
(Premier Division) - Whitehill Welfare
(1st Division) - Heriot-Watt University
2008–09
(Premier Division) - Spartans
(1st Division) - Tynecastle

Total Titles Won

Rank Club East of Scotland League Titles (pre 1987–1988) East of Scotland Premier League Titles (1987–1998–present) Total Number of Titles
1 Whitehill Welfare 6 9 15
2 Gala Fairydean 6 2 8
3 Spartans 2 5 7
4 Peebles Rovers 6 0 6
5 Hibernian 'B' 5 0 5
6= Annan Athletic 0 4 4
6= Eyemouth United 4 0 4
6= Vale of Leithen 4 0 4
9= Civil Service Strollers 3 0 3
9= Hawick Royal Albert 3 0 3
9= Selkirk 3 0 3
12= Bathgate 2 0 2
12= Berwick Rangers 2 0 2
12= Penicuik Athletic 2 0 2
15= Bo'Ness 1 0 1
15= Coldstream 1 0 1
15= Cowdenbeath 'A' 1 0 1
15= Easthouses Lily Miners Welfare 0 1 1
15= Edinburgh City 0 1 1
15= Heart of Midlothian 'B' 1 0 1
15= Jedburgh Artisans 1 0 1

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