Saturday 31st December 2016
Gala Fairydean Rovers V Hawick Royal Albert
Gala Fairydean Rovers Football Club are a Scottish association football club based in the town of Galashiels in the Scottish Borders. The club competes in the Lowland League, after joining from the East of Scotland Football League in 2013. At the same time the club changed its name to Gala Fairydean Rovers, following a merger between Gala Fairydean and Gala Rovers. Gala Rovers won the Border Amateur Football League 13 times. In 2000 - 2001 Gala Rovers were the first ever side to play a whole domestic season without dropping any points. Gala Fairydean won the East of Scotland Football League eight times. The club reached 15 Scottish Qualifying Cup South finals, winning it 11 times. Gala Fairydean Rovers qualify automatically for the Scottish Cup as a member of the Scottish Football Association (SFA). The best performance by the club was reaching the third round, done on five occasions. The club plays its home matches at Netherdale in Galashiels.
Gala Fairydean Rovers FC was first formed in 1894. In 1907 the club was separated into two teams, known as Gala Fairydean and Gala Rovers. Both clubs ceased operations in 1914 due to the outbreak of the First World War and the consequent loss of male population in Galashiels. Gala Fairydean resumed in 1919, after the war had ended, and was a founder member of the East of Scotland Football League in 1923. Gala Rovers were only reformed in 1947 and joined the Border Amateur League. Although the two clubs were separate, they were closely linked through operations such as a joint lottery. Although Gala Fairydean were a semi-professional club and needed funds to pay players, Gala Rovers were amateur and could save some of the funds generated. This helped to fund construction of the 1960s main stand at Netherdale. Gala Fairydean applied to join the Scottish Football League in 1966, 1994, 2000 and 2002, but were unsuccessful on each occasion Stevie Noble is the Manager after taking over in June 2013 ahead of the Inaugural Lowland League Season after previously being in charge of Gala Rovers
Gala Fairydean first played its home matches at Eastlands Park in Galashiels between 1909 and 1913, before moving to Mossilee for a spell until the 1920s. The club moved back to Eastlands, and stayed until 1929, when Netherdale was opened. Netherdale has been the club's home since 1929 and is located in the south-east of Galashiels. The ground's main spectator stand was designed by architect Peter Womersley, alongside engineers Ove Arup and built between 1963 and 1965. The stand has a capacity for 750 spectators and the ground as a whole up to 4,000. The cantilevered concrete structure is protected as a Category A listed building. The club bought 300 seats from Newcastle United's St James' Park stadium when it was refurbished, but were replaced in 2006 by wooden benches. The Official Capacity is 4000
The Stadium has undergone significate improvements with a 3g Pitch being installed in 2012 which gives the club much needed revenue 365 days a year and during the poor weather, also giving the ground a more tidy feel about the place.
The club's most famous player is the former Hibernian, Celtic, AS Monaco, Everton and Scotland international, John Collins, who under his father Norrie's eye, trained and joined the club, before moving onto Hibernian as a young player. Collins, now a regular television pundit, played a few games for Gala Rovers when they were an amateur side as a teenager but never played for a competitive match for the town’s senior club at the time, Gala Fairydean, as he was quickly signed up by Hibs. He did, however, make the occasional guest appearance in friendlies and testimonials. He also re-signed for the club in 2014 as an 46 Year old but am sure if he ever played a game.
- Eastern League:
- Winners (1): 1921–22
- East of Scotland League (1923 to 1987) and East of Scotland Premier Division (after 1987)
- Scottish Qualifying Cup South:
Lowland LeagueFor the 2013-14 season Gala Finished 10th out of 12 teams losing 3-0 at home in the Scottish FA Cup 2nd round to Clyde after beating Glasgow University 3-1 in the 1st Round also at home. The following season they Finished 8th out of 14 teams and were knocked out of the Scottish FA Cup away at Gretna 2008 in the 1st Round. In 2015-16 they finished 11th out of 15 teams Losing to Linlithgow_Rose in the Scottish FA Cup 1st Round.
Going into this game they currently lie 12th in the table. This was my second game of the day after leaving Selkirk after the game against Vale of Leithen finished 6-0, I made the 6 mile Journey further up the A7 took around 10-12 Minutes, Arriving just in time for KO. Gala won this game 5-1 with goals from Ross Aitchison 43,50,61 Miller 64 Noble 68 and Meikle for the Visitors. Billy Miller’s Free kick being the highlight. The game kind of flattered Gala who were up against it in the 1st half but Hawick were unable to find a goal. Gala stepped up a gear in the second half and were rewarded with the win courtesy of some clinical finishing. At half time I wandered into the fabulous bar underneath the main stand which has some fascinating memorabilia on the walls, if it wasn’t so busy I'd have taken some photo’s. Gala moved up a place to 11th in the table after this win.
After the game I made the Journey back down the A7 in the rain and dark arriving home around 1815 again the road was so quite I don’t think I seen another car from Hawick until Longtown. It’s not often I get chance to do 2 games in a day so hats off to Selkirk and Gala, with 12 goals thrown in for a combined entrance of £10 thoroughly worth the money. Programmes were £1.50 and £2 so that came to £3.50 and with less than £20 fuel I can’t complain I could have got the train but it’s a 15/20 Minutes walk from Either Galashiels or Tweedbank although I’d have had to get a train to Edinburgh then change onto the borders railway newly opened in 2015. The chance to ride on the Borders railway will have to wait.