GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1930-2005
The Early Years
Glenafton Athletic Junior Football Club formerly
came into existence on August 2nd 1930 taking their name from the picturesque
Glen Afton in the parish of New Cumnock. Also known as the Glens or the Afton, the
team were based a mile or so from the town centre in the miners rows of
Entry into the small South Ayrshire League in season 1930/31 resulted in immediate success with the Glens lifting the championship ahead of the famous Glenbuck Cherrypickers.
In 1933-34 a number of the 'southern' teams were finally allowed entry into the prestigious Western Junior League to play with the 'northern' big boys. A season later the Glens were League Champions and also captured the Western League Cup for a memorable double. Top four finishes were delivered in the seasons leading up the War Years.
League reconstruction followed and the Western League was divided into North and South Sections, with the winners of each section contesting the Western League Championship in a one-off league decider. The Glens were next crowned Western League Champions in season 1958-1959 again adding the Western League Cup and the Vernon Trophy as the icing on the treble!
A New Home and Ayrshire Domination
In 1960, the moved to a new home
in the town centre close to where the Afton Water flows into the River Nith. The boggy land formed for the remnants of a
prehistoric loch that once covered much of the lowland part of the parish and
was drained and the Glens park was aptly named
The omens for a great new
beginning were good with two goals from the legendary Danny McCulloch and one
from Eddie Brennan sealing a 3-2 victory over local rivals Cumnock Juniors. The
Glens would go on to win 20 of the 23 league games, scoring 99 goals in the
campaign to clinch the Southern Section. It would be another year in their new
home before they would go all the way and win the Western League Championship
in season 1961-62. That year they also contested the Scottish Junior Cup
semi-final for the first time in their history, sadly losing out 1-0 to Kirkintilloch Rob Roy at
The Western League Championship
Richard 'Nodder' Kilpatrick scored a club record 65 goals in season 1963-64 as the Glens completed a unique Western League Championship treble . In these three seasons the Glens played 70 league games plus 3 league deciders winning 62 games, drawing 6 and losing 5 and scoring 338 goals in the process!
They won the Southern Section of the Western League for the last time in season 1965-66. The Western League North and South Sections were replaced with the Ayrshire League North and South Sections in 1968. From its inception in 1931, 'southern' teams were only to be crowned Western League champions of ten occasions, with Glenafton Athletic accounting for five these victories 1934/35, 1958/59, 1961/62, 1962/63 and 1963/64.
The Lean Years with Signs of Recovery
The Glens stranglehold on Ayrshire football began to fade and flags and silverware were becoming distant memories and players like Danny McCulloch and Nodder Kilpatrick entered into New Cumnock footballing folk-lore.
It was the late 70's before other
local heroes like Ian 'Scoosh' McEwan
and Jim 'Meeshy'
The Talbot Years
The Glens renaissance had started
as Auchinleck Talbot served notice of their intention
to dominate Scottish Junior Football. Winners of the Whyte & Mackay Cup (formerly the West of Scotland Cup
and second only in prestige to the Scottish Junior Cup for the competing clubs)
in seasons 1979/80, 1980/81 and 1981/82. They took a rest year and
contested the next 5 finals, winning 4 of these taking their total haul to 7 in
9 seasons. This included a 3-2 victory over the Glens at
The Rough Times and the Great Times
Glenafton's response to this domination was to bring
celebrity status to the club. In 1990 the former Partick
The 'Talbot Years' will surely never be beaten 5 Scottish Junior Cup victories and 7 West of Scotland Cup victories and countless other trophies between 1979 & 1992.Nevertheless, the Glens were about to embark on their own piece of Scottish Junior Cup history. A third consecutive semi-final followed and a 2-1 victory over Central League cracks, Lesmahagow gave the Glens the opportunity to redeem themselves at Firhill, the spiritual home of their manager Alan Rough. An inspired Archie Halley substitution and a late Johnny Millar goal sealed a historic victory over Tayport Juniors. The game was no spectacle but the scenes on the long journey back home were incredible. The celebrations as Rough and his team paraded the Junior Cup through the town on an opened deck bus are forever embedded in New Cumnock's history. After 30 years of hurt from the 1962/63 final the Glens had finally lifted the 'holy grail' on 23rd May 1993.
A few days later on a surreal Tuesday evening the Ayrshire League Championship was clinched with a effortless victory over Kilbirnie Ladeside. Victory over Cumnock Juniors on their own turf in the Ayrshire Cup Final capped the most successful season in Glenafton's 63 year history.
A fourth consecutive semi-final
and the Glens had truly emerged from the Talbot's shadows. Arthurlie,
for so long in the shadow of their own rivals Pollok were the formidable
opposition, 2 miles from their own patch at the 'neutral'
The Glens were now contesting their third consecutive Scottish Junior Cup Final, a marvellous achievement by anyone's standard. As holders they were hot favourites and the opposition was Largs Thistle from the Ayrshire 2nd Division. Largs however had a collection of notable scalps and the Glens' Ayrshire 'jinx' was to strike again. Largs run out worthy 1-0 winners and the Glens had suffered a hat-trick of Cup Final defeats against Ayrshire opposition. Sadly the game will be remembered for the wrong reasons, both teams having 2 players sent off. This played right into the hands of the 'Central League press' and their open loathing of Ayrshire domination of this trophy, a trophy that was on its way back to Ayrshire for the eighth time in the last nine years.
The quarter-final of season
1994/95 had presented Arthurlie with the opportunity
for revenge at
Season 1995/96 and a sixth consecutive quarter-final appearance in the Scottish Junior Cup ended in a home defeat (after a 1-1 draw at Auchinelck) by the Talbot. Meanwhile in the Ayrshire League the Glens were to be runners up that season to Cumnock Juniors and runners up again in 1996/97 this time to Auchinleck Talbot.
Tom Brown, a Junior cup
winning hero in 1993 ,had moved up to senior ranks
with Kilmarnock in seasn 1993-1994, scoring on his
In Season 1999/2000 and the Glens claimed an impressive 4-1 victory over holders Kilwinning Rangers in the Jackie Scarlett Cup Final. The Buffs were also Scottish Cup holders, Whyte & McKay Cup holders and Ayrshire champions! The Glens narrowly missed lifting the Whyte & MacKay Cup for the first time with Pollok Juniors scoring in the last minute to clinch a 2-1 victory. Third in the league the Glens went one better the following season 2000/2001 finishing runners-up to Kilwinning, despite thrashing the Buffs 5-1 on their own turf. The Glens also beat the Buffs 1-0 to lift the Ayrshire Cup.
The Last Champions of Ayrshire
Season 2001/2002 was to be the last in the history of the Ayrshire League. Major reconstruction beckoned with the top 6 of the Ayrshire League and the Central League to form a new Western Super League, in the following the season. With Tommy Bryce at the helm the Glens romped away with the League winning 15 and drawing 1 of their 18 games, finishing 10 points ahead of the nearest challengers Cumnock Juniors and a massive 22 points ahead of 4th placed Talbot. GLENAFTON ATHLETIC were the 'Last Champions of Ayrshire'
The Western Super League
The first season in the new
Western Super League saw the Glens continuing to fly the Ayrshire
flag and finish in a credible 3rd place, only 3 points behind Pollok who
claimed the title on goal-difference over Neilston.
The disappointment of 'so near but so
far' in the league was eased with Cup success in the Whyte
& McKay (West of Scotland Cup) and East Ayrshire
Cup. The West of Scotland Cup had thus far alluded the Glens and the triumph
was made all the sweeter with victories over Auchinleck , Kilwinning and Kilbirnie en route
to thrashing Bellshill 4-2 in the final at
75 YEARS CELEBRATIONS
Glenafton's 75th Anniversary celebrations in Season
2005-06 began with a bang. Now under the stewardship of Gerry Collins the
Glens won the Ayrshire League Cup; a cup
campaign that began with smacking Auchinleck's bot at Beechwood and finished
with knocking the stuffing out of Cumnock in the final at
New Cumnockians can truly be proud of the mark that Glenafton Athletic have left on the history of Scottish and Ayrshire Junior football since their formation way back in 1930 and can proudly sing of 'The Last Champions of Ayrshire ..........'
Dedicated to the memory of
my late father Bobby Guthrie
The Pride of dear New Cumnock
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