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Cove Rangers have the peculiar distinction of having played in four different levels within the fragmented structure of Scottish football.
Formed in 1922 the team were known as the Toonsers, a local dialect word describing someone who makes a living from land-based trade or manufacturing (Cove has always been an affluent district) rather than through the Aberdeen trawler fleet. They are also known as the Wee Rangers.
The team initially joined the Aberdeen Juvenile League. Age limits at this level were set at 21 but the eastern clubs reserved the right for fathers to play alongside sons regardless of age.
In 1947 the club stepped up to the Aberdeen Amateur Football Association winning the first of eleven championships in their first season. In 1948 they purchased a piece of land in Cove, a quiet suburb on the southern edge of Aberdeen, and named it Allan Park (taking the name from the farmer who sold them the land). They were the first amateur team in Aberdeen to own their own ground and social club.
In the early 1980s a crest appeared on the team's shirts bearing a striking resemblance to the classic Chelsea FC badge. This was soon replaced by a more elegant version that was still in use in 2019.
In 1985, with eleven Aberdeen Amateur League and fifteen Aberdeen FC Trophys under their belt, they applied to join the Aberdeen & District Junior League, winning the Second Division at the first attempt. An application to be admitted to the Highland League was successful and Cove Rangers became a senior club in 1986-87.
Over time, the Wee Rangers earned a formidable reputation as a cup team, winning the Highland League Cup for the first time in 1994 and reaching the third round of the Scottish Cup on three occasions. League success did not come until 2001 when they won the Highland League for the first time. Further titles followed in 2008, 2009, 2013, 2016, 2018 and 2019. In addition the team won the Highland League Cup six times and the Scottish Qualifying Cup (North) twice.
Following the introduction of a pyramid system in Scotland, it was apparent that the club would need to leave Allan Park as it did not meet the SPFL's minimum standards. The ground was sold for an estimated £3 million to a housing developer in April 2015. During the 2015-16 season Cove Rangers ground-shared with four local clubs while proposals for a new stadium went through the planning process. In due course approval was granted but the club had to continue ground sharing arrangements for two more seasons.
Balmoral Stadium was officially opened in July 2018 with a friendly match against Aberdeen FC, an occasion that was marred when Cove player, Jordan Brown suffered a serious injury and the match was abandoned (Brown made a full recovery).
After winning the 2018-19 Highland League title for the second successive season, Cove met Berwick Rangers in the two-leg play-off final, crushing their opponents 7-0 on aggregate to win promotion to Scottish League Two.
- (a) The Scotsman
- (b) James Gunn Photography
- (c) Willie Vass Photo Shelter
- (d) James Gunn Photography
- (e) Pressreader
- (f) Brianbat Photography
- (g) MB Roger Photography
- (h) Press & Journal
- (i) Pressreader
- (j) Press & Journal
Photograph reproduced by kind permission of DC Thomson & Co Ltd. Crests are the property of Cove Rangers FC.