Elected to Scottish Division Three 2000
2001-2002 b h
2002-2004 b h
Peterhead is a fishing port in the far north-east of Scotland. The club was formed in 1890, adopting a patch of land in Raemoss Park as their home ground, which was renamed Recreation Park and opened in 1891. The club joined the six-team Aberdeenshire League in 1900. They remained playing at this level until the early 1930s when they stepped up to the Highland League, regarded as the strongest of the competitions outside the Scottish League itself.
The “Blue Toon” achieved very little prior to the Second World War, the only trophy in their cabinet being the Aberdeenshire Cup won in 1906, 1935 and 1936. In 1923-24 they were drawn against Aberdeen in the Scottish FA Cup: the committee accepted £300 to switch the tie to Pittodrie but the players walked out in protest. A scratch team was put out and lost 0-13, the club’s heaviest ever defeat.
In 1947, Peterhead won the Qualifying Cup (North) and the Highland League, both for the first time. They finished as runners-up in 1948 and then won two more championships in successive seasons. Decline followed and when the 1954-55 season was abandoned due to the severe winter weather, the club faced bankruptcy and closure. During the close season a group of supporters reformed the club and charged members 2/6d (12.5p) each to join. The reformed Peterhead continued in the Highland League as a modest mid-table side.
During the 1960s, Peterhead won the Highland League Cup on three occasions and the Aberdeenshire Cup five times but they made little impact in the Highland League itself. The pattern continued in the 1970s, with three wins in the Qualifying Cup (North), which led to the club competing in the Scottish Cup.
In 1984 Peterhead were once again facing oblivion over a financial crisis precipitated by the failure to properly collect tax on players’ wages. Their debts totaled £60,000, nothing by the standards of the clubs playing in the Scottish League but for a modest, part-time Highland League club, this was big deal. The president and the management committee resigned to make way for a new management team, who became known as “the trouble shooters.” With no assets on which to raise funds (the club did not own their ground), the committee had to ask the players agreed to forgo their wages. With the support of the local fishing industry, some funds were raised to cover players’ expenses and by the end of the season the club’s debts had been cleared.
The following season, the Blue Toon enjoyed a memorable run in the Scottish Cup, disposing of Clyde and then taking Raith Rovers to a third replay in the third round. In 1989, Peterhead won the Highland League title for the first time since 1950, followed by the Highland League Cup the following season.
In 1993 the club became a limited company (it had previously been run as a club owned by its members who would have been liable between them for the club’s debts in full if it had become insolvent). A new board made additional funding available to strengthen the team although results remained disappointing.
In 1996 proposals to redevelop Recreation Park as a supermarket were finally approved by the district council. The following season, Peterhead played all their opening games away from home while their new Balmoor Stadium was prepared. In 1999 they won their fifth Highland League championship.
In 2000 the Scottish League was restructured when the Scottish Premier League was extended to twelve clubs, creating two vacancies in the Third Division (fourth tier). Peterhead were elected, joining former Highland League sides Caledonian Thistle and Ross County (who had been elevated to the SFL in 1994). On the second ballot, Elgin City were also elected. While the Highland League was indubitably weaker for the loss of five of its strongest sides, the Scottish Football League was now a far more “national” competition than at any time in its history.
The excellent facilities at Balmoor were influential in the decision to accept the Blue Toon into the SFL and now a new stand was built. After five seasons, Peterhead won promotion to the Second Division (third level).