Vale of Leven
Formed 1872. Disbanded 1929.
Founder member of the Scottish Football League 1890. Withdrew 1892.
Elected to Scottish Division Two 1905. Joined the Western League when Division Two was suspended in 1915
Founder member of the reformed Scottish Division Two 1921. Joined the Scottish Alliance after the Scottish Third Division was abandoned in 1926.
1873-1875 a b e
1876 a b
circa 1890 d
1912-circa1915 a b c
In the early days of Scottish football, Vale of Leven (based in Alexandria) and their neighbours Renton were real powers in the land. Vale won the Scottish FA Cup three times in succession (1877, 1878 and 1879) and became founder members when the Scottish Football League was formed in 1890. By this time, the club was being eclipsed by the rising stars from Glasgow and Dumbarton. In their second season they failed to win a single game and finished last. Rather than face re-election for the second time, the club withdrew and joined the rival Scottish Alliance where they played for a single season.
Between 1893 and 1902 the Vale played only friendly matches and in Cup competition before joining the Scottish Football Combination. In 1905 they applied succesfully for readmission to the Scottish League when the Second Division was extended with two additional places. They finished as runners-up in 1907 and in 1909 but did not receive the votes they needed to be elected to the First Division. As the following decade wore on, Vale of Leven struggled and regularly finished near the foot of the table. When the Second Division was suspended in 1915, Vale joined the Western League.
After the First World War ended Vale of Leven returned to the Scottish League for the third time as members of the reformed Second Division. After a decent fourth place finish in their first season, the club was relegated to the new Third Division in 1924. This ill-fated competition was abandoned in 1926 when it became clear that the cost of meeting match guarantees and additional travel expenses were beyond the means of its members.
After a season playing in the Scottish Alliance, the club dropped into a local district league before suspending operations in 1929, a victim of the Great Depression. At the time the committee hoped to revive the club when economic conditions improved but after they withdrew from a Qualifying Cup they were struck off the SFA roll.
Football continued to be played at Milburn Park by a new amateur team, Vale of Leven Old Church Boys Association (known as "Vale Ocuba"). It has been argued that this was a device to continue the old Vale of Leven club under an assumed name. In 1938 this team changed its name to Vale of Leven FC and joined the restructured Scottish Football Alliance. When this competition was suspended in December 1939 due to the outbreak of war, Vale immediately joined the Scottish Junior FA and they continue to play at this level today.
- (a) The Scottish Football League - Past Members IV (Norman Nichol 1994)
- (b) Alick Milne
- (c) Ayr United FC - Images of Sport (Duncan Carmichael 2002)
- (d) Keith Ellis
- (e) Charles Alcock's Football Annuals 1869-1891 researched by Robin Horton