CLUB HISTORY

 

In was in 1889 that a band of local football fans decided to run an official organised team in the town. This was not the first junior football team from the town as records show that Linlithgow Athletic were founder members of the East of Scotland junior FA in 1886.

Donations were collected and with further fund raising the sum of 24 shillings was raised. With this money a visit was made to Lumley`s in Edinburgh and the clubs first strip was purchased in the colours black and white. It`s well known that the club's colours are the famous maroon and white but for a long period the club's away strip was still black and white. The club's first ground was known as Captain's Park and was situated at the east end of the town near the Boghall area. Many keen and exciting games were staged here and it was while playing here that the club won their first trophy. The year was 1902 and the club travelled to Tyncastle Park in Edinburgh to defeat Inverkeithing Thistle and win the Forth League. The players returned to a tumultuous reception it appeared that the whole town had turned out to greet the team and the local band played them around the town.

The next trophy to be won was in 1905 when the Rose defeated Vale of Grange to win the County Cup. It was around this time that a dispute among the committee nearly led to the club folding.The story goes that the Rose had been drawn at home to Duns Athletic in the Junior Cup. On the day of the tie there had been a heavy snowfall, but with the help of supporters the pitch was cleared allowing the game to go on. The Duns team had arranged to travel by train to Linlithgow but because of the snow the train only reached Philpstoun which meant they had to finish the journey to Captain`s Park on foot. In a hard fought match the scores finished level which meant the Rose were left with a daunting journey to Duns for the replay the following week. Disgusted with the team's performance, a number of the committee suggested that they would not travel and the club should withdraw from the cup. This led to heated arguments and threatened resignations but in the end the match was played with the Rose winning 5-0

In season 1909-10 and 1910-11 Rose won the St Michael`s Cup. Those successes were the last to be won at Captain's Park. Today one can still see the Rose's name carved on the bottom stem in recognition of their success. Just before the Great War the Rose moved to Upper Mains Park on the Bathgate Road. This is the site used by the Rugby Club and it was here in 1914 they captured the Lumley Cup beating Portobello Thistle in a marathon final - it took the Rose six hours to beat their opponents. It was a further ten years before Linlithgow reached another final but unfortunatly Portobello gained revenge this time by winning the Dalmeny Cup.

 

Season 1924-25 brought major change to the associations set-up with all the county teams being brought together to form the West Lothian Junior League. This change brought immediate success to the Rose as they comfortably won the championship in its first year. The following season the Rose travelled to Easter Road, Edinburgh and defeated Musselburgh 1 - 0 to win the Thornton Shield and in the same season they won the County Cup beating local rivals Bo`ness Cadora in the final. Rose`s best season followed when the St Michaels Cup, Brown Cup and the County Cup all landed at Mains Park.

In 1930 another move was made this time just a few hundred yards to Lower Mains Park.The opening of this new ground brought Bonnyrigg Rose as visitors for a league match and Linlithgow celebrated in style by winning 9 - 1. The next year 1931 Rose made their most famous signing when a lad called Tommy Walker from Livingston Village joined the club. The signing of Walker who at the time played for a club called Broxburn Ibrox was not an easy one. Club officials Wood and Ure were impressed by Walker`s ability and for two months day after day they would visit the Walker household in an effort to sign the lad but Tommy`s father was unsure and refused to allow his son to sign. The determintion of Wood and Ure was not to be denied and with the help of Mrs Walker Tommy signed on 1.6.31. Tommy was nursed on by the Rose and on 5.5.32 he signed for Hearts for £35. Because of his age though he could not be registered as a professional and he was made a groundsman until he reached the age of 18 and could sign properly. Tommy Walker went on to play for Scotland and will be remembered for the penalty kick he was entrusted to take against England at Wembley. It was a very windy day and several times the ball was blown from the spot. But finally he placed the ball in the net giving Scotland a famous victory.

During the 1930s the Rose failed to win a single trophy. The major talking point being the clubs ground which was rented. New owners had purchased the ground and wanted to build a greyhound track. However a deal was struck and the club continued to use the ground for the time being. With the Second World War being declared and restrictions placed at the time the committee agreed to suspend all business connected with the club. All playing equipment was removed and stored and the club's finances lodged in the bank. At a meeting on 31.10.39 the club's committee wound things up and set no date for a resumption of the club's activities. With the war showing signs of ending a few Rose enthusiasts started to think of resurrecting the club and fund raising schemes began. In November 1945 the first meeting of the club since 31.10.39 was held and a committee elected. The sum of £250 had been raised and the priority was to find a suitable area for a ground to be built. At a later meeting the club reported that a piece of land that ran alongside the A9 trunk road next to Stockbridge Petrol Station was suitable but the Ministry of Transport rejected this for fear of large crowds causing congestion on the busy road. Enquires moved to a piece of ground between the cemetery and Gowanskank Gasworks, but although the ground was perfect the price was too high. At this stage much money was required to be raised and hard working committee men gave up their time to organise fund raisers. 

The main income came from a concert held in the Victoria Halls in December 1945. Meetings were held in the pensioners hall on Cross Brae and at the A.G.M. on 21.11.46 it was stated that no definite information on the proposed ground at Braehead Road was available. The meeting decided to put pressure on the club laywer to finalise the purchase and it was agreed that the price be no more than £200. At a meeting on 30.1.47 the club laywer confirmed that the ground had been purchased for £150. An approach was made to the manager of the adjacant glue works to confirm that a piece of land was still available as this was necessary in the construction of the pitch. At a special meeting held on 13.2.47 proposals to give the ground a name were made. Three suggestions were put forward - Campbell`s Field, Gowanstank Park and Preston Park. After a vote Preston Park won the day. More than two years later a vote was taken to change the name to Prestonfield, a name that the ground holds to this day. Much work was required to get the ground licked into shape but an army of men spent countless hours to lay the foundation of what is considered one of the finest Junior grounds in the country today.

On 1.8.49 the Rose played their first competitive match for ten years against Forth Rangers at Firs Park Falkirk as the Grangemouth club's ground was not ready for the new season. Rose lost by three goals to one. On Wednesday August 5th 1949 the big day arrived - the opening of Prestonfield. The opponents were Broxburn and 3000 thousand fans paid to see the match. The result though was a disappointment as Rose lost 4-1. The 3000 crowd was a club record which held until 1965 when 3536 watched a Junior Cup tie against Shettleston Juniors. A few years later this record was broken when 3626 paid to see Rose play Petershill a record which still stands to this day.

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© LINLITHGOW ROSE FOOTBALL CLUB 2019 & ANDREW WEST PHOTOGRAPHY
ALL PHOTOS ARE COPYRIGHT AND MUST NOT BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT PERMISSION

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