Fraserburgh Football Club History
Fraserburgh Football Club was formed in 1910 have always played at Bellslea Park. Prior to 1910 they played as a select side made up of the best players from the local amateur league, which was run by the Fraserburgh Football Association, although neither of them set the heather alight in County Cup competitions. In 1909 there was a campaign in the town to form a team to play as Fraserburgh Football Club. This was supported by two famous ‘Brochers’, Henry Low, who played for Sunderland AFC, and his brother Wilfred Low who played for Newcastle United FC.
The campaign was successful and the club was eventually formed in the summer of 1910. They also gained membership from the SFA, making them eligible to compete in both the Scottish Qualifying Cup and Scottish Cup. Their home was to be and still remains, Bellslea Park.
The name Bellslea originated from a tenant of that name (Bell) and the word (lea) meaning an open area of grassy or arable land. In circa 1838 the site was used as a Roperie where heavy ropes used by fishing boats and sailing ships were stretched by means of a huge horse powered capstan. The land owner at this time was Alexander Malcolm of 15 Commerce Street – the birthplace of Thomas Blake Glover – “The Scottish Samurai”. Thomas was responsible for bringing as isolated Japanese nation into the industrial world of the 20th Century.
More about Thomas Blake Glover can be found at the Fraserburgh Heritage Centre – click here
The site where Bellslea Park now sits was developed as a Public Park used by local football sides but was closed in 1909 for maintenance work and to add a perimeter wall.
Once the new club had been formed, it was agreed that Bellslea Park would be their home and a new pavilion was erected in the South-East corner of the ground. It cost the grand total of £60 to build and a number of ‘smoker’ dances were organized to pay for it. The ground was then officially opened in December 1909 with an Aberdeenshire Cup tie between Fraserburgh Thistle and Ellon United, although by the end of January there were complaints that the side nearest Saltoun Place wasn’t draining properly (Nothing changes there!)
This pavilion was eventually replaced in 1921 with the current stand for the princely sum of £6,000.
The original pavilion was taken down and moved to Fraserburgh Golf Club. The new Grandstand was opened on the 5th September 1921 with a Gala Match with Dundee. The wife of Chairman, and Local Councillor William Low, cut the ceremonial ribbon. Cllr William Low had been instrumental in getting the stand built along with the enlargement of the playing area and banking up of the terraces. Below are extracts from the Fraserburgh Herald of 6th September 1921. it is easier to download them and view.
Fraserburgh’s first ever match was an away tie in the Qualifying Cup against deadly rivals Peterhead. Fraserburgh were victorious by 3 goals to 1. In their very first season they went on to win the Aberdeenshire Cup, defeating Buckie Thistle 2-0 at Pittodrie Stadium.
The first Chairman was William Stephen and the secretary was Lewis Bain. The Club were granted admission into the Highland League in 1922 and up until that time they competed in the Aberdeenshire Cup and Scottish Cup. They play in the Highland League, which is comprised of 18 teams.
The town of Fraserburgh, known locally as “the Broch”, has a population of roughly 13,000 “Brochers”.
The team colours are Black and White Stripes and this is because a local harbour worker had connections in Newcastle and the kit for the first side was borrowed from Newcastle United FC and the tradition was kept. According to local legend this was further enhanced after the Second World War when clothes were rationed and the Broch found themselves without a strip. Newcastle United were approached and Fraserburgh were kitted out in the strips worn by Newcastle United the previous season.
Probably the most famous game in the history of the club came on January 31st 1959 when “Broch ” defeated Dundee 1-0 at the Bellslea Park in the Scottish Cup. Dundee at the time were one of the top teams in the country and it is still regarded as one of the biggest shocks in the Scottish game.
On the 21st January 1970, five crew members of the Fraserburgh lifeboat, ‘The Duchess of Kent’, were tragically lost when she was turned over by a freak wave 36 miles off Kinnaird Head, while escorting Danish fishing vessel ‘Opal’ to safety. In a fundraising game after the disaster, Jock Stein brought his Glasgow Celtic team to the Bellslea. Celtic ran out 7-0 winners with the same eleven players who turned out only a week later in the European Cup Final against Feyenoord.
However, the game most fondly remembered by Broch fans was the 10-0 victory away to Peterhead in the Highland League Cup on August 14th 1974. Many an argument between the rival supporters has been ended with two simple words “ten nil”.
2002 saw Fraserburgh win the highland league for the first time in 60 years.
In 2007, the Scottish Cup was to be changed. In the past, teams from the lower divisions in Scotland played for the prestigious ‘Qualifying Cups’ (North and South), where teams getting to the semi-final of the trophy were entered into the Scottish Cup. Round 1 of the Scottish Cup now includes all Highland League teams, therefore the final Qualifying Cup was contested in 2006. Fraserburgh played their way into the history books by winning the trophy at Princess Royal Park (Banff) beating Keith 2-1. We now have the claim of being the Qualifying Cup holders, which we will hold permanently !
In 2010 the club kicked off their celebrations with a Gala Centenary Ball where all the trophies ever won were in attendance. We also celebrated with a match against Aberdeen FC.
In season 2017/2018 we were drawn at home to Glasgow Rangers in the Scottish Cup and became the first Highland League side to feature live on Sky Sports. Despite a 3-0 defeat the occasion was great for the club and the town.