With Rangers having entered liquidation and facing an uncertain reincarnation, it’s worth remembering some other clubs that have gone to the wall. Sadly, not all of them came back.
Gretna Football Club was founded in 1946. Their finest moment came when they reached the 2006 Scottish Cup Final (where they only just lost out to Hearts on penalties). Their success was largely thanks to the support of their financial backer Brooks Mileson, with his aid the club was promoted from the Third Division to the Scottish Premier League in the space of five years.
However, the club found itself in serious financial difficulties when Mileson became ill and withdrew funding. After being relegated to the Third Division, Gretna struggled to find another backer and went into liquidation in August 2008.
A new club, Gretna 2008, was established by the supporter’s trust while Gretna FC was dissolving. Despite having the same fanbase, the clubs have no legal connection.
Founded in 1887, Leith Athletic FC was disbanded four times during its lifetime, finally going out of business for good in 1955. In the years since its creation, Leith Athletic managed to play in all three divisions as well as spending time playing in the Scottish Alliance. They had a name-change to Leith FC in 1905 when a new company took over their assets, but when the team reconvened from its closure during the First World War its old name was restored.
After the Scottish Third Division was closed down, Leith Athletic were relegated to the new Division C, which was made largely from reserve teams. Leith Athletic campaigned vigorously for non-reserve teams to be moved up to the Second Division, but were denied and thrown out of Division C in 1953. Too late to join another competition, Leith Athletic went out of business in 1955. They name was adopted by an amateur side which plays in the East of Scotland Football League.
Third Lanark Athletic Club
Formed in 1872, Third Lanark AC lasted 95 years until its demise in 1967. Nicknamed the Hi Hi from the 1890s (when it was rumoured that a defender kicked the ball so high it soared out the stadium), fans would chant “Hi Hi Hi!” as a battle cry to try and rouse their team to victory in matches.
Third Lanark had many successes in the early years of Scottish Football and their demise was something of a shock. The team went out of business just six years after they finished in third place in Scotland’s First Division in 1961, with only Rangers and Kilmarnock ahead of them. The 1965 season was their worst ever, with three wins from 34 matches, leading to relegation and, shortly afterwards, to bankruptcy.
Nicknamed “The Diamonds”, Airdrie FC folded in 2002 after 124 years in existence. It was the first Scottish team to meet this end since Third Lanark in 1967. During its lifetime, the club played in four Scottish Cup finals, managing to win in 1924.
The club reached its highest success in the 1990s with Alex MacDonald as manager. Under his leadership, they became one of the top clubs in the First Division, even spending a couple of seasons playing in the Premier Division.
It was when the Airdrieonians relocated that things began to go wrong for them. A move to the new Excelsior Stadium caused a drop in funds and in the standard of football, which in turn lead to low turn-out at matches. After the sudden death of the club’s only remaining director, Joey Rowan, Airdrie FC ended up in liquidation.
Created in 1973 when Ferranti Thistle FC was admitted to the Scottish Football League and needed a name-change, Meadowbank Thistle was chosen after a campaign in the Edinburgh Evening News, and approved by the Scottish Football League just in time to let them play the season.
Until 1995, Meadowbank Thistle spent their time moving between the Second and First Division, never quite managing to gain access to the top flight. The club began to struggle both in its football and its finances and found itself relegated to the newly created Division Three in 1995.
Chairman Bill Hunter decided to take action. Ignoring the objections of many fans, the club was revamped and moved to a new stadium in Livingston. Once again a name change was forced upon it and Meadowbank Thistle disappeared becoming Livingston Thistle FC.
A team named Clydebank FC still exists today, but it is not the same team as the original. In fact, the name Clydebank FC has represented six teams since it was first used in 1888, five of them now defunct.
The Clydebank FC of 1965–2002 vintage is the most notable. This team spent three seasons playing in the Premier Division and were sponsored by pop group Wet Wet Wet in the 1990s. However, the club fell into trouble after its stadium was sold in 1996. The club had to play home games at different stadiums and support began to decline. The club was sold and almost moved to Dublin, but in the end their place in the league was sold to Airdrie Utd.
Today’s Clydebank FC was created in 2003, plays in the Scottish Junior Football Association and shares the same fanbase as its predecessor.