Scottish Football League

Elections 1893-2008

 

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Highland League

When the Scottish League needs to expand its membership or replace an outgoing club, it uses an election procedure when it admits new members. Certain criteria, such as ground potential and financial stability are used when assessing new applicants, and these are put to the entire League membership to vote upon to determine who the successful clubs are.

 

Thanks to members of the scottishleague.net forum for adding to my original research

 

In July 1893, the League decided to form a Second Division and used the Scottish Alliance, the principal non-League competition, as the backbone for the new competition. Abercorn and Clyde, who  were not re-elected at the initial AGM, were also granted a place in the new section as was Hibernian who had recently restarted after taking a season.

 

1893 Ballot taken to determine which clubs would form the new Second Division

Club

Votes

 

League

Abercorn

Clyde

Hibernian

Cowlairs

Morton

Motherwell

Partick Thistle

Port Glasgow Athletic

Northern

Thistle

 

 

Scottish League

Scottish League

 

Scottish Alliance

Scottish Alliance

Scottish Federation

Scottish Alliance

Scottish Alliance

Scottish Alliance

Scottish Alliance

 

 

 

On 20 October 1897, Renton resigned from the Second Division for financial reasons – they could not meet the £10 guaranteed gate money for visiting clubs. As they had only completed four games it was decided that a replacement club would be elected to fulfil the rest of the fixtures.

 

1897 Ballot taken to find replacement for Renton, who resigned on 20 October 1897

Club

Votes

 

League

Hamilton Academical

Albion Rovers

Arthurlie

East Stirlingshire

Falkirk

Raith Rovers

Victoria United

 

Elected

Not elected

Not elected

Not elected

Not elected

Not elected

Not elected

Scottish Combination

 

 

Central Combination

Central Combination

 

Northern League

 

 

 

In 1912 the League decided to increase the membership by two clubs.

 

1912 Ballot taken to increase size of Second Division

Club

Votes

 

League

Dunfermline Athletic

Johnstone

Bathgate

Galston

Peebles Rovers

 

Elected

Elected

Not elected

Not elected

Not elected

Central League

Scottish Union

Central League

Scottish Union

Eastern League

 

 

 

In 1917, because of the financial hardship caused by the Great War, the League requested that the three most northerly clubs stepped down. Clydebank were then co-opted to even up the division.

 

1917 Ballot taken to determine which club would even up the League

Club

Votes

 

League

Clydebank

Albion Rovers

Stevenston United

 

Aberdeen

Dundee

Raith Rovers

 

Elected

Not elected

Not elected

 

These clubs were asked to withdraw to ease travelling

Western League

Western League

Western League

 

First Division

First Division

First Division

 

 

 

After hostilities ceased, Aberdeen, Dundee and Raith Rovers all returned. As this left an uneven number again, a vote was taken for an additional club.

 

1919 Ballot taken to determine which club would even up the League

Club

Votes

 

League

Albion Rovers

Cowdenbeath

 

Aberdeen

Dundee

Raith Rovers

11

10

Elected

Not elected

 

These clubs returned to the League after their two year hiatus.

Western League

 

 

 

Between 1919 and 1921, the League found itself at odds with the Central League which was angry that the Second Division hadn’t been restarted in 1919. As the latter were not members of the Inter-League Board, they could sign players without paying transfer fees which meant more money was available for wages. Clubs such as Dunfermline and St Bernards could entice star players, ensuring attendances at Central League grounds rivalled Scottish League ones. In 1921, the Scottish League finally relented and applications were requested from any club wishing to form a Second Division. The entire Central League were elected as was a number of clubs from other leagues.

 

1921 Clubs re-forming the Second Division

Club

Votes

 

League

Alloa Athletic

Arbroath

Armadale

Bathgate

Bo’ness

Broxburn United

Clackmannan

Cowdenbeath

Dundee Hibernian

Dunfermline Athletic

East Fife

East Stirlingshire

Forfar Athletic

Johnstone

King’s Park

Lochgelly United

St Bernards

St Johnstone

Stenhousemuir

Vale of Leven

 

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Central League

Scottish Alliance

Central League

Central League

Central League

Central League

Central League

Central League

Central League

Central League

Central League

Central League

Scottish Alliance

Western League

Central League

Central League

Central League

Central League

Central League

Western League

 

 

 

In 1923, the League took the, in hindsight, ludicrous decision to create a Third Division. Even from the outset it seems they had reservations about this. The clubs would enter as Associate Members thus have no vote. There would be sixteen clubs in membership, but if less than fourteen failed to fulfil their fixtures, only one club instead of two would be promoted. The whole section subsequently collapsed in 1926.

 

1923 Clubs forming the Third Division

 

 

 

Club

Votes

 

League

Arthurlie

Beith

Brechin City

Clackmannan

Dumbarton Harp

Dykehead

East Stirlingshire

Galston

Helensburgh

Mid-Annandale

Montrose

Nithsdale Wanderers

Peebles Rovers

Queen of the South

Royal Albert

Solway Star

Arbroath Athletic

 

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Elected

Not elected

Western League

Western League

Eastern League

Eastern League

Western League

Western League

Second Division

Western League

Western League

Southern Counties League

Eastern League

Western League

Western League

Western League

Western League

Western League

Eastern League

 

 

 

Incredibly the Third Division was increased in size to seventeen clubs.

 

1924 Additional club

 

 

 

Club

Votes

 

League

Leith Athletic

 

Elected

Scottish Alliance

 

 

 

Bathgate resigned in February 1929 and their record expunged on 12 March 1929. Although Arthurlie also resigned, on 17 April 1929, their record was allowed to stand as they had completed their matches against the leading clubs. A ballot was taken at the Scottish League’s AGM to replace them.

 

1929 Ballot taken to determine who would replace Arthurlie and Bathgate

Club

Votes

 

League

Montrose

Brechin City

Nithsdale Wanderers

31

24

17

Elected

Elected

Not Elected

Scottish Alliance

Scottish Alliance

Scottish Alliance

 

 

 

After being re-elected at the Scottish League’s AGM, Clydebank subsequently disbanded on 26 June 1931 so another ballot was taken to replace them.

 

1931 Ballot taken to determine who would replace Clydebank

Club

Votes

 

League

Edinburgh City

Nithsdale Wanderers

25

7

Elected

Not Elected

Edinburgh & District League

Southern Counties League

 

 

 

1951 Ballot taken to admit club to Division C

Club

Votes

 

League

Berwick Rangers

Newton Stewart

Elected

Not Elected

East of Scotland League

South of Scotland League

 

Newton Stewart’s application was unsuccessful as they didn’t have a proposer.

 

 

Some clubs were disgruntled about the odd number (37) of clubs in membership. Clachnacuddin made an application to join at the Scottish League’s AGM on 23 May 1960

 

1960 Application made by Clachnacuddin to gain membership

Club

Votes

 

League

Clachnacuddin

5 for

Not Elected

Highland League

 

32 against

 

 

 

 

In 1964 East Stirlingshire moved from Falkirk to Clydebank and merged with the local Junior club. After a legal challenge this move was aborted and after "de-merging" of East Stirlingshire returned to Falkirk. The new Clydebank club then applied for a League place, a vote was taken to elect the new Clydebank to the League. Despite there being an odd number of clubs in membership at this time, only19 were in favour, with 18 against. As a two-thirds majority was needed, Clydebank failed to gain admission.

 

1965 Additional club

 

 

 

Club

Votes

 

League

Clydebank

19

18

Not elected

 

 

 

 

 

Common sense prevailed a year later when a vote was taken to even up the Division to twenty clubs.

 

1966 Additional club

 

 

 

Club

Votes

 

League

Clydebank

Gala Fairydean

Hawick Royal Albert

 

Elected

Not elected

Not elected

Combined Reserve League

East of Scotland League

East of Scotland League

 

 

 

To prepare for the reconstruction of the divisions into Premier-First-Second it was necessary to elect a 38th member. At a meeting of the SFL on 24 May 1974, the proposal to elect an additional club was passed by 20 votes to 16 (the Forfar Athletic delegate was late and missed the volte)

 

1974 Additional club

 

 

 

Club

Votes

 

League

First round

Ferranti Thistle

Inverness Thistle

Gateshead United

Elgin City

Forres Mechanics

Hawick Royal Albert

Ross County

 

Second round

Ferranti Thistle

Inverness Thistle

 

13

13

7

1

1

1

1

 

 

21

16

 

 

 

Not elected

Not elected

Not elected

Not elected

Not elected

 

 

Elected

Not elected

 

East of Scotland League

Highland League

 

Highland League

Highland League

East of Scotland League

Highland League

 

 

East of Scotland League

Highland League

 

 

 

In 1994 the divisions were being re-organized into four sections and it was necessary to admit two more clubs.

 

1994 Additional clubs

 

 

 

Club

Votes

 

League

Caledonian Thistle

Ross County

Gala Fairydean

Elgin City

Gretna

68

57

35

10

2

Elected

Elected

Not elected

Not elected

Not elected

Highland League

Highland League

East of Scotland League

Highland League

Northern Premier League

 

 

 

In 1998, the Scottish Premier League was formed by ten clubs. When this was increased to twelve in 2000, the Scottish League had to admit two more clubs to enable it to continue with three divisions of ten clubs each.

 

2000 Additional clubs

 

 

 

Club

Votes

 

League

Peterhead

 

Elgin City

Annan Athletic

Cove Rangers

Gala Fairydean

Gretna

Preston Athletic

 

 

16

Elected

 

Elected

Not elected

Not elected

Not elected

Not elected

Not elected

Highland League

 

Highland League

East of Scotland League

Highland League

East of Scotland League

Northern Premier League

East of Scotland League

 

Peterhead were elected on the first ballot.  Elgin City gained 16 of the 23 votes in the second ballot and were also elected.

 

 

 

Airdrieonians disbanded at the end of the 2001-02 season. A vote was then taken to replace them

 

2000 Ballot taken to replace Airdrieonians

 

 

 

Club

Votes

 

League

Gretna

Airdrie United

 

Cove Rangers

Edinburgh City

Gala Fairydean

Huntly

Preston Athletic

16

11

Elected

Not elected

 

Not elected

Not elected

Not elected

Not elected

Not elected

Northern Premier League

 

 

Highland League

East of Scotland League

East of Scotland League

Highland League

East of Scotland League

 

Gretna (elected) beat Airdrie United 16 votes to 11 on the second ballot. Other clubs seeking election were Gala Fairydean, Preston Athletic, Cove Rangers, Huntly and Edinburgh City.

The owners of Airdrie United bought out the homeless, playerless and cashless Clydebank, moved the club to Airdrie and renamed it Airdrie United. Whereas Gretna had to start their League career in the Third Division, Airdrie United took over Clydebank’s Second Division place.

 

 

On 3 June 2008, Gretna disbanded and resigned from the Scottish League. A vote was the taken to replace them.

 

2008 Ballot taken to replace Gretna

 

 

 

Club

Votes

 

League

First ballot

Annan Athletic

Cove Rangers

Spartans

Edinburgh City

Preston Athletic

 

Second ballot

Annan Athletic

Cove Rangers

Spartans

 

Third ballot

Annan Athletic

Cove Rangers

 

14

8

5

1

1

 

 

14

9

6

 

 

17

12

 

 

 

 

Not elected

Not elected

 

 

 

 

Not elected

 

 

Elected

Not elected

 

East of Scotland League

Highland League

East of Scotland League

East of Scotland League

East of Scotland League

 

 

East of Scotland League

Highland League

East of Scotland League

 

 

East of Scotland League

Highland League

 

The total number of votes cast read as follows

 

 

Club

Votes

Annan Athletic

Cove Rangers

Spartans

Edinburgh City

Preston Athletic

45

29

11

1

1

 

 

 

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