From There… To Here

The social history of Wester Hailes

At the grassroots level

In a flurry of publicity, Gordon Strachan has stepped forward as the new football manager for Scotland. While football at a national and premier division level grabs the lion’s share of media attention, many people take part in football matches that rarely attract any coverage. Yet it is as fiercely competitive and as important to the players and supporters as any professional match.

Wester Hailes football

The Sentinel did provide an opportunity for the local teams to gain some profile, attract new players and advertise matches. It regularly featured individual teams and covered issues affecting the game at a local level. In 1983, it reported on the Clovenstone Stars, explaining their history and giving details of recent matches. The report also highlighted the financial implications for any team competing without a sponsor. The costs of pitches and referees alone came to £300. The team worked to raise funds and received a donation from the Clovenstone Association of Tenants. You can read more about the club here.

The paper also gave the headline spot to the need for better local football facilities in 1992. Local football teams set up the Wester Hailes Football Federation to lobby for local pitches, pointing out that they were currently having to play home games over at the Jack Kane Centre in Craigmillar. You can read the full report here.

Some of the teams in the Wester Hailes Football Federation were featured in a Sentinel Spotlight column. The Artful Dodger FC was one of the oldest teams in Wester Hailes and first played under the name of Station Tavern. When the Sentinel interviewed them, the team were experiencing mixed form caused mainly by their regular goalkeeper being out of action.

Westburn FC started in 1992 and after a shaky start quickly rose through the ranks. The Sentinel reporter identified their success in obtaining sponsorship which meant the team could focus on playing rather than being concerned about fundraising.

Hailes Athletic also managed to generate sponsorship leading to new strips, a new manager and a new name, Longstone IFC. The reporter found their decision to enter the league structure at the lowest division puzzling as even with success every year, it would take them 5 years to reach the top. You can read about them here.

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