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Inverurie Loco Works FC History

Inverurie Locomotive Works Football Club was formed by a group of Great North of Scotland Railway Company workers on Friday August 22nd, 1902, at a meeting in the Railway Works Hall on Constitution Street.

The first team kit has always been fire red & coal black, colours synonymous with powering the locomotives which were built & maintained in Inverurie.

Known best as ‘The Locos’, but also as the ‘The Railwaymen’, the Football Club played in the ‘Juniors’ for ninety-nine seasons before finally joining the ‘Seniors’ in the Scottish Highland Football League for the 2001/02 campaign.

Harlaw Park was an open field in 1902, and whilst now a fully enclosed football ground that has hosted Schoolboy Internationals & UEFA Women’s matches, it is still our home, and a venue steeped in rich heritage.

Our first recorded victory at Harlaw Park was a 3-0 success over Yallaroi of Aberdeen in a friendly. The first Scottish Junior Cup-tie for the Locos was a home loss to Abergeldie in 1909. The first trophy win was the 1914 Lovie Shield (effectively the Junior County Cup), with victory against East End. The Railwaymen would go on & win the tournament in seasons 1935/36, 39/40, 42/43, 44/45, 54/55, 60/61 & 61/62.

World War One meant there no junior football in the area across seasons 1914/15 to 1918/19. It was a conflict that claimed the life of Charles Gault, who was a member of the Lovie Cup winning side. The subsequent seasons saw the Locos finish in the mid to lower reaches of the table. There are multiple examples of Locos players heading to senior sides and an early example was centre-half James Keir, who left for Third Lanark in 1926.

An interesting ‘Railway Derby’ around this time saw the Railwaymen (G.N.S.R.) face the L.M.S. (London, Midland & Scottish).

The first Championship was secured in 1925/26 in a campaign viewed as the most thrilling to date in the Aberdeen & District Junior League. Locos finished top, three points clear of Richmond, Argyle & East End.

1928/29 season was the finest in the Club’s junior era. It started with Locos winning the re-arranged final of Fowler Cup from the previous campaign! The Archibald Cup was added to the trophy cabinet in the same month, Hall Russell’s being defeated at Advocates Park. Champions Loco Works would go on to win twenty one of their twenty-four league matches, becoming the first north club ever to net more than one hundred league goals in a season. Full back Arthur Burnett joined Millwall during the season. Inverurie Locos won the Duthie Cup, League Cup & McLeman Cup. Despite missing out on the County Cup, it still came back to the Garioch. The short-lived Inverurie Rovers, playing in light blue at the Pleasure Park, lifted that trophy. The Locos would win that trophy in the following season. 1928/29 also saw the best run in the Scottish Cup up to that point, with a 3-2 win over Alva Albion Rangers seeing the first visit to Harlaw Park from any club outside of the County FA area. The Railwaymen went out to Ormiston Primrose in the last sixteen. A grandstand & pavilion were planned at Harlaw Park.

1930 saw the Locos first mention an application to join the Highland League.

March 1931 saw the pavilion & grandstand opened with a friendly match against Aberdeen ‘A’. The grandstand would stay in place until 2012!

Locos lifted the league title in 1931, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1936 & 1937. The Duthie Cup was won in 1933/34 & 1935/36, the Archibald Cup in 1933/34, 1937/38 & 1938/39. The County Cup was won again in 1939/40.

A maximum one-hundred-mile rule from Inverness, for Highland League clubs, scuppered any notion of joining the Highland League. Meetings regarding breakaway or re-organised leagues came to nothing but the one-hundred-mile rule was removed at the AGM, allowing Peterhead to join, but ending any imminent plans by the Locos to step up.

1930 saw future Scotland Manager Andy Beattie, from Kintore, join the Club. He would go on to win six championships with the Locos before playing for Preston North End for twelve years. This included a 1938 FA Cup win (the first televised final). Andy won seven Scotland caps & never lost a match. He also played for Scotland in five wartime matches. The Locos most famous son then managed Barrow, Stockport, Huddersfield, Carlisle, Nottingham Forest, Plymouth, Wolves & Notts County. In February 1954 Beattie became Scotland’s first ever manager, leading the nation to the 1954 World Cup Finals.

1933 saw Inverurie Rovers fold and Highland League membership again mentioned at Harlaw Park, with local businessmen supporting such a notion.

1933 also saw Locos suspended by the County Junior FA over a row about the share of gate receipts. Locos reached the Scottish Cup Round Five, losing to Ardrossan Winton Rovers. New Year’s Day 1935 saw Dens Park be the venue for Dundee Arnott hosting the Locos in the Scottish Cup. It finished level with the Railwaymen winning 6-0 in the replay. Locos then went to Craigneuk beside Motherwell to defeat Shieldmuir Celtic. Andy Beattie was now being watched by scouts from multiple Scottish & English sides. The run ended with a defeat to Petershill in the quarter-final at Shawfield.

Ernie Gowans won a Scotland junior cap against Ireland. May 1936 saw notable wins over Rob Roy at Advocates Park, and then over Camelon Juniors at Brockville. 1937 saw 4500 fans squeeze into Harlaw Park for the visit of Renfrew Juniors, the hosts losing 3-2 in this Fifth Round Scottish Cup-tie.

Private Andrew McIntosh, an outside right with the Locos, lost his life in June 1940, being the first Gordon Highlander from Inverurie to make the ultimate sacrifice in World War Two.

Locos Works, along with Parkvale, fielded sides throughout the war, winning the County Cup in 1939/40 & 1942/43 & League in 1942/43. A pillbox was built inside Harlaw Park in 1940, and still exists to this day behind advertising hoardings.

War-time football concluded with Inverurie Locos as invincible champions, & winning a classic League Cup Final 8-5 against Banks o’ Dee. 1946/47 saw an abandoned League Championship due to the worst winter in memory with the tournament changed to four mini leagues with winners playing for a new League Cup. Locos were trophyless but Stanley Lawson netted eighty-three goals!

Syd Gerrie left for Dundee in 1948 for a then record transfer fee, which helped with an extended pavilion with larger dressing rooms (which were of course a converted railway waiting room!) Kintore’s Norman Davidson joined the club in the same year and would go on great things. After seven years at Harlaw Park he would sign for Aberdeen and play in the 1959 Scottish Cup Final. He later joined Hearts and netted in their losing 1961 League Cup Final before netting the winning goal in the 1962 competition. He would later play for Dundee Utd, Partick Thistle, St Mirren, Margate & Ramsgate.

The completion of the new dressing rooms was marked by a match between a Locos Select & Dundee in 1950.

1951/52 saw the McLeman Cup won for the first time in 23 years, with a final win over Sunnybank at Central Park. The summer of 1952 saw discussion about changing the club colours, but thankfully went no further!

The McLeman Cup was won again in 1953/54, with Locos defeating Sunnybank in the semi-final, just nine days after their opponents had won the Scottish Junior Cup. Mugiemoss were beaten in the final. Norrie Davidson’s goals were pivotal.

1954/55 saw a pioneering tour to Orkney & Shetland. Bobby Rose was the tour’s top scorer with nine goals.

Klakksoick from the Faroe Islands were the first international opponents for Locos, with the side visiting Harlaw Park in August 1954. It finished 4-4.

2000 supporters saw Locos lose to Ashfield in the Scottish Junior Cup Round Five, with Norrie Davidson scoring his final Locos goal before leaving for Pittodrie.

1954/55 saw the side win the league, Archibald Cup & League Cup.

The Railwaymen were back to Shetland in 1956 as part of their pre-season arrangements.

The Club would be the champions across seasons 59/60, 60/61 & 61/62. It would be a thirty-one year wait for another title. The Archibald Cup was won again against South United in 1960, the County Cup later that same season with the final at Pittodrie, and the Duthie Cup against Rosemount.

1961/62 saw the Archibald Cup secured again, with a desperately unlucky defeat to Ardrossan Winton Rovers in the national competition, completed with another County Cup success over Sunnybank.

New turnstiles were installed in 1962. The Scottish Cup tie win against Shettleston was the first ever tie in the tournament to be televised. Season 1962/63 saw Alfie Morrison get capped for Junior Scotland. The Archibald Cup was won again.

Jack Reilly joined as a goalkeeper for 1963/64 season & was to leave to join Hibernian before the season was complete. He would go on to represent Australia in the World Cup of 1974 and be a high-ranking FIFA official.

Much of the sixties were a barren time for the club, but 1968/69 brought some joy. This was against the backdrop of the threat of the Loco Works closing as part of the Beeching ‘Modernisation Plan’. Locos won the first ever North Regional Cup, beating Rosemount in the final. Three days later the Railwaymen won the McLeman Cup. Formartine United were defeated in the Archibald Cup final. Three cups had been won with only thirteen signed players.

March 1969 saw confirmation of the Loco Works’ closure. British Railways assured the football club they could play at Harlaw Park for two years after the closure, but beyond that the future was uncertain.

Keeper Bobby Gray left for Torquay United at the start of 1968/69 season. The Loco Works closed on Hogmanay 1969. The club announced that their name would not change in light of the closure.

The 1970 AGM agreed that the President & Secretary no longer had to be employees of the Inverurie Locomotive Carriage and Wagon Works. The early 1970s were troubled times off the field, with tumbling revenues. September 1973 did however see the stadium become the property of the Football Club, although payment instalments were not made to the council until mid-1975.

1973/74 saw the league dissected into a First & Second Division via League Cup sections at the start of the season. Locos were in the Second Division, but were to make an immediate return to the top flight, finishing second behind Mugiemoss.

1974/75 saw Locos ‘A’ move from juvenile to junior football & re-badge as St Machar. The first ‘derby’ saw Locos win 5-1, but the campaign conclude with relegation.

The club were in financial trouble again. A possible amalgamation with St Machar was discussed with a name change to Inverurie FC or Inverurie Athletic FC. 1977 saw the 75th
anniversary marked, but the club had one of their worst ever seasons, and had to issue a press release to confirm the club were to carry on. The year saw the Locos scratch from the Scottish Cup & finish the year at the foot of Division Two. Fresh blood arrived at the club & the financial situation improved as the decade concluded. 1979 saw promotion back to Division One.

1979/80 saw St Machar re-badge as Inverurie Juniors & move in next door at Colony Park.

May 1981 saw the Banchory Golf Club clubhouse re-located to Harlaw Park as the new Social Club behind the goal.

The 1981 Archibald Cup was won after a final 3-1 win over Parkvale. Floodlights (surplus to requirements at Aberdeen Airport) & new dugouts were installed in August 1983.

Season 1984/85 saw Locos host Aberdeen in Raymond Whyte’s Testimonial. This was one of the first matches under the new lights (Locos were the first north east junior side to install lights). Locos fought off relegation that season with goalscoring great Jim Findlay joining the club at the start of the following campaign. The park was re-surfaced & the Social Club extended.

January 1986 saw the first ever competitive match played under the Harlaw lights, with Cuminestown defeated 2-0 in the McLeman Cup. Talk of joining the Highland League arose again but Cove Rangers’ rise to the seniors put paid to any Locos progression.

The Scottish Cup saw an Inverurie derby in 1986/87 with the Juniors visiting Harlaw & losing 3-0. November saw the Railwaymen win the Watson League Cup with a final triumph against Banks o’ Dee 3-0.

Dave Cormie arrived as manager in March 1989. It was too late to avoid relegation but the League Cup was won in extra-time against Stonehaven.

Iain Alexander joined at the start of 1989/90 with Ian Robertson a few months later. Locos secured promotion back to the top flight.

Cup-tie McKay signed for the Locos & the club claimed the scalps of Shotts Bon Accord & East Kilbride Thistle in the Scottish Cup. Forres Thistle were then defeated before Whitletts Victoria were beaten at Harlaw Park. This was the best run in the national competition since 1968. Alas the run ended against FC Stoneywood.

Locos won seventeen of their twenty-two league matches & finished second in the table. 1991/92 saw the League Cup won against FC Stoneywood.

New changing rooms were built in 1992 as the Highland League made encouraging noises about any future Locos application. 1992/93 saw a marathon Scottish Cup-tie with Armadale Thistle and George Reid’s scoring exploits were making a tilt at the league title a real possibility. A 7-3 win over Banks o’ Dee in early April spurred on the Locos & the Championship came down to a head-to-head against reigning champions FC Stoneywood. A 1-1 draw was good enough to secure the title. George Reid finished on 57 goals for the campaign. The following campaign had Jock Wallace taking a training session at the Locos!

1994 saw Inverurie Loco. Works FC make a formal bid to join the Highland League, along with Bon Accord & Wick Academy. The Scorries were chosen as the side to join the SHFL.

Bobby McDonald joined for the 1994/95 season & Jim Findlay re-joined from Buckie (netting five times on his debut). A notable win away at Cambuslang Rangers in the national cup was followed by a spirited defeat at Arthurlie in the subsequent round.

The following campaign saw The Railwaymen defeat Pumpherston, Kello Rovers, Kilbirnie Ladeside & St Andrews Utd in the Scottish Cup. The Great Northern Regional Cup Final was won against Bon Accord. Coull, Alexander & Findlay all netting. Locos had to play four games a week to catch up their fixtures, going on to win the league at Formartine with a 7-2 win. The Wick Allan North Regional Championship play-off was won against Deveronside, Steven Park making his debut, and the Jimmy Gibb Trophy was secured with victory over Banks o’ Dee. Jim Findlay concluded the season with 67 goals.

Gaffer Dave Cormie left the club in September 1996, joining Cove Rangers. Kenny Taylor & Sandy McNaughton became the co-managers. Scott Buchan was brought to Harlaw from Forfar Athletic. A Scottish Cup win at Glenafton made the headlines.

1997/98 saw Kenny Coull join Cove Rangers. Across Harlaw Way, Inverurie Juniors lost 23-0 against Sunnybank. A sponsorship package with Northsound was announced, with Ian McKay taking over as manager mid-season. A pulsating run-in to the season saw Locos beat Formartine 5-4 at Harlaw to be champions again. The Wick Allan Memorial Shield was won again with Islavale defeated in the final.

Craig Ross joined for the 1997/98 season, with manager McKay resigning in October. Charlie Ferries took over. Cammy Ross left for Banks o’ Dee & Titchy Davidson signed. Locos lost in the Atlantic TV Cup Final at Pittodrie in a match that was televised. Charlie Ferries resigned at the end of the season.

John Gardiner was appointed manager with Iain Alexander departing for Cove Rangers after a decade of sterling service. Manager Gardiner wore the gloves & recorded a clean sheet at Turriff United. The 20th century was concluded with a 3-0 Scottish Cup win against Lochee Harp in Dundee. The Archibald Cup success was a first trophy for John Gardiner, FC Stoneywood beaten 3-1 in the final.

2000/01 was the final one in the junior ranks for the Locos. Stuart McKay joined the football club. An away win at Irvine Meadow would be the last victory in the Scottish Junior Cup for The Railwaymen. The Great Northern Trophies Regional Cup was the last piece of junior silverware for the Locos, a 3-1 win over Forres Thistle. In the final league game of the junior era, Titchy Davidson had the accolade of netting the last ever junior goal.

November 2000 saw Willie Lippe fly a flag for stepping up to the Highland League. Elgin & Peterhead resigned to join the Scottish League, leaving fourteen teams. After a League visit to Harlaw & a presentation by the club to the committee, Inverurie Locos were confirmed as SHFL members on the final day of May 2001. Ten weeks only remained to make Harlaw ready for the senior kick-off. £75,000 was spent on ground upgrades & the local business community rallied around the football club. Steven Park captained the side & the first competitive match was a home league clash with Clach, which finished 0-0. Stuart McKay netted the first senior Locos goal at Lossie. Locos finished a credible seventh in the table.

The new enclosure was open for the 02/03 campaign, Ian Thain & Tommy Wilson arrived at the club. Now full SFA members, Inverurie Locos were able to play in the Qualifying Cup. Locos lost in the final of the Aberdeenshire Shield.

Scott Buchan, Darren Nicol & Kenny Coull re-joined for 2003/04. Inverurie made the last four of the Qualifying Cup & therefore qualification for a maiden senior Scottish Cup campaign. The Aberdeenshire Cup final was lost against the Dons at Harlaw. Andy Low joined the club. A 4-1 Aberdeenshire Shield final success against Deveronvale marked the first senior success. Airdrie won in the Scottish Cup at Harlaw with Craig Ross scoring the club’s first ever goal in the tournament. March saw Ian Thain notch his 750th Highland League appearance. 2004/2005 saw Neil ‘Nacho’ McLean, who would go on & five hundred & fifty-nine times for the Railwaymen. The final of the Aberdeenshire Shield was lost to Keith at Harlaw. November saw a historic lifting of the Qualifying Cup; Cove Rangers being defeated at Christie Park. A 13-1 win over Fort William arrived in January as the Locos tilt at the title continued. Alas the side would finish two points behind champions Huntly.

2005/06 and a fourth Shield final. Remarkably Keith were the opponents for the fifth year in a row in the same competition. Inverurie were again to miss out at the final hurdle. Duncan Shearer made his final senior playing appearance at Harlaw, for Buckie Thistle, in a 0-0 draw. It was another Qualifying Cup final for the club in November. Forres were defeated in extra time. Locos lost out to Stirling Albion in the Scottish Cup and finished second the league again, Deveronvale being the champions. Ian McKay stepped down as assistant manager.

2006/07 saw John Bell Pipeline become the Main Sponsor, replacing Tawse Tyres. Bruce Morrison arrived as First Team Coach. Stuart McKay left for Peterhead. Jamie Watt & Neil Gauld came in. Neil, of course, was to go on & become the club’s record goalscorer, across separate spells at Harlaw. The Aberdeenshire Cup final was lost to Deveronvale at Kynoch Park. John Gardiner was sacked as manager in September after seven years. Kevin Will came in as the new manager. David Ross was sold to Aberdeen in the New Year & veteran striker Iain Stewart joined the Locos. The new gaffer had guided the club right into the mix at the top of the one of the tightest finishes in the league’s history. Locos were to ultimately miss out on the title on goal difference, a cruel conclusion to the campaign.

The SFA Challenge Cup was introduced for 2007/08 as a part replacement for the Qualifying Cup, fifteen SHFL sides plus Golspie Sutherland were taking part. Scott Michie joined Inverurie Locos. East Fife defeated the Locos in the Scottish Cup, with Kevin sacked in November 2007. Local man Dave Cormie was the new manager. Neil Gauld came back to the club after a spell at Huntly. The new gaffer took the club to their first League Cup final, against Cove Rangers, at Huntly. Locos won 3-1. The season concluded with a 13-0 win over Fort William.

2008/09 saw keeper Andy Reid join the Railwaymen from Forfar Athletic, and would go on to be a stalwart. A marvellous Scottish Cup run was enjoyed, Deveronvale, Banks o’ Dee, Vale of Leithen were all beaten before a special night at Harlaw Park with Motherwell the visitors. The tie was lost 3-0 & was finally played at the fifth time of asking. The final of the North Region Challenge Cup was reached against Cove Rangers at Banff. Inverurie won 3-1. The trophy was withdrawn the following season.

Ryan ‘Chopper’ Broadhurst arrived in December, converting to a centre-back from his original centre-forward role, and would go on to play three hundred and sixty two times across fourteen campaigns. Dave Cormie announced his intention to step down at the end of the campaign & this was followed by Chairman Steven Innes & long serving Committee member Allan Booth resigning. Eddie Innes was interim Chairman before Willie Lippe agreed to a second spell as Chairman & would return in the summer. The Highland League Cup was won in a brilliant final against Fraserburgh. Eddie Innes became SHFL President with Ian McKay & Ian Duguid stepping down from the coaching staff.

2009/10 and Mo Morrison joined the club, with Richie Davidson returning. Dave Cormie stayed on as manager. Formartine, Turriff & Strathspey joined the league. The Aberdeenshire Shield final was lost to Peterhead at Balmoor. The Fourth Round of the Scottish Cup was reached again, St Cuthbert’s Wanderers, Stranraer & Threave Rovers were defeated before losing out ro Ross County. Dave Cormie & Mike Cormack resigned after the last league game. The possibility of leaving Harlaw Park for a sports complex at Strathburn was announced.

June 2010 saw Scott Buchan & Kenny Coull announced as Co-managers. Iain Alexander & Chris Ainslie were the new coaches. The number twelve shirt was allocated to the support in the official squad list.

2011/12. Colony Park Juniors had been formed & their first match was a Challenge Trophy fixture against the Locos. Locos won 2-0. In the Scottish Cup, Dalbeattie Star were beaten away from home before Neil Gauld netted a replay hat-trick at Harlaw against Clach in five minutes, fifty seconds, the fastest ever in the national trophy. A gallant 4-2 loss to Peterhead followed. A full SFA club licence was confirmed, a project led by Committee member Fred Wilson.

2012/13. A new grandstand was erected, replacing the old structure which had been in place since 1931. Tommy Wilson departed with Stuart McKay returning. The Scottish Cup saw wins at Whitehill Welfare & a pulsating home win against Huntly 4-3, before a classic 3-3 draw against Arbroath. The replay proved a step too far & a trip to play Celtic wasn’t destined to be. The Locos were announced as a winner of the SFA Community Engagement Award & would go on to win this several times. Steven Park played his 500th Locos match against Buckie in March & fittingly netted with a classic diving header with five minutes remaining to level the match 2-2. The League Cup final was reached against Keith at Banff. Locos were pegged back after taking the lead & lost 2-1.

Season 2013/14 started with Harlaw Park hosting UEFA Women’s U17 Championship matches. The summer had Martin Bavidge, Dean Donaldson, Ross Anderson, Ross Still, Greg Mitchell & Andy Hunter all arrive. Craig Ross announced his intention to retire. David Ross returned & Jordan Leyden was signed from Cove Rangers. Chairman Wille Lippe was stepping down. Steven Park retired in October, with Neil McLean becoming skipper. The Locos recorded some of their best ever SHFL data but big-spending Brora Rangers couldn’t be stopped. The Aberdeenshire Cup final was lost to Formartine, a 2-0 lead lost to a 3-2 defeat. The loss was avenged with a 2-0 Scottish Cup win at North Lodge. A first trophy since 2009 was secured with a Shield win against Turriff at Huntly. The Chuff Chuffs, a fine band of loyal & colourful supporters, were there to enjoy the silverware. One hundred and thirty-five goals were scored, a Locos senior record by quite a distance.

Locos Secretary Billy Thomson carried the Commonwealth Games torch down Inverurie High Street in June 2014, to mark the football club’s community & charity work. Physio Ashley Armstrong was a Clydesider volunteer at the games too. Yellow & blue was adopted as the colours for the away kits. Jordan Leyden netted the Locos 1000th senior goal at Fraserburgh in April 2015.

2015/16 saw a losing Aberdeenshire Cup final and the Third Round of the Scottish Cup being reached. A classic 4-4 home draw with Annan Athletic included, arguably, the greatest goal ever scored at Harlaw Park. It was a late leveller by Neil McLean that inspired a vintage poem by Gordon Henderson & coverage by Sky Sports. John Bell Pipeline ended their long & successful time as the Main Sponsor. Cala Homes took over as the new Main Sponsor.

2016/17 and an Aberdeenshire Shield win at Huntly over Banks o’ Dee. Scott Buchan was in sole charge after Kenny Coull resigned early in the season. Scott resigned the week before Christmas with ex Dons/Hibs/St Mirren/Grimsby & Barnsley defender Neil Cooper taking over. Neil Gauld returned for the following campaign & ex Dons & Dundee United Stuart Duff also arrived. It was to be a season where the Locos recorded their highest goals per game ratio in the seniors & made their highest SHFL points haul of seventy-eight. This was in contrast to the form in the cups, where there was no joy for the Railwaymen.

2018/19 saw the Locos play in the Irn Bru Cup, hosting Fraserburgh, winning on penalties. They lost to Formartine in the next round. Neil Cooper left after fifteen matches of the 2019/20 campaign, with coach & ex-player Andy Low taking up the manager’s position. The season would not be completed due to Covid, with Locos’ second place finish scaled down to fifth for the record book. It did include a first cup final in three seasons, a loss to Fraserburgh in the Shield at the Balmoral Stadium.

2021/21 only saw Inverurie Locos play only five fixtures due to the pandemic.

Andy Low resigned five matches into the 2021/22 season and ex Canadian internationalist & Inverness Caley Thistle legend Richard Hastings installed as the new manager. The club finished the season in sixth place and was notable for the conclusion of their playing careers for Ryan Broadhurst & Neil McLean.

Inverurie Locos took to the field for their 2022/23 campaign in red & black horizontal bands, paying suitable homage to the very first kit worn by the club one hundred and twenty years earlier.