our story

About the locos

Inverurie Locomotive Works Football Club was founded on Friday 22nd August 1902 by employees of the Great North of Scotland Railway Company at a meeting convened in the Railway Works Hall on Constitution Street.  The Railway Company transferred its maintenance operations from Kittybrewster in Aberdeen to Inverurie between 1898 and 1905.

The Club is known as “The Railwaymen” or, more simply, “Locos”

and has played continuously since 1902 at Harlaw Park.  The team’s colours are red and black which symbolise the fire and coal which powered the company’s steam locomotives.  The first Captain (elected) was Alex Munro and the first recorded match on Saturday 4th October 1902 was a 0-0 draw at Huntly.

From its formation until 2001 (99 years) the Club played Junior football in the Aberdeen and District Junior League and contested the various associated cups.  It also competed annually in the Scottish Junior Cup.  After a rather indifferent first few years, Captain Dan McGregor lifted the first Trophy on Saturday 9th May 1914 – the Lovie Shield (County Cup) – at Central Park in Aberdeen as the team overturned a two goal half-time deficit to defeat Aberdeen East End 4-2.

Junior football was suspended during the First World War and Locos made only modest progress in the immediate post-war years.  However, the Club clinched its first Championship Title in 1925/26 amidst the confusion of the General Strike.  This proved to be a springboard for further success and the team of 1928/29 swept the boards.  The 1930s was a halcyon period as Locos won seven Championships and many Cups, including League Cup, County Cup, Duthie Cup, Archibald Cup and McLeman Cup.  In season 1935/36, by winning the County Cup, Locos qualified to represent Aberdeenshire in the one-off Scottish Jubilee Shield held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Scottish Junior Football Association.  After defeating Kirkintilloch Rob Roy 2-1 at Advocates Park in Aberdeen (att. 6,000) and Camelon 6-4 at Brockville Park, Falkirk (att. 4,000), they lost the Semi-Final 4-0 to Morton Juniors (att. 5,000) at Love Street in Paisley (former home of St. Mirren).

From 1930 to 1935

Locos were led by left-half Andy Beattie from Kintore who then transferred to Preston North End for £150. Two years later he found himself wearing the dark blue of Scotland at Hampden Park, playing an unfamiliar left-back role and marking a tricky right-winger by the name of Stanley Matthews before an all-time record crowd of 149,547.  Scotland won 3-1 and Andy Beattie was never on a losing side for Scotland in seven internationals. The Second World War disrupted his career, although he won another five unofficial Scotland caps.  Beattie progressed after the War to football management and he was appointed the first-ever Scotland Team Manager in 1954.

Despite Andy Beattie’s high profile, many at Locos felt that the three players Norman Law (left-back), Willie “Winkie” Young (centre-half) and Henry “Corker” Ross (inside-forward) were the best players in that 1930s decade.  As storm clouds again spread across Europe in 1939, many Junior Clubs packed up for the duration of the War.  However, Locos played on, one of only two teams to do so (the other was Parkvale), as the League was made up largely of military sides.  The drive and determination of the Management Committee saw the Club through those dark years and, indeed, they were Champions in 1942/43 and 1945/46.

Locos’ pioneering spirit took them by train and ship for a pre-season tour to Orkney and Shetland in 1954 and the team went on to win another Championship that season, with centre-forward Norrie Davidson scoring 38 goals before transferring to Aberdeen.  The bracing sea air and wonderful hospitality took Locos back to Shetland in 1956, but this time they flew for the first (but not the last) time.  Three successive Championships were secured in 1959/60, 1960/61 and 1961/62 along with several cup successes, but Dr. Richard Beeching of British Railways lay around the corner.

In March 1969

Worrying rumours concerning the Locomotive Works turned into reality with the announcement of closure at the end of the year.  Ironically Locos won the 1968/69 Archibald and McLeman Cups along with the inaugural and prestigious North Regional Cup.  Uncertainty prevailed over the Club’s future and ongoing use of Harlaw Park.  After five long years of negotiation, led by Club Secretary Kenneth Peddie, the Club succeeded in purchasing the ground. It had been a costly affair, however, and led to virtual bankruptcy.  In 1977 the Committee was forced to settle a £12 electricity invoice out of members’ own pockets.  That year the Club “scratched” from the Scottish Junior Cup for the first and only time, which created a real strain between Club and supporters.

However, an injection of new blood both on the Committee and in the playing staff saw the Locos gradually recover, slowly but surely, in the 1980s.  By the 1990s the team was winning trophies again including three Championships.  In 1994 the Club applied for membership of The Breedon Highland League Championship, but was pipped by Wick Academy. 

In 2001, after 99 years

Of junior football, Inverurie Locos applied again for The Breedon Highland League Championship membership. Led by Eddie Innes and Willie Lippe (who have both served as Club President), the application was successful. On Saturday 4th August 2001 Locos drew 0-0 against Clachnacuddin in their first Breedon Highland League Championship fixture at Harlaw Park. Within the first 20 years of football at Senior level, the team has lifted eight Cups and, although yet to win a Championship, they have been Runners-Up on four occasions. Senior football has brought the glamour of the Scottish Cup and Locos have locked horns with several Scottish League sides. Their biggest match was undoubtedly the 2008/09 Fourth Round clash at home to Premier League Motherwell. Harlaw Park hosted an all-ticket full house of 2,500 and played well before succumbing 3-0.

Down the years Locos has produced many players who have progressed to higher levels. The Club’s first goalkeeper Sandy “Cody” Mutch (who excelled in the 0-0 draw at Huntly in 1902) won the F.A. Cup with Huddersfield Town in 1922. Another goalkeeper Jack Reilly won 35 caps for Australia and played at the 1974 World Cup Finals in Germany. Bob Murray was inducted into the Stockport County Hall of Fame in 2002.  And Locos continue to nurture talent as, in 2020, 15 year-old Josh Buchan signed for Aberdeen.

Today

Inverurie Locomotive Works Football Club is a progressive Community Club fostering strong links with local schools and sports clubs, and supporting local charities.  “The Railwaymen” aspire to compete at the highest level of Scottish football. The Club is proud of it’s history and is a valuable link to the town’s railway heritage.