Airdrieonians FC

Airdrieonians FC

As one of the powerhouses of Scottish footbal at the time, the First World War years had a huge impact on Airdrieonians FC.

Initially adopting an attitude of 'business as usual', both the club and Scottish football as a whole were not overly affected by the wider outbreak of hostilities in 1914, although local newspaper reports at the time noted a sense of general unease within the crowds at Airdrie's Broomfield Park.

However, as hostilities escalated so too did pressures on Airdrie's players and staff to join the war effort. Chairman Tom Forsyth and players such as brothers William and David Templeman all entered military service during early stages of the conflict, and the club came under increasing financial pressure due to vastly reduced wartime attendances at games.

The sad loss of star players such as Bobby Williams, killed in action in France on 30th August 1916, was also keenly felt.

Moreover the entire structure of Scottish football was changed during the war years, as several clubs dropped out of the top Division One during the 1917/1918 season due to the increasing difficulty of travel.

The Scottish Cup was also abandoned at this time. For Airdrie, this situation meant a huge strain and the club struggled to cope with the constant change of personnel and ever-present threat of financial difficulty.

However by the end of the conflict the club was on a much surer footing, and it was able to take its place in the league for a 1918/1919 season that saw the game re-establish itself as the pastime of the masses.

Summary of an article by John Henderson, Airdrieonians FC historian - reproduced with thanks. The full text of this article can be accessed via the link below.

For more information about Scottish football in the war years, go to http://www.scotlandswar.ed.ac.uk/Scotland/Home-Front-Sport/Football

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Airdrieonians FC 1914
Airdrieonians FC first team and directors, circa 1914. (c) Culture NL.
Willie Templeman, in the famous Diamonds strip introduced circa 1912. (c) Culture NL.
Private William Templeman during the war years. (c) Culture NL.
Seaman David Templeman during the war years. (c) Culture NL