Rothesay Brandane Football Club

In 1946 efforts were made to restart junior football on the Island of Bute where such teams as Rothesay Royal Victoria, and Bute Athletic had been prominent names in that class of football. However at that time immediately after the Second World War resources were few and far between and the idea never succeeded but out of this came amateur football in the shape of Rothesay Brandane.

Even after all these years the most asked question about the club is why Brandane? Brandane is the name given to indigenous people of Rothesay. Historically Brandanes were warriors or soldiers who formed a private bodyguard for King Robert II in 1372. The original name is thought to have come from a saint of the Old Celtic Church. There is still a St Brendan's Church on the island. Brandanes were accepted into the West of Scotland League on 9th July 1946. They then were admitted to the Scottish Amateur League at the GM on 22nd May 1947, entering division 2A at a time when the Earl of Dumfries (heir to the Marques of Bute) was the honorary president.

In the forties and early fifties the Isle of Bute was basically a naval headquarters and as a result Brandanes could call on service personnel from many units located around the island and their performances for a new club were quite exceptional - they won the first division two championship in their first season in the league beating Rutherglen Echo in the Division A versus Division B play-off, and in the same season they won the West of Scotland Cup defeating Queens Park in the final. In the next season 1948-49 the Brandanes carried on the good work and progressed to the Semi-Final stages of the Scottish Amateur Cup only to lose to Greenock High School FP's at Western Park Renfrew by four goals to three.

Since those heady days the club has not been quite so successful although they did win their league section in 1964 and again in 2001 without losing a game, also winning the Colin Munro Cup in 1994.

Since their inception Brandanes Football Club have competed every season for 57 years and since 1957 have organised indoor five-a-side football at the pavilion ballroom which attracts between 200 and 300 kids and adults every Friday night during the winter months. Outdoors, the large ash covered park at the stadium in High Street was turfed over some years ago and now provides one of the best playing surfaces in the amateur game with excellent drainage quality resulting in few cancellations due to weather. For the supporters of the team there is a 220 seated grand stand which is often full. Many people have played important parts for the club over the years and probably none more than Major Archibald Terris who was Scottish Agent for a major sports clothing and equipment manufacturer. As President of Brandane, he represented the Club on the Scottish Amateur League Executive, of which he was Vice-President from 1955-1959 and President from 1959-1962. He was honoured with Life Membership when he retired. Others like John Welsh of Cartna Athletic another Past President and life member did sterling work on behalf of the Rothesay Club.

On the field of play some of the players who achieved success where: - Tommy Johnstone, a regular Captain of the Scottish Amateur Team, John McKay, also played for the League Team, and David Greer of the current Brandane Team has appeared at centre forward for the league this season. Others who have succeeded were Andy Leigh - Raith Rovers, Charlie Hamilton - Plymouth Argyle and Tommy Burke - Clyde, Billy McKay - Kilmarnock, Robert Forsyth - Heart of Midlothian, Billy Rutherford - Darlington and Southport, and this season Jim McAlister has joined Greenock Morton, John Morrison one of the current Brandanes squad won a Junior Cup Medal with Pollok Juniors and played for Torquay United against Bolton Wanderers at Wembley Stadium in the final of one of the English League Tournaments.

Looking to the future of the Club an application was made to Sport Scotland for financial assistance to encourage youth development. This was very successful and has resulted in over 100 youngsters of various age groups joining the clubs Sunday Training and Coaching sessions. The youngsters will play under the name Brandane Rovers, the name used by Brandane Reserve Teams some years ago.

The club is administered by a committee which meets on the last Monday of the month under the chairmanship of David Meldrum, long time servant of Brandane who has held all available posts within Rothesay Brandane Football Club.

John Polea
We would like to thank the author of this article, John Polea. Although he was born at Port Glasgow in 1937 his family originated from the Greek Islands. John has been associated with Bute all his life, having worked here in his early days and finally retiring and settling here in 1993 along with his wife Ann McDonald (Cambuslang).
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