Forfar Athletic F.C.

Forfar Athletic F.C.

Football club infobox
clubname = Forfar Athletic

fullname = Forfar Athletic Football Club
nickname = "The Loons", "Sky Blues"
founded = 1885
ground = Station Park, Forfar
capacity = 5,177
chairman = flagicon|SCO Neill Wilson
manager = flagicon|SCO Dick Campbell
mgrtitle = Manager
league = Scottish Third Division
season = 2007–08
position = Third Division, 10th
pattern_le2=_blackstripes|pattern_b2=_greenshoulders|pattern_re2= blackstripes

Forfar Athletic Football Club are a Scottish semi-professional football club from the town of Forfar, Angus. They are members of the Scottish Football League and currently play in the Third Division. Nicknamed the Loons ("Loon" is a local dialect word for a young man), they play their home games at Station Park, in the north end of Forfar.

This season the club’s colours are sky-blue with gray-blue trim, gray-blue shorts, sky-blue stockings with gray trim [cite news | url = | title = Forfar kitted out | publisher = The Courier | date = July 29 2006 ] , with the away shirt being a white top with a green strip around the neck and sleeves, green shorts and white socks.

There will be a new kit launched for the 2007-08 season, supplied by Italian sportswear manufacturer Macron. The home kit will be predominantly Sky Blue in colour, with the away kit White and Green.

The club are nicknamed "the Loons", although the local media have had a habit of using the much despised moniker of the "Sky Blues". Other rival clubs in Angus include Arbroath, Brechin City and Montrose, as well as the larger clubs of Dundee, Dundee United, Aberdeen and St. Johnstone in the wider east of Scotland region. As well as taking part in the Scottish Football League (presently Division 3) the club also participate in the Scottish Cup, the League Cup, the Challenge Cup and the Forfarshire Cup every season.

Club history


The club was founded in 1885cite web|url=|title=Forfar Athletic||accessdate=2008-10-06] [cite web|url=|title=Forfar Athletic|publisher=ESPN Soccernet|accessdate=2008-10-06] when the second team of the older Forfar club called Angus Athletic, broke away to form Forfar Athletic. One explanation for the origins of the Loons' moniker is that the second string were younger than the first team, so over time people would say "I'm off to watch the Loons" ("Loon" being a local dialect word for a young man). [cite web|url=|title=loon (2) definition|publisher=MSN Encarta|accessdate=2008-10-07] The early side played in a navy and black striped home strip. Forfar played their first match on 16 May 1885 when they beat Dundee Our Boys 1–0.cite web|url=|title=Forfar Athletic Through The Decades - The 1880's |publisher=Forfar Athletic F.C.|accessdate=2008-10-07] On 1 September 1888 the club recorded their record win when they defeated Lindertis, a side from nearby Kirriemuir, 14–1.

Into the League

The club were admitted into the Scottish Football League in the 1921–22 season, entering the new Second Division, [cite web|url=|title=Scottish Football League - Elections 1893-2008|publisher=Scottish Football History|accessdate=2008-10-06] the club finished 14th out of 20 teams in their first season. In the 1923–24 season a third division was established, Forfar were relegated into that division in the 1924–25 season by finishing bottom of Division Two. the club were lucky, 12 of the 16 teams in that division were relegated as that division was to be scrapped the following season, Forfar managed to gain promotion. National competitions were suspended with the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. In this period Alex Troup was a key player for the club - he went on to play for Dundee and Everton. The club's biggest defeat also came in this period, on 2 January 1930, when they lost 2–12 to King's Park.

Post War Highs and Lows

When the league resumed in the 1946–47 season Forfar found themselves in the C Division (a reconstituted Third Division) of the league. The club won promotion to the B Division in the 1948–49 season and remained in the B division and its successor Second Division until finally winning the divisional championship in the 1983–84 under manager Doug Houston. This was considerable progress from the 1973–74 season when the club finished bottom of the division. The late 1970s and the 1980s can probably be considered the club's most successful period - at the end of the 1985–86 season the club were just one point below promotion to the Premier Division.

This era also saw a succession of good cup runs, the club meeting Rangers in the League Cup semi-finals in 1977–78 (losing 5–2 after extra time) and again in the Scottish Cup semi-finals at Hampden Park in the 1981–82 competition, forcing a 0–0 draw in the first game and earning a replay which ended 3–1 to Rangers. In the 1986–87 Scottish Cup the club came within a few seconds of knocking Dundee United, then flying high after beating FC Barcelona at the Nou Camp, out of the cup in the quarter finals, but United scored to gain a replay, which they subsequently won.

Various kit colours were used throughout this period. In the 1950s and early 1960s, a green home strip was used. Later the team adopted lighter blue with varying navy. The nickname "The Sky Blues" was introduced in the 1982–83 season to aid marketing, however could be confused with the nickname of English club Coventry City. The nickname was dropped by the club during the early 1990s, It is however still sometimes used by the media.

The 1990s Onwards: Hegarty, Campell & McPhee

The club continued in the First Division until the 1991–92, when they finished bottom under the management of Paul Hegarty. The side won just five matches and lost twenty seven. Following a demonstration outside the main stand at Station Park, Hegarty was summarily dismissed, to be replaced by Tommy Campbell. The Loons remained in the Second Division until the close season of 1994, when league reorganisation saw the Loons find themselves in the new Third Division.

A successful campaign saw the club win the inaugural Third Division Championship with a 1–0 win against Ross County in April 1995, Bobby Mann netting the only goal of the game. Despite a promising start to the 1995–96 season, Forfar were relegated back to the Third Division under the continued management of Campbell and the captaincy of Ian McPhee. In late 1996, McPhee took over as player-manager following the departure of Campbell to neighbours Arbroath, taking his side on an impressive run of results that saw them achieve promotion on goal difference ahead of Ross County.

Forfar survived a season in the Second Division, but were again relegated back to the Third Division at the end of the 1998–99 season. The club were promoted again the following season, finishing in third place as a minor league reconstruction took place, however McPhee resigned as manager in November 2000 following a poor start to the 2000–01 season, stating “"I have put the club before myself - I could have been selfish, but Forfar football club is more important than Ian McPhee.” [cite news|url=|title=McPhee leaves as Forfar manager|date=2000-11-13|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06]

Neil Cooper (2000–2003)

McPhee was replaced by Neil Cooper, [cite news|url=|title=Forfar appoint Cooper as boss|date=2000-11-21|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06] who led Forfar to Second Division safety by the end of the 2000–01 Second Division season, sending Queen’s Park down on goal difference.

Cooper's only full season in charge, 2001–02, saw Forfar finish third in the Second Division. The Loons also reached the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup, where they faced Rangers at Station Park. The match was televised live by BBC Scotland, and although the Loons lost 6–0, [cite news|url=|title=Rangers floor Forfar|date=2002-02-24|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06] the club received a considerable cash bonus as a result of the tie.

Cooper remained manager until January 2003 when he moved back to become head youth coach for his former club Aberdeen, [cite news|url=|title=Forfar seeking new boss|date=2003-02-13|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06] leaving the Loons in a strong league position.

Ray Stewart (2003–2004)

Between January 2003 and November 2004 the club was managed by former West Ham United and Dundee United full back Ray Stewart who had previously managerial experience with Livingston and Stirling Albion. [cite news|url=|title=Stewart is Forfar boss|date=2003-02-13|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06] Stewart guided Forfar to a penalty shootout win over Motherwell in the Third Round of the League Cup in October 2003, [cite news|url=|title=Forfar oust Well on penalties|date=2003-09-23|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06] leading to another lucrative tie with Rangers at Ibrox which again finished 6–0 to Rangers. [cite news|url=|title=Nerlinger buries Forfar|date=2003-10-28|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06] Stewart became increasingly unpopular with the fans towards the end of the 2003-04 season following a string of poor results, which left the Loons rooted in mid-table.

The 2004–05 season started with four straight wins and a 5–2 win away to St. Mirren in the League Cup, [cite news|url=|title=St Mirren 2-5 Forfar|date=2004-08-10|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06] leading to a tie with Dundee at Dens Park ending 4–0 to Dundee. [cite news|url=|title=Dundee 4-0 Forfar Athletic|date=2004-08-24|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06] A good run was also achieved in the Challenge Cup when the club beat Greenock Morton, Queen's Park and Clyde to reach the semi-finals only to be knocked out by Ross County in a 5–2 defeat. [cite news|url=|title=Ross County 5-2 Forfar Ath|date=2004-09-28|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06] Unfortunately the club's performance in the league again declined and Stewart offered his resignation, following a 5–1 home defeat to Montrose in the Scottish Cup First Round [cite news|url=|title=Forfar Athletic 1-5 Montrose|date=2004-11-27|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06] – an offer which was accepted by the Forfar board. [cite news|url=|title=Stewart leaves faltering Forfar|date=2004-11-28|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06]

Brian Fairley (2004–2005)

With Forfar floundering in the league, the board moved to appoint then Dumbarton manager Brian Fairley as Station Park boss, Fairley resigning from his post as Dumbarton manager earlier in the day. [cite news|url=|title=Fairley moves to Forfar Athletic|date=2004-12-08|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06] Fairley was to lead the club to mid-table safety by season end, cumulating in a 3–0 victory over champions Brechin City. Fairley resigned from his post in September 2005, citing the pressures of full-time work away from football.

Ray Farningham (2005–2006)

The club brought in former player Ray Farningham as manager, [cite news|url=|title=Farningham named new Forfar boss|date=2005-09-25|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06] with another former player, George Shaw, coming in as assistant manager. [cite news|url=|title=Shaw is first Farningham signing|date=2005-09-25|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06] Despite some worryingly erratic performances, the Loons again secured 2nd Division status by season end – a season that included two victories over champions Gretna. After the season ended Ray Farningham moved to Gretna as chief scout. [cite news|url=|title=Forfar boss quits for Gretna post |date=2006-05-04|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06]

George Shaw (2006–2007)

George Shaw was promoted to the position of manager, with long serving striker Paul Tosh stepping up to player-assistant manager. On 19 March 2007 Forfar Athetic parted company with Shaw after ten months in charge, [cite news|url=|title=Loons part company with boss Shaw|date=2007-03-19|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06] Paul Tosh left shortly after, going on loan to Arbroath until the end of the 2007–08 season, [cite news|url=|title=Tosh follows Shaw out of Forfar|date=2007-03-27|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06] he is however still there today. This was following a spell that saw the Loons rooted to the foot of the Second Division, and having failed to progress in any of the season's cup competitions.

Jim Moffat (2007–2008)

Following Shaw’s departure the club appointed former player and reserve team coach Jim Moffat as manager. [cite news|url=|title=Forfar go for Moffat's experience |date=2007-03-29|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-06] A former manager of East Fife, Moffat’s first game in charge was a 9–1 defeat to Greenock Morton on 7 April 2007, which saw Forfar relegated to the Third Division. The following season did not go well, and Moffat was sacked on 21 April 2008 [citeweb|url=|title=Forfar exit for manager Moffat |date=2008-04-21|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-04-21] , with Forfar going on to finish bottom of the Third Division. Dick Campbell became Forfar's new manager on 8 May 2008. [cite web|url=|title=Campbell takes the helm at Forfar |date=2008-05-08|publisher=BBC Sport|accessdate=2008-10-05]


C Division Champions: 1948–49

Second Division Champions: 1983–84

Third Division Champions: 1994–95

Third Division Runners Up: 1996–97

Club Records

Record win: 14–1 v Lindertis September 1 1888

Record loss: 2–12 v King's Park January 2 1930

Record home attendance: 10,780 v Rangers, (February 7 1970)

Record Goal scorer: John Clark (127, 1978–1991)

Most goals in a season: Dave Kilgour, 45, Division II, 1929–30

Most Appearances: Ian McPhee (534, 1979–1998)

Current squad

"As of 8 October 2008." [cite web|url=|title=FAFC Squad|publisher=Forfar Athletic F.C.|accessdate=2008-10-07]

Loons Legends

Important personnel at the club in previous years have included:

*Jim Black (player, club secretary and chairman)
*Alex Brash (defender, 1974–86)
*Craig Brewster (midfielder, 1985–91)
*Tommy Campbell (manager, mid 1990s)
*John Clark (striker, 1978–91)
*Neil Cooper (manager, 2001–03)
*Raymond Farningham (midfielder, 1979–86 & manager 2005–2006)
*Archie Knox (player, 1960's, player manager, 1976–1980)
*Doug Houston (manager, early-mid 1980s)
*Stewart Kennedy (goalkeeper, 1980–91)
*Dave Kilgour (striker, 1920s)
*Bobby Mann (defender, 1992–99)
*Ian McPhee (left sided defender and later manager, 1979–87, 1991–2000)
*Sam Smith (chairman, 1980s and 90s)
*Alex Troup (player, 1920s?)


External links

* [ Forfar Athletic Football Club] - Official club site
* [ "Loonstalk"] - Independent Forfar Athletic Message Board

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