Bo'ness United are a Scottish junior (non league) football club who were formed in 1945 following the merger of Bo'ness FC and Bo'ness Cadora FC. The town of Bo'ness is located on the south bank of the Firth of Forth, around seventeen miles north west of Edinburgh. Borrowstounness, to give the town its proper, but seldom used proper name, was once a mining town and major port but later became a commuter town.
Bo'ness FC had been formed in 1882, playing in regional competition at a ground by the Parish Church and then Soo & Cra Park. In 1886 the club moved into Newtown Park, before joining the expanded Scottish League Second Division in 1921. In 1927 the team lifted the title and were promoted to the First Division, but their spell there lasted just one season.
The club struggled as the industries suffered and many locals were unemployed. During the 1932-33 season Bo'ness were expelled from the League, but they continued as a non league club until the merger after World War Two.
In their second season United went thirty five games unbeaten, but lost out in the Scottish Junior Cup Final to Shawfield Juniors. However they returned to Hampden Park to lift the cup in 1948 when Irvine Meadow were seen off as thousands of fans greeted the teams homecoming. 'The BU's' went many years without any further major honours, but the Junior Cup returned to Newtown Park in 1975 following victory against the Ayrshire outfit Darvel Juniors.
Two losing final appearences came in 1979 and 1983 when Cumnock Juniors and then East Kilbride Thistle broke Bo'ness hearts. However United returned to the final at Ibrox the following year, as many experts made them massive underdogs against Ballieston Juniors. The BU's clearly hadn't read the script as the team won 2-0 as they were inspired by a superb Lex Shields performance.
|The old stand at Newtown Park|
image taken from Wikipedia
McGonigal introduced many new players and his methods paid immediate dividends as United won their first league title since 1969, clinching it in the final game over local rivals Linlithgow Rose. Bo'ness went on to retain the championship in the 2010-11 season.
Bo'ness United will play in the SJFA East Region Super League in the 2013-14 season.
Tuesday 29th January 2013
I had a day free in Edinburgh before my Dad was to join me, so rather than just sitting around I planned a day of groundhopping. Having already covered several clubs in the capital I had taken the train to Linlithgow to call by the home of Rose before taking a bus down to the coast to Bo'ness.
It was a wild day with winds and occasional scrawly showers keeping me on the move. My map and timetable had shown me that I had just less than thirty minutes to walk from the stop near the leisure centre on Gauze Road through the playing fields, onto Newtown Park and then to Castlehill for the return service.
I got to the ground to find it locked, but I wasn't totally beaten as I found plenty of angles through the fences to view it and take photos. It was a fine arena, but not quite what it had been previously. The Main Stand on Jamieson Avenue had gone apart from its base which housed the facilities. The roof had been taken down and a sloping cover put over the old seating deck. A substantial open terracing was at the Linlithgow Road End, while terracing went round the rest of the pitch. A decent cover offered protection opposite the old stand.
Having completed my photography I went in search of Castlehill. a little behind schedule. Fortunately as I was partaking in my latest get fit campaign I jogged and arrived a little ahead of time. It was at this point I got a little confused as I saw a bus stop just around the corner on the main Dean Road. I didn't want to be in the wrong place, so I went to ask the man stood in the shelter. He was explaining as I saw the bus through the houses on Castlehill. I ran to the top of the street where the bus had gone ten yards past the stop and pleaded with the driver to let me on, but he just shrugged his shoulders and drove off.
To say I was not amused was an understatement. The poor bloke at the other stop shook his head and agreed that the driver had been an absolute tosser. I thought I was going to have to wait for an hour for the next bus, in what has to be said was not a particularly pretty place. He calmed me down and said a service was due to go into the town centre and then return to Linlithgow from there.
He then asked the twenty four million dollar question. "What was I doing there?" I explained and expected for him to give me an immediate wide berth. As it happened he turned out to be a loyal BU's fan! We got talking about all things football and in particular Scottish junior football. He told me that the old stand roof had been removed as asbestos was found in it, so it was necessary under health and safety guidelines. He was also pondering whether to travel north to Dundee Violet in the Junior Cup at the weekend. I was really glad to chat with someone with a mutual interest and I was a bit sad to see him get out in the centre.
I remained on the bus, complete with a friendly driver back to Linlithgow Cross so that I could catch my train back to Edinburgh in time for a siesta before meeting my Dad off the train for tea and frivolities!
It had not gone how I planned my visit, but I'm glad it went the way it did. I left knowing a lot more than when I arrived, which is one of the joys of my hobby.