CLUB HISTORY

Formed as a junior club in 1945, the following season 1946/47 they played 35 consecutive games without defeat.

Then tragically, due to injuries, they were forced to make 5 positional changes in the Scottish Junior Cup Final against Shawfield Juniors which they lost in a replay by 2 goals to 1. However they won three trophies that season and lost no fewer than 7 players to the senior ranks.

history1Despite this clearance the next season 1947/48 they again reached the Final of the “Scottish” and this time they lifted the silverware by defeating Irvine Meadow at Hampden Park 2-1.

The winning team that day was, Graham, Mitchell, Keenan, Walls, Stewart, McKie, Wilson, Pinkerton, Buckley, Sproull and Black. Names which I am sure are indelibly inscribed in the memory of all who were at that wonderful final, when the Scottish Junior Cup came to Bo’ness for the first time.

The reception given to the team on their return to Bo’ness was unreal with thousands of people crowding the area outside the Burgh Chambers. This season they also won the Brown Cup and retained the League Championship, playing 16 games and winning 14 of these in the space of 19 playing days.

After a gap of 28 years in season 1974/75 the Scottish Junior Cup returned to Newtown Park when the BU’s beat Darvel Juniors from Ayrshire by 3 goals to Nil. This was all the more sweet in fact that they had only one home draw during the competition added to this one of the goals was scored by local lad Willie Temperley. So when skipper Ian McQueen held the silverware aloft, the reception from Bo’ness fans was fantastic. The winning team on this occasion was, Ferguson, J.McQueen, McGuiness, Miller, McGeachie, I.McQueen, Scobie, Balanowski, Mitchell, Anderson and Temperley.

history2The next visit to the Scottish Cup Final was in season 1978/79 when they were narrowly defeated by Cumnock Juniors from Ayrshire. 1982/83 saw our local team back in the Final only to be defeated by favourites East Kilbride Thistle.

It was interesting to note that in the two finals won out of the five Final appearances up to this, they played in strips that were not the club’s traditional colours of blue.

Ibrox Park was the venue for the ” BU’s ” next ” Scottish ” Final in season 1983/84 and this time the opponents were Baillieston Juniors. The general consensus amongst ” Those who knew ” was Bo’ness had ” Nae Chance “.

As history books show the boys in blue won by two goals to nil and the many experts and tipsters had to eat humble pie as ” Man of The Match ” Lex Shields, tore the opposing defence to ribbons on two occasions to return the Cup to Newtown for the third time and for the first time wearing their usual blue strip.

history3The winning team for the third famous Scottish Cup win was, Kirkwood, Dunleavie, Breen, Carroll, Caldwell, Reid, Shields, Beaton, Sinnet, Fairley, Wilson, Balanowski/Robertson.

No true Bonessian at this match could fail to have been touched by the half-time “entertainment” that day at Ibrox, when Thomas C Mulholland appeared on the track decked in blue and white to lead the Bo’ness faithful in the main stand in “Our Festal Day”, the “Fair Song” that makes Bo’nessians truly unique, as it bonds them in a way no other community in the world can be united. This was an unforgettable moment of magic which will live with those who were there.

So again Newtown Park had the Scottish Cup on the sideboard and the thousands who turned out to welcome home the conquering heroes. Sadly however, the Club have not enjoyed much success in the quest for the Premiere Trophy since that day. The nearest they came was in 2003 when they were paired with Local Rivals Linlithgow Rose under the leadership of none other than Jim “Sinbad” Sinnet who appeared with Bo’ness in there last Cup victory. The Semi-Final was arranged for Almondvale Stadium, Livingston. Unfortunately Bo’ness went down 2 goals to Nil in front of a crowd no less than eight and a half thousand. One of the biggest Junior Crowds witnessed in years, even more than what had turned up for the Finals.

Bo’ness had some reward for their efforts that season when they went on to be crowned East Region Division 1 Champions and in turn promotion to the fledgling East Super League.

Short term manager Alan Banner, who had stayed on at Newtown Park after manger Brian Fairly departed for Dumbarton, resumed his position as goalkeeping coach with Fairley. Season 2003/2004 saw the new Management of Bo’ness in the hands of Ex-Hearts player Jimmy Sandison and Ex-Airdrie Goalkeeper John Martin.

Jimmy’s first season as a manager was very successful as he brought in a vast amount of experience to the Bo’ness including; Northern Ireland Internationalist George O’Boyle and Ex Scotland U21 star Kevin Thomas.

Season 2004/2005 Jimmy continued to add more depth to the squad and also added another “Football Celebrity” to the team – Maltese Internationalist Simon Vella (who previously played against Henry and Zidane), when Malta played France.

The season was in good shape and United featured a few times at the top of the table and as the season came to a close, it looked as if they were going to remain at the top of the league, but disaster struck at Bonnyrigg when United lost (which caused the title hopes to fade).

After this sadly everything fell a part – Jimmy Sandison’s “East Aces” went from 1st to 6th in league in the space of 2 weeks. A rather disappointing end to the season after all the hard work that had been put in.

Season 2005/2006 Started off on a great run but after a few weeks of bad results and injuries taking there toll on the squad leaving the team with a skeleton squad Manager Jimmy Sandison and Assistant John Martin decided it was time to part company with the club. In the same week former Tayport manager Davie Baikie had moved into the hot seat.

Almost right away Baikie exerted his influence and the team started playing with some confidence and, although Bo’ness were knocked out a two local tournaments, they accumulated league points and made good progress in the Scottish Junior Cup. New players were brought in during the January window and Bo’ness won a memorable Scottish tie at Shotts before preparing to meet Neilston in round five of the tournament.

In early February, the BUs hammered Neilston at Newtown Park and were rewarded with a quarter final home draw against Auchinleck Talbot but it was discovered that a number of Bo’ness players had not been registered with the SJFA. The BUs were thrown out of the Cup with Auchinleck going through to the semi final. The aftermath saw David Baikie resume his senior career as manager of East Fife, Willie Irvine was appointed the BU coach and the end of the season could not come quick enough.

For the start of the 2006/2007 season Willie Irvine brought in a number of players but Bo’ness made a disappointing start as they failed to qualify for the later stages of the League cup while losing their first four League matches. Willie Irvine’s short tenure at the helm was ended and Eric Sinclair came in as the new coach with BU legend Paul McKinlay as his number two. Between the parting of Irvine and the appointment of Sinclair BU Captain Gary Smith and George O’Boyle were in charge when Bo’ness won an impressive victory against Linlithgow Rose at Prestonfield.

Unfortunately the new coaching team could not stop Bo’ness being relegated at the end of the season although there was a bright spot when the BUs won the St Michael’s Cup, emphatically beating Bathgate at Creamery Park in the final.

The aim for the following season was simple in that Eric Sinclair’s primary task was to steer Bo’ness back to the East Region Super League. This goal was achieved with Bo’ness topping the table to make the quick return to the top League. The BUs also got to the final of the Brown Cup but in the last game of the season they went down to Musselburgh after a penalty kick shoot out.

Bo’ness made a decent start to the next season winning three of their first four league games but again they had failed to reach the later stages of the League Cup. However as the season progressed Bo’ness struggled in the League and made little impression in any of the cup ties. Eric Sinclair resigned as manager in March but Paul McKinlay stayed on to help the club avoid relegation to the Premier League.

With two games remaining, things were not looking good for Bo’ness but home victories against Bathgate and Glenrothes gave the BUs a chance. Allan McGonigal was given the job as manager and results elsewhere meant that Bo’ness had avoided relegation by a single point, the scene being set for what turned out to be the most memorable season for Bo’ness in a long time.

history4In the 2009/2010 season it was nothing short of a revolution where many new players came in and Bo’ness went onto the win their first League Championship since 1969. The team got off to a flyer and led the table from beginning to end. A faltering last few games saw Bo’ness dropping precious points, giving the chasing pack some hope but in a fantastic final league match against Linlithgow Rose the BUs won the game, the points and the Super League Championship.

The following season proved even more memorable for Bo’ness United who retained their Super League Title while reaching the semi final of the Scottish Junior Cup. The club also took part in the Senior version of the tournament for the first time in their history.

An emphatic win at Selkirk was followed by a big occasion at Newtown Park where the BUs defeated League side Queen’s Park. Bo’ness lost out in the next round to Highland League’s Buckie Thistle but this released them to focus on the domestic tournaments.

Defeats both away and at home against Auchinleck Talbot saw Bo’ness miss out on an appearance in the final of the National Tournament and they were then faced with a huge backlog of league games. However despite having to play twelve matches over twenty seven days the BUs lasted the pace to triumph once again as Super League Champions.

During the close season Willie Newbigging who had taken over from Allan McGonigal as manager, left the club. McGonigal, who retained an interest in the club despite managing Hamilton’s U19 side, entrusted Paul Ronald in taking the club forward.

Unfortunately the 2011/12 campaign proved disappointing overall although there were a few high points, the defeat of Linlithgow Rose in the Scottish Junior Cup being one of them.

Season 2012/13 and got off to a faltering start resulting in Paul Ronald leaving the club and Allan McGonigal returned take full charge. The BUs never really recovered from their slow beginning and this time proved to a rebuilding exercise.

history5This reconstruction of the side proved successful as the BUs won the Super League the following season making it three from five, a great feat for both players and manager. Bo’ness had also hoped to make an impact in the Scottish Junior Cup but a rare below par display at Irvine Meadow meant the quarter final was a far they achieved.

Another opportunity to take part in the Scottish Cup proved to be the highlight of the 2014/2015 season, the comeback at Elgin after going three goals behind being the pick of the games.

Bo’ness finally succumbed to Arbroath at home but had got as far as round four in the tournament, a record for both the club and the Juniors overall.

Although they finished up with no silverware as proof of success the BUs went on to finish runners up in the Super league and defeated finalists in the East of Scotland Cup.

2015/16 season finished with silverware although not having a recognised striker for some time they finished fourth in the league and made up for the cup final lose the year before and capture the East of Scotland Cup at Creamery Park, Bathgate against Dundonald Bluebell where the BU ran out 5-1 winners