1940 – 1970

Shire were furious at being excluded from the wartime league in 1939 it paled in their fury at being deliberately blocked from SFL football when the leagues resumed in 1946.

As a sop by the big clubs they were admitted into what was called the C Division. Along with some other ‘undesirables’ like Leith Athletic, Montrose and Brechin City they competed in a league made up of the top club’s reserve teams.

They got their own back by claiming the C Division title in 1947/48 and along the way set a club record by winning 13 matches in a row. But life back in the ‘proper’ league was too much and Shire suffered instant relegation.

The first half of the 1950’s again threatened the club’s future. Crowds crumbled as Shire were faced with playing league matches against the might of Alloa Athletic reserves, and only some hard lobbying won re-organisation in 1955.

Shire’s rightful place in the Second Division was only won at the start of 1955/56 season and it was a hard slog. The following season they were thankful there was no relegation as the team finished rock bottom.

But salvation was just around the corner. The Steedman brothers, Jack and Charlie, football-daft and successful businessmen were brought onto the board.

Before long Shire had turned things around, attracting decent young players and selling them on at a big profit. The best-known was future Scotland international Eddie McCreadie. With funds in the bank a promotion push was in order. The club was suddenly paying money to attract good players and that bore fruit with promotion to the top flight in 1963. They even announced the players would go full-time.

But it was yet another one season wonder and in 1964 the Steedmans merged the club with Clydebank Juniors and locked the Firs Park gates.

While this new hybrid ES Clydebank played their games at Kilbowie Park, Shire fans lodged a legal challenge to the move and they won, bringing the club back to Firs Park for the 1965/66 season. With the controversial brothers now gone, ownership passed to local businessmen. They appointed the club’s first ever manager, Lawrence Binnie, and stability, if nothing else, was provided.

Just as everyone was recovering from the Summer of Love, Shire staged their own version. At the start of the 1968/69 season everyone loved the Shire. In the space of just seven days in September 1968, Shire beat Berwick Rangers 7-3, Stenhousemuir 6-0 and Cowdenbeath 3-1. Six successive league wins had crowds flocking back to Firs Park, but it didn’t last. It was still a very attractive team to watch but it was inconsistency that let them down. The end result was mid-table obscurity which was something Shire fans were only to become more familiar with.

Next >>