Burnbrae club’s 150th is a sell-out

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A famous rugby club which began life in Partick but is now firmly based in Milngavie celebrates its 150th anniversary at a sell-out gala dinner in Glasgow today (Saturday).

West of Scotland Football Club is a local institution which has battled through two world wars to produce some of Scotland’s finest players.

It was established at the height of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1865 – a few months after the endof America’s Civil War - and despite trials and tribulations (such as when it was “evicted” from the Partick base it shared with the cricket club) has never seriously faltered in all that time.

Generally known as “the West” the club’s full title hearkens back to the days when – astonishing as it may seem now – rugby and football hadn’t become clearly separate games.

There were 2o players a side, too, while the original strip was blue – the red and yellow livery came much later.

The club’s Milngavie identity was secured in 1952 with a move to the Mains Estate, but there remained the task of turning a marshy site at Burnbrae into a viable base - and the first game played there was on September 17, 1960, against Glasgow High School FP.

At the centenary dinner in Glasgow the guests included the immediate past Prime Minister, Sir Alec Douglas Home, all four Presidents of the home Rugby Unions, Lord Fraser of Allander and innumerable internationalists and well known personalities.

As the club’s history accurately relates: “This showed the influence that West of Scotland FC had on the birth and development of rugby in Scotland.”

With this sort of legacy to celebrate in its 150th anniversary year it’s small wonder the Hilton Hotel is entirely booked for the occasion - and that the event itself is a complete sell-out.

We’ll have more on this landmark event in the history of an iconic Milngavie (and Scottish) institution in next issue.