Third Lanark is one of football's most pathos laden tales...
Founded in 1872 as the sporting wing of the 3rd Lanarkshire Rifles, they were a founder member of the Scottish Football Association in that same year and the Scottish Football League in 1890. The club spent the majority of their existence competing in the top flight, lifting the League trophy once in 1903/4, as well as the Scottish Cup (at that time more important) twice in 1889 and 1905.
Indeed, it was only after their League Cup victory in 1960 that they suffered a marked decline. This was almost solely due to the chairmanship of one Bill Hiddleston, a wholesale glass merchant cum loudmouth cigar chewing chancer.
An asset stripper to the bitter end, stories of the club's poverty range from them having to train under the lights of the adjacent street during the week (as Hiddleston wouldn't turn the lights on at their ground, Cathkin Park), to opposing teams having to bring their own soap as Third Lanark refused to supply them. Indeed, one former player recalls a horrendous arm fracture suffered in a game against Clydebank. Hiddleston instructed someone to accompany the injured lad to hospital but on no account was the “jersey to be cut off ” because the club had only one set.
All of this came to a head in 1967, when Hiddleston attempted to sell Cathkin Park for housing. Whilst this move was eventually blocked by the City of Glasgow, the club would never recover, with liquidation taking place shortly thereafter.
A rare piece of the club's history will be coming to auction with ourselves at McTear's in our next Sporting sale (13 August), a 2nd Division winner’s medal from the 1934/5 season, for which we have high hopes...
McTear’s is Scotland’s only auction house to host a Sporting Medals & Trophies Auction. For a complimentary, no-obligation valuation contact James Bruce on 0141 810 2880 or firstname.lastname@example.org.