St Cuthbert Wanderers is one of the oldest clubs in the South of Scotland League. The club was formed in the year 1879 by several members of the congregation of St Cuthberts Catholic Church in the High Street (which became the present St Andrew and St Cuthberts Church, behind the town’s Sheriff Court House.)
Prior to going to church one Sunday morning in 1879 around seven or eight male members of the congregation talked about forming a football club. Some men involved in these discussions were Michael Crossan, Tom Branney, William Flannigan, James Crossan, George Murphy and William Murray.
The first meeting took place in St Cuthberts School shelter when each gentleman vowed to save three pounds and return in a month’s time to get a club going. The total amount involved to get the club up and running came to fifty pounds, which included several donations from well wishers. After a few fund-raising dances in the Church’s St Andrew’s Hall, the final meeting to gather a team was called. Office Bearers were elected with Chairman Robert McMonies, Secretary George Murphy and William Flannigan as Treasurer.
After a few trial games it was decided that the club would be called ‘St Cuthbert Wanderers’. The club was later admitted to the Southern Counties, following several friendly games with local amatuer clubs.
It is said that interest in the team grew quickly in Kirkcudbright, with local business people very supportive, helping the team to prosper.
St Cuthbert Wanderers first started playing competitive matches in 1881 in the Churchill Cup and then the Law Cup in 1889. In 1892 St Cuthbert Wanderers purchased their own trophy, the St Cuthbert’s Cup, and organised a knock out tournament to which all of the senior clubs in Kirkcudbrightshire were eligible to enter. St Cuthbert Wanderers were the first Southern Counties Club to win a league championship in 1895/96 by winning the Stewartry League. Their first South of Scotland League Championship win came in the 1927/28 season and have gone on to win a further 11 league titles since.
The Clubs greatest achievement came in the 1971/72 season when they finally won the South Qualifying Cup. St Cuthbert Wanderers beat Burntisland Shipyard 5-4 on aggregate to lift the trophy. The scores, team and scorers over the two legs were;
1st Leg St Cuthbert Wanderers 4 Burntisland Shipyard 1 Date: 6/11/71
2nd Leg Burntisland Shipyard 2 St Cuthbert Wanderers 1 Date: 13/11/71
Team (For both legs) : Adams, McLellan, Grieve, Bryan, Roy, Smith, McGowan, Herring, Riddell, True and Oakes.
Scorers : 1st Leg; Riddell 2, McGowan and Bryan 2nd Leg; Herring.
St Cuthbert Wanderers first appearance in the Scottish Cup 1st Round came in the 1924/25 season when the were defeated 5-0 by Peebles Rovers in a replay. The club made an appearance at Hampden Park in the 1938/39 season when they faced Queens Park but were defeated 4-1.
St Mary’s Park now has a 3G playing surface and the facilities have been upgraded to meet the licensing criteria set down by the Scottish FA. The work included the renovation of the changing rooms to include a medical room and the building of a new covered enclosure.
St Cuthbert Wanderers are a Full Member Club of the SFA and hold the Scottish FA’s Entry level club licence.
(provided by James Richardson to our website on Monday 7th June 2008)