Langlands Road, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 8BN

Club History

St Andrews United was formed on May 17th 1921 by members of the local Services Association and the new club came within two points of winning the East Neuk Junior League the following spring before gaining membership of the Fife County League.  Saints then claimed three trophies during the 1926/27 season by beating Newburgh West End in the Fife Shield Final, lifting the Fife Cup for the first time when J. Lowe, Jimmy Morrison and Johnny Donnachie scored against Wellesley and winning the Fife League with a record of only three defeats from 20 matches.  All three of those trophies were retained at the end of the 1927/28 term and that period of success continued for another twelve months because 80 goals were scored en route to winning the league for the third year in a row and the Fife Cup was recaptured with victory over Rosslyn when goalkeeper Ketterick saved two penalties.  Unfortunately, St Andrews United was denied the chance to defend the Fife Shield and Martin White Cup for the fourth year in a row and the East Fife Cup Final was lost to rivals St Andrews Athletic.

St Andrews United Players at Hampden in 1960

St Andrews United Players at Hampden in 1960

Dundee United visited the Rec in May 1981 to open the newly built pavilion

The next decade turned out to be a bit of a struggle for everybody connected to Saints because the club twice finished second bottom of the Fife League and several heavy defeats were endured such as the 8-1 and 9-2 hammerings by Dunnikier and the 7-0 reverse at the hands of Inverkeithing.  Losses were also suffered in the finals of the East Fife Cup, Fife Shield and Cowdenbeath Cup but a record 8-0 win was posted against Weymss United during the 1937/38 campaign.  St Andrews subsequently went into abeyance for the duration of the Second World War and results were poor on the resumption of organised football until the early 1950s.  The men from Recreation Park then lifted the Mitchell Cup in 1953 and 1957 plus the Cowdenbeath Cup and West Fife Cup in 1958 as well as twice finishing second in the Fife League.   The Daily Express Cup was the only piece of silverware to be decorated in black and white ribbons throughout the 1958/59 season but Saints’ list of honours greatly expanded within the next twelve months thanks to wins in the Fife League, Fife Cup and the Scottish Junior Cup.

 The team that beat Greenock Juniors in front of 34,603 people at Hampden Park in May 1960 was Lister, Bill Penman, Hughes (Captain), Crookston, Davidson, Will, Carmichael, Fraser, Smith, Willie Penman and Borella.  Romeo Borella was the hero of the day since the Crail restaurateur notched a double but top scorer for the campaign was Willie Penman and he capped a great display by adding the third goal through the Greenock goalkeeper’s legs.  The St Andrews United supporters enjoyed further memorable moments over the course of the next nine years as their team won the Fife League on two occasions, three West Fife Cups, two Cowdenbeath Cups, a League Cup and a fifth Fife Cup but all-time top scorer Jackie Smith hung up his boots after finding the net on 252 occasions.

Saints then came close to going out of business on two occasions in the 1970s but construction of the Social Club and new changing rooms combined with the introduction of fund raising initiatives such as the ‘200 Club’ helped to raise much needed finance.  St Andrews United therefore went on to claim the East Coast Windows Cup three times plus the Fife Cup and Laidlaw Shield in the spring of 1989 before dominating the Fife Junior scene the following term.  The Fife League title was secured with a record of 25 wins and five draws from 30 fixtures and the Fife Cup was retained after victory over Glenrothes in the final.  Saints also won the 1990 League Cup Final by beating Dundonald Bluebell as well as the 1991 Cowdenbeath Cup Final by defeating Kelty Hearts under the management of Norrie McArthur.  Alas, the late 1990s would prove to be disappointing despite posting a record score of 17-0 in the Fife League versus hapless Lochore Welfare and beating Hill of Beath Hawthorn in the Fife and Lothians Cup Final at Glenrothes when Alan Speirs was boss.

Saints dropped to ninth in the Fife League at the end of the 20th century under Peter Hutton and mixed results over the course of the next three years meant the club missed the chance to be part of the inaugural Superleague in 2002. The Recreation Park side managed by Colin Downie did go on to lift the Fife and Cowdenbeath Cups for the last time with victories over Hill of Beath and Oakley United respectively prior to being placed in the newly formed Premier League at the start of the 2006/07 season but relegation was suffered less than a year later. However, new boss Jim Hardie managed to engineer promotion back to the Premier League at the second attempt with an enhanced playing squad before winning a place in the 2011/12 Superleague as well as the East of Scotland Cup by defeating Kinnoull at Keirs Park in that final.

Unfortunately, St Andrews United propped up the Superleague table for two consecutive campaigns despite being saved from relegation once by reconstruction but promotion back to the top tier was gained straight away under the management of Phil McGuire. The former Aberdeen defender was surprisingly relieved of his duties with Saints back in the Superleague relegation zone seven months later and replacement Ian Barrett failed to improve matters on the park over the course of the next year, although his budget was greatly reduced due to essential cost cutting by the committee.

Former Dundonald Bluebell manager Craig Morrison also failed to turn around United’s fortunes despite relegation again being avoided due to league reconstruction then Andy Brown was tasked with bringing success back to Recreation Park.  Saints subsequently said goodbye to the Junior ranks in May 2018 and Brechin City legend Charlie King replaced Brown as manager just before the East of Scotland League was suspended due to Covid-19.  Barry Cockburn then became boss during the club’s centenary year and the current ambition is to earn promotion from this season’s East of Scotland Second Division under the management of Robbie Raeside.