Shire History On Film

Films of Shire in action from the season that Sir Alex Ferguson was the manager are being made available by the club for the first time.

Also being made public is a brief section of a film made to celebrate the Shire’s return from Clydebank in 1965, and which shows match action from the first game played at Firs Park after campaigners defeated the Steedman brothers in court to re-locate the club back in Falkirk.

The footage was made available to Shire by USA-based fan Tom Scott a number of years ago but has lain unseen since. The 1965 footage is part of a specially-commissioned, and professionally-made, film detailing the events surrounding the first game back after the court judgement. It was a League Cup-tie against Alloa Athletic played on 18th August 1965. The film shows a special celebration dinner and a march of fans through the streets from Bainsford to Firs Park before detailing some of the match action. Shire won 1-0 but, unfortunately, the cameras missed the only goal.

The other videos given to the club come from the 1974/75 season, which began with the then 32 year-old Alex Ferguson being appointed manager. He spent a total of just 17 weeks as Shire boss before being attracted by the prospect of managing St. Mirren, a club he saw as having more potential.

The Super-8 films, which don’t have any sound, were taken by club secretary, Bob Shaw, who preceded Ferguson as team manager. There are seven different games included in the archive, the earliest of which we have a positive date for is a game at Forfar Athletic on 26th October 1974, which was the first game Shire played after Ferguson departed for St. Mirren. This, then, is the first post-Fergie Shire line-up taking the field at Station Park.

The footage of the games isn’t Match of the Day, or even ShireTV, in that it doesn’t tell the story of the games. It’s more like old-fashioned newsreels. The Forfar one, though, does include a Shire goal in a 3-2 win.

There are more games from later in the season the first of which was on 1st February 1975 against Falkirk at Brockville. Sadly, Shire lost 6-1. Just as well the film doesn’t include any of the goals, then.

Shire enjoyed a good Scottish Cup run that season. The team beat Stenhousemuir in the first round and St. Mirren, managed by Alex Ferguson, in the second. In the third they travelled to Arbroath but lost 1-0. Bob Shaw took his camera along.

There are two trips to Fife included. a 1-1 draw at Cowdenbeath in February 1975 and another 1-1 draw at Raith Rovers in March. It’s interesting as a piece of social history to see how much the grounds have changed in 41 years, especially Stark’s Park.

There are more away games than home games, but there is footage of old Firs Park, including the Firs Park Social Club, in this sequence from a match against Hamilton Academical on February 8th 1975.

Finally, there is a mystery. A game we couldn’t identify a date or a set of opponents for. Some detective work leads us to believe the opponents are Cowdenbeath. The film shows Shire physio Rikki McFarlane in the dug out. If the opponents are Cowdenbeath at Firs Park, if Rikki McFarlane is there and if it’s 1974/75 season then the date would be 21st September 1974. Which would make the film below the only one we know of East Stirlingshire playing while Sir Alex Ferguson was managing the team. But we can’t confirm that.

Whatever the provenance of the last video, these are important historical records for the club and we are pleased at last to have given everyone the chance to see them.