One of Scotland’s most famous youth football institutes marks its 85th birthday this year by hosting a celebratory dinner at Tynecastle Stadium’s Gorgie Suite on June 1.
Tynecastle FC, a thriving sports community since 1928, has encapsulated the development of young athletes down the generations who have shown their admiration for sport and recreational activity.
Initially founded as a boys’ club within the grounds of the derelict buildings of the old Tynecastle High School, the club catered for and competed in a variety of sports competitions until the club became solely affiliated to football within the past decade or two.
Nonetheless, according to club chairman Douglas Dalgleish, one characteristic that has been ubiquitous throughout the club’s long tenure is the enthusiasm from those at the helm
“The strengths of our organisation over the years have been the characters and the people involved that have maintained such a standard that is now there for everybody to see,” Dalgleish said.
“It was more of a boys’ club when it started as opposed to a football club, and it’s only in the last 15 or 20 years that is has become primarily a football club. When I first came into the club in 1969 there was table tennis, and we played basketball too, so we competed in a lot of other sports.
“By hosting this event it is a chance for past and present members, or people who have any association with the club whatsoever, to come together and reminisce about the great times that have been had over the years and a chance for a reunion really.
“We did think of celebrating 75 years but were going through a bit of a hiatus at the time and were reforming because things hadn’t been going too well. Our concentration then was getting the club back into good shape again so we all agreed we have now made 85 years so let’s have a big celebration.”
The transfer of former Tynecastle player and Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon, to Sunderland in 2007, was a pivotal era of the club’s 85 years. The sale of Gordon to the English Premiership side provided a blanket of prosperity for the Saughton-based club who received somewhere in the region of £87,000, a source of income which has allowed restructuring from top to bottom and, in the process, secured the club’s long-term future within the grassroots game.
“It was a financial boost beyond our wildest dreams,” Dalgleish recalls. “We have used the money but used it wisely, so it’s a lot of money for any grassroots organisation.
“The club has now become a business, which is probably the best way to describe it. We had about three or four teams back in 1969 compared to the number of teams we have now, which is about 18, and the number of boys. With things including the cost of facilities, the money coming into the club, the whole process has quite simply moved on.”
The unity of the club has overwhelmed Dalgleish who, himself, has devoted more than 40 years to the cause, an achievement in its own right. The accomplishments both on-and-off the field underline the strength of an organisation that is committed to providing a level platform for today’s aspiring young footballers.
“It’s been a life devotion – it’s as simple as that.” Dalgleish added. “It has just been a fantastic organisation to be associated with and has given me, personally, some wonderful memories where I have met some truly inspirational people and had opportunities I would never have envisaged.”
Tynecastle FC are celebrating their 85th year on Saturday, June 1, in the Gorgie Suite at Tynecastle Stadium with a 7.30pm start. Former players Graeme Souness, Ian Black and Craig Gordon are expected to attend. For more information on purchasing tickets, please call club chairman Douglas Dalgleish on 0793 114 0724.