06 October 2012

SFL3 Preview: Stirling Albion

by Peter Ewart | CRO Contributor

Whoever holds Stirling holds Scotland so an old saying goes. And Stirling is certainly steeped in history - the heart of Scotland, the Gateway to the Highlands and once capital. An ancient seat of Kings with its Castle and a stones throw from Bannockburn and the victory of Robert the Bruce not long after William Wallace’ success at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Later the seat of Mary Queen of Scots and the Crowning of infant king James VI. Birthplace of Billy Bremner and of course where we will get our first away league victory of the season. (Please, god.)

The Club

Stirling are relative newcomers to Scottish football having been founded in 1945 from the vacuum left by the demise of King’s Park FC. Most commonly nicknamed the Binos, the club are also known as the ‘yo-yos’ due to a period in the 50s and 60s where the club went up and down the leagues.

Recently in the First Division for the 07/08 season where play-off goals from on loan Robert Snodgrass sent them up, only to be relegated the next year. They were in the SFL1 again after winning the second division in 09/10, only to suffer successive relegations back to the SFL3 for this season.

Yo-yo by name, yo-yo by nature. And it has not been a pretty start to this campaign. Despite an impressive opening day league 5-1 at home to Annan Athletic there has followed five successive league losses to leave Albion at the bottom of the table. They’ll also be without their manager 30 year old Greig McDonald when we play them. He will miss the match of his life, as he is getting married on October 6th.

Stirling is now fan owned: In the summer of 2010 of Stirling Albion supporters trust became the keepers of the club, the first such group of fans to own 100% of their club.

And this season, through partnership with the John Hartson Foundation, Stirling will be wearing the foundation’s logo to raise awareness of the fight against testicular cancer.

The Ground

Forthbank Stadium opened in 1993 when Stirling Albion moved out of their old home Annfield. Forthbank was also the name of the ground of predecessor club King’s Park FC. The old Forthbank was destroyed by German bombing in 1941.

The new Forthbank has a 3808 capacity of which 2500 are seated with home fans in the West stand and away fans in the East stand. North and South terracing will also be used for a capacity crowd on Saturday. As the name suggests the ground is on the banks of the Forth and is about 15 mins from the city centre. The Bino bar at the ground is usually open to both sets of Fans.

Away ticket chances: 5/10

We received an allocation of around 2,500 and whilst it is a pleasure to have a 3pm Saturday kickoff time for an away league game that will not do anything to suppress demand. Tough to get hold of once again.

Views on the Rangers Saga

I’m not going to give ex-Stirling Secretary Dick King any more air-time so I’ll leave you with what the fans thought of the SPL/SFA written SFL paper.

On 2 July, Stuart Brown, operations director: "The outcome of the Supporters’ Trust Poll with regards to the options the Club have been asked to consider in advance of tomorrow’s SFL Meeting at Hampden is as follows:-

Option 1 - to SFL3 – 68%
Option 2 - to SFL1 – 16%
Option 3 - to be terminated or suspended – 16%

"The club executive accepts this as a clear steer from the membership for Option 1 and that is the stance that I will take forward into the SFL meeting. The stance will include the proviso that, in accordance with SFL rules, the Rangers/Newco will have to apply for election rather than be accorded automatic admission as the option, as currently worded, would imply."

It will be the first league meeting between the two sides since 1968 and first competitive meeting since 1995 when we won 3-2 in extra time at Ibrox. We played at Forthbank to officially open the ground in 1993 and this will be another historic trip to look forward to.

Stirling's official website and official Twitter, if you're so inclined.

Peter is a regular contributor to the CRO. He can be found on Twitter at @Seasider06