GLASGOW & DISTRICT SATURDAY MORNING LEAGUE FOUNDED 1968
The Glasgow and District Saturday Morning League was officially founded at Glasgow University in 1968, although a number of the original member teams had previously played in the University Alchemist League, in some cases under different names.
There is some uncertainty about the actual teams, who commenced playing in the inaugural season, however the following clubs are believed to have formed the nucleus: Clydesdale, Sarsfield (Gilmorehill), Sky Blues, Gallardia, Mermaid, Steamboats, Duncanrig (Avondale), Park United, West of Scotland and Murray Classical.
In the early years most of the games were played almost entirely at Bellahouston Park or the Fifty Pitches, with the majority of the teams returning to the Student Union beer bar for a few post match deliberations.
In the seventies three clubs come to mind as being the strongest teams, Sky Blues were the dominant force in the early years, achieving the League and Cup double in the first two seasons, then going onto win the cup for the third time in 4 seasons in 1971/72. Mistral were runners up in the League on two occasions prior to winning the League in 1972/73, they were also runners-up in the cup once. In the mid seventies to early eighties the team that many people regard as being the best ever to participate over the years, were on a roll, Greenpark surpassed anything that had gone before by winning the League five times in succession between 1977 and 1982 and appearing in six cup and five League Cup Finals in a run that stretched from 1973/74 to 1985/86. In the midst of all these successes they also won the division B & C championships, the Referees Shield (twice) and added a sixth title in season 1985/86.
In the mid Eighties to the nineties another three clubs dominated proceedings, The Regent won the cup four years in a row between 1987 and 1991 along with the League Cup in 1988 and the League in 1990. Easthall won three League Cups, Two Cups and one League Title. Cardonald won the League Cup on three occasions between 1988 and 1991 and three League Titles between 1986 and 1991, interestingly they never managed to reach the Final of the Cup during their membership of the League.
In the nineties there were a number of clubs competing on all fronts with trophies shared around but with one club in particular regularly coming out on top, Maryhill Amateurs, the “Hill” dominated events in the late nineties and in season 1999-2000 managed to complete a whole season undefeated in any competition they entered, making them the only club to hold four trophies at one time, a truly remarkable feat by any standards.
As we entered the new millennium the League has managed to sustain itself and has been ably represented at national level with a number of clubs entering both the Scottish and west of Scotland Trophies in the past few years, with Red Star Baillieston holding the torch high for Saturday Morning football in season 2000-2001 by reaching the latter stages of the Scottish Cup and taking a few worthy scalps along the way before losing out to the eventual winners of the trophy.
When the League had its largest membership, it operated 3 Divisions with in excess of 48 clubs, and in 1993 the League celebrated its 25th Anniversary however over the years the League has been streamlined and now we have two divisions with 26 clubs competing at a variety of locations throughout the Strathclyde region.
Since the start of the new century, Red Star Baillieston have dominated the scene in both the first division and the cups, but in recent seasons they have seen the challenge of Baillieston Thistle increasing and this season should also see the challenge of a few other clubs.
We have lost a number of clubs for various reasons over the past few years, though his has been countered by the number of new clubs joining the ranks of Saturday morning football.
This season (2006-2007) we started the campaign with twenty six clubs but before the League programme commenced in September we lost the longest serving members of the GDSML when Gilmorehill resigned for various reasons. We will continue with the remaining twenty five clubs and hopefully we will be in a position to increase the number of clubs for next season.
We have also honoured one of the older members of the GDSML this season by installing the John Rae Trophy as a competition in its own right. This trophy was presented to the League a few years ago by the family of the late John Rae who was involved with a number of clubs in the GDSML as well as serving in various committee positions. Initially the Trophy was played for between the winners of both divisions but it was felt that we had to give it a more prominent position.