New book a must read for fans of Gers

Alan Bell with a copy of his new book outside Shielfield Park
Alan Bell with a copy of his new book outside Shielfield Park

A new book on the history of Berwick Rangers Football Club has been written by local supporter Alan Bell.

The book is titled – An International Every Week, A History & Journal of Berwick Rangers Football Club 1884 to 1914, and at 336 pages covers in full the early years from the club’s formation to the start of World War One.

It also explains the often-asked question as to why Berwick Rangers play in Scottish, not English, football.

Alan said: “Football had not been played in the town before a friendly match took place on the Pier Field between a team of millworkers from Dunbar called Tynefield and North Eastern, who were railway clerks from Newcastle, on New Year’s Day 1884.

“It caused football fever in the town. A week later Berwick Rangers Football Club was formed and, after a few weeks’ practice, played their first-ever match against a team of local fishermen, called the Royal Oaks, on Saturday, February 16, 1884. Seaside (Spittal) Rovers and Tweedside Wanderers soon followed.

“Although well documented at the time in local newspapers, some people believe that the club’s origins were in 1881; their view encouraged by two previously written histories of the club. However, both histories also give the same New Year’s Day game as the motive behind the formation of Berwick Rangers but state, for some reason, that it was in 1881 not 1884.

“There is no evidence to explain the three-year difference between newspaper reports of the day and the change of date. However, the book uses the Berwick Advertiser and the Berwick Journal newspapers as its main reference and has taken ten years to research.”

There are details of where the old football grounds were along with information on all matches played, player appearances, and team photos, some of which have not been published before.

The book, which is self-published and printed, is priced at £20 and on sale at Geo Grieves on Church Street and available to order through most bookstores. Hawkyard Publications ISBN 978-0-9935882-0-4