Berwick upon Tweed is the northern most town in England. It is most definitely not in Scotland despite the assertions of a window cleaner of our acquaintance. It has been part of Scotland in the past and had the Scottish National Party Member of Scottish Parliament, Christine Grahame got her way in 2008 it still would be. Nevertheless, Berwick upon Tweed is now very much in England and has been since 1551.
Berwick Rangers, the town’s football club are unique in that they are the only English club playing in the Scottish Professional Football League. Founded in 1881, the ‘Wee Gers’ are currently in Scottish League Two, the bottom rung of the Scottish professional ladder and it is at that level they have spent the majority of their existence. However, despite their lowly heritage there have been sporadic highlights including a 3-0 cup win over Dundee in 1954, a twenty one game unbeaten run under the stewardship of Jim Jeffries in 1988 and a momentous 1-0 win over Rangers in the Scottish Cup in front of a record crowd of over 13,000 in 1967. Their lowest point was arguably in 1989-90, when on the brink of bankruptcy they were locked out of Shielfield Park and forced to play their games elsewhere.
More démodé than contemporary, Shielfield Park is not only home to Berwick Rangers but also to the town’s speedway team Berwick Bandits. A name we mused over, eventually deciding that it was perhaps more alliterative than any connection with the "Wee Gers of Sin". The speedway track runs around the outside of a central, oval shaped, grassed area which houses the football pitch. Situated in Tweedmouth adjacent to Simpson’s Malt, the ground’s capacity is allegedly 4,500 with 1,366 of them getting a seat. On our visit there were 3,988 fewer but not all of them wanted a seat with some of the home support preferring to stand in the curiously named 'Ducket enclosure' opposite the main stand.
|The Ducket Enclosure|
Prior to the game, Elgin City were lying third in the in the Second division table, well placed for a play off spot and a dozen points above Berwick. Nonetheless,
Our celebrations continued long in to the night but to be honest that was more to do with our birthday than the "Wee Gers" unexpected victory.