Berwick Rangers Football Club is a unique club in being the only English based club to have played in the senior ranks of Scottish football.
The club came into being at a meeting held on 7th January 1884 after a New Year's Day friendly match played in the town between Tynefield, a team of millworkers from Dunbar, and North Eastern, a team of railway clerks from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, had impressed the local youths.
Berwick Rangers 1895/96.
After several years playing successfully in local and north Northumberland football, they set their sights at a higher level after winning the North Northumberland League without losing a single match.
They applied and were elected to the Northumberland League. However, after only one season they were "asked" to resign due to the other clubs refusing to travel any further north than Alnwick.
After applying unsuccessfully for admission to the Northern Alliance League, they turned their loyalties north. For the 1905/06 season, Berwick Rangers gained membership of the Eastern League, which included teams from Edinburgh and the east of Scotland area, and with it came membership of the Scottish Football Association.
After the demise of the Eastern League the club played the Border Amateur and Border Senior leagues before becoming a founding member of the East of Scotland League in 1923/24. During the following years they qualified for the Scottish Cup proper on nine occasions; won the East of Scotland League twice; ESFA Qualifying Cup five times; ESFA Consolation Cup twice; Border Cup twice; King Cup twice and in 1947/48 they won the SFA Qualifying Cup South when they defeated Stranraer 3-2.
In 1950 the club declared its ambition to become a senior club with Scottish Football League status a feat they achieved, after much canvassing, with election to the C Division in 1951/52. During their C Division tenure, they became known as cup giant-killers with victories over several leading clubs, including Ayr United and Dundee on their way to a Scottish Cup quarter-final meeting with the mighty Rangers in 1953/54.
Berwick Rangers team v Rangers Scottish Cup Jan 1967.
In 1954 the club moved into “New” Shielfield Park, a stone’s throw from their old ground and built entirely by their supporters. The club’s ambitions gained momentum and the demise of the C Division gave the Wee Rangers a step up to the second tier of the Scottish Football League in season 1955/56.
In season 1963/64, the club reached the semi-final of the League Cup only to be beaten 3-1 by Rangers at Hampden Park, a team they were soon to become renowned with. In late 1964 Rangers tabled a motion that the league be reorganised which would have resulted in five clubs, including Berwick Rangers, being expelled from the Scottish Football League. The motion was successfully fought through the courts and the Rangers of Berwick exacted their revenge on 28th January 1967 when they defeated the Glasgow Rangers 1-0 in the first round of the Scottish Cup, a feat still regarded by many as the greatest ever Scottish Cup shock.
The arrival of Dave Smith as player/manager in October 1976 heralded the start of a new era. After just missing out on promotion in 1977/78 the club finished the 1978/79 season as champions – their first silverware since joining the Scottish Football League. Their stay in the First Division was short-lived, however, as they tumbled back in to the Second Division after just two seasons.
Berwick Rangers 1978/79.
A period of decline followed with the club twice near extinction during the mid-eighties and early nineties. However, the club fought back and finished Second Division runners-up in 1993/94 only to be denied promotion due to league reconstruction.
Three seasons later they were back in the bottom rung of the Scottish Football League ladder and stayed there until winning promotion as Third Division runners-up in 1999/00.
After five seasons in the Second Division the club was relegated, and a swift return was cruelly denied due to the newly introduced play-off system. Rangers finished on equal points with champions Cowdenbeath at the end of the 2005/06 season, but had a much inferior goal difference, and were beaten 5-2 on aggregate by Alloa Athletic in the play-off final.
Rangers put the disappointment behind them and battled their way to win the Third Division Championship 2006/07 outright and automatic promotion; however, after one of the worst playing seasons in the club’s history they ended back from where they started after just one season.
Over the next decade, the downward spiral continued both on and off the pitch. The only standouts were finishing fourth in season 2012/13 to reach the play-offs, and reaching the quarter-final round of the Scottish Cup against Hibernian in 2014/15. Ultimately, Berwick Rangers lost their coveted Scottish League status with relegation to the Lowland League after finishing rock bottom of League 2 and losing the play-off final against Highland League Champions Cove Rangers in season 2018/19.