Sunday, 3 February 2008

Livingston:A New Life In A New Town

Partick Thistle fans pass the banner round at half time

Livingston is a New Town roughly midway between Glasgow and Edinburgh and it consists, as New Towns often do, of housing estates, roundabouts and shopping centres. Oh, and a football stadium.

Livingston FC came into being in 1995, rising from the ashes of Meadowbank Thistle, who plied their trade at Meadowbank Stadium in Edinburgh. Livi went on to rise virtually to the top of the Scottish game, coming up through the divisions in only about five or six seasons, finishing third in the SPL in their first season, attaining a place in the UEFA Cup, and a few years later winning the CIS League Cup. This marked the start of their downfall. They went into administration, due mainly to exorbitant wage bills that even four visits a year from the Old Firm and the nearby Edinburgh teams couldn't balance out. They were relegated a few seasons back, and new owner Pearce Flynn promptly set about trying to engineer a link up with the SPL, as a way of ensuring his cash strapped and poorly supported club could survive without SPL tv money and large travelling supports.

Players warming up.

My journey through on Saturday was to be my third outing to watch football in West Lothian. The first had been during Partick Thistles 1st season in the SPL, back in, I think, 2002. The second visit followed a year later as Thistle battled vainly against relegation, the journey to and from the ground being a saga of epic proportions in itself. All I can say is never get the train to Livingston. You will regret it.

The Livingston support. I think there may have been a few of them sitting to the left of me, beyond the control box, but I think what was in the main stand was pretty much it.

Yesterdays Scottish Cup 5th round tie was to be the third meeting between the two clubs this season, with Thistle recording 3-0 and 4-0 wins in the prior league matches. I had a feeling it wouldn't be the same story this time and a stodgy 0-0 draw was our reward for making the journey through. The home crowd was thin to say the least. Almost silent, and unless I'm sorely mistaken, couldn't have been any more than about 600 strong. The Jags brought over a thousand through, but sadly couldn't muster too much noise either, due in the main to the deeply un-entertaining fare on show.


Malc said...

I've made two trips to Livingston, the first in my previous life as a sports hack to cover a Birmingham City pre-season friendly. The second, skiving from a family break in Edinburgh, was a delight. Rangers were the visitors and their moronic, Nazi-saluting 'fans' took up half the stadium. Livi won 2-1. My son was so pleased he bought a shirt. Rarely have I laughed so much.

iLL Man said...

So, yr not the only one who reckons that straight arm salute they do is more than just an 'involuntary arm twitch'?

Firhill is the same when the Ugly Sisters come calling, they fill yr ground, sure, but it's the way they somehow feel you ought to be grateful for the honour that sickens me. We got nothing out of either of them in our two seasons in the SPL, but some six or seven years earlier, we horsed Celtic a number of times (twice away from home), as well as giving the 'Jolly Hun' a 3-0 shagging. I missed the latter game because of I had elected to go to a school outing to the theatre, believing we'd get a doing..........

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