In 1882, two Coatbridge-based football clubs, Albion FC and Rovers FC, merged to form Albion Rovers Football Club. In 1903, these ‘Wee Rovers’ joined the Scottish Football League, competing in the Second Division. During the First World War, the Second Division was suspended and the Rovers would not return to the SFL until 1919. With that season came the club’s greatest achievement.
In the 1919/20 Scottish Cup, the Rovers first defeated Dykehead, advanced through the second round after their match with Huntingtower was scrapped and defeated St Bernard’s in the third round.
The Rovers’ first real challenge in the competition came when they faced Aberdeen in the fourth round. The Wee Rovers prevailed with a 2-1 victory, setting the stage for a semi-final against Rangers. The first match of the semi-final resulted in a 1-1 draw, necessitating a replay. This replay resulted in a 0-0 stalemate. Finally, by the third semi-final match, the Rovers pulled ahead with a 2-0 victory over Rangers.
In the final, the Rovers faced a rampant Kilmarnock side at Celtic Park. Kilmarnock edged their opposition narrowly with a 3-2 victory and the Rovers had to settle for leaving the tournament as runners-up.
Although greater success has eluded Albion Rovers ever since, they have demonstrated their ingenuity and ability to adapt to change by introducing a ‘pay what you can’ season ticket scheme for the 2014/15 season.
In 1961, the Rovers’ first introduced a badge, featuring symbols of the two parent clubs: a rose superimposed over a pair of crossing cutlasses. A variation of this badge has been in use since that time.
Being that the full ‘Albion Rovers’ name has never featured on the club’s kit, I included this within an outer ring. I also included the club’s founding date. For the central shield, I decided to divide the space into triangular quadrants, with a football in the top position and with redesigned versions of Albion FC’s rose and Rovers FC’s cutlasses in the left and right positions, respectively. In the bottom quadrant, I have placed an anvil below a flame. The latter images represent the Rovers’ locale, namely, Coatbridge. The Coatbridge coat of arms features a tower topped with flames, representing the iron and steel industries of Coatbridge. The Coatbridge burgh seal, introduced after the town gained burgh status in 1885, features an assortment of industrial images, including an anvil.
The kit designs make use of the black, red and gold, a colour scheme used in various combinations since the introduction of the first badge in 1961.
As ever, I am indebted to Dave at Historical Football Kits for some of the historical information used above.