The original Gretna Football Club was established in 1946, competing in the Dumfries and District Junior League. Due to the town’s proximity to England, in 1947, the club began to compete in the Carlisle and District League. Gretna continued to play in English leagues until gaining admittance into the Scottish Football League in 2002 (replacing the original Airdrieonians, who had ceased operations).
Between 2005 and 2007, Gretna achieved phenomenal success in Scottish football. Over these three consecutive seasons, the club gained promotion from the fourth tier to the third, from the third tier to the second and from the second tier to the top tier. In the 2005/06 season, Gretna’s 3-0 victory over Dundee in the semi-final sealed their place as the first team from the third tier to have reached the final of the Scottish Cup. Ultimately, Gretna would draw 1-1 with Hearts in the final, only to lose out on penalties.
As a result of their admirable Scottish Cup performance, and by virtue of Hearts having already qualified for the Champions League for having finished second in the Scottish Premier League, Gretna became the first club from the Scottish third tier to have qualified for the UEFA Cup.
Eventually, Gretna became the victims of their own rapid ascension. Due to the unsuitability of the club’s home ground for top tier matches, Gretna was forced to play their home games at Motherwell‘s Fir Park, some 76 miles from Gretna itself. Additionally, the financial strain of the club’s rise began to show. This only exacerbated Gretna’s lackluster debut season in the SPL. By March 2008, the club had gone into administration and was deducted ten points under SPL regulations. Gretna was relegated on 29 March after a loss to St Mirren and ended the season with only 13 points.
The original Gretna Football Club resigned from the Scottish Football League on 3 June and was liquidated formally on 8 August. But before this liquidation had been made final, the Gretna Supporters’ Society formed ‘a new Gretna Football Club’, Gretna FC 2008, and were accepted into the East of Scotland Football League. By 2013, the new Gretna club was elected as a founding member of the Lowland Football League.
The current Gretna 2008 badge is derived from the original Gretna badge. Though the colour scheme and the shape of the shield itself has been altered, the essential elements remain – a representation of Sark Bridge above a horseshoe above an anvil that is flanked by thistles. As with the old Gretna badge, this badge also features the club’s name within the shield, which, as I have observed before, is a problem when it comes to a certain ancient Scottish heraldic law (see my redesigns for Airdrieonians and Ayr United for more information). I also find this collection of items to be a wee bit too busy. Ultimately, I found the Sark Bridge to represent too much of the naff characterisation of Gretna being a place where English lovers could flee for a quick and easy wedding under Scots Law. Truth be told, the same can probably be said for both the horseshoe and anvil, but I consider those two images to represent a bit more of the resilience and durability of the footballing spirit in Gretna. For my redesign, I employed a shield more akin to the shape of the original Gretna badge. Inside, it only includes an anvil and a horseshoe. The shield is encircled by the club’s name and two thistle motifs.