Edinburgh Academicals

Raeburn Place, Edinburgh

HEAD COACH: Iain Berthinussen

ASSISTANT COACH: Chris Martin & Ross Young

CAPTAIN: Jamie Loomes

VICE CAPTAIN: Finlay Simpson & Neil Armstrong

The Edinburgh Academical Football Club (EAFC) is the oldest rugby club in Scotland and the second oldest in the World. In fact, it is the oldest existing “football” club of any code in Scotland, predating Queens Park Football Club by 10 years. The Club’s name omits “rugby” from its title as its formation predates the split in rugby and association (soccer) rules which occurred in the 1860s.

The Club was formed in 1857 and, at the time, was only open to former pupils of the Edinburgh Academy or ‘those with an association’. The first captain of the Club, Alexander Crombie, was a member through association. He and his brother Francis had moved to Edinburgh in 1854 from Durham. Francis joined the Academy as a pupil but Alexander had already left school and was studying law at Edinburgh University. Apparently neither brother had played football at Durham but they brought with them a knowledge of the rules of football as played at Rugby School and this they passed on. Francis is recorded as being the first Academy Captain of Football and Alexander (or Joe as he was known) became actively involved in the formation of EAFC, which he captained for a further eight years.

The first Club match in Scotland “kicked off” on 26 December 1857 – and finished three weeks later. The game was played against some students from Edinburgh University and it had been decided to play until the best of 7 “goals” had been scored (a try only allowing a kick at goal). This target was not achieved until the fourth Saturday of the game and the game was won by EAFC.

The ground at Raeburn Place can truly be said to be the cradle of rugby football in Scotland. Former pupils of The Edinburgh Academy and members of EAFC were instrumental in the establishment of international rugby (the first international game was played at Raeburn Place on 27 March 1871), the formation of the RFU, SRU (or Scottish Football Union as it was known until 1924), the conception of the Calcutta Cup (the first match for this was again played at Raeburn Place in 1879) and we would host the Women’s Rugby World Cup Final in 1994.

The Club has produced over 100 internationalists, more than 1 in 10 of all Scottish internationalists and more than any other club in Scotland. It has also provided two of Scotland’s three “Grand Slam” winning Captains in GPS MacPherson in 1925 and David Sole in 1990 and former player and Club President, Bill Maclagan, went on to captain the first official British (Lions) touring team in 1891.

Article courtesy the Edinburgh Accies website.


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