St Mirren Football Club
St. Mirren Football Club is a Scottish Premier League football club based in Paisley, Renfrewshire. The current team, nicknamed The Buddies, or The Saints, play in black and white when at home. The club’s unusual name comes from Saint Mirin, the founder of the local Paisley Abbey and Patron Saint of Paisley, and consequently, the team is often nicknamed ‘The Saints’.
The club’s other nickname, ‘The Buddies’, is less explicable, particularly as St. Mirren, like many other Scottish clubs, nurture a healthy and fierce enmity against their contemporaries. Although all the Scottish Premiership clubs are scorned by St. Mirren fans, they reserve a specially long-running and deeply-felt detestation for the nearby senior club Greenock Morton.
In many ways, the club today has changed little since its original formation as the offshoot of a gentlemen’s sporting club in the nineteenth century. But although their manager has been a loyal stalwart of the club, and their home ground, St. Mirren Park, has long been a feature of the highest Scottish leagues, St. Mirren today is a very modern club that is looking towards its future in the national Premiership.
St. Mirren Football Club was formed in the 19th century as a gentlemen’s club whose members played a number of sports, including football. The gentlemen soon decided to focus their energies on the beautiful game and joined the football association in 1877.
The club’s initial years were quiet, but they reached the finals of the Scottish Cup in 1881, only to watch their ambitions slip out of sight in the second half of the match. However, two years later, the club managed to win their first real trophy when they took the Renfrewshire Cup at the end of the 1882-3 season.
St. Mirren were founder members of the Scottish League in 1890, and they set another precedent that year when they were one of the clubs to pioneer lamp-lit matches, played in the hours of darkness. After playing in a number of grounds during the early years, St. Mirren have played their games at St. Mirren Park since 1894, though the stadium has always been known more commonly by its affectionate fans as Love Street.
St. Mirren as a club had a high profile and a significant role in the early days of the Scottish football league, but it would not be until the twentieth century that the Saints really began to lift some silverware. In 1908 they made it to the Scottish Cup finals for the second time, only to be frustrated at the last hurdle by a humiliating 5-1 defeat by Celtic.
They finally took the title in 1926, around thirty years after they had moved into St. Mirren Park. Two World Wars affected play during this first half of the twentieth century, but after World War Two the game was back with as much enthusiasm as before, and in 1949 a match against Glasgow Celtic topped the records for match attendance with a crowd of 47,438.
Some thirty years after first taking the Scottish Cup, the club would win the trophy again in 1959, after a period of quietude which had seen rapid turnover in the managerial team.
However, after this cup win there was to be no more notable success until the end of the 1970s, which marked a golden era for football at St. Mirren Park.
The Winning Years
St. Mirren came in at an impressive third place in the league in the 1979-80 season, at the time their equal-highest ever ranking in the old top flight of the Scottish football leagues.
They managed to better this, however, with a more surprising success, when they became the first and – to this day – the only Scottish team to win the Anglo-Scottish Cup, after defeating Bristol City in a protracted and stressful two-legged final.
After these successes, the Saints had begun to achieve greater international fame, and they entered their first European competition. The Saints did not bring anything home from the European Cup of 1980-81, but they managed to hold their own to notch up some victories and some draws against bigger French and Swedish sides in the early stages.
As the 1970s turned into the 1980s, the Saints followed through on their solid performances. In 1987 they took the Scottish Cup again. In contrast to the previous two wins, which had occurred during otherwise relatively barren periods in the club’s history, this time it was the crowning achievement of a rare period of prolific national and international successes. The St. Mirren squads through the 1980s included some of the best-loved players the club has ever seen.
However, leaner times were just around the corner. The 1990s began poorly as the restructuring of the leagues saved the team from otherwise certain relegation. The team could not contrive to repeat this lucky fluke and, unfortunately, they could not improve their game either, resulting in them being sent down to the new First Division the next season.
They won their way back to their usual place in Scotland’s highest league, but could not avoid spending much of the decade skulking around at the lower end of the division, avoiding relegation but failing to reach the heights of the league.
The impending relegation came at the end of the 2000-2001 season, as they finally came to rest at the very lowest ranking in the Premiership. This low ranking was not entirely down to St. Mirren’s own poor performances, however. Rather, an unlucky combination of points elsewhere in the league meant that the Saints finished bottom despite losing just one of their seven final matches.
Fans kept faith that the Saints did not really belong in the First Division and deliverance finally arrived in the 2005-6 season when they were promoted back into the Premiership in a blaze of glory after taking the First Division Championship. Their return to form was compounded by a win in the Scottish Challenge Cup, after a 2-1 win took out Hamilton Academical in the final. The Saints had bounced back, and fans looked forward to a new era.
This new era was to be marked in other ways too, as the team’s success, combined with health and safety worries, prompted the directors to announce the sale of Love Street and plans for the construction of a new stadium in nearby Ferguslie Park, Paisley.
The old Love Street site was compiled of an unusual hotchpotch of antique wooden stands plus recent modifications that had been devised to stave off the health and safety inspectors. This stadium has been sold to Tesco’s in a £15 million deal that the management hope will give the whole club a new image. If all goes according to plan, construction on the new site will be finished and fit for a Premiership side in time for the 2008-2009 season.
The Club Today
On many levels, St. Mirren’s history has been remarkably secure. Managed by one of the Scottish Premier League’s longest serving managers, former player Gus McPherson, the team have played in their same home ground for over a century and their loyal fanbase remains largely local, despite the international level at which they compete.
However, their recent seasons have destabilised their place in the Premiership, and the next few seasons could be very exciting for St. Mirren. The club need to tighten their grip on a Premiership place, and up their game if they want to take on the top Scottish sides for a high ranking in the league, rather than hanging on by their fingernails. As numerous banners and match chants proclaim, The Buddies’ fans are hoping that St. Mirren will continue to lend his guidance to his namesake team over the years to come.
- First Division Champions: 1976-77, 1999-2000
- Second Division Champions: 1967/68
- FA Cup: 1926, 1959, 1987
- Victory Cup: 1919
- Anglo Scottish Cup Winners: 1979-80
- Summer Cup: 1943
- Highest Attendance: 47,438: vs. Celtic 07/03/1925
- Worst loss: 0-9: vs. Rangers 04/12/1897
- Greatest victory: 15-0: vs. Glasgow University 30/01/1960
- Most capped player: Ian Munro and Billy Thomson: 7 Scotland
- Most league appearances: 351 (Tony Fitzpatrick, 1973-88)
- Most league goals: 221 (David McCrae, 1923-24)
- Most goals in a season: 45 (Dunky Walker, 1921-22)
St Mirren stadium is situated opposite Glasgow airport, and can be accessed through here by air. Paisley Gilmour Street Station is less than half a mile away and the walk is well-signposted.
Drivers should follow signs to Paisley and Glasgow airport on the M8, exiting the motorway at Junction 29 to follow signs for the ground.
Parking is available on residential streets around the stadium. Please be aware of residents’ access needs when parking.
Away Day travel information can be found on the club’s away travel information page.
Tickets and ticket information can be obtained on the club’s ticket information page, or by calling the ticket office on 0141 840 4100. The ticket office itself is situated inside the West Stand of the stadium.
Address: St Mirren Football Club Ltd,
St Mirren Park,
Main Office Telephone: 0141 889-2558
Fax: 0141 848-6444
Main Office Email: firstname.lastname@example.org