Camelon Juniors FC

Camelon Juniors were founded in 1920 and for a team that comes from deep in the central belt of Scotland their nickname, “The Mariners” requires a bit of explanation. It is generally accepted that the nickname goes back to the time when Camelon was a thriving shipping port on the Forth and Clyde Canal at the point where it is linked to the Union Canal.
The newly formed Camelon Juniors first competitive game was against Bannockburn Juniors in the second round of the Scottish Junior Cup. They won and went on to beat Yoker Athletic at Ochilview the home of Stenhousemuir F.C. before going out to Wishaw in the fourth round. Camelon were members of the Stirlingshire, Intermediate and Lothian Leagues before reorganisation when they became members of the East Region of the Scottish Junior Football Association. In 2018, Camelon Juniors made the leap to the big time, by joining the East of Scotland League and entering the senior pyramid. But they retained their full name as it forms an important part of the heritage of the club.
Over the years, Camelon Juniors have produced several big names including: Jerry Dawson who went on to play for Rangers and Falkirk; and Frank McAuley who also went on to play for Rangers and later became manager of Norwich City.
Not surprisingly several Camelon players made their way to Falkirk including Birkenshaw, Nisbet, Silcock and of course more recently Kevin McAllister. Kevin also went on to play for Chelsea and Hibs before returning to Brockville. Jack Ross moved on to Clyde where he became team captain before going south to Hartlepool and has now returned to his native Falkirk.
Many Camelon players have been capped for Junior Scotland including Dennison and Rennie before the war and Smith, Conlin, Kemp, McCulloch, McKay, Smith and McAllister. In the recent past Gary Smith, Sean Bonnar, Scott Hendry, Davy Flynn, Christie McKenzie, Andy Shirra and Bryan Bell have had the honour of representing their country at Junior level.
Although success has been limited with one appearance in the Scottish Cup Final in 1952 when they were beaten 1-0 by Kilbirnie Ladeside. The mid nineties saw their most successful spell winning the OVD Scottish Cup in 1995 when they beat Whitburn in the final 2-0. The following year they again reached the final only to be beaten in extra time by Tayport. During this period they also won the East of Scotland League; The Skol League Cup and the East of Scotland Cup.
Carmuirs Park
In 1920 when Camelon Juniors paid their 5 shillings to gain membership of the Stirlingshire Junior Association and the additional 4 shillings to enter the Scottish Cup they had no recognised ground of their own.
After two victories in the 2nd and third rounds of the Scottish Cup they succumbed to a powerful Wishaw side. Camelon continued their other cup programmes but found it increasingly difficult as they did not have a ground of their own. Their “home” games were played as far afield as Stirling and Bo’ness. Tired of being the “nomad” club Camelon’s Committee were forced to take stock of themselves and the future of the Club.
A proposed field at Larbert Road did not materialise and the Committee had to look elsewhere. They summoned up their persuasive powers and approached a local farmer, Mr George Strang, who had extensive land on the north side of the Forth and Clyde Canal. When Mr Strang heard that all but two of Camelon’s players had been in the Army he offered the club a field which lay on the north bank of the canal. The committee were delighted and it took very little labour to turn the field into a football park. After it was roped out and the goalposts erected it was ready to be played on. The touch line was four yards from the spectators which gave the luxury to the players that they would not be jostled by the spectators.
The ground took its name from the farm on which it stood. Carmuirs Park was born and the worry and inconvenience of not having a playing field ended.
Since that time there have been several improvements. The erection of the pavilion and the enclosure, the levelling of the playing surface and the creation of the terracing has made Carmuirs Park one of the best stadiums and playing surfaces in Scottish Junior Football and even the envy of many senior clubs. The putting in place of a covered enclosure in front of the pavilion in the 1990’s, with the help of a grant from The Football Trust, has added to the attraction of the Stadium.
If only the early, farsighted and hardworking committee members could see their Carmuirs Park now.

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