In The Beginning
Huntly Football Club were unanimously accepted for League admittance at the league's AGM in June 1928 entering the Highland League in season 1928/29 when their first game was against Inverness Thistle at Inverness on Saturday 25th August 1928.
In only their second league campaign they became only the third team outside Inverness to win the league finishing two points ahead of closest rivals Elgin City & Inverness Thistle.
The club would have to wait 64 years for another championship win and to a lot of supporters the greatest moment in the clubs 76 year history.
Season 1965/66 saw 147 goals conceded in one season - a league record which still stands to this day.
HFL History made for the wrong reasons
In late 1975 history was created for all the wrong reasons. Supporters making their way across the pitch to the exits by the far gate surrounded a post-match incident and suddenly the referee was allegedly pushed to the ground.
In the match official's report he stated he'd been struck on the head and became unconscious. Huntly didn't deny the assault but maintained the Ref had been tripped from behind.
The price Huntly had to pay was hefty one. On the 18th of December 1975, the Referee's Committee ordered Christie Park to be close for the first two months of 1976. The club were fined £100 and ordered to have Police Officers on duty at all future home games.
This was the first time in history a Scottish club have had their ground closed down.
The consequences had hit the Strathbogie side hard. Chairman Bertie Bruce resigned from the club following poor health while the prospect of voluntary liquidation had been raised.
A statement from the club stated that although the question of going defunct had been debated, it had been decided to carry on despite the grave financial difficulties posed by the SFA ban.
Both Elgin City & Keith offered the club free use of their grounds for 'home' games & despite and estimated cost of £1000 brought on by the closure, the club survived.
At the end of the decade, a group of businessmen led by Chairman Forbes Shand took over at the helm which saw the club in a better financial position which would last until the 1990s
Team of the 90s
It was during the 1990's that Huntly made a name for themselves. In October 1990 player Steve Paterson replaced the sacked Joe Harper as manager. Paterson brought great success to the club as they qualified for the Scottish Cup in four consecutive seasons including bumper ties against Dumbarton, Airdrieonians, Hearts & Dundee United.
1992/93 saw a first for the Highland League when Huntly & Cove Rangers met in the Tennent’s Highland League Cup final at Borough Briggs (Elgin).
The occasion was the first final in Highland League history that had been settled on penalty kicks. An early Graeme Park (who played for the club during 99/00) goal gave the Aberdeen side the lead until a trademark Brian Thomson free kick put Huntly on level terms in 64 minutes.
After a goal-less extra time, the teams went to penalty kicks.
With the score tied at 4-4 on penalties, Player-Manager Steve Paterson made it 5-4 before former Huntly midfielder Doug Baxter stepped up.
The wee midfielder saw his shot saved by John Gardiner as Huntly won the League cup for the first time in 41 years.
Lightning strikes twice – and first Qualifying Cup
A few months later, at the same venue, with the same Huntly scorer, against the same team, Huntly created more history in the same fashion.
With the game drawing to a close & Cove winning 1-0 last-gasp Brian Thomson equaliser forced the game into extra-time.
Cove took the lead in extra-time only for that man Thomson to put Huntly on level terms again as John Wilson missed from the spot, Huntly had won the Qualifying Cup for the first time ever in their history.
64 year wait ended in style
In 1993/94 'Pele' guided the black & golds to their first Highland League Championship in 64 years beating the outward-going Inverness sides (Caledonian & Inverness Thistle) & Ross County who were moving up to the Scottish Football League
Earlier in the season, the club went on to win the Highland League Cup for the second year in succession beating Fraserburgh 4-1 at Borough Briggs with goals from Gary Whyte (2), Brian Thomson & Eddie Copland.
In the Aberdeenshire Cup Final at Kynoch Park, a Martin Stewart goal gave Huntly a 1-0 win.
It could've been a clean sweep for the club but it wasn't to be. After being up 1-0 in the Qualifying Cup final, Huntly lost out 2-1 in extra-time to Ross County. To date, this has been the closest that the club came to achieving the "Grand Slam"
1994/95: Another season, Another Treble
After seeing off Wick Academy, Fort William & Buckie Thistle in the earlier rounds, Huntly made it to their 3rd consecutive Qualifying Cup Final. Keith were the opposition at Elgin this time and the game went into extra-time after both sides were level at 1-1. With no goals in extra time it went to penalties (déjà vu?) Brian Thomson, Gary Whyte, Alan Selbie, Doug Rougvie all scored but it was goalkeeper John Gardiner whose spot kick clinched the cup as Huntly won 5-3 on penalties.
The Aberdeenshire Cup Final saw another cup final meeting between Huntly & Cove with Gary Whyte (2) & Brian Thomson scoring in a 3-0 win at Kynoch Park.
By the end of April, the League championship was on display once again at Christie Park as Huntly beat Cove by 17 points to claim the title.
Steve Paterson said farewell to the club at the end of the season to take over at 3rd Division side Caledonian Thistle.
1995/96: Rougvie takes over
Fans favourite Doug Rougvie (left) takes over as Manager following Steve Paterson's move to Caley Thistle.
Rougvie's first piece of silverware came in the Highland League Cup Final following a 2-1 win against Cove at Kynoch Park.
With the score level after 90 minutes, the game went into extra time where Marco De Barros produced a moment of brilliance very late on to seal the win.
Team: John Gardiner, Niall Grant, Kevin Allan, Eddie Copland, Dave Morland, Craig Yeats, Martin Stewart, Brian Thomson, Alan Selbie, Marco De Barros. Subs: Simon Scott, Gary Whyte & Steve Gray
There was no Scottish Cup that season following a 2-0 defeat to Fraserburgh in the Qualifying Cup 3rd Round.
However, the Aberdeenshire Cup was added to the boardroom after goals from Martin Stewart & Craig Yeats helped Huntly to a 2-1 win over Deveronvale at Kynoch Park.
Team: John Gardiner, Eddie Copland, Alan Selbie, Steve Lennox, Doug Rougvie, Dave Morland, Steve Gray (John Brown), Martin Stewart, Craig Yeats, Gary Whyte, Marco De Barros. Subs: Kevin Allan & Simon Scott.
A 2-1 win away to Keith clinched saw the League Championship at Christie Park for the third consecutive season as Huntly won the title with three games remaining.
1996/97: 4 In A Row
Highland League player of the year Andy Paterson was signed from Cove Rangers prior to the start of the season. The deal saw the Centre half being purchased for £15,000 - a league record fee.
Hopes of retaining the League Cup were dashed following a 2-1 defeat to Fraserburgh in the Semi-Finals.
But there was silverware to be won in the Qualifying Cup at Kynoch Park where Elgin City were the opposition. Eddie Copland headed the opener in the 18th minute before Mike Green levelled four minutes later.
Eight minutes from time as Copland turned provider as Martin Stewart ran through to score past former keeper Martin Pirie. Team: John Gardiner, Tony Yeats, Kevin Allan, Eddie Copland, Andy Paterson, Doug Rougvie, Steve Gray, Martin Stewart, Alan Selbie, John Brown (Ronnie Smith) Subs: Niall Grant & Keith Wishart.
Chairman Forbes Shand stepped down following the Scottish Cup game vs Clyde. Youth coach Mike Hendry took over. Shand was later named Honorary Life President.
Neighbours Keith challenged for the championship crown for the whole season but in the second last game of the season, a 2-1 win over Deveronvale clinched a 4th successive Highland League Championship. Equalling Clachnacuddin's previous record. Huntly were awarded the title three days later following a 2-0 win away to runners-up Keith.
1997/98: Five in a row
By November 1997, Rougvie had departed as Phil Bonnyman was named the new manager.
Although he was new to the Highland League, he ensured his side remained unbeaten until the end of the season to pip Fraserburgh for the title and guide his side to a historic five Highland League championships in a row.
Bonnyman left shortly after to take up a coaching post with Port Vale as former keeper John Gardiner was named as head coach.
Despite qualifying for the Scottish Cup and securing a third round away tie to Falkirk, failure to win the championship saw Gardiner sacked as Bonnyman, who had parted Port Vale returned to the helm for a second time.
Peterhead were crowned champions that season being runners-up Huntly by four points
Bonnyman failed to reproduce the same magic which saw him win the championship two years earlier, but despite winning an Aberdeenshire and Qualifying Cup double he followed Chairman Mike Hendry out of the club at the end of the season.
The team which won the Aberdeenshire Cup, beating Deveronvale 2-0 at Christie Park thanks to goals from Tommy Wilson and Gary Whyte (right) was:
Kevin Morgan, Niall Grant, Gordon Farmer, Paul Black, Andy Paterson, Kevin Allan, Ronnie Smith, Tommy Wilson, Martin Stewart (Graham Green 79), Neil Whyte, Colin MacRonald Subs: Marco De Barros and Wayne Addicoat.
The last Qualifying Cup win for the club was back in November 1999 as goals from Gary Whyte and Martin Stewart saw off Fraserburgh in a 2-0 Qualifying Cup win at Borough Briggs.
Team: Kevin Morgan, Paul Black (Marco De Barros 89), Kevin Allan, Dave Morland, Andy Paterson, Russell Guild, Ronnie Smith, Tommy Wilson, Martin Stewart (Brian Grant 77), Wayne Addicoat (Gary Whyte 73), Colin MacRonald
Since the summer of 2000, we've had some up and down seasons at the club.
Bob Long took over as chairman before resigning two years later to be replaced by Kenny Anderson while on the management side there was also numerous changes.
Co-Managers Willie Lawson and Kevin Will finished runners-up before their sacking in April 2002.
2001/02 saw our worst league finish in years as a 3-0 away defeat to Fort William ensured Huntly would finish in 9th place behind HFL new boys Inverurie Locos.
Fraser Kellas was the next manager and despite helping the club to their first Scottish Cup place in three years, league results fell below expectation as our final position was only one better than the previous one.
The former Lossie boss left before the end of the season as Billy Anderson became the 8th manager at the club in as many years.
The Anderson Years: 7th Championship
Anderson’s first season saw another Scottish Cup place and a top six finish; however it was his second season which was to prove his crowning glory.
There were more highs and lows in the Scottish Cup. The high being a 3-1 win over second division Peterhead – ironically the last team they beat previous in the competition.
After being held to a 0-0 draw at home to East Fife it was onto New Bayview for the replay when Huntly battled back to take the game into extra time at 2-2 with goals from Jerry O’Driscoll and Marco De Barros. Russell Guild made it 3-3 before the home side made it 3-3 with three minutes remaining. There was heartache for Jerry O’Driscoll and Ally Reid who both missed their spot kicks as the Methill side won 4-3 on penalties to book their place in the next round.
The hard work and commitment paid off for a squad which boasted local players and experienced Highland League stars.
Anderson’s side would go on to win the championship with two games to spare but they did it the hard way.
After trailing Fraserburgh 2-1 at Christie Park, the game headed into stoppage time and as the result stood, Huntly would have to take a point from one of the remaining two games but there was a twist in the championship story.
With nearly all Huntly players pushing forward, local legend Martin Stewart made a flick-on into the path of top scorer Richie Taylor to fire past Billy Gordon to spark long overdue title celebrations for the black and gold faithful.
2005/06 by comparison was poor. Huntly crashed out in the first round of all cup competitions without scoring a goal and finished the season in 6th place 15 points behind winners Deveronvale. Anderson had cited in interviews that injuries to key players had hampered them for long spells.
On a sad note, Huntly lost their Chairman George Minty to cancer in February of 2006. Minty had only taken up the post after the title win from predecessor Kenny Anderson.
Billy Anderson lasted only 5 games into the 2006/07 winning only 1 game and a 4-2 defeat to Clachnacuddin in the Qualifying Cup would see Anderson leave the club just days after the cup game.
New Chairman Robbie Mackay had looked at possible candidates for the job and at the start of September he unveiled former left winger Dave Cormie as the club latest Manager.
Cormie returned to Christie Park after a spell playing in the late 70s and had a wealth of experience in the north junior scene and also with Cove Rangers in the Highland League.
There was a new air of optimism around the club as Cormie recruited almost an entire team both from the Highland League and junior ranks and treated supporters to attacking football and saw his team in the running for the title up until the final few weeks where a 5-1 defeat at former club Cove Rangers spelt the end to his sides chances.
A top five finish was secured with 55 points but his team missed out on 4th by goal difference.
"Big Red" did guide the black and golds to a cup final win in 2007/08 where his side went through every round of the inaugural SFA North Region Challenge Cup without conceding a goal before seeing off Deveronvale with a 1-0 at Harlaw Park courtesy of an early Alan Redford winner.
Team: Bremner, Murray, Bisset, Redford, Morrison, M Gray, McWilliam, Guild, Cormie (Dorrat (Reid)), Gauld (Maitland) and Robertson. Subs: Cunningham and S Gray
Dave Cormie left the club in late-November to return to former side Inverurie Loco Works and on December 5th, former defender Dave McGinlay was unveiled as the new man in charge. Unfortunately for McGinlay that season was more of a building exercise as they finished in 7th but one positive point was a fourth round tie against First Division Dundee in the Scottish Cup which saw sub Keith Reid cancel out a Kevin McDonald opener late on before Alex Rae's side scored two late goals to win 3-1.
2008/09 was another up and down season. The defence of the Challenge Cup ended in a 4-1 defeat to Dave Cormie's Inverurie Loco Works which also saw debutant Michael Ewen sent off in the first half.
The club secured their first Aberdeenshire Cup Final place since 99/00. After seeing off Locos and Deveronvale in earlier round a disastrous first half against Keith saw Huntly down by three goals before going on to lose 5-2 to the maroons.
In the Scottish Cup Stuart Soane's first goal for the club saw off junior side Girvan to set up a trip to Montrose on an artificial pitch. In windy and farcical conditions Huntly put up a great showing but were edged out in a 2-0 defeat.
The final league position was place lower that the previous season finishing in 8th with 46 points.
2009/10 Started off brightly When Huntly were challenging for the championship up until the end of March - this signalled the end of Dave McGinlay's managerial reign when he was sacked following a run of bad results which included Huntly's first league defeat away to Inverurie Loco Works. McGinlay's replacement was John Teasdale as the former Elgin City Manager returned to the Highland league after a lengthy absence.
We again reached the second round of the Scottish Cup. The first round saw a seven-nil win away to Hawick Royal Albert which was overshadowed by a betting scandal in the in the local town. Michele Lombardi netted a late equaliser against junior cup winners Auchinleck Talbot to set up a replay in Ayrshire but that ended in a 4-3 defeat despite a spirited second half fightback.
Revolving Door In Place At Christie Park as Four Bosses Take Charge In One Season
Just week's into the season, the club were rocked by a major resignation as Chairman Robbie Mackay left the club after four years at the helm. Recently returning John Smith took over as acting chairman before taking on the post permanently in November 2010. After a number of signings and only one win in their first six competitive matches, John Teasdale's time at the club came to a premature end and he was sacked by the end of August.
In one of the major shocks in the club's history, Steve Paterson returned to the club for a second spell with legendary former striker Martin Stewart assisting him in the dugout. Unfortunately Pele's second reign was short-lived as he left after twenty games for the financial lure of Formartine United. Martin Stewart looked to steady the ship for the next three games including a 13-12 penalty shoot-out win away to Clachnacuddin but the next Manager would shock people more than Paterson's return.
McGinlay's second spell finished in January 2014 and he was replaced by former Deveronvale and Buckie Thistle Manager Gregg Carrol who took over weeks later before the side finished in 13th again for the third consecutive season.
Carrol's first season in charge saw the worst league finish for the club since 1969/70 finishing in 16th and conceding 100 goals in league games alone.