If You Know The History
The origins of AC Milanda go back to 1967 when a group of students at Glasgow University decided to form a football team. In the beginning, the team was called First Year In Organic Chemistry and 12 months later it became, sensibly enough, Second Year In Organic Chemistry. It was one of the founder members, Jim McGill, who came up with the current name, suggesting that a letter to Italian giants AC Milan telling them about this new Glasgow tribute team might bring a free set of strips.
Amazingly, no parcel from the San Siro was forthcoming. McGill, John McCormick and the other early pioneers joined the Alchemist League and then in 1969 became members of the Glasgow and District Saturday Morning League, which is still the club's home today.
However, the players were not content just to play on their home patch and tours were arranged to spread the word to Cambridge and even the German city of Munich. In those days, the team was picked by a selection committee and if there were too many players, the dreaded black spot system came into play whereby turns had to be taken to sit out matches.
The team played for enjoyment rather than trophies but Milanda did manage to win the Referees Shield in 1977. Of course, Milanda being Milanda they didn't want to show off so they got themselves relegated the self same season.
With the team having a University background, it was once said that you had to have a degree to get a jersey. But sportswriter, now broadcaster, and St Mirren’s most famous fan Chick Young managed to get in (well, he did own a Three Degrees album), along with Davie Livingstone, now Sky Sports' golf presenter, and top Scottish photographer Alistair Devine. Among the other personalities who have turned out for the club over the years, albeit briefly, are Rangers secretary Campbell Ogilvie and David Whitton, journalist and political adviser to Donald Dewar when he was Scotland's First Minister, and Colin Davidson, executive producer for Setanta Sport, the current purveyors of live Scottish football on television.
In 1985, Milanda reached the final of the main competition in the league, the GDSML Cup, and contributed well to a tremendous match before going down 6-4 in extra time. Alan McMillan, who had taken over from Colin Stewart as club secretary a couple of seasons earlier, began to assume sole charge of team selection around this time. He introduced a team newsletter, the Milanda Mercury, and the award of a trophy for Player of the Year, with everyone getting a vote. The first winner in 1983 was central defender Dougie Veitch, who had been with the club since the late 1960s. Early players such as McCormick, Stewart and Veitch began to fade off the scene after giving sterling service but there was a steady stream of new talent eager to play for one of the best-known amateur teams in the Glasgow area.
Promotion was achieved from Division C to B but Milanda dropped back down again until eventually when the GDSML only had enough teams to operate two divisions, Division B became pretty much Milanda's permanent home. In the 1990s, another shortage of teams saw Milanda promoted to Division A along with six other sides and they managed to stay there for two seasons before going back down on goal difference.
Season 2002-2003 was particularly memorable as Milanda reached the final of the Vince McGlinchey Trophy, losing 1-0 to Ferguslie at Benburb Juniors' ground, and the Referees Shield. Here they enjoyed better fortune, beating Bellahouston 6-3 in extra time at Shettleston Juniors. As third team in Division B, they were also promoted to fill another vacancy in Division A. Season 2003-2004 saw the team finish second-bottom in the top flight and go back down to Division B but the team also made it through to the Referees Shield Final again. Alas, they could not retain the trophy, losing a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw against Coatbridge side Glenavon, again at Shettleston.
Season 2004-2005 started in strange circumstances when Milanda decided to undertake pre-season training. It was a partial success but a lack of numbers and people throwing up meant it was unlikely to be repeated. After the disaster of relegation it was hoped a title challenge might be on the cards but an erratic season sees Milanda finish 3rd, well behind the top two teams who are promoted. It looks on the cards that Milanda will also get promotion but it doesn't materialise and Milanda gather themselves for another assualt on the title.
Season 2005-2006 brought a new first to Milanda when they picked up not one but two trophies. The John Rae Trophy was secured with a 2-0 victory at Shettleston Juniors ground (Now available on DVD in all good sports shops) and unbelievably Milanda also picked up the Fair Play Trophy award for being the best disciplined team in the league during 2005-2006. In the league Milanda once again fill 3rd spot and promotion looks a real possibility but again it doesn't come to pass and Milanda start season 2006-2007 in Division B.
Season 2006-2007 starts with two new records for Milanda when they record their biggest ever victory when they run out 15-1 winners against Deanpark in the League Cup and during this game Gerry Evans scores eight of the fiteen goals and becomes Milanda's highest single scorer in one match. Milanda go on to hit double figures in another two games but a season that promised so much at the beginning ends with only a 4th place to show for it and a semi final appearance in the GDSML Cup. For the 3rd year running promotion is proposed as a number of teams have folded during the season. This time it is confirmed and Milanda are promoted to Division A along with Kilpatrick Thistle, Garnethill Rovers and Renfrew.
Season 2007-2008 saw Milanda start well in Division A and any worries of getting involved in a relagation fight were soon eased and a very creditable 5th spot is achieved where the team more than held it's own for the majority of matches. More silverware arrives in the shape of the Vince McGlinchey trophy after an outstanding 4-1 win at McKenna Park, including a hat-trick from Martin Johnstone, sees Milanda collect their 3rd trophy in 5 seasons.
The following season, 2008-2009, Milanda did even better, despite the fact Jim McGowan and Mark Reid departed for junior football, and finished fourth in the table behind champions Baillieston Thistle, runners-up Invac and Kilpatrick Thistle. Martin Johnstone won Player of the Year and finished top scorer. On a sad note, Kevin Williamson played his last game on May 30, 2009, and was captain for the day as the team beat Renfrew Town 4-1. The big striker had been playing for the club since 1983 and had been a terrific servant.
Things proved more difficult in 2009-2010 and it took a tremendous 5-1 win over Garnethill Rovers on the final day to ensure Premier Division safety. Another veteran, Scott Grant, decides to hang up his boots but is such a great club man that he volunteers to stay on as assistant to manager Alan McMillan.
Premier survival was also achieved in 2010-2011 but the bigger achievement was winning the Vince McGlinchey Trophy with an unbelievable 5-2 win over Vale United. Vale, who had already won the GDSML Cup, were out-of-sight favourites but Milanda had one of those days when everything went right and every player brought their A game. Colin Kelly stole the show with a mesmerising hat-trick and there were further goals by Russell Lawson and Kevin Grehan before skipper Martin Coyle was presented with the silverware. One of the greatest days in Milanda's history.
Season 2011-12 saw the survival battle go to the last day again, with a 4-4 draw against Strathclyde University providing the point that kept us up thanks to late goals by Dave O'Neill and Gerry Evans. Two more retirals at the end of this campaign saw Andy Scott and Martin Coyle opt to retire, although Coyle would get the boots back on now and again after this to help out, while Scott would become the mastermind of the Milanda Facebook page for match reports and other team news.
Milanda finished sixth in the league in 2012-2013 with Roddy Macdonald winning Player of the Year for a second successive time. But the average age of the team didn't seem to be coming down to any great extent and the following season, 2013-2014, sees Milanda finish ninth in the 10-team division and suffer relegation, despite some good individual performances from the likes of Player of the Year Paul Murray, top scorer Roddy Macdonald, skipper Kevin Grehan and Martin Johnstone.
In the seasons since then, Milanda have been unable to get back to the top flight, despite the introduction of talented players such as Ross Mitchell, Gary Di Folco, Creagh Murray, Andy Gregg and Marc Allan. Indeed, there have been too many games when only 10 players have been available and consideration has been given to folding the team. As the oldest surviving club in the Glasgow and District Saturday Morning League, we do not wish this to happen and so for now we fight on, hoping that we can keep adding to the squad.
For a number of players, Milanda has proved a hard team to give up. The likes of Alan McMillan, Scott Grant, Kevin Williamson - one of only two people to have been voted Player of the Year three times, Martin Johnstone being the other - and Donald Leary have each given more than 20 years service, with stalwarts such as Harry Dollin and Jim Donachie not far behind that figure.
If the current crop of players can come even close to emulating them, the future is assured.