Annan Athletic Football Club was formed in 1942 when the club under the guidance of Jack Mackay entered the newly formed Dumfries and District Youth Welfare League. The league was formed by the Queen of The South directors and some prominent Dumfries businessmen.
The league lasted the duration of the war years. Annan won the league championship and the Douglas Bowie Cup in their first season. The Cup final was played at Palmerston Park Dumfries in May 1943 with the cup presented by S.F.A. President Douglas Bowie who was accompanied to the match by S.F.A. Secretary George Graham. The Annan team that day was W. Dalrymple, G. Scott, A. McMurdo, J. McGuffog, J. Johnstone, R. Beattie, J. Carruthers, W. Fairwether, J. Rorison, G. McQuade, W. Boyle.
The following season 1943-44 Annan lost the services of Wilson Fairwether to Blackburn Rovers, George James to Queen of The South and George McQuade to Heart of Midlothian. Several other Annan players were called up to the forces for war service.
The Welfare League finished in 1945 and was replaced by the Dumfries and District Junior Football Association. The name of the club was changed to Annan Athletic Junior Football Club.
The club competed in the D.D.J.F.A. until season 1950-51 when the league disbanded through lack of officials. During that period the club had a successful run and won through to the opening rounds of the Scottish Junior Cup four times and to the fifth round on one occasion when Jeanfield Swifts recorded a 2-1 victory at Perth.
Annan Athletic had a blank season in 1951-52 because the then Secretary of the Scottish Junior Association John Kinnear would not release the club from membership of the Scottish Junior Association. However the following season the club were released and in season 1952-53 Annan Athletic Football Club were accepted into membership of the Carlisle and District League and the Cumberland Football Association. That season proved to be a glorious season when the club won every trophy except for one which was lost in the final. Mafeking Park had been the home ground from season 1946-47 to season 1952-53 and in 1953 the club moved to its present location at Galabank Annan.
1950 – 1979
Annans spell in the Carlisle and District League lasted until the end of season 1976-77. The committee then decided that the clubs best interests were to be achieved in Scotland rather than England and in season 1977-78 Annan Athletic were successful in gaining membership to the Southern Counties Football Association and South of Scotland League. This step provided the club with new horizons and and the ground was upgraded to comply at the time with the S.F.A. regulations for membership and on the 22nd. May 1978 after recommendation by Jim Brown and William Harkness Annan Athletic were accepted into membership of the S.F.A. with the opportunity for qualifying for the Scottish Cup.
Annan’s first encounter in the Cup saw them paired with Stranraer at Galabank on 15th. December 1979. A record crowd of 1250 were attracted to the match. In an enthralling match Annan were defeated 3-1 with Annans James “Bishop” Anderson having the honor of scoring Annans first ever Scottish Cup goal. The Annan team that day was Dick Kirkwood, Jim Beattie, Ronnie Kirk, Stuart Rome, Jimmy Fox, John Carmichael, Alan Irving, John Anderson, James Anderson, Willie Smith, Eddie McGauchie. Subs Colin Anderson and Anthony Sibbring.
1980 – 1989
This decade would see the club make their second appearance in the Scottish Cup, this time it was an away tie at Somerset Park against Ayr United in the first round on the 6th December, 1986. Again Annan went down 3-1 but the performance merited the Annan team a standing ovation from the large traveling support who made the journey to Ayr. Annans goal on that occasion was scored by Colin Williamson which at that time brought the teams level mid way through the second half. Ayr on that occasion were managed by the ex Scotland manager Ally McLeod. The Annan team on that occasion was David Clark, Stuart Dalgleish, Colin Anderson, Lawrence Coulthard, Zoran Zutic,Tommy Proudfoot, John Sneddon, John Carmichael, John Wilson, Colin Williamson, David Learmont. Subs George Clark and Terrence Hanlon.
Since their entry into senior football via the Southern Counties Football Association the club has won all the South Competitions available to them. In an effort to bring more competitive football to Annan the committee decided to make an application to join the East of Scotland League, which because of its geographic location attracted more teams. Two unsuccessful attempts were made to join the East of Scotland League before Annan were eventually admitted into the league in season 1987-88. Annan however mindful of their commitments to the South of Scotland League, still maintained a reserve team in the South of Scotland League.
Annan’s first season in the East of Scotland League coincided with a restructuring of the league into a premier and first division. Annan won the first division title in their first year to gain promotion to the premier league. The following season 1988-89 was a season of adjustment and the club managed to avoid relegation by one point. The following season 1989-90 however proved to be a glorious season for Annan when they won the Premier League title with a total of 27 points from18 games one point ahead of Civil Service Strollers. That same season Annan managed to get their hands on the South of Scotland’s premier cup The Challenge Cup which until that time was the only Competition in the South that Annan had failed to win.
1990 – 2000
Since entering the East of Scotland League in 1987-88 the club has managed to reach the final of the East of Scotland League Cup on two occasions , during season 1995-96 when the highly successful Whitehill Welfare defeated Annan 3-2 after extra time at Netherdale Gala in a highly entertaining final. This season also seen a successful Scottish Cup campaign as Annans fourth encounter and one of the most successful to date saw the side achieve a creditable 3-3 draw at Shielfield Park Berwick on 6th. January 1996. It was a memorable match which saw Annan coming from behind on three occasions to earn a replay at Galbank the following week. The Annan goals on that occasion were scored by Graeme Muir and a double from Philip Docherty which earned the “Doc” the Tennants man of the match award. The replay attracted a record 1650 spectators to Galabank but the home team were edged out 2-1 with substitute Paul Sibbring scoring Annans lone goal. The Annan team for both matches was drawn from the following players, Andrew Burnett, Grant Smith, Kevin Hetherington, Keith Middlemiss, Stan Leslie,Steven Leslie,Darrell Elliott, William Sim, Toby Patterson, Graham Muir, Phillip Docherty, Paul McGinlay, Paul Sibbring and George Hodgson.
The Annan manager on that occassion was Derek Frye.
Annan reached the final of the East Of Scotland League Cup for a second time during season 1999-2000 when they played Coldstream at Netherdale on 22nd January 1999. On this occasion Annan lifted the East of Scotland League Cup with a 2-1 victory with Paul Laurie and Ryan McGuffie scoring the Annan goals. The Annan team on that occasion was Potter, Hannay, Little, Laurie, Leslie, McGuffie, Elliott, Jardine, Nicoll, Docherty, McMenamin. Subs Irons, Sloan, Smith, Findlator, Marcus Thompson. During the match Annans James Hannay broke his leg.
Season 1999-2000 saw Annan lift the East Premier League title for the second time culminating in the final match of the season when Annan and Whitehill Welfare met at Galabank in what turned out to be a league decider with Whitehill needing to win the match and Annan only needing a draw, Colin McMenamin put Annan ahead in the 75th minute with a powerfull header from a Chris Jardine cross but in th 89th minute Laurie Tulloch equalised for Whitehill Welfare. During the season Annan won 15, drew 6 and lost one match 2-0 to Lothian Thistle. It was the first time that Annan had won the league and the cup double in East Football.
During season 1999-2000 Annan Athletic along with another 8 clubs, Whitehill Welfare, Gretna, Preston Athletic, Gala, Huntly, Elgin, Peterhead, Cove Rangers applied for the two vacant Scottish League Positions. Two highland league clubs were elected at Hampden Park on Tuesday 11th January 2000, Peterhead and Elgin. The application involved the league management committee visiting Galabank and the club undertaking a presentation at the National Stadium in Glasgow.
Annan celebrated the millenium with their sixth encounter in the Scottish Cup with a second round tie at Glebe Park Brechin on 8th January 2000. Annan earned their place in the Scottish Cup thanks to Qualifying Cup victories over Tarff Rovers ( 2-0 ) , Saint Cuthbert Wanderers ( 5-0 ) and Coldstream ( 3-1) the latter victory thanks to a second half hat trick by Marcus Thomson. In the semi final of the Qualifying Cup that season Annan went down 2-1 at Castle Douglas to Threave Rovers with ex Annan player Andrew Cook scoring the last minute winner after Annan had Elliott sent off in the 35th minute.
The match at Brechin proved to be another exciting match watched by a crowd of 436 the majority of which were Annan fans who made the long journey north. Brechin led 2-0 at half time thanks to a 27th minute Lee Bailey strike and a 41st minute Greig Smith shot. In an astonishing second half performance Annans Ryan McGuffie hit a glorious 51st minute goal and in the final minute substitute Alistair Sloan sent the Annan fans into dreamland with a precious equaliser. The Annan team on that occassion was Graham Potter, James Hannay, Paul Laurie, Kevin Proudfoot, Stan Leslie, Ryan McGuffie, David Irons, Mark Nicol, Phillip Docherty and Colin McMennamin, Subs Marcus Thomson, Alistair Sloan , Mark Little.
In the subsequent replay Manager David Irons stood by the same starting eleven but replacing Mark Little on the bench with Darrell Elliott who was suspended for the first match. It was another cracking cup tie which needed extra time to separate the teams who were deadlocked 2-2 after normal time. Phillip Docherty put Annan in front in the 26th minute but right on half time Jimmy Nairn equalised, the same Brechin player put his team 2-1 up in the 49th minute but in another grandstand finish substitute Marcus Thomson grabbed a precious equaliser in the 87th minute. The match was heading for penalty kicks before Roddy Black scored a glorious winner 8 minutes from the end of extra time. Crowd 1239. Over the two matches the Annan team were more than a match for their league opponents.
2000 – 2008
Season 2000-2001 saw Annan retain the East of Scotland Premier League title . From the opening match in the Season until their last match Annan retained pole position despite a keen challenge from Whitehill Welfare, Spartans and newly promoted Threave Rovers. During the season Annan won 13 drew 6 and lost three matches , 4-3 to Lothian Thistle, 2-1 to Craigroyston and 2-1 to Spartans. It was a season when manager David Irons saw Premier League side Newcastle United capture two of his young stars Ryan McGuffie and Colin McMennamin but despite this Annan still proved a match for the Easts best senior sides.
Season 2001-2002 saw Annan play Highland League opposition in the shape of Buckie Thislte in the newly created Interleague competition between the top teams in the South of Scotland , Highland League and East of Scotland League. Annan and Whitehill represented the East with Tarff Rovers, Saint Cuthberts and Girvan representing the South and Cove Rangers, Buckie Thistle and Huntley from the North. Before a ball was kicked Tarff and Whitehill Welfare withdrew from the competition. On the 9th March 2002 Annan made the long haul to Buckie . The match ended 1-1 after extra time and Buckie won the ensuing Penalty Kick decider 4-3. Annan’s goal on that occasion was scored by Gary McMenamin.
Season 2002-3 finished runner up in the East Premier League but the season was overshadowed by the sudden death of club stalward Stan Leslie who tragically died of a brain hemorage. Stan had been the life and soul of the club and arguably one of the best fullbacks the club had ever seen. Signed from Queen of the South the dumfries born Stan was popular with all associated with club and his strong personality ensured he gained the respect of his fellow players and managers alike.
Season 2003-2007 would see the club manager change on four occasions, Billy Sim was replaced by Harry Cairney who would then leave to take a post at Arbroath. His assistant Sandy Clark replaced him in September 2005 but he then went on to be succeeded by Kenny Brown in October 2006. Brown lasted until the summer when previous manager Harry Cairney returned to take the reigns for a second time. The appointment of Cairney would see the club change significantly and the arrival of SFL football to Galabank. Harrys first season seen the club reach the final of the Qualifying Cup for only the third time and record a historic 3-1 victory over Preston Athletic at Fir Park, Motherwell. The Qualifying Cup was replaced by a new competition as the SFA opened up entry to the Scottish Cup to all member clubs and four Junior Clubs. Annan Athletic FC were therefore the winner of the last Qualifying Cup (South). The club completed a memorable season by winning the East Premier League and reached the final of the East League Cup going down 1-0 to Whitehill Welfare at the Islecroft Stadium. The Tweedie Cup was also won with a 6-2 victory over Stranraer Athletic.
Unbeknown to all the following season would see Annan wave goodbye to the East of Scotland and South of Scotland Leagues. The new cup competition became the Scottish FA (South) Challenge Cup, Annan became the first victors of this new competition beating Edinburgh City at Gala Fairydean’s Netherdale by a scorline of 3-2. Mike jack had scored a penalty to give the Galabnkies hope at half-time after City had gone 2-0 up. Darren Johnstone grabbed a brace, one in the final minute to ensure no extra time was required. The South of Scotland side won the Haig Gordon Cup beating St Cuthbert Wanderers 4-1 on penalties at St Mary’s, Kirkcudbright after a 3-3 scoreline at 90 mins yielded no goals in extra time. Annan’s scorers in normal time were Lewis Walker, Ross Murray and Darren Johnstone.
3rd July 2008 would become the most historic day in the clubs as Annan Athletic won the final vote against Cove Rangers 17-12 to be elected as associate members of the SFL and joined the ranks of the 3rd Division, for the record Spartans, Edinburgh City and Preston Athletic lost out in the earlier voting rounds.
It was proud skipper Chris Jardine who led out Annan at Clyde’s Broadwood on 26 July as the team took the field to play the three times winners of the Scottish Cup in the First Round of the Alba Challenge Cup. The score didn’t matter too much, Annan were not disgraced by first division Clyde who won 2-0. Annan lined up Craig Summersgill, Gary Brown, Alan Inglis, Kevin Neilson, Derek Townsley, Chris Jardine (c), Ian Grainger, Mike Jack, Stephen Archibald, Stuart Hill, Lee Hoolickin. Ryan Adamson. Peter Watson and Steven Sloan were used as second half subs, unused subs were Dougie Calder (gk) and Darren Johnstone. Annan’s first league game was one week later at Cowdenbeath’s Central Park, after going 1-0 down to the home side the press were expecting the floodgates to open, they did all right but at the other end – with Annan running out 4-1 winners with Mike Jack gaining the honour of scoring Annan’s first ever goal to make it 1-1 at half-time, another from Jack and one apiece from Stephen Archibald and Darren Johnstone created history. Annan lined up Craig Summersgill, Gary Brown, Alan Inglis, Kevin Neilson, Derek Townsley, Chris Jardine (c), Steven Sloan, Mike Jack, Stephen Archibald, Darren Johnstone, Lee Hoolickin. Ryan Adamson was used as a second half sub for Lee Hoolickin, unused subs were Dougie Calder (gk), Stuart Hill, Iain Grainger & Grant Parker. Annan finished 7th in the league with a credible 50 points. The worry of the second season syndrome was allayed as Annan finished 8th in the table with 45 points but also recorded the memorable feat of reaching their ever national cup semi final. The black and golds travelled to Dundee in the Challenge Cup and put on a credible performance as they finally exited the competition with a 3-0 defeat.
Season 2010-2011 would see Annan enjoy their most succesful season yet as they would reach the Second Division play off final only to be edged out 4-3 over two legs to coatbridge side Albion Rovers. The Scottish Cup threw up another of the teams Annan defeated in the SFL vote, Preston Athletic, after a 0-0 draw at the Pennypit Annan won 5-0 at home. Annan then drew with Brechin City 2-2 away in the 3rd round nbut suffered a 5-2 defeat at Galabank in horrific conditions that saw two goals scored direct from corners as Annan went down 4-0 at half-time.
December 2012 brought the resignation of Manager Harry Cairney, ending his six year spell at the club. A run of poor results coupled with some personal reasons forced Cairney to walk away from Galabank. Assistant manager Euan Brydson stepped in to take charge as the board started the hunt for a new manager.
January 2013, Jim Chapman was appointed the new Manager of Annan Athletic. Jim was no stranger to the league or Galabank as he’d previously won the third division title with Dumbarton and lifted the cup at Galabank. However it wasn’t an easy start for the new manager he went the first seven games without a win. But when it came it certainly was special.
Saturday 9th March 2013 not only brought Jim Chapman’s first win as the new manager but an historical moment for Annan Athletic Football Club when they pulled off a shock 2-1 win over Rangers at Ibrox. A moment that will live long in the memory of every Annan fan. Ally Love scored the opener with a neat back-heel before David Hopkirk doubled the lead for Annan with a header at the back post. Rangers pulled one back but the Black and Golds held on for the historic victoy.
Season 2013-2014 gave Jim Chapman his first full season in charge and after a major rebuild of the team it turned out to be our most successful season to date. Finishing second in the newly named SPFL League Two and with our record points tally brought us to face the in-form Stirling Albion in the play-offs. After losing the first leg 3-1 the return leg at Galabank was packed with goals in an 8 goal thriller but finished with Annan losing 8-4 on aggregate.