Arbroath Football Club is a Scottish football club based in the town of Arbroath, Angus. They currently play in the Scottish Championship. The Club was founded in 1878 and plays home matches at Gayfield Park. They play in maroon strips and are nicknamed "The Red Lichties" due to the red light that used to guide fishing boats back from the North Sea to the Burgh's harbour. The Red Lichties share a long-standing and fierce rivalry with local neighbours Montrose.
|Full name||Arbroath Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||The Red Lichties, The Smokies|
|Founded||1 July 1878|
|Ground||Gayfield Park, Arbroath|
|Capacity||6,600 (861 Seated)|
|2018–19||Scottish League One, 1st of 10 (promoted)|
The Red Lichties most notable and lasting accomplishment is to hold the world record for the biggest victory in World senior football, set on 12 September 1885 when they beat Bon Accord 36–0 in a Scottish Cup match, with a further five to seven goals disallowed for offside. Jocky Petrie scored 13 goals in that game, a record for the most goals by a single player in a British senior match.
The Red Lichties have had mixed success in recent years. In the 1996–97 season they hit the bottom of Scottish senior football as they finished last in the Third Division. However, the following season they were promoted back to the Second Division. They spent three years at this level before winning promotion to the First Division. They finished 7th in their first season in the First Division, 13 points clear of relegation troubles. However, in the 2002–03 season, the Red Lichties struggled badly, and finished bottom of the table, 20 points adrift of penultimate side Alloa Athletic. In the 2003–04 season, the Red Lichties narrowly avoided back-to-back relegations, as they escaped the drop on the last day of the season. In 2004–05, however, there was no escaping a 3–0 defeat at Dumbarton on 30 April 2005, which consigned the Red Lichties to the Third Division for the following season. The club rose from the depths of the Third Division to the heights of the First Division, then fell back down to the basement league in the next few seasons. However, under manager John McGlashan, the Red Lichties competed at the top of Division 3, finishing 4th in their first season and second in the next, reaching both divisional play-offs in seasons 2005–06 and 2006–07, although failing to gain promotion. They finished fourth in Division 3 and disposed of Cowdenbeath 2–1 on aggregate thanks to a late extra time winner from Robbie Raeside in the semifinal. Stranraer were the opponents in the play-off final and the Red Lichties ran out 2–0 winners in the home tie first leg at Gayfield Park thanks to a Robbie Raeside header and a Barry Sellars strike. At Stranraer, the Red Lichties goal was pummelled for much of the match and they spent much of the second half down to 10 men after Craig Tully had been red-carded. Although one goal was conceded, a resolute defence saw the Red Lichties hold on for a 2–1 aggregate win and promotion.
The Red Lichties managed to consolidate their position in Division 2 in 2008–09. The season had started well but a narrow defeat in the Scottish League Cup at Gayfield Park on penalties to Scottish Premiership side Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC, triggered a sequence of losses and the club found themselves in the bottom half of the table. The performances were boosted by loan additions such as Steven Doris, Craig Forsyth, ex-Scotland international Colin Cameron and they got results when it mattered. Safety was all but assured with a narrow 1–0 win over Queens Park at Hampden Park, courtesy of a fine Robbie Ross strike and a 2–0 victory over Stranraer at Gayfield Park with goals from Ross and Forsyth. A 2–2 draw against Peterhead and a 0–0 draw against Raith Rovers in May was enough to seal 7th spot.
During season 2009–10, results seemed to go into freefall after a 6–0 home defeat to St Johnstone in the Scottish League Cup early in the season. John McGlashan resigned to be replaced by Jim Weir who after a mixed start eventually rallied the Red Lichties to a spirited last few weeks of the season. With a win needed against East Fife to avoid the play-offs, the side threw everything they had in the last 20 minutes to find a winner but to no avail. After beating Queens Park in the play-off semifinal, their season ended with a 2–0 loss to Forfar Athletic in the final. Weir resigned to take up the vacant position at Brechin City and was replaced, on 27 May, by Paul Sheerin.
On 23 April 2011, the Red Lichties defeated local rivals Montrose 4–1 to win the 2010–11 Third Division title; securing the club's first senior honours in their 133-year history and a return to Second Division at their first attempt. The next few seasons in the third tier (renamed League One) were mixed. A tremendous first season playing lively attacking football saw them run champions Cowdenbeath closely, more than matching them in head-to-head encounters but lacking the professional edge to grind out other results and losing the final three. The Red Lichties finished on 60 points and went out in the playoff semifinal. In 2012–13, a fairly mediocre season saw them end up in 5th spot, on 52 points just pipped for the final playoff spot. One highlight was a 3rd Round Scottish Cup tie at Celtic Park, drawing 1–1 and then exiting in the replay after an equaliser was controversially ruled out.
Season 2013–14 was disastrous. After an average start, a run of 14 games without a win saw the Red Lichties end up bottom of the pile on 31 points and automatically relegated. The attack-minded and purist emphasis of manager Sheerin, who continued as player-manager, meant most fans stayed supportive. Some poor signings were costly. The Red Lichties thus experienced their fourth relegation in 11 years. Sheerin left Gayfield Park in June 2014 to take up a post with the Under-20 side at Aberdeen. Allan Moore was subsequently appointed with Todd Lumsden as assistant. On Sunday, 12 April 2015, after a string of poor results in which the side only won once in 16 games, Moore was relieved of his duties as Manager and Lumsden took the helm. The team had been sitting at the top of the table by eight points in December but ended up finishing third and subsequently lost 3–2 on aggregate to Queens Park in the Play Off Semifinal.
The team performed poorly under the management of Todd Lumsden in season 2015–16 which was reflected by a lowly league position. With relegation into the Highland League a real threat, Lumsden was sacked in March 2016. Dick Campbell was then appointed and was able to steer the team to safety, finishing 9th and ahead of East Stirlingshire who were subsequently relegated after losing the play off to Lowland League champions Edinburgh City.
The 2016–17 season saw a massive turnaround under the helm of Campbell. They spent much of the season in second place behind Forfar Athletic and in early February were 11 points behind their Angus neighbours after a 1–0 defeat by the Loons at Gayfield Park. The Red Lichties however clawed that difference back and after the penultimate game of the season's 3–2 win against Elgin City, found themselves a point ahead at the top of the table with an away match against Stirling Albion remaining. An astonishing 1200 fans travelled to Forthbank to witness a 1–1 draw but with Forfar unexpectedly losing at home to Annan 4–2, the title was secured.
The 2018–19 season saw Arbroath line-up alongside the three other Angus sides in the same League for the first time. Despite having to compete with full-time Raith Rovers, the club led from the opening day to win a second promotion in three years and a first league title win in the third tier. The Championship was secured on 13 April with a 1–1 draw at local rivals Brechin.
The Red Lichties Gayfield Park is not the club's original ground, which was nearby and was known as Lesser Gayfield. The current ground is the closest to the sea in Britain, a traditional style ground exposed to the elements, where the traditions of 'real football' are still observed where opposition fans mix as they change ends at half time to stand behind the goal their side is facing. There is terracing on three sides and enclosed stands on all four sides. On stormy winter days, waves beat on the walls surrounding the ground.
Arbroath's main rivalry is with Montrose. The first meeting of the sides was in 1888 and Arbroath ran out 6–2 winners. They also have lesser rivalries with fellow senior Angus clubs Brechin City and Forfar Athletic. In the 2018–2019 season, all four senior Angus teams competed in Scottish League One.
- Chairman: Mike Caird
- Vice-chairman: Ewen West
- Secretary: Dr Gary Callon
- Treasurer: Robert Sim
- Directors: Douglas Bain, Jonathan Booth, Brian Cargill, Anne McKeown
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
National cup competitions
Scottish Cup Semi-finalists: 1946–47
Scottish League Cup Semi-finalists: 1959–60
Scottish Youth Cup Semi-finalists: 2001–02
Scottish Challenge Cup Semi-finalists: 2012–13
Reserve League Cup 2003, Combined Reserve League 1964, Northern League 1891–92, Forfarshire County League (joint) 1908–09, Dewar Shield 1937–38
Arbroath were the first winners of the Forfarshire Cup in 1883 and have won the trophy 17 times since then. Winners in 1883–84, 1887–88, 1889–90, 1892–93, 1895–96, 1896–97, 1906–07, 1913–14, 1920–21, 1923–24, 1933–34, 1935–36, 1938–39, 1939–40, 1957–58, 1993–94, 1995–96
- Biggest win: 36–0 vs Bon Accord, 12 September 1885, Scottish Cup (World record)
- Biggest defeat: 1–9 vs Celtic, 25 August 1993, League Cup
- Highest home attendance: 13,510 vs Rangers, 23 February 1952, Scottish Cup
- Highest average home attendance: 4,780, 1959–60 season (17 games)
- Most capped player: Ned Doig, 5 (2 whilst with Arbroath), Scotland
- Most league appearances: 426, Tom Cargill, 1966–80
- Most league goals in a season by a player: 45, David Easson, 1958–59
- Will Springer (2005). "A day when Scottish football scorched the record books". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 25 November 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2005.
- Fraser Clyne (2003). "The 36–0 team". Arbroath F.C. Archived from the original on 8 August 2007.
- "Arbroath 4–1 Montrose". BBC Sport. 23 April 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
- "Brechin 1 Arbroath 1: Red Lichties secure title glory and promotion to the Championship". The Courier. 13 April 2019. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
- "AFC Officials". Arbroath FC. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
- "2019–20 Arbroath FC Squad". Arbroath FC. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
- "Struggling Arbroath part company with manager Todd Lumsden". BBC Sport. 6 March 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
- Nicholson, Eric (8 March 2016). "Arbroath appoint Dick Campbell as manager". The Courier. Archived from the original on 8 March 2016. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
- "Arbroath 4–1 Montrose". BBC News. 23 April 2011.
- Ross, David (2005). The Roar of the Crowd: Following Scottish football down the years. Argyll publishing. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-902831-83-1.