The game of football, or soccer as it is also known, has been a sport in Hopeman since the 1800s and over the years it has been very popular amongst all generations and continues to grow in popularity. Unfortunately we do not have much information on those early years prior to 1900, however after this date we do have bits and pieces which can be shared and if there is anyone with any information or photographs on football, or indeed any sports activity that they would like to share, please contact the administrator of this web site
It was not until 1929 that ‘Robert Innes Cameron Park’ or “The Green” as it is called locally was levelled out into a flat grassed area suitable for a football pitch as prior to that it was mounds of sand covered with whin’s similar to that of the east beach area. There was a small strip of flat land in front of Sea Park or Peepy Street as it was known, where some of the younger kids played football but the older boys had a piece of flat land near to where the Golf clubhouse stands which they called ‘Hampden Park’. This was home for a junior team called ‘Hopeman Rangers’. The team were formed during the late 1800s and over the following years became very well known as being one of the best teams in the area.
The above photograph was taken after Hopeman Rangers won the Elginshire Cup in 1904.
William McPherson (Wullack Daich) was the trainer and coached the team over many years. He lived at 64 Harbour Street and was the brother George McPherson(Dod Daich) who played in a junior team and who lived in Rose Cottage on the corner of Cooper St and Gordon St. William Smith was a baker who lived at 17 Duff St, then went to Canada and married. His daughter was Mylo Smith.
The following is an extract from notes on the history of Hopeman compiled by George Main during the 1960s –
Quote – Before 1914 Hopeman had four football teams the oldest of them being the ‘CALEY’ and the ‘RANGERS’ with players from all trades, but the ‘SCAUP ROVERS’ and the ‘HEARTS’ were fisher teams. The RANGERS in the season before the war broke out in 1914 won the Morayshire Cup. Their team at that time being –
David Young (Johndie) ; George McPherson (Daich) ; Tom More ; William Davidson (Beelfie) ; C Davidson (Saul) ; William More (Ma) ; James Sutherland (Gairn) ; Thomas More (Homeas) ; J McPherson (Davie) ; James Young (Chell) ; William McPherson.
David Young, William Davidson and James McPherson were killed in action during the 1914-1918 war.
The youngest team was the ‘HEARTS’ and composed mainly of teenagers-
David Main (Dauve Medal) ; Daniel Main (Daniel Doo) ; John Main (John Bowie) ; John Main (John Dauvit) ; Alexander More (Sandy Morie) ; Alexander More (Sandy Sack) ; John More (Jockie Tammack) ; Thomas Sutherland (Tomack Beelie) ; James Davidson (Jeem Davidson) ; Alexander McPherson(Sandy the Twine) ; George Cormack (Dod Cormie)
Between the 1st and 2nd world wars Hopeman had only one football team, the RANGERS, and it was very successful but defunct before 1939. After that there were no more organised teams apart from School teams except that during the 1939-1945 war, matches were organised between local teams and Polish prisoners of war billeted nearby. – Unquote.
The Rovers were called the ‘Scaup Rovers’ as the majority of the team lived in the Scaup, an area occupied mainly by fishermen in the auld toon between Harbour St and School Road incorporating McPherson, Mid & Dunbar streets.
The above article from the Northern Scot during 1979 gives an insight into the popularity of the Hopeman Rangers prior to the First World War. It was written from the memories of retired fisherman James Smith McPherson, born 1904 in Hopeman and who emigrated to Canada during 1929 along with his parents James & Ann McPherson. (Jeem Peddie & Annak Daich). This was his first visit home in 50 years.
The following is an extract from his memories.
“I saw them play when I was a kid and the team were well known all over the country. The football was more of a sport then and when the Rangers won a game it would sometimes take them a week to get back from it”.
Mentioned earlier was the flat piece of land in front of Peepy Street and during a recorded interview with Willie Ralph (Willie Doo) during 2005, when he was 96 years old, Willie mentioned that as a boy they played at Peepy Street. Families in those days were generally very poor and children only had shoes for Sunday and school and they were passed down from child to child until completely worn out. There were of course no football boots for children and so they played with bare feet which must have been pretty sore as the footballs were made of leather and absorbed water becoming very heavy when kicked!! Willie said that his friend had a sister with old shoes which they got for playing football and he used the left shoe as he was left footed and his friend, the right shoe. Imagine that with the kids of today!. He also noted that during the winter months some of this land in front of Peepy street was made into sand pits where residents kept tatties and carrots in holes which were lined with straw, then covered with earth to keep them free from frost – a custom used up to the 1960s within the village.
After the end of World War II in 1945, football continued to be very popular during the following years with school teams for both boys and girls – see photograph gallery below of various teams.
Hopeman Football Club was founded in 1998 the same year as Hopeman Dynamos, the primary school age football academy.
The formation of an organised village football team was first discussed in the ‘Braemou Inn’ by the proprietor at the time, Davie Towns, his son-in-Law Mike Munro and David McPherson. A committee was quickly formed, players assembled and Mike Munro appointed the first manager. Mike is still the manager (2015), although he did have a couple of breaks when the duties were taken up by Kevin Flett and for a couple of seasons, by John Hubbard and Jack Burke. Stuart “Hebla” Sutherland also held the post for a short period.
The first priority of the committee was to raise funds and to this end all the village businesses and fishing boat skippers were approached to assist in any way they could. Within a few days enough funding was raised to start thinking about membership of the ‘Moray Welfare League’ and purchasing equipment. Barry More was appointed as Treasurer and Kate Taylor as Auditor. Next task was to decide on team colours and the committee decided to avoid the colours of the three Scottish football
league teams who would have some support within the village (Aberdeen, Celtic and Rangers) and so the neutral colour Yellow was chosen as the main colour with a green trim. The alternative strip was blue. Hopeman Primary School designed the club badge and this was added to the strips. The Hopeman Crest was subsequently adopted during 2005.
The above newspaper clipping is of the first team fielded representing Hopeman Football Club and within two years they were leading the second division and chasing promotion. They won the ‘Leisure Sports Cup’ in 2000 when they beat Lossiemouth Sports and Social club 6-1 who at the time were leading Division 1. This was a classic cup final performance.
Soon after this event they won the Second Division cup and moved up to the first division.
2000 – Wedding of Mike Munro and Jackie Towns in Hopeman with a guard of honour from Hopeman Dynamos. L-R Nathan Hubbard, Jamie Bagley, Stephenie Cameron, Zander Main, Ryan Munroe, Arron Main.
Wearing the Hopeman F.C. strips which are a bit big for them !
This display in the Post Office window highlights how proud Hopeman residents were of the team.
As the years passed one of the main problems for the football team was that of changing and shower facilities for both the home and away teams. They used any room that was available including the Memorial hall but this was far from ideal and it was also the case for other sports activities. The team was being well supported and so during 2009 they formed of a group led by Eric McGillivray to investigate the feasibility of building a facility on the park to serve all organisations and members of the community. After considerable fundraising by the committee with assistance from Terry Brown, who had become a bit of an expert at raising funds after building the Skate Park, the required target of £240,000 was reached and during 2013 the building was completed by local builder, John Tulloch, to a very high standard and is now the envy of many communities in the area.
Photos of village football teams through the years.