Irvine Meadow XI
Ground - Meadow Park, Wilson Avenue, Irvine
Ground Capacity - 2,132 (700 seated)
Founded - 1895
Colours: Royal Blue Tops/White Shorts & Black with Red topped Socks
Alternative: White Tops with Royal Blue Panels on Sleeves/Royal Blue Shorts & White Socks
Formed in 1895 Irvine Meadow XI are one of the oldest 'Junior' clubs still playing. In 2020 along with the rest of West Region Juniors Irvine Meadow moved to senior West of Scotland League at tier 6 of the pyramid. Although Irvine Meadow have kept our Junior membership so we will still compete in the Scottish Junior Cup. Irvine Meadow have set many attendance records such as the record for a Scottish Junior Cup Final in 1951 when Petershill defeated Irvine Meadow 1-0 in front of 77,650 spectators. An attendance that will never be overtaken.
For the formation of Irvine Meadow it was in 1895 some young lads from the Quarry Road area of the town formed Meadow XI as a juvenile club. They successfully asked Irvine Celtic for the use of Meadow Park and its pavilion when Irvine Celtic were not playing at home. The new club’s first ever game was a 2-1 defeat at home against Overton Thistle 2nd XI and after a few more disappointing results, they finally settled into a better organised manner of playing and began to win matches regularly. Then in December 1895, Irvine Celtic, who had been struggling for some time, decided to close down, leaving Meadow XI as sole occupants, though not owners, of Meadow Park. We would later purchase Meadow Park from the local council some years later.
In that first season there was no juvenile league and the club had to make do with cup matches and friendlies. In 1896-97, however, an Irvine & District League was formed and Meadow XI went from strength to strength, finishing the season unbeaten, with 28 wins and 2 draws. As well as winning the League, they won the Ayrshire Juvenile Cup, beating Hurlford Star 2-1 in a final played at Cochrane Park in Irvine. They also won the Irvine and District Cup, beating Irvine Winton in the first round and eventually defeating Kilmarnock Roslyn in the final.
After the success of that season it was no great surprise that the club’s officials decided to step up to a higher grade of football. As a result Irvine Meadow XI became Juniors for season 1897-98. It was decided to change the club colours from light blue to royal blue and the club we now know set forth on a new adventure.
Irvine Meadow have won the Scottish Junior Cup on three occasions in 1958-59, 1962-63 and 1972-73. In 1958-59 season Meadow defeated Shettleston 2-1 in front of 65,211 paying spectators with two penalties from Jackie Morrison. Meadow's second Scottish Junior Cup win was 2-1 against Glenafton Athletic in fron of 21,834 with Paterson and McIntyre the Meadow scorers. The third and final Scottish Junior Cup win was after three amazing games against Cambuslang Rangers with Meadow winning the third game by one goal to nil.
Meadow have had many other great triumphs such as our three West Region Premier Division titles, 9 West of Scotland Cup titles, 12 top league titles, 14 Ayrshire Cups and 3 Evening Times Cup wins plus a host of other cup and title wins that has made Irvine Meadow such a well known name in 'Junior' football and Scottish football.
Irvine Meadow X1 play local rivals Irvine Victoria every August in an annual derby fixture to coincide with Irvine's Marymass Festival. Meadow have shown great dominance in the fixture having won it 14 times out of the last 15 years, with their only loss coming in 2006 when they suffered a 4–3 defeat at Meadow Park. The 2011 Marymass Derby which was played at Victoria Park on the evening of August 19th is said to have been one, if not the best Irvine Derby of all-time as Meadow fought from 4-1 down at half-time to win the game 6-4 in a ten goal thriller.
On 28 November 2009, Meadow became the first junior club to defeat Scottish Football League opposition in a competitive fixture when they beat Arbroath 1–0 in the third round of the 2009–10 Scottish Cup in front of a crowd of over 1,100. The club were then drawn away to SPL side Hibernian in the fourth round. The game, which took place on 9 January 2010, was arguably the biggest game in the club's history.[Irvine lost 3–0 with an estimated 2,000 Meadow fans made the journey to Edinburgh.
In the 2011–12 season, Meadow reached the third round of the Scottish Cup, where they hosted First Division side Livingston at Meadow Park. The tie took place on 19 November 2011. Meadow were well beaten 6–0.
Former players Gareth Turner and Michael Wardrope were appointed as the new management team in May 2016 to replace the departing Davie Greig, and the pair took charge for the start of the 2016–17 season. On 25 October 2017, the new management of Brian McGinty and Stevie Aitchison took over. In June 2018, Irvine Meadow gained promotion to the West Region Premiership for the 2018–19 season through a play off victory against Arthurlie.
Brian McGinty resigned as manager on 28 January 2020 and Colin Spence and James Latta took over.
Meadow have now joined the West of Scotland Football League at tier 6 in the summer of 2020 and have became a senior football team. We still have Junior membership that means we will continue to take place in the Scottish Junior Cup too. In 2021 we have now installed floodlights at Meadow Park as well as numerous other ground upgrades to try to get an SFA license for start of 2021-2022 season.