East Fife Football Club (known informally as The Fife or The Fifers) is a Scottish football club based in the Fife coastal town of Methil. They are longstanding members of the Scottish Football League and currently compete in the Scottish Second Division.
The club, established in 1903, boasts a distinguished and unique history, being the first club to win the Scottish League Cup three times and the only club to win the prestigious Scottish Cup that were not a Premier League Team, which at that time was the second tier of the Scottish league structure (it is now the third tier).
East Fife are one of four senior clubs based in the Fife region but are the only one to bear the name of the area. The three other clubs are Cowdenbeath, Dunfermline Athletic and the Kirkcaldy based Raith Rovers, all of whom have historically shared rivalries with East Fife.
Local demand for the establishment of a senior football team led to a public meeting being held in January 1903. and resulted in the formation East Fife Football Club. After spending its first season competing in the Fife League and the Scottish Qualifying Cup, as well as playing in a number of challenge matches, the club joined the Eastern League for season 1904–05. The following season East Fife joined the Northern League, which included clubs such as Dunfermline Athletic and St Johnstone. The club remained in the Northern League until season 1908–09. In 1909, East Fife joined the Central League, which consisted of many of the teams who had played in the Northern League, with the addition of Alloa Athletic, Stenhousemuir and King's Park from Stirling.
East Fife remained in the Central League until 1921, apart from a period during the First World War when the Eastern League was reformed. In the period following the war, the clubs competing for the Central League were mainly from the coal and shale mining communities of Fife and West Lothian. As the mining towns thrived with the growth of the mining industry and its associated influx of miners and their families, so did the local football clubs. The result of this was that by the end of the decade, the Central League clubs could afford to pay their players higher wages than they would receive in the Scottish Football League. In an effort to stop the migration of its players to the Central League, the Scottish League decided to admit the Central League clubs, including East Fife, to its membership. The Central League therefore became the Scottish Second Division at the start of season 1921–22.
The remarkable 1927 cup feat was surpassed just over a decade later when "The Fifers" won the 1938 Scottish Cup. The prestigious cup was secured with a 4–2 triumph over Kilmarnock in the final. The game was watched by a crowd of almost 92,000 spectators, who witnessed the club become the first (and so far only) Non-Premier League side to win the Scottish Cup.
East Fife's best years were undoubtedly in the decade following the Second World War. In 1946-47 (the first season after the war) the club finished third missing promotion by one place. The next season (1947-48) East Fife were promoted to the top flight of Scottish football as 'B' Division champions.
During this "Golden Period", the club won the Scottish League Cup on no fewer than on three separate occasions (1947-48, 1949-50, and 1953-54) in seven seasons. A third Scottish Cup final appearance was added to its achievements list in 1949-50.
The club’s league record is also impressive. In the six seasons between 1948 and 1954, East Fife finished its Scottish First Division (then the pinnacle of Scottish football) campaign fourth, fourth, tenth, third, third and sixth respectively. In one of these seasons, 1952–53, East Fife were still in the running for the league title with only a few games remaining.
Among players who played at the club for at least part of this era were Tommy Adams and Willie Laird - both had played in the Scottish Cup winning side before the war. Others joined club and would go on to represent Scotland while at the club - George Aitken, Davie Duncan, Allan Brown, Henry Morris, Charlie Fleming and Andy Matthew. Others such as Jimmy Philp and winger and later Scottish League cap Bobby Black were among those who picked up cup winners medals at the club.
East Fife spent ten successive seasons in Scotland's top league. Away from this period the club have spent only four other seasons playing in Scotland's top division.
East Fife were relegated from Scotland's top division at the end of season 1957-58. Since then, the Methil outfit has struggled to match previous success. This is emphasised by the fact that aside from three seasons during the early 1970s, the club has played all of its football outside the top league since the 1950s.
In November 1998, East Fife moved to a purpose built stadium near Methil power station.
2006–07 saw East Fife begin that seasons Scottish Third Division campaign impressively, at one point amassing a commanding nine point lead over their nearest rivals. The Fifer's form declined markedly but recovered to qualify for the newly implemented promotion play-offs. East Fife beat Scottish Second Division outfit Stranraer 4–2 on aggregate before losing 7–2 to Queen's Park on aggregate in the final. 2007–08 commenced with high expectations for The Fifers amidst a flurry of preseason signings. The new acquisitions proved successful as the Methil team thoroughly dominated the early stages, culminating in a twelve point lead at the top of the division by Christmas. East Fife also revived their historic tradition in the Scottish League Cup by reaching the third round, beating Queen of the South and Scottish Premier League side St. Mirren, before losing out to Old Firm heavyweights Rangers.
The new ground was officially renamed Bayview Stadium in 2007.
East Fife secured the 2007/08 Third division title after beating East Stirling at Firs Park, Falkirk by 3 goals to nil on 15th March 2008. This gave them a points total of 74, 26 points ahead of Stranraer who could post the next best total in the league of 69 points if they were to win their remaining fixtures. This was East Fife's first league title for 60 years and their first piece of silverware since 1954.
East Fife's home matches are played at Bayview Stadium, capacity 2,000 (all seated). The ground has one stand and is open at the three remaining sides. The far side is overshadowed by the derelict Methil power station and has a growing business park being built around it. The club also offer a range of hospitality packages.