The Watsonian Football Club played its first game on 30 January in 1875 against St George that ended in a draw. Right from the beginning the emphasis was on expansive play combined with enjoying rugby football both on and off the field. With this noble aim, Watsonians has evolved and achieved many successes to confirm its place as one of the leading clubs in Scottish Rugby.
In 1876, Watsonians adopted the maroon & white colours it wears today and two years’ later the Club moved to Myreside, named after a local farm. In 1877 the Club became a member of the Scottish Football Union (the SRU from 1924). Watsonians won their first Scottish Club Championship in season 1891/92, but their greatest period of dominance came between 1908 and 1914 when they won the championship a further five times. The team of 1909/10 (pictured right) was undefeated against Scottish opposition during that season.
On 4 March 1933, Watsonians opened their current home at New Myreside with a victory over Royal High School FP. The Championship arrived at the new home in two of the next three seasons, but the Club had to wait 33 years for the next success in season 1969/70.
In season 1973/74 the National League was introduced and Watsonians were placed in Division 1, a position the club has maintained for 24 of the 26 seasons played. It speaks volumes for the spirit at Myreside that as a closed club Watsonians managed to preserve their standing in the higher echelons for many years.
The Club relaxed their membership rules after relegation in 1989 and returned to the top level by going undefeated to win the Division II championship in 1990/91. Since their return to Division 1 Watsonians has regularly challenged for honours before regaining that elusive Scottish Championship again in season 1997/98.
Notable former players
Watsonian’s first Scotland cap was John Tod in 1884. Since then Watsonians has fielded no fewer than 62 Scottish internationalists, including 5 Scotland captains and 7 British and Irish Lions. Watsonians have had key roles in all of Scotland’s three Grand Slams to date.
In 1925 Watsonians forward A.C. Gillies played in 3 international matches and against France he scored one try and kicked two conversions and against England he converted a try with a superb kick from the touch line to help seal the victory in this game. James Ritchie represented Scotland in the six international matches of 1933 (Triple Crown) and 1934.
Against England in 1984, centres David Johnston and Euan Kennedy scored both Scotland’s tries against France in the final game en route to Scotland’s first Grand Slam since 1925.
Gavin and Scott Hastings played in every game of Scotland’s successful Grand Slam season of 1990. In the never to be forgotten final game against England, Gavin’s kick through set up the deciding try for Tony Stanger and Scott made an outstanding try saving tackle on Tony Underwood. Gavin went on to captain Scotland and the 1993 British Lions.
More recent Watsonian Scottish internationalists include Tom Smith, Duncan Hodge, Cameron Mather, Marcus Di Rollo, Jason White, Chris Cusiter, Kyle Traynor, Steve Lawrie, Fraser Brown and Stuart McInally.
Colin Gregor, Andrew Turnbull, Mike Fedo, Andrew Skeen and Jack Ferguson are amongst a number of Watsonians to have been capped byy the Scotland Sevens side.
Watsonians have also a good tradition of providing internationalists for the Scotland Women’s side.