Goodbye Allan Park
After 67 years playing at Allan Park, Cove Rangers moved on to new things back in 2015. Saying goodbye to the ground where they watched 19 first place trophies lifted between the various leagues was not without its hardships.
The history of the club is important, and the victories of Allan Park should never be forgotten. I doubt though, that many Cove Rangers fans are regretful of the decision when looking at the track record since deciding to move.
In leaving Allan Park for Balmoral Stadium, the Toonsers also left behind their Highland League legacy to challenge in the SPFL. Whilst it is sad to say goodbye to the days at Allan Park, and the days in the Highland League, we can now see that this was more of a development, and a triumph, than a loss.
From Balmoral Stadium, the Wee Rangers are charging up the ranks in a newfound glory. Seeing the successes of recent years, I canâ€™t help but ask, how long will it be before calling Cove Rangers the `wee` anything just isnâ€™t fitting?Ground Sharing and Balmoral Stadium
Commencing the season of 2015-16, Cove had to ground share with four other clubs. Making the legends of Allan Park proud, they won the Highland League in a gritty three way battle for first place with Formartine Untied and Brora Rangers. Even without a stadium to call their own, the people of Cove Rangers proved that they were the best in the highlands.
Another three years in the Highland League saw Cove finish off top spot only once as Buckie Thistle took their title on goal difference in 2017. Reclaiming the Highland League throne in the season to follow, they then christened their time at Balmoral Stadium with a valiant storming to the SPFL playoffs.
Crushing the opposition in Berwick Rangers 7-0 on aggregate, Cove sent a message to the SPFL that the highlanders were coming full steam ahead.
Since moving to the SPFL, Cove`s performance has been nothing short of inspiring. In a clean sweep, they won their third successive title to shoot straight from the lowest tier of the SPFL into the Scottish League One.
Missing out on a Championship spot by a narrow playoff semi-final defeat to Airdrie United, they kept the momentum going for their second season in the Scottish League One. In the close of the 2021-22 season, Cove comfortably finished seven points above second place, with the highest goal difference of any team in the SPFL after Celtic and Rangers FC.
This year, Cove Rangers not only entered the colosseum of entry to topflight football, but also joined many teams of Scottish football as 2022 hailed their 100th birthday. Just as the Balmoral Stadium gave them new life to march into the SPFL, their centenary birthday blessed them to move further up the ranks.
Since leaving Allan Park in 2015, the club has won five of seven league titles competed for, an accolade only rivalled by Celtic as they ran a one horse race. Entering into the season of 2022-23, Allan Park will look down proudly as the Toonsers move on and up.
[ -- link to Cove Rangers FC website ]
Cove Rangers finished seventh in the Highland League in the 2013-14 season. In 2014, the year before making the decision to move from Allan Park, football fans in Scotland would`ve laughed at hearing the `Wee` Rangers were to be in the Championship only a few years later.
With the same boldness as that statement would have held back then, I ask the fans of the SPFL, how long before Cover Rangers become the biggest team in Aberdeenshire, and challenge for the title of the Big Rangers?
Written by Ryan David Campbell