Crossgates Primrose Football Club were officially founded in 1926 although it is fairly certain that the club existed in some form or other prior to this.
There are two schools of thought surrounding the antecedents of the Primrose. One suggests that the club is a continuation of Crossgates Hearts Juveniles who were formed in 1921. On moving up to the Junior grade a name change took place and thus Crossgates Primrose came into being.
Others believe that Crossgates Primrose themselves made the move from secondary juvenile football to the Junior ranks citing evidence that they played at the lower level during 1925-26 and 1926-27 seasons. The proponents of this theory point to the fact that they can find no mention of Crossgates Hearts playing after 1921-22 season. To muddy the waters further, there was a juvenile team called Crossgates Corinthians playing between the two periods. In all likelihood there will have been a connection between all three teams. More importantly, whatever association existed it culminated in the birth of Crossgates Primrose Junior Football Club.
The newly established team took to the competitive stage in the 1927-28 season. In that first season in the Fife Junior League the team finished in a respectable 6th place with 10 wins from 22 matches and also reached the Cowdenbeath Cup Final, losing out 4-2 to Dunnikier Colliery.
Primrose did not have long to wait for silverware, however, as they won the Cowdenbeath Cup the following season and in doing so gained revenge over the same opponents after a replay (winning 1-0 following a 0-0 draw).
A fourth place league finish in 1932-33 was followed by the club’s highest league position (third) the following season but despite numerous semi-final appearances in various cup competitions throughout the 1930’s the team weren’t to achieve better than mid-table league places for the remainder of the decade.
Although never winning the league, Crossgates have achieved a number of top three finishes including season 1947-48 where they scored a remarkable 120 goals and conceded 79 in 36 games! That season also saw them win the Fife Cup, beating Lochgelly Violet 4-1 in the final, and the West Fife Cup, which was secured with a 1-0 victory over Dundonald Bluebell. This was Crossgates most successful period and crowds flocked to Humbug Park. The following seasons saw “the Rose” reach several finals but silverware eluded the side.
1952-53 saw “The Rose” put together their most successful run in the Scottish Junior Cup. Polkemmet were dispatched 5-1 in the first round, and the second saw Crossgates win 4-3 at Alva Albion Rangers before receiving a bye in the third round. A single goal at Crieff Earngrove in the fourth round earned the team a draw against Auchinleck Talbot in the fifth. A record crowd of 7,600 - necessitating the club buying and installing 400 railway sleepers - watched the tie at Humbug Park which was drawn 2-2, remarkably Primrose then went to Ayrshire and came home with a 4-1 win. The quarter-finals again saw a trip to Ayrshire and to Annbank United. A 2-2 draw was followed up by the same score-line at Humbug in front of nearly 5,000 supporters before the second replay was lost 3-0 at Cambuslang. Annbank went on to the final where they lost to Vale of Leven. This was a year for good cup runs as the club reached the finals of both the Cowdenbeath Cup & League Cup.
The Fife Cup was claimed again in 1955-56 with a 2-1 win over Newburgh, and the West Fife Cup in 1957-58 (a season that saw Crossgates reach three other finals). These two seasons sandwich the arrival at Humbug Park of one Jim Baxter, without doubt the greatest former “Rose” player. Discovered by Mr. Crossgates himself, Willie Butchart, Jim signed to the club in 1956-57 before joining Raith Rovers. Fame followed with Rangers and Scotland as well as a career in England.
By season 1960-61 Junior football was struggling in the Kingdom and the league was down to only 11 clubs. Primrose finished 8th but none the less folded at the end of the season. The reasons behind this are not known, the team itself did not fulfil all its fixtures and, if it had, could quite possibly have finished higher.
More than 20 years were to pass before the name of Crossgates Primrose was resurrected when, in 1982, as a juvenile side, the club was reformed. They re-joined the Fife Junior League a year later and returned to Humbug Park (which had been sold back to the Council by the Pars) for their first match on 13th August 1983 in a win over Dundonald Bluebell.
Crossgates best spell since returning was the late 1980’s with a 1988-89 East Coast Windows Cup Final defeat to St. Andrews United followed a season later with a third place finish in the league behind St. Andrews and Hill of Beath Hawthorns. The same season saw a Cowdenbeath Cup Final loss to Hill of Beath and semi-final appearances in both the Laidlaw Shield and League Cup.
Since then, the Primrose have entered a lean time. 1994-95 saw a Kingdom Cup Final loss to Newburgh on penalties and Fife Cup semi-final appearances in 2000-01 & 2001-02 and a Cowdenbeath Cup semi also in 2001-02 are the last times the club have been at the business end of competitions.
Mid-table safety became the general norm during recent years but a bottom of league finish in 2014-15 and difficulties in recruiting committee members off the pitch hinted at bad times ahead.
Despite garnering some support on the non-playing side, in 2015-16, Crossgates Primrose went into abeyance four months into the season, which, according to the Daily Record, “…is tragic for a team who, despite their lack of silverware, have been as important a part of junior football in the Fife region as any of their neighbours”.
But, that wasn’t the end of the club. On 14th April 2016, Crossgates Primrose Juniors announced their intention to come out of abeyance and resume competition in the East Region Junior league in 2016-17 season.
March 2018 would see a new chapter in the clubs history unfold when the Primrose applied for membership of the East of Scotland Football League and Association thus moving from Junior footall into the SFA Pyramid at Tier 6. An interesting and exciting time is ahead of us ... the story continues.
HISTORIC West Fife junior football club Crossgates Primrose will return to action next season - just five months after folding.
Primrose, the club who famously produced Scotland legend Jim Baxter, have confirmed their intention to resume competitive football in the 2016-17 season after they announced they would no longer play in November.
The Humbug Park outfit had appealed for help last year due to a shortage of volunteers and a lack of resources to attract players. They did receive some support, which allowed them to kick off this season's East Region South Division campaign, but the committee decided to call it a day a few months later with the team rooted to the bottom of the table.
The Scottish Junior Football Association (SJFA) subsequently placed the club into abeyance in the hope they could re-emerge next season - and that move has now paid off.
Secretary Kevan McArthur said: "The Scottish Junior Football Association and East Region secretary have been advised of the intention of Crossgates Primrose Junior Football Club to come out of abeyance in order to return to competitive football in the 2016-17 season.
"A new committee is in place to take the club forward and a manager will be appointed shortly. Along with our burgeoning youth section, we are delighted to resume an active part not only in the life of the village, but in the Fife football community and the junior game in Scotland.
"As a club with a proud history of bringing through young players, we will continue to seek to develop youngsters with a view to achieving their full potential in the sport."
Primrose, whose last match was an 8-0 thumping by Easthouses Lily, were originally formed in 1926 but went to the wall in 1960 before reforming in 1983.
They are most famous for being the club that brought through Scotland legend Baxter, who went on to star for Raith Rovers, Rangers, Sunderland and Nottingham Forest.
He won 34 caps for the national team, with his finest hour coming at Wembley in 1967, where he helped Scotland defeat the then world champions England 3-2.