George Allan Memorial tournament reaches 25th anniversary

Former George Allan Memorial Festival winners Springfield Primary with ex-Linlithgow Rose manager Jim SInnett.
Former George Allan Memorial Festival winners Springfield Primary with ex-Linlithgow Rose manager Jim SInnett.

The popular George Allan Memorial Football Festival will celebrate its silver annivesary at Linlithgow Rose’s Prestonfield ground.

The event kicks off on Sunday at 9am with organisers hoping that the 25-year milestone will be marked in fine style.

The festival allows budding young footballers from the local primary schools honour the memory of Linlithgow Bridge footballer, George “Dod” Allan, a star centre forward on both sides of the border who, in 1897, became Liverpool Football Club’s first Scottish internationalist.

Sadly, George died of tuberculosis in 1899, at the age of only 24.

The first event in 1991 was very informal and it wasn’t until the following year that it was properly organised and staged at Prestonfield

Participants play in two seven-a-side leagues; the developmental Reston League at the Social Club end and the more advanced Gallagher League at the Academy end, named after the first two Scottish Junior Cup-winning captains of Linlithgow Rose.

The George Allan Shield is presented to the winners of the Reston League, while the Gallagher League victors are awarded the George Allan Trophy.

Last year, a new ‘Fair Play’ trophy was donated by Mrs Georgina Waugh of Erskine, who is George Allan’s great-niece. Individual awards for skills and sportsmanship were also presented and these were sponsored by local charity fundraising group, ‘The Walk for Jock’.

The event is strongly supported by Linlithgow Rose FC and Linlithgow Rose Community FC and volunteers from both organisations help out on the day.

The festival is eagerly awaited by the fledgling footballers, both boys and girls, in the Primary schools.

Last year Low Port won the trophy for the first time since 2000.

Coach Stuart Reid said: “There was much anticipation and eager excitement in the build up to the Football Festival, particularly as the core of the team had reached the final in the previous year when in P6, only to narrowly lose.

“The ‘George Allan’ is renowned and winning it is always viewed as a major achievement.

“The short game format makes it tense and exciting and Low Port’s players were delighted to once again make the final. To then go on and win it was just fantastic, particularly for such a small school.

“The boys felt ecstatic and extremely proud of themselves, as did the school, and all the players were honoured with individual medals at the year-end assembly”.