1882/83

In another first for the club, Saints win the Renfrewshire Cup after scoring 24 times over the 5 rounds and conceding just twice. However, Abercorn belatedly withdrew from the tournament as well as refuse entry into the Paisley Charity Cup which was in its maiden season. The Abbies also didn’t make an appearance at Saints end of season soiree, suggesting tension existed once more between the two major clubs in the town.

With the reputation of the club growing sufficiently enough to be now considered one of the better in Scotland, they were able to attract a higher standard of opposition for the organised friendly matches which included games against then giants Vale of Leven, Clyde and big English clubs Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers. However, heavy defeats to the two Scottish clubs meant the end for some long term players, with goalkeeper J Burgess, full back H Wilson and forwards D Drinnan & A Hunter all being replaced over the first half of the season.

One of the replacements, left winger AB Aird, had an outstanding season scoring at least 16 times in 28 matches (all goalscorers not know for full season) & the form of J Imrie was also notable, but the teams performance throughout the season was erratic as heavy defeat was often followed by a good run of form and then the cycle repeated. At the end of the season, Saints announced they were leaving Thistle Park and members also voted for the first team to wear black and white stripes from 1883/84 on.

June 1882

On the 24th June, Saints are knocked out the Arthurlie 4-aside competition in the second round, losing 1-0 to Thornliebank.

July 1882

It is announced on the 8th July that Saints annual sports event will again be split over 2 weekends due to the number of entrants, with the 22nd July added to the 29th, and the 4 aside football competition will consist of the “main” clubs from Renfrewshire and Glasgow. Unfortunately, Saints are knocked out of their own competition in round 2 after a 1-0 loss to Dumbarton.

The English based Athletic Newspaper commented on the size of crowd once more for the event, with the gate exceeding £50 in revenue, meaning around 4,000 turned out, prompting their correspondent to state Paisley people had a “mania for the winter game” not seen anywhere else in Scotland.

The following Saturday, almost 5,000 attended the events, and the football won by Arthurlie whose 4 players each received a marble clock.

August 1882

On the 23rd of the month Saints are drawn against Yoker in the 1st round of the 1882/83 Scottish Cup. The “Bodies” as they were referred to by the press at the time (before Buddies became the norm) were one of 5 Paisley clubs in the draw, along with Woodside, Paisley Athletic, Abercorn and Woodland.

On the 30th August the Renfrewshire Cup matches Saints with Busby side, Cartvale.

September 1882

Saints easily progress to the second round of the Scottish Cup by beating Yoker 8-0 and are drawn at Cappielow in the 2nd round, for their first ever meeting with Morton. Only Abercorn remain from the other Paisley sides in the tournament, who drew Pollok at home.

The team however is struggling to cope with the step up in opposition in the fixture list, and prepare for the Scottish Cup match with 8-2 and 6-2 defeats to Clyde and Vale of Leven respectively. Morton continued this trend by thrashing Saints 5-1 in what was considered a shock due to the lowly status of the Greenock side compared to the Paisley club. Saints announce a charity match with Dumbarton to be played on the 7th October, with all gate proceedings being gifted to Paisley causes.

October 1882

The terrible form of the first XI is tackled by the committee with a revamp of the squad and five new players introduced to the first team: goalkeeper JW Reid, full back J Fulton and forwards T Johnstone, J Brown and AB Aird. The charity match is lost to Dumbarton 4-1, but the man of the match was the Dumbarton keeper, and much praise was given to Saints new forwards.

The following week was another stern test for the new look first team XI against Cartvale in the Renfrewshire Cup, but Saints thumped the previous years finalists (and very much on form) Busby by a resounding score of 5-1.

November 1882

The improvement in Saints form continued into November, with 4 straight wins and 18 goals scored as the new forwards began to settle into the first ream and really help to improve the side.

On the 17th, Saints are drawn away to Paisley Athletic in the 2nd round of the Renfrewshire Cup, with the tie to be played early the following month.

December 1882

Saints great form continues as they beat Paisley Athletic at East Park 3-0 in front of 4,500 spectators on the second of the month. An almost month long freeze however halts Saints progress as matches are postponed for 3 weeks, until the big Paisley Derby on the 23rd when Abercorn visited Thistle Park.

In a rough match in front of 6,000 highly motivated supporters, Abercorn’s physical style succeeds when they win 6-3, however the match did not conclude after a pitch invasion following the last goal, which the referee allowed to stand after a supporter bundled the ball out of Saints keeper Reid’s hands and it crossed the line with a few minutes remaining. For the safety of the players (and himself), the referee withdrew both sides but the result stood.

January 1883

Saints kick off the New Year in poor form after another 6-3 defeat, this time against Lugar Boswell on New Years’ Day. The Renfrewshire Cup draws the Buddies against Southern of Greenock in the third round, and the club announces a “tour” of England with matches against Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers, which is brought forward a week due to the FA cup being rescheduled.

Saints travel down on train to Manchester and then onto Bolton on the evening of the 12th January in preparation for the first match of the English tour the following day. The long journey impacts on the players however as they eventually lose 8-2 to the Lancashire side in front of 2,000 spectators despite drawing 2-2 at half-time. 2 days later, Saints take on Blackburn and put in a much better performance but lose 3-2, missing several late chances to salvage a draw.

February 1883

Saints easily progress in the Renfrewshire Cup quarter final, annihilating Greenock side Southern 8-0 on the 10th of the month with Watt scoring 4 times. A few days later, a trophy paid for by Mr AD Gibb of Norwell in England along with funds raised over the past few years by clubs in the town is unveiled as the Paisley Charity Cup. Saints were given a bye to the second round, but Abercorn refused to play in the inaugural season.

R Whyte is picked for the Renfrewshire select, who beat Lanarkshire 7-2 on the 17th at Thistle Park. On the final day of the month, the Renfrewshire FA dismiss an appeal from Southern Greenock about the 8-0 defeat from Saints.

March 1883

A fine start to the month for Saints as Arthurlie are beaten at Thistle Park. The Barrhead club were back to back winners of the Renfrewshire Cup and hadn’t been beaten by a team from the county since 1880. The Dunterlie based club were considered the best in Renfrewshire and had already provided the first Scottish international player from the county, Robert McPherson, but Saints were rapidly closing the gap. This would be the last match played this season for one of the key players in the team, R Whyte, after he suffers a near fatal accident at work.

Saints annual soiree takes place on the 16th of the month in the Drill Halls within the town, with parties from all major clubs in the West of Scotland and Paisley present, except for Abercorn. The following day, Saints reached their second Renfrewshire Cup final after dispatching Johnstone Rovers 5-0 at Thistle Park. They would meet Thornliebank at East Park in Paisley the following month.

On the last day of the month, Saints took on Bolton Wanderers once more in the return match in Paisley, and having led 3-2 late in the match, blew the advantage and fell to a 4-3 defeat, a similar story the previous week when Port Glasgow came back from 3-0 down in the second half to also win 4-3.

April 1883

A good month for the club as they beat Paisley Athletic in the “other” Burgh derby at East Park on the 7th, although the match is overshadowed by the physical play of the hosts, which drew hissing from the large crowd. The following week the players returned to East Park for the Renfrewshire Cup final, and for the first time in the clubs’ history they won the trophy after a 3-1 victory in front of 6,000 spectators. Three days later, Saints were drawn with Olympic from the East of the town in the Paisley Charity Cup semi-final.

On the 26th April 1883, members of the club met and agreed to drop the scarlet and blue colours that the first team had been playing with since inception and voted to wear black and white stripes with navy blue knickers. It was also disclosed at this meeting that St Mirren (66 votes) Arthurlie (66) and Abercorn (49) had been voted by the Renfrewshire FA membership to represent the county as members on the SFA board after the national association afforded 3 places.

May 1883

The club play their first ever match in the Paisley Charity Cup but are surprisingly held to 4-4 draw with junior club Olympic on the 19th of the month, with Robert McPherson of Arthurlie and Scotland guesting for the Buddies. The match is played at Blackstoun Park as Saints have now left Thistle Park and are building a new ground “not far” from that site. Three days later a Glasgow select XI consisting of Queens Park and Rangers players leave Paisley with a 1-0 win as Saints are unable to take multiple chances created.

June 1883

It was announced on the 6th of the month that the clubs annual sport event, considered the best in the country, has been scheduled for the 28th July. After Saints were awarded the semi final of the Paisley Charity Cup as Olympic were unable to fulfill the fixture, they finally met Paisley Athletic in the first ever final on the 23rd June. However with the cricket season in full swing, a weak Saints side are beaten 6-0 and a very long season comes to an end after 36 matches.

The winning St Mirren team with the 1882/83 Renfrewshire Cup

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