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December 14th 2011
Published: March 4th 2012
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Long before Manchester City came up with the little ditty............ in fact long before they came up with the name of Manchester City, Arbroath were doing it for real. 1886 and all that! In a football sense, Arbroath takes some beating. In fact, it hasn’t been beaten. The 36 - 0 ..........yes that is right ..........thirty six – nil .........remains a record score in a senior football match in Britain. On 12 September of that year, Bon Accord, possibly wished they had never bothered accepting that invitation to enter the Scottish FA Cup. Bon Accord were reputed to be a cricket team from Aberdeen invited by mistake, who by myth or fact never even managed a shot on target on the whole 90 minutes. The Arbroath goalie allegedly sheltered under a spectator’s umbrella to watch proceedings.

It was a bad day all round for Aberdeen football as the Aberdeen Rovers were being crushed 35 – 0 by Dundee Harp earlier that day. The main entrance to Gayfield doesn’t quite live up to this legendary status in the game and the result against Bon Accord didn’t prove to be a spring board to greatness. The record still stands and they also have the distinction of being the closest British ground to the sea.

As well as the piece of football history, Arbroath is also synonymous with possibly the most famous piece of documentation in Scottish history. After Robert the Bruce gave the English a bloody nose at Bannockburn in 1314, they understandably didn’t take it too well. They recruited the help of Pope John to retain the sentence of excommunication originally passed on King Robert in 1306. The Scots retaliated with a letter sent from Arbroath in April 1320 signed by 40 nobles, barons and freeman formally setting the case for an independent Scottish kingdom. It became known as the Declaration of Arbroath – whether the 40 nobleman were charged the £5.50 to get into the Abbey isn’t recorded.

Arbroath today seemed all about fish – or the famous Smokies to be precise. The harbour itself was quiet, but the various purveyors of the local delicacy were doing brisk business in the lanes between the quay and the town centre. The main shopping street had clearly lost it’s battle with the supermarkets, of which there appeared to be a disproportionate number.

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