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an early history of aberdeen football club

This souvenir booklet is not quite the oldest artefact in The Aberdeen Collection, but it is not far from being so. Published on the 28th of February 1898, the magazine was issued to help the original Aberdeen Football Club - the premier club in Aberdeen - in its fundraising drive as it prepared to commence the laying out and construction of Pittodrie Park.

The Club was being forced out of their ground at Chanonry in Old Aberdeen after ten years' occupancy, to make way for the laying out of the University's new Botanic Garden - donated by a Miss Cruickshank - and had to find a new home. The site chosen, was of course to become a famous City landmark in the future, but at the time Association Football in Aberdeen was only about seventeen years old, the same as the Club, the founder of the modern game in the City.

Stretching to twenty-eight pages, the booklet - roughly the dimensions of a modern programme - is packed with useful information about the early years of Aberdeen football. It also sports photographs of early teams and players who had served the Club in its formative years, with poetry and cartoons besides. All very useful for students of the roots of the Dons and of social and sporting history. Even the advertising found within the pages helps to give an idea of Aberdeen at that time and it should be of little surprise that a copy of the publication is on permanent show in the boardroom at Pittodrie, where it can remind people that mighty clubs do indeed grow from small beginnings. This is illustrated no better than a note within the pages about the income of the Club, which was thirty two times bigger in 1896-87 than it had been in 1886-87, healthy progress in difficult times.

The overall fundraising effort by the club which also included the holding of a special Bazaar in the Music Hall, was sufficiently successful to allow the Pittodrie construction to proceed and the first ever football match to be played there was against Dumbarton on the 2nd of September 1899 in front of an estimated 2100 people.