IN 1872 at the bottom of a stairwell next to Wellington Lane, Ayr’s first ever football team was formed.

In two years time the founding fathers of the town’s football story will hit the grand old age of 150.

It’s a story that involves the earliest players adapting the preferred sport of rugby to keeping the ball on the deck.

Ayr United historian Duncan Carmichael recently visited the site where the beautiful game for Honest Men was born as part of an informative talk for Ayr Rotary members.

Ayr Advertiser: Duncan Carmichael is pictured at the launchof his new book in Waterstone’s Ayr.Duncan Carmichael is pictured at the launchof his new book in Waterstone’s Ayr.

“It’s the kind of thing that deserve a plaque on the wall at Wellington Lane,” Duncan suggests.

“When you look at the actual steps now, they are tired, weather beaten and have been visited by seagulls too often.

“In 1872 these lads were sitting on these steps discussing forming Ayr’s first football club.”

Today, the Low Green is a hotly debated talking point amongst politicians on what to do with the open space, but in the late 1800s it was the home of football where heated disputes would take place.

With stunning views across to Arran and the sea breeze blowing onto the pitch, you can imagine how the first of those games would have played out.

Duncan, 67, said: “It was very rudimentary, these early games on the Low Green.

Ayr Advertiser:

“There were early reported mentions of the seaward goal, but they played across the Low Green. It was very common for the game to be abandoned due to bad light.

“There were no goal nets, they used hold ups instead.

“The crossbar was just tape, and there was always a dispute over the goals.

“It would involve a five man discussion, the two captains and the umpires, now known as linesmen, would get involved.

“It would be an epic discussion and in the end no decision at all would be made.

“The match reports used to read Ayr Thistle two goals and one disputed goal to Maybole.”

Other similarities to rugby were also noticeable, with six forwards played in matches.

Duncan added: “The the game had grown out of rugby so it was not uncommon that a player would pick the ball up and handle it.”

Next week, we look at how the original Ayr clubs led to the formation of the team we all know today as Ayr United.

Duncan also discusses the bizarre names of the first teams to take the field across South Ayrshire.