The East of Scotland Consolation Cup was won in 1911-12 as Vale defeated Amphion Amateurs at Galashiels, and the Border Cup captured again in 1912-13. In 1912, Vale decided to leave the Border League and take part in the Eastern League. The league had grown out of the Northern League, which had intially been based around the counties of Fofarshire and Perthshire, later extending its boundaries to include teams from Fife and eventually Edinburgh and the Lothians. In 1910 six of its strongest clubs had helped to form the Central League, leaving the league as a secondary affair. An attempt was made to form a new, stronger North Eastern League including Borders clubs, but this fell through and the Eastern League was reformed without the Angus clubs.
Vale found the going tough in their first campaign in the new league, but did better the following season, which included an 8-0 victory over Lochgelly, although they found themselves on the wrong end of a 7-0 scoreline away to Dunfermline Athletic ‘A’ – the only side to beat Vale in Innerleithen that season. Problems arose with scheduling fixtures though, with many teams falling so short of the required number of games that the table toppers at the end of the season coudn’t be declared ‘champions’ with any credibility.
It was a strange time for football at a lower level anyway – quite apart from the problems in completing leagues, cup competitions also suffered as cup games were cancelled, or declared to be ‘friendlies’ if one of the teams turned up short-handed, or if the pitch was in a bad condition. Teams regularly protested against the result of a game and this had an effect on many competitions. During the 1912-13 season, Vale were defeated 3-0 in the semi final of the King Cup by Peebles Rovers. Broxburn Shamrock won the other semi final against Gala Fairydean, but the final was postponed in February due to snow. Broxburn refused to play the game on the rearranged date, so they were expelled from the competition and Gala Fairydean took their place. But the match never went ahead as Peebles ran into player problems and a proposal for Vale to take their place – and possibly be the only time a final had taken place between two defeated semi finalists – was thrown out and the King Cup was scrapped for that year.
Mr W. Stewart became the first East of Scotland Football Association President to be supplied by Vale in 1913, but the First World War broke out in August 1914 and football was curtailed and in many cases stopped altogether. Like many other clubs, Vale players served in the forces and sadly some did not return.
After the end of hostilities, football was resumed at Caddon Park, with many exciting games. Vale had returned to Border League action and a rivalry was developing with Peebles Rovers, with games between the two were eagerly anticipated and drawing big crowds. On the 1st of November 1919 Vale racked up their biggest win against their Peeblesshire rivals in a King Cup First Round match. Rovers actually opened the scoring that day, but Vale were rampant and ran out 10-1 victors!
Vale achieved the first of their East of Scotland Qualifying Cup wins in 1919-20, and in doing so set a record which will surely never be beaten. They played five games to win the cup, scoring 30 goals along the way and conceding none! It was hardly surprising that the the side was commonly referred to as ‘The great Vale team’ in later years.
Tables from the 1910s