Livingston

livingston-headerCrowds increased ten fold overnight and on a wave of local enthusiasm the newly rechristened ‘Lions’ swept to the Third Division title at the first attempt.

The Second Division championship followed in 1999 and propelled by the backing of Lotto winner John McGuinness the club won the First Division and promotion to the SPL in 2001.

2003-04The club’s upward trajectory showed few signs of slowing and in a campaign that will live long in the memory, Livi’s maiden season in the top division saw the club claim a remarkable third place finish and qualification for the 2002-03 UEFA Cup.

Livi made it through a qualifying round with Liechtenstein’s FC Vaduz as European football came to West Lothian for the first – and as yet only – time, before the run was ended by a classy Sturm Graz team in the first round proper, 8-6 on aggregate.

Barely a year after that high watermark, the club was turned upside down when the Bank of Scotland forced the club into administration with debts of £7.2m – just hours after a dramatic League Cup semi final win over Dundee.

Players and staff were made redundant as the administrator took over the club from discredited chairman Dominic Keane, but in a remarkable footballing fairytale, the club’s finest hour came on March 14 2004, when Hibernian were beaten 2-0 at Hampden Park in the League Cup final.first_team_2010-11

A consortium led by Irish businessman Pearse Flynn bought the club out of administration shortly afterwards and while they succeeded in saving the club, they could not maintain success on the field.
After narrowly escaping relegation on the final day of the 2004-05 season, Livi went down a year later with a record low points tally (since beaten by Gretna).

Flynn sold his shareholding to an Italian consortium in 2008 and given credence by League Cup winning manager Davie Hay, they pledged to restore the club to the top level under the ‘let’s do it again’ banner.
Sadly, the only thing that Angelo Massone and his cohorts managed to achieve in a car-crash year at the helm was a return to the days of complete financial mismanagement.

header_stuart_lovellScarcely a week went by without fresh revelations of late or unpaid wages, or local suppliers’ bills going unpaid.  Shortly after the electricity supply was infamously cut off at Almondvale Stadium, the club entered administration for a second time, spelling the end for the Italians.

For a time last summer it seemed that the second administration would spell the end for Livingston FC.  There were several ‘D-Days’ when it looked like the doors would be shut for good.

Thankfully, a rescue plan was put into action and a new brand new board came in to steady the ship.
Their efforts were made more difficult when the Scottish Football League handed down an unprecedented penalty for entering administration for a second time on the eve of the new season – relegation from the First Division to the Third.

Despite this blow, the club has stabilised over the last year and is gradually repairing the damage done over the last few years.

With former player Gary Bollan in charge of playing matters, the prime objective of winning the Third Division at the first attempt was achieved – by a fifteen point margin.  The Second Division title followed the next season and the club found itself back in the First Division – or Championship to give it its new title – until the end of the 2015/16 season when it lost the playoff and was relegated back into League One.