Why Mechanics? – Origins of our Club

What's in a Name?

There has been much debate over the years and many interesting theories as to why the club has a unique title. Some suggest the name is linked to the Mechanics Institute (now the Town Hall). Others suggest the name came from the many men who came from the South to work on the new railway line being constructed. To find the best authority on the origins of the name we need to look at the writings of Colin G. Watson (Many will know him as ‘Yankee’). In 1984 Colin published a very insightful and well researched book, ‘FORRES MECHANICS The First Hundred Years‘.

In the book Colin suggests the following:

Despite being the oldest Association Football Club in the North of Scotland, Forres Mechanics were not at the time of their formation the oldest club in the town of Forres, there having been in existence for fully two years the St. Lawrence Club.

Colin goes on to explain that some members of this club appeared to be out of favour and failed to feature in games against local rivals.

It would seem this fact so outraged the members it prompted them to break away and set up their own club. So in October 1884 a meeting was convened and those present duly decided to set up a new club. Having taken the decision thoughts turned to a name for the club.

Colin continues:

The only common factor between those present (at the meeting) was that they were all “Mechanics”. This did not mean that they all tinkered with the latest Ford or Rover model off the assembly line as these were still far in the future. They were simply , as defined in the Oxford English Dictionary “people who are employed in manual occupation; and craftsmen”.

And so, in October 1884 Forres Mechanics were established.

Tom Cook

Whilst not a great deal is known about the men who founded the Mechanics we do know that Mr Tom Cook had the honour of being named the first Captain. Along with the two men who initiated the breakaway from St Lawrence, William Boyne and Paul Martin, Cook led the team into their first competitive match in November 1884 at the Haughs in Elgin, the team earning a respectable draw.

Cook also led the team in the battle for supremacy in Forres, scoring in one of the two matches against St. Lawrence, the Mechanics coming out on top with a win and a draw. The matches were played at St Lawrence and Mechanics home game was held in the Burdshaugh area of Forres.

David MacKintosh

Chairman Q&A coming soon

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