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Can Ayr United Realise The Impossible Dream In 2019?

Date: 20th December 2018



I’ve been following Scottish football for twenty-nine years now and in all that time Ayr United haven’t graced Scotland’s top flight. 

They never had a chance to play in the Scottish Premier Division and the Scottish Premier League came and went without them every participating in it. 

The Honest Men actually haven’t been in our top tier since 1978! That’s an incredible forty years in the lower leagues. 

Ayr is a fairly big town, it’s the thirteenth biggest in Scotland and has a population of over 47,000. That’s greater than Perth, Motherwell and near neighbours Kilmarnock. Yet the other three smaller towns have clubs that are mainstays in our top flight. 

That being said, you can’t really call Ayr United a sleeping giant. They’ve got a stadium with a capacity of 10,000 but only 1,597 of those spectators can be seated. Their greatest attendance this season saw 3.249 people coming through the gates as Somerset Park for the match against Partick Thistle in early August. 

For as long as I can remember, Ayr’s never felt like a footballing town. That’s not to say that their fans aren’t passionate about their team, they’ve just not had as many through the doors as you’d expect from a town of it’s size. 

But if they aren’t winning things and challenging to make it into Scottish Premiership then it’s easy to see why younger fans might overlook Ayr United. 

That could be changing though. The Honest Men are currently leading The Scottish Championship by one point and they also have a game in hand over their nearest rivals. 

The club’s owner has stuck with veteran boss Ian McCall and his faith is being repaid handsomely. They’ve thrashed Dundee United, they’ve beaten Partick Thistle twice and in total have picked up ten league wins in their first sixteen outings. 

Striker Lawrence Shankland has scored eighteen goals and leads the Championship’s scoring charts. He’s currently averaging a phenomenal record of scoring a goal every seventy-nine minutes.  

No Championship club has managed to score more than Ayr United so far this term and only Ross County have conceded less! 

At the moment, The Honest Men are producing title winning type results. 

Now I need to urge caution for the Ayr United supporters. We’ve still to hit the halfway point of the season. 

With the club doing so well, others will look at what’s going on at Somerset Park and wonder if they can poach any talented personnel. 

What do Ayr United do when it comes to the future of Shankland? The forward’s contract expires in the summer, so do they cash in on January to a Premiership club or keep him for the promotion push? 

Other club’s might take a punt on McCall as he has proven during is spell in the Ayrshire coast that he can set out a project and get it working. Personally, I don’t think Ian would leave United mid-season, especially during this campaign. He owes the club a lot and he has enjoyed his time there and the freedom he’s been given to build a legacy there. 

Dundee United are only two places further back and they’ve just been bought over by a wealthy American and he’ll be wanting to secure promotion this term. Ross County, currently in second place, are a club that have a squad that’s got plenty of top flight experience. That means that competition for that automatic promotion spot should be fierce as the season gets closer to it’s finale. 

But as 2019 looms, Ayr United fans can dream of once again getting to the top tier of Scottish football. They’ve been terrific this year and have a scoring sensation and a team of hard working pros that have given their all this term. 

It might be the time to end the forty year wait and it would be fantastic to see a different town represented in our top flight, especially a town like Ayr!  

By Scott Johnston (

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