In 2014, a team named Broomhill Sports Club (BSC) Glasgow began competing in the Lowland League. It earned some impressive accolades in a short space of time, including consecutive league finishes in third and a Scottish Lowland League Cup trophy. But from 2021, the name BSC Glasgow was nowhere to be seen in the fifth tier, with Broomhill FC the new name on show.
This is because BSC Glasgow and Broomhill were once intrinsically linked – but not anymore. BSC now have separate senior teams in the lower reaches of Scottish football, whilst Broomhill, currently known as Open Goal Broomhill, have continued on in the Lowland League.
But many are unaware that this once shared identity has now been resigned to the past.
In 2004, BSC Glasgow was formed by parents of children at Broomhill Primary School who wanted more sporting opportunities for their kids. In accordance with the ambition of the project, it became the sports club from which Broomhill FC derived in 2014, when the founding of a senior team in the name of BSC Glasgow was intended as a vehicle to provide further development opportunities for its 600 youth players.
Kevin Niven, the chairman of BSC Glasgow, said that this was one of the project’s main goals when the first boys team kicked off almost twenty years ago.
“The days of taking a football to school seems to have gone; you walk past parks and there’s nobody playing football. We need to get that back again.
“Everybody who’s coming through [our youth teams] should be a BSC player at some point. That’s our aim.”
But when BSC Glasgow was operated by two separate boards, this was not the case, with the board in charge of the senior team opting to ignore the youth talent on offer by instead signing players from other clubs. This was in contrast to the senior team’s initial purpose.
“The ethos of the club was to bring our own players through. Some of the directorship just wanted to keep going and progressing at any cost. They were bringing in players from other teams and our own players weren’t getting that opportunity to play.”
It is perhaps a setback that is to be expected in Scottish football nowadays, with the temptations of financial gain from short-term success tending to be championed more so than the longer maturation process associated with grassroots football.
“We’ve got the ethos where we don’t mind getting beat three nothing, as long as we keep progressing and playing football – that’s the main thing. That wasn’t happening, so we’ve decided to part and start again.”
After separating from Broomhill FC in 2021, BSC founded a new senior mens team who joined the football pyramid as members of the West of Scotland fourth division – the tenth and lowest tier of the mens game.
However, this time, they also started a senior women’s team, who are now members of Scottish Women’s League One – the fourth tier of the women’s game.
Soon after, the club made Peterson Park in Knightswood their new home.
Many at BSC Glasgow believe that starting from scratch was imperative in allowing the founding ethos of the club to be safeguarded, and in accordance with this, they are a club on the rise.
The BSC board are now fully responsible for both senior teams. As a result, the club can guarantee their youth players that opportunity to play at a higher level, which has incentivised them to become even more progressive in their approach.
The club has become a gender-equal organisation that has enshrined their women’s teams as unequivocally equal to the mens, making them the first Scottish football club to do so.
And it’s not just football on offer. BSC Glasgow has grown to encompass thirty different sports including netball, basketball and handball, whilst also offering dancing, drama, and walking sessions. The club even has its own sports injury clinic.
With the motto ‘more than just a sports club’, BSC also wishes to empower everyone in whatever they want to do in life. As set out by Mr Niven, the club encourage the community to come and hone their craft with them, whether that’s in coaching, marketing, data analytics, graphic design, media, and so on.
“Everybody talks about pathways, but you can’t go through the pathway course with pathways shut. This goes for everybody – everybody should have a pathway, it’s not just the players. Volunteers and people who work here should grow in life, like everybody.”
For this reason, the club have caught the eye of many across the wider-community.
Jane Duckett, a political scientist, is also heavily involved in the club’s unique project. She is a professor at the University of Glasgow, but is also an amateur photographer who wanted the opportunity to volunteer somewhere community orientated, which the club gladly provided.
“I think it’s partly because I’m a social scientist – I think my interest is effectively in the politics and social side of it rather than the football per se.”
Professor Duckett is a Fellow of the British Academy, with accolades that include founding the Scottish Centre for Chinese Research. Despite not being a football fanatic, she began documenting BSC in April last year, with her work focusing on the behind-the-scenes of the club, as well as the people involved.
“There’s a lot of stuff going on, so there’s a lot of football, but there’s also other things [BSC] do that are increasingly beyond football, so I’ve tried to capture a range of stuff they do and a range of behind-the-scenes photos.
“It’s incredibly far-reaching.”
Professor Duckett is currently working on a ‘year in the life’ of BSC Glasgow in which she is keen to illustrate the widespread BSC community now encompassing many sports and many youth levels throughout the city.
“Sometimes I think some parents are just focussed on their kids winning matches, but it’s like “no, we’re not an academy – we’re a community”. The idea is to get more people involved and kids active, it’s not about being the best.
“That’s definitely the ethos here, and I’ve seen that over the last year.”
BSC Glasgow have high hopes for the future, with plans to extend Peterson Park already in place. The club is always on the look out for volunteers, and will welcome anyone willing to help boost the club’s profile going forward.