Elections and the Re-election Rule
Click HERE for the most comprehensive record of re-elections and elections available. Unfortunately not all voting figures were recorded with many of the meetings being held away from the press.
The Scottish League, like its English counterpart and numerous other leagues, practiced the extensive use of an election procedure to control the entry into its competition.
The original rule was for the bottom three clubs to retire and make a new application to re-join the League, in competition with other non-League sides. This was reduced to the bottom two clubs from the 1898-99 season.
After 1893, and the introduction of a Second Division, the First Division used an election process, automatic promotion and relegation not being used until 1921-22. This process meant that a club could by-pass the Second Division completely and gain a First Division place. Queen’s Park achieved this in 1900 and while Aberdeen tried twice they were unsuccessful on both times.
The introduction of the Third Division in the 1920s, saw the League briefly suspend the rule and it was re-introduced when the section collapsed in disarray in 1926. During the 1930s the number of clubs applying for a place was smaller than pre-WW1, some seasons evben saw no outside interest. The upshot was that on most occasions the bottom two clubs were automatically re-elected at the League’s AGM.
After the Second World War, the expansion of the league to three divisions saw the Rule quietly dropped, with the last instance of a club re-applying being in 1951.