If ever a cup could symbolise all that a derby match stood for then it would be the Eilean Fhraoich Cup. This is a cup competition where, no matter what team you play for in the league, you have to return to the team in the village where you or your parents were born. If the SFA had such a cup then both captains of the Old Firm, Barry Ferguson and Stephen McManus, would team up to play for Hamilton alongside Paul Hartley and Steven Fletcher. In fact of their first team squads only Aiden McGeady, Mark Wilson and Chris Burke were born in Glasgow.
The Eilean Fhraoich Cup is unique to Lewis and Harris Football. The cup is played annually when every player returns to the team that represents the village where they were born or where their parents were born and on some occasions where their grand-parents where born. If you are not an islander you can play for the team that represents where you live. This creates a unique team spirit that cannot be compared elsewhere in domestic football.
There have been occasions where players are eligible to play for more than one team. When Hector Martin turned out for Back instead of his beloved Lochs FC he was doing so at the request of his father. His father, who came from Back, had asked Hector to turn out for the Bacachs at least once. Hector’s father got his wish although Back failed to win that year.
There have been other instances of players trawling through their family tree to play in the Eilean Fhraoich Cup. Either they have fallen out with their local team or they were born in Stornoway. If you were born in Stornoway and have no relations outside the town then you cannot play in the cup as it is a village cup and no-one from the big city is allowed to play.
Back have won the Eilean Fhraoich Cup 20 times which keeps them ahead of their deadly rivals Point.
They won the illustrious trophy in 1947, 1948, 1949, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1967, 1968, 1971,
1972, 1976, 1977, 1982, 1986, 1995, 2000 and 2003. They were beaten finalist on numerous occasions most
notably in 1978, 1979 and 1980 when they should have beaten their previous record of 3 in a row.
Murdo ‘Bloxy’ Murray was a great servant for Back and played in over 10 Eilean Fhraoich Cup most notably
grabbing a hat-trick in the 1968 final. Throughout theyears there have been many families who can trace
a lineage through all the great Back teams and Murdo counts himself fortunate to be one ofthose. The
Murray family-ties to Back stretch deep into the foundations of the club and Murdo's uncle, John Murray,
was part of the first Back league championship side who won the title in 1947. John and Murdo's fathers
were also two of the Back committee who created the now firmly established football club.
Murdo played in every postion for the Bacachs and was recently voted most popular player in the Stornoway Gazzette’s Field of Memories feature which looked back at all the great players in Lewis and Harris. His son Kevin remains a big part of the current Back side and when Kevin fired them to glory in 2000 with a league and Eilean Fhraoich Cup double he became the third generation of the Murray family to lift the trophies with Back.
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Back Football and Recreation Club, Upper Coll, Back, Isle of Lewis, HS2 OLS. Tel: 01851 820745