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Will an ancient treaty create a Scottish Cup passageway for newly established Doncaster City?

English 13th tier outfit Doncaster City have made an audacious attempt to compete in this year’s Scottish Cup. The club, who is under the stewardship of football agent Willie McKay, only formed this summer, but already has a grand vision for the future.

Part of its long-term strategy is to construct a ‘hub of football for the north of England’ in nearby Bawtry, a sleepy market town to the south-east of Doncaster. This would be accessible for visiting foreign sides, and boast state-of the-art training facilities, entertainment outlets, and accommodation. City, who will be managed by ex-Doncaster Rovers midfielder Terry Curran in their inaugural season, will start their assault on the pyramid in the innocuous surroundings of the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior Football League Division Two, but will hope for a swift ascent up the divisions.

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Club owners were keen to complement their league efforts this season with an appearance in the FA Cup, but competing participants are largely restricted to tier nine and above. Rather than accept their fate, Doncaster City looked for alternatives elsewhere, propelling them towards a rather bizarre application to the Scottish Football Association.

Acting under the auspices of a near one-thousand-old treaty signed between King Stephen of England and King David I of Scotland, the club have pitched their inclusion in the knock-out competition, suggesting that the city of Doncaster still technically belongs to Scotland. Indeed, the Treaty of Durham, which materialised as a consequence of peace negotiations between the warring leaders, has never been formally repealed. Its terms dictated that Carlisle, portions of Cumberland and Lancashire, and Doncaster would all be ceded to King David I.


Their bid was also strengthened by the presence of two clubs plying their trade in the Scottish lower leagues, despite holding residence in the North of England. Berwick Rangers, whose long affiliation with the SPFL came to end with relegation into the Lowland League last season, and East of Scotland League Division Two side, Tweedmouth Rangers, both hail from the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, located just a few miles south of the Anglo-Scottish border. However, a community intertwined with Scottish heritage and culture is rather different from a proud Yorkshire town located 150 miles south of Gretna.

The SFA have thus far declined to comment, but I wouldn’t bet on any Scottish cup ties surfacing past Berwick in the next season or two…

Words: Ryan Murray

Photo: Steve Pennock.

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