Dumbarton F.C. is Scotland's fifth oldest football club, behind Queen's Park, Kilmarnock, Stranraer and Rangers. The club, nicknamed "The Sons", short for the Sons of the Rock, was founded in 1872 and went on to win the Scottish Football League in the first two seasons of the competition, as joint Champions. Also winning the Scottish Cup in 1883, in a thrilling replay against local rivals Vale of Leven with a final score of 2 -1. It is interesting to note that as one of the founding teams of the Scottish Football League, along with Abercorn, Cambuslang, Celtic, Cowlairs, Heart of Midlothian, Rangers, Renton, Third Lanark and Vale of Leven, Dumbarton is the only remaining team to play in the League, with some teams defunct and other playing in the Scottish Premier League. The team is also the only existing Scottish League Champions never to have competed in the Premier League.
Originally based at Boghead the team now play at the Bet Butler Stadium, in one of the Scottish game's most picturesque football grounds nestling beneath Dumbarton Rock. Having played in all divisions of the Football League in 2012 the team earned third place in Division Two and won the promotion playoff to go into the First Division for the first time since 1996.
Dumbarton F. C. were not the only team from Dumbarton to play in the Scottish Football League. Dumbarton Harp F.C. was formed 1894 by the town's Irish Catholic immigrants, similar to the formation of Celtic in Glasgow, Hibernian in Edinburgh and Dundee Hibernian, now Dundee United. Throughout the majority of their footballing days Dumbarton Harp played in local football leagues, becoming champions of the Scottish Football Union in 1910. In the 1920s when the Scottish Football League expanded to a three division format the team entered the Third Division finishing a respectable tenth out of sixteen teams in the 1923 - 24 season. As with many clubs at the time the Great Depression affected Dumbarton Harp and sadly the team were obliged to withdraw due to their inability to meet financial commitments. Returning to the lower leagues the team became defunct by 1936. Dumbarton Harp played their home games at Meadow Park, it is pleasing to note that today people of all ages continue to play football on this site.
Other teams to have been based in Dumbarton, but never to play in the Scottish Football League include Boghead Athletic, Dumbarton Rangers, Dumbarton Fern and the delightfully named, Artizan Rock, the perfect name for a music festival!