Football in Dunbar can be traced back to 1880 when Dunbar F.C. played Aberlady in a friendly match and from then onwards a host of clubs were formed including such names as Dunbar Bluebell, Dunbar Thistle, Dunbar Brittania, Dunbar Castle, Dunbar Star and Dunbar Comrades.

In July 1924, Dunbar United were formed as a juvenile club, but after one season in the local juvenile league the committee decided to play junior football and the club was elected into the Berwickshire Junior League where they won their first trophy after beating the Kings Own Scottish Borderers (K.O.S.B) in the final of the Lees Cup at Duns after a successful protest about one of the K.O.S.B. players ineligibility in the original final which Dunbar lost!

The following season the club left the Berwickshire Junior League for the Midlothian Junior League and they have remained with this association until May 2018 (although the name of the league has changed on numerous occasions).

Early success followed when they won the league in season 1927/28 and in the following season 1928/29 won the East Lothian Cup after beating Linlithgow Rose 3-2 in a replayed final at Meadowbank after the first game at Easter Road ended 1-1.

The only other success, before the second world war, was winning the Thornton Shield in 1938/39 after beating Ormiston Primrose 2-0 in the final.

Thornton Shield 1938/39
Thornton Shield 1938/39

Dunbar played their last game in December 1939 after the outbreak of war and reformed again at the start of season 1946/47. the first trophy after the war was in season 1955/56 when the club won the RL Rae Cup beating local rivals Haddington Athletic in the final.

Captain Adam Rae lifts the Scottish Junior Cup
Captain Adam Rae lifts the Scottish Junior Cup

However, the greatest moment in the history of the club came in May 1961 when Cambuslang Rangers were defeated 2-0 in the final of the Scottish Junior Cup.

After an incredible 2-2 draw in the final at Hampden at the first time of asking, over 23,000 turned up to watch the replay with Dunbar United this time convincing 2-0 winners over five time Scottish Junior Cup winners Cambuslang Rangers.

The scenes that followed live long in the memories, with Dunbar remaining the last East Lothian side to win the Scottish Junior Cup.

The East of Scotland Cup was added to the honours for that season and with confidence high it was no surprise when the league title was won the following season. 1962/63 saw the Brown Cup won for the first time the following season the East of Scotland cup was won a second time after beating Bo’ness United 6-1 in the twice replayed final after the previous games both ended in draws.

A barren spell followed until the ‘B’ league was won in season 1975/76 thus winning the Thistle Trophy.

The club appointed Gordon Haig as their first-ever manager in 1977 (until this time the committee had chosen the team). However, a lapse of 14 years emerged before the East of Scotland Cup was won, for a third time, in season 1989/90 beating Whitburn 2-1 in the final under the management of Jim Milne, who remains to this day as the clubs longest serving manager (1981-1991).

Again, success in the second division followed in season 1993/94 under Alex McLaren but after relegation three seasons later the club bounced back straight away winning promotion as champions in season 1997/98 only to be relegated the following season (both times under Tony McLaren’s reign as Dunbar United manager). The Brown Cup was won for a second time in June 2000, under co-managers Jocky Miller and Michael Wojtowycz, defeating Haddington Athletic 2-1 in the final at Bonnyrigg and after moving to New Countess Park in 2001 the club had mixed fortunes under manager Willie Pearson winning promotion to the First Division at the end of season 2002/03 before being relegated at the end of season 2004/05 despite an enjoyable run to the last 16 of the Scottish Junior Cup only losing out to Lugar Boswell Thistle on penalties after two drawn games.

East of Scotland Cup Winners 1989-90
East of Scotland Cup Winners 1989-90

After the leagues were reorganised in 2006/07 the club played in the lower tier of the three divisions and unfortunately was typically in a low position at the end of each season. Season 2007/08 almost saw the club fold due to a shortage of committee members and financial problems but the club survived following hard work from a new committee.

After some resurgence in Season 2016/17 the club won the East Region South Division and gained promotion to the Premier Division under the management of Geoff Jones where they consolidated for one season before the decision was taken to withdraw from the Scottish Junior Football Association at the end of season 2017/18 and enter the East of Scotland League Conference A with the lure of entering into the Scottish Football Association pyramid system.

A fifth-place finish in season 2018/19, when the East of Scotland leagues reconstructed, was enough to ensure promotion to the East of Scotland Premier League where the club still competes today.

South Division Champions May 2017
South Division Champions May 2017

A very difficult spell for the club followed in November 2019 when long-serving club secretary Malcolm Jones, a driving force at the club and the father of the clubs then manager, died suddenly at a game.  That 2019/20 season ended prematurely due to Covid restrictions and a new committee took over the running of the club ahead of the 2020/21 season a season that also came to an abrupt end due to the impact of the Covid pandemic.

Recent changes have seen Dunbar United become a Community Interest Company, in December 2020, and be awarded an SFA club licence ahead of season 2021/22.  The club made their senior Scottish Cup debut due in season 2021/22, reaching the second round before being beaten in a replay by Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale at Anslie Park.

CLUB HONOURS

Brown Cup Winners 1962/63, 1999/00
East Lothian Cup Winners 1928/29
East of Scotland Cup Winners 1960/61, 1963/64 and 1989/90
East Region Division 2 Winners 1975/76, 1993/94 and 1997/98
East Region South Division Winners 2016/17
Edinburgh & District League Winners 1961/62
Lees Cup Winners 1925/26
Midlothian League Winners 1927/28
R.L. Rae Cup Winners 1955/56
Scottish Junior Cup Winners 1960/61
Thistle Cup Winners 1975/76
Thornton Shield Winners 1938/39

CLUB MANAGERS

Gordon Haig 1977-81
Jim Milne 1981-91
Alex McLaren 1991-95
David McDonald: 1995-96
Tony McLaren 1996-00
Jocky Miller and Michael Wojtowycz 2000-02
Tom McLeod and Hugh Douglas 2002-02
Dougie Elms (interim) 2002-02
Willie Pearson 2002-05
Jock Landells 2005-08
Davie Lees 2008-14
Geoff Jones 2014-21
Kevin Haynes 2021-

TOP 10 ALL TIME APPEARANCES

1. Dougie Elms 533
2. Jamie Congalton 458
3. Geoff Jones 432
4. John Hannan 425
5. Keith Tait 339
6. Adam Cheetham 337
7. John Johnstone 324
8. James Howieson 316
9. Grant Thomson 312
10. Stuart Mackay 311

TOP 10 ALL TIME GOAL SCORERS

1. John Hannan 263
2. John Liddell 155
3. Sam Young 154
4. Adam Cheetham 137
5. Dean Ballantyne 126
6. Robert Thomson 125
7. Archie Meikle 109
8. Geoff Jones 103
9. Kevin Haynes 96
10. Chris Grant 84