'BRING it on' was the message from Oakley United when they made a last-minute decision to apply for a place in the East of Scotland League.

The Blairwood Park team raised eyebrows in June when their name featured on the list of 39 clubs taking part in the sixth-tier at its AGM having previously insisted they would remain a junior club.

But, following a meeting of United’s committee, they voted for a change of direction and secretary Dougie Hynd said that they would embrace it.

And, under the leadership of Richard Fox, they have made a heartening start by continuing on from where they left off last season.

After Lee Richardson left his post midway through the season, the former Oakley player, and former Falkirk and Clyde youth coach, was appointed and he led them to 11 wins, a draw and a defeat in 13 games.

That saw them finish fourth in the South Division and, although they lost to Bo’ness United and Jeanfield Swifts in their East of Scotland Qualifying League section, they did manage to beat Leith Athletic in their first game at this level.

A 4-2 loss to Penicuik Athletic in the Alex Jack Cup was followed by a credible draw at Newtongrange Star in their opening league fixture, before they advanced in the Football Nation Qualifying Cup against Vale of Leithen.

Formed in 1964, the eight-time Fife League winners have enjoyed a trophy-laden history to be proud of.

A Cowdenbeath (Interbrew) Cup win in 1970-71 marked the beginning of a golden period for the Blairwood Park team, who were district champions in 1971-72, 1978-79 and 1979-80 before they enjoyed one of their most successful campaigns in 1982-83, in which they won the treble of the league, Cowdenbeath Cup and Fife and Lothians Cup.

More success followed; they won the Fife Junior Cup three times and, in 2005-06, they were promoted to the East Region Super League after winning their final Fife league title.

Although instantly relegated, they did win the 2010-11 Central Division but they suffered the pain of the drop once more in 2016, when they fell to the South Division.

Famous names to have turned out at Blairwood include George Connelly, the ex-Celtic winger who was famously part of the “Quality Street Gang” with Kenny Dalglish and Davie Hay, and former Pars stars Cammy Fraser, David Bingham, Raymond Sharp and Kenny Ward.