The City of Edinburgh Basketball Club was founded in 1988 when the successful junior teams of Portobello and Wester Hailes combined to enter the senior men’s national league. Portobello BC had evolved from the Portobello Old Parish Church Youth Club (POPYC) of the 1960’s. In the early 1970’s Portobello BC based itself at Portobello High School. The arrival of Toni Szifris, whose father Boris virtually founded the sport in the East of Scotland, as head of PE at Portobello High School was a catalyst for the renaissance of the club which went from strength to strength thanks to a committed youth-development policy.
Following the foundation of the City of Edinburgh Basketball Club in 1998, National Cup and League honours followed in profusion. But although the new City of Edinburgh senior men’s side - the Kings - reached the Scottish Cup Final in its second season, only to lose to MIM Livingston, senior men’s honours proved elusive in the first decade and it took the Kings seven attempts before they finally captured the Scottish Cup in 2002.
Sister club Edinburgh Kool Kats had struck much earlier, winning the women’s Scottish Cup in 1991. In 1995, a formal merger of the two clubs took place and the City of Edinburgh BC, a club for all ages and both genders was fully established.
City of Edinburgh BC is now arguably the largest and most successful club in the country with many players participating at international level in all age groups. It offers competitive basketball opportunities at both national and local league levels for males and females of all ages ranging from Sunday Hoops to Seniors. Coaching is provided by qualified coaches several of whom have coached at international level.
This photograph was taken in Portobello HS gym in 1972 of the Portobello Old Parish Youth Club basketball team who played as POPYC, first in the Lothian League and later in the Scottish National League as Craigroyston Popyc and later GT AutoElectrics.
They were the forerunners of the Portobello BC who merged in 1988 with Wester Hailes to form the City of Edinburgh BC now including Kings and Kool Kats.
Sadly the coach Gill Stevens and Dougie Grierson died prematurely. Jim Paton is the father of Gladiator Ali Paton while Rob (Robin) Alexander is now the session clerk of Portobello Old Parish Church, where the club was first based.
Left to right from back row,
RODDY WATSON, ALAN PERKINS, JIM GRIERSON, JIM PATON, JOHN GRAHAM, ALAN RITCHIE, ROB ALEXANDER
KEITH WILSON, ROBERT BALD snr, GILL STEVENS, WILLIE DUDGEON, DOUGIE GRIERSON, PAT NICHOLSON.