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The Moonlighter

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  1. 121 Years Ago Today on the 1st June 1899 William Wilton was appointed first manager of Rangers at Trades House Glassford Street Glasgow. William Wilton (9 June 1865 – 2 May 1920) was the first manager of Rangers Football Club, serving the club in that position from June 1899 until his death in 1920. He had previously filled several roles including match secretary to the reserve and first teams. Mr Wilton joined the club in September 1883 as a player but never progressed beyond the second string eleven. He was soon appointed secretary to the club's youth team and reserve side. He was also on the special committee that oversaw the club's move from Kinning Park to the first Ibrox ground in 1887. Mr Wilton became match secretary of the first team in 1889, succeeding from Jimmy Gossland. The club shared the inaugural Scottish League title in 1891. Mr Wilton had been appointed as the league's first treasurer at the start of the season. When the club became a limited company ten years later Mr Wilton was chosen as manager. In his decade as match secretary for the first team, the club won two League championships in 1891 and 1899, as well as three Scottish Cups in 1894, 1897 and 1898. He also won four Glasgow Cup's in 1893, 1894, 1897 and 1898, and a Charity Cup in 1897. Rangers had achieved the first ever 100% league record, winning all 18 games and scoring 79 goals in 1898-99. To date no team has achieved the same. Under Wilton's stewardship as manager, Rangers won eight league championships and another Scottish Cup, nine Glasgow Cups and seven Charity Cups. In his final season as manager the club won its tenth league championship. Mr Wilton tragically died in a boating accident at Gourock in 1920. John Allan’s book, The Story Of The Rangers, paid him this fitting tribute: “The ideals for which he strove are still sought after by those who are left in custody of the cherished traditions of the club.” Mr Wilton’s final resting place at Cathcart Cemetery has been restored as part of our Restoration Of Rangers Project.
  2. On the 27th May 1856 the Rangers great that was Tom Vallance was born. To quote his Rangers team-mates from the 1870’s‘’ The whole of Rangers loved him like a brother’’ Over the years of our research into the formation of our Club one name kept popping up time and again and that’s the name of Tom Vallance, who had on reflection sadly been overlooked. Tom was born at a small farmhouse known as Succoth near Renton in the parish of Cardross.When young he moved with his family to the Old Toll House at Shandon on the Gareloch. Tom came to Glasgow in the early 1870’s following the path taken by his friends whom he’d known since childhood the brothers McNeil and Campbell . Tom Vallance had an astonishing 60 year association with the Club,and his is an incredible CV. He was a master oarsman, a champion athlete (he set a Scottish long jump record of over 21 feet), he studied at the Glasgow School of Art, had paintings accepted by the Royal Scottish Academy and was Rangers Club Captain and President for many years. We have details of Tom Vallance being present at the ceremony held on 1st January 1929 which saw the opening of the Main Stand at Ibrox and also at a dinner which was held in the St.Enoch’s Hotel after a Rangers match in 1933 when we faced Sporting Club of Vienna. He was also a guest of the Club at the New Year’s Day fixture that season against celtic.So the lad who was present at Fleshers Haugh in 1872 is still attending Ibrox some 60 years later where the Club that he’d helped form and nurture were now playing in front of crowds in excess of 100,000. Tom was a successful business man. He had The Club restaurant at 22 Paisley Road West which today is the Viceroy Bar,The Metropolitan which stood on Hutchison Street in the Merchant City area of Glasgow and the Lansdowne which was at 183 Hope Street. Tom was having the Rangers results wired to his restaurants for the benefit of his patrons as early as 1890.When Rangers moved to First Ibrox in 1887 it was said that it was common for Club President Vallance to be working the turnstiles on matchday.We have a newspaper report detailing Tom and Founder Moses McNeil attending the 1905 Scottish Cup Final as supporters. At the opening of the Main Stand in 1929 Tom Vallance recalled the facilities being so cramped at the Rangers ground at Kinning Park that the players would have to wash in basins of cold water in the open air. It was the teenage Tom Vallance who helped lay the very foundations upon which our Club was built, hard-work, discipline, honesty, integrity and fair play .Mr. Struth said during that famous speech “No matter the days of anxiety that come our way, we shall emerge stronger because of the trials to be overcome. That has been the philosophy of the Rangers since the days of the Gallant Pioneers”. Tom was paid the ultimate accolade by the Club in May 1898 when he was made a life member. As a lasting tribute to the incredible contribution he made to our Club we had Tom put on to canvas by way of a painting by artist Helen Runciman . Tom Vallance has now taken his rightful place at the top of the Marble Staircase alongside his friends and fellow Founders. Tom was one of the originals, one of the greats. Today we celebrate the life of Tom Vallance.
  3. As soon as restrictions are lifted we'll publish new tour dates.
  4. ‘’Thus ended their first match played at the latter end of May 1872 some two months after the inauguration of the club’’. The words of Rangers player William Dunlop from his article The Rangers FC which he wrote so eloquently for the SFA Annual in 1881 using the pen name ‘True Blue’. Rangers Football Club played it’s first ever match 148 years ago this week. Our Club was formed on a spare bit of ground at Fleshers Haugh by a few kids who’d come to Glasgow seeking employment and a better way of life.Their Club ,which they formed for no other reason than the love of football and the pursuit of sporting excellence,would go on to become the world’s most successful. That first ever match was against Callander and ended 0-0, Willie continued, “Their first game was a terrible spectacle with the ball suffering an incredible amount of abuse” William McBeath was given man of the match and then spent a week in bed recovering due to his exertions’’ Founder William McBeath was from Callander and we believe it would have been Willie who approached ex-pats from the town who had settled in Glasgow and that’s probably where the opposition came from for our first match. Willie’s Rangers team-mate Sam Ricketts wrote in 1884 about the boys playing those first few games in their civvies and journalist John Allan wrote about them having to change behind a bush as there were no facilities. William Dunlop described how genial Peter McNeil would travel on a Saturday morning to a desirable part of the Glasgow Green, set up the noted standards and stand guard until the classic hour came when he would be joined by his friends.We felt this was a very dramatic and moving image and commissioned a painting to be done depicting this scene.We presented the painting by artist Helen Runciman to the Club in 2009 and it now hangs on the marble staircase at Ibrox. The Rangers would remain at Fleshers Haugh for three years.We then began our journey around Glasgow to Burnbank and Kinning Park before finally settling in the Ibrox area in 1887 where we would grow to become the world’s most successful football club. The Rangers FC by William Dunlop. https://www.thefounderstrail.co.uk/the-Rangers-f-c-by-true-blue
  5. The Founders Plaque,marking the spot where our Club was born,was unveiled in the Glasgow Green Football Centre in September 2009,we were honoured to be joined by Heather Lang the Grand-daughter of Founder Peter McNeil and the late great Sandy Jardine A couple of weeks before the event the club gave me contact details for Rangers legends Johnny Hubbard and Billy Simpson to invite them along, so i very nervously rang both men. Unfortunately Mr Hubbard couldn’t attend as he was going to be away on holiday, Mr Simpson said he would check if he had anything on and then asked for my address which I thought was maybe his way of checking if this was genuine so I of course duly obliged.A few days later I was stunned to receive a letter from Billy, he sadly couldn’t attend the unveiling event but this Rangers great and gentleman had actually taken the time to write to tell us. A couple of years later I had the pleasure of meeting Billy Simpson and got the opportunity to thank him for his letter,he again apologised and wished the Founders Project every success in the future. Billy Simpson was a Belfast boy who joined Rangers from Linfield in 1950 for £11,500. He spent nine years at our Club and scored an incredible 163 goals in 239 appearances,winning three league titles and a Scottish Cup. He was capped for Northern Ireland on twelve occasions scoring five goals. He was still attending Ibrox later in life supporting his beloved Rangers. Sadly Billy Simpson passed in Glasgow in 2017 but us supporters celebrate him every week when we sing that wonderful song I Took a Trip to Ibrox. Oh play up the Glasgow Rangers, Sammy Cox is on the ball, He slips it through to Willy Woodburn And on to Ian McColl. Ian McColl to Billy Simpson, Oh here come the boys in blue. Simpson beats the celtic center half And in goes number 2. Now the Rangers fans are roaring As Geordie Young he takes a free. Onto the head of Billy Simpson And in goes number 3. 3:1 to the Glasgow Rangers And that was the final score, A happy new year at Ibrox park For Rangers beat the celtic once more, A happy new year at Ibrox park For Rangers beat the celtic once more. That hand written letter from Billy Simpson will be framed this week and treasured forever.
  6. The Gibson Street Festival in Glasgow had been running for a number of years so back in 2012 we decided to hire a stall to promote our wonderful Founders/Rangers story which of course is an integral part of the history of Glasgow, additionally Founder Peter McNeil had lived on Gibson Street for a few years.The stall was hugely popular, we sold a lot of Trail tickets,gave out information on the history of our Club and raised a lot of money for charity. Just prior to the 2013 event I was asked to a meeting with the organisers who informed me that they were withdrawing our stall as they’d received a couple of calls and emails stating that the Festival shouldn’t be linked with “a sectarian organisation such as Rangers”. I laughed, then quickly realised they were serious so in turn I advised the event planners to expect a busy couple of days and to keep their office phone switched on. I posted the news around that we were being banned and sure enough a tsunami of rage hit them that hard that they rang me and asked me to get people to stop calling and emailing them. The Evening Times then got involved, ran the story which prompted the much larger West End Festival organisers to step in and offer us a stall at their event which we gladly accepted. So, thanks to the bitter, twisted mind of the Tims our stall at the 2013 and 2014 West End Festival raised three times the amount of money for the Founders Trail via ticket and merchandise sales and also a load of cash for charity. Everyone likes a happy ending. who is superman in man of steel who is superman in man of steel
  7. Earlier this year Ian McLeod Milne set up a JustGiving page for donations to the Restoration of Rangers Graves Project,the response from you was astonishing. Accordingly we’ve just received an incredible donation of £5,056.63! We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone sincerely for their overwhelming generosity. We still have much work to do and we will be back restoring the final resting places as soon as the current restrictions are lifted. Thank you.
  8. On the 7th May 1856 our Founder William McBeath was born in the village of Callander. Willie’s dad Peter owned a general store on Callander’s Main Street and the family home was above the store which is now The Waverley Hotel. William had an older sister Jane and an older brother Peter. Another boy was born after William but he like so many other children of the time died in infancy. Tragically, his dad Peter McBeath passed in November 1864. Shortly afterwards, his wife took William and his sister Jane to Glasgow to start a new life. By the time of the 1871 census, the McBeaths were living at 17 Cleveland Street, living in the same close were five members of the McNeil family, including brothers Peter and William.It was here that the boys first made contact. The following year,at the beginning of 1872,the boys had the idea to form a football team. William McBeath played in our first ever match v Callander and according to fellow Ranger William Dunlop ‘’ was awarded man of the match then spent a week in bed recovering due to his exertions’’! In 1874 at the age of just 17 William was elected as Rangers first ever President. By 1878, he was a commercial traveler and had moved to the Crosshill area of Glasgow after marrying a Jeannie Harris. Within a year, the family had moved to Bristol in what was almost certainly the most settled and happiest period of William’s life. In 1884 at the Club’s ‘Annual Hop’ his friends and fellow Founders honoured William for the role he played in its conception and presented him with a gold badge.This was at an event held in the St.Andrews Hall which is at the rear of today’s Mitchell Library in Glasgow. Sadly,the remaining period of William McBeath’s life is clouded in mist. What happened to cause a breakdown in the happy family life of the McBeaths is uncertain.William’s son Norman was sent to Glasgow to live with his grandmother.Norman McBeath died in Glasgow, aged eighty-three, in 1973. William last few years make for unpleasant reading. He moved from town to town, found himself in court on charges of fraud (of which he was acquitted) and married for a second time. He moved to Lincoln and stayed at 57 Cranwell Street and 34 Vernon Street. Tragically the deterioration in William McBeath’s life continued until his death in a workhouse at Lincoln in 1917. He was certified‘’imbecile”.The evidence of his state of health suggests he had actually suffered from Alzheimer’s.Medical terminology back then was brutal to say the least. William McBeath was buried in an unmarked, pauper’s grave in Lincoln Cemetery but there is a happy ending to his story. During his research for the Gallant Pioneers book Gary Ralston found William’s final resting place. The grave is now marked with a fitting stone which was paid for by the worldwide Rangers support and placed there by a group of fellow supporters. Today we remember Founder William McBeath.
  9. To help with the long days indoors. Posted out within 24 hours. https://www.thefounderstrail.co.uk/shop
  10. The ideal item for all those long days at home. Only £16.00 ( + £2.08 P+P).‬ Our copies are all signed by author Gary Ralston. ‬ This is the updated version of the book which has a chapter devoted to the Founders Trail. ‪ A must read for all True Blues !‬ ‪Purchase your book here on our website and we’ll post your copy out within 24 hours. https://www.thefounderstrail.co.uk/shop ‬
  11. To help with the long days indoors. We're still able to post out books, get your copy here. https://www.thefounderstrail.co.uk/shop
  12. On the 9th April 1938 our Founder Moses McNeil passed at Townend Hospital Dumbarton. Moses had been visiting a friend in Dumbarton and became unwell. He was the grand age of 82. Moses was born on the 29th October 1855 at Belmore House which today is part of the Faslane Naval Base. His father John was from Comrie in Perthshire and mother Jane Bain from Downpatrick in Ulster. He was a natural athlete Powerful and of stocky build, it was said that was also known for his pace. In the Ibrox trophy room is a cup won by Moses for a half-mile race at the Garelochead Athletic Sports on 1 January, 1876 and it’s the oldest Trophy that the Club has. Moses played for the club he helped form for ten years, playing in the 1877 and 1879 Scottish Cup Finals.He was also a member of the first Rangers side to lift a trophy, the Glasgow Merchants Charity Cup in 1879. He was the first Ranger to play for his country when Scotland defeated Wales 4-0 at Hamilton Crescent in Partick in 1876. Moses led a nomadic lifestyle mainly due to his 20 year employment with the company Langs whose name was synonymous with the famous brand of whisky.Their premises,which Moses worked from,was at 70 Union Street in Glasgow.During his time in Glasgow Moses lived at 169 Berkeley Street and 333 Dumbarton Road. These locations are among many others that we cover during the Founders Trail. We have a wonderful newspaper report which details Moses and his friend, team-mate and fellow Founder Tom Vallance attending the 1905 Scotish Cup Final as supporters. Only 9 months after Moses passed Rangers would set their record attendance at Ibrox Park of 118,000 . It’s a comforting thought that our Founder was sitting in his cottage while the Club that he’d help form and nurture were now one of the biggest in the World. Moses spent the last few years of his life living with his sister Isabella in Clynder at Craig Cottage.She died in 1935, to be followed by her brother, the last of the siblings, in 1938. They lie together with their sister Elizabeth and Isabella’s husband, Duncan Gray, in the lovely churchyard at Rosneath.But sadly for the man who gave Rangers their name his own isn’t inscribed on the family headstone. The late great Sandy Jardine was a supporter of the Founders project and had expressed a wish to have a plaque with Moses name on it placed at the churchyard at Rosneath, this is a project that we completed on Sandy’s behalf on Sunday 28th June 2015. Our Restoration team cleaned Moses stone and placed an engraved plaque which was purchased after funds were raised via the Rangers support. Today we remember Moses McNeil.
  13. On the 30th March 1901 our Founder Peter McNeil passed at Hawkhead Asylum in Glasgow. He rests in Craigton Cemetery with his brothers William and James and parents John and Jean. On the 9th September 2009 Heather Lang unveiled a plaque at Fleshers Haugh to mark the location of the first match played by Rangers Football Club, against Callander, in May, 1872. There was no-one more appropriate to carry out the ceremony than Heather, Granddaughter of Gallant Pioneer, Peter McNeil. Heather and her sister Doreen Holland were the strongest link we have with Peter and his fellow Pioneers; his brother Moses, Peter Campbell and William McBeath. Sadly Heather passed at her sister’s home in London in 2016. Heather and Doreen, though, were unaware of their link with the founding of Rangers. Grandfather Peter had a tragic end to his life. It was probably because of this, that their mother, Gertrude, daughter of Peter and his wife, Janet, never spoke of her father. He had died in Hawkhead Asylum, on 30 March, 1901. He had clearly suffered from a form of mental illness, though his death was recorded as “general paralysis’’. Peter was born in 1854, a year before his brother and fellow Pioneer, Moses. In his mid-teens, he had moved to Glasgow with other members of his family. Peter played in the first match against Callander, in May, 1872. He was one of the Club’s earliest captains and was a regular in the side until 1876. It was off the field of play though Peter McNeil made his greatest contribution to the formative years of the Club. William Dunlop tells of Peter heading to Fleshers Haugh about noon to secure the field for the Club. The goalposts would be planted and he would then have to watch over the field until the “appointed hour”. When his playing days were over, and he gave way to better players, he became honorary secretary. He held this position from 1876 – 1883. He was vice-president from 1886 – 1888. He was a greatly respected administrator, serving as treasurer of the Scottish Football Association from 1879 – 1883. He was known as “Genial Peter”, a much-loved and respected figure within Scottish Football. Peter had a business which he ran with his brother, Harry, “H and P McNeil”. It was one of the forerunners of the modern sports outfitters. The business had started in the mid 1870’s. The original premises had been in Renfield Street but in 1883, the brothers moved to Union Street. They were suppliers of outfits to both Rangers and Scotland. In March, 1885, Peter married Janet. Rangers Football Club presented the happy couple with “a beautiful inlaid marble clock and a pair of equestrian bronzes”. Within five years, the family was complete with the birth of John Fraser and Gertrude Grace. Despite the happy home life, it was clear the pressure of business was taking its toll of Peter. His brother Harry was a partner in the business . Harry McNeil had been one of the most famous and popular footballers of his day. He played for Queen’s Park and had been an established Scottish internationalist. For many years after he retired from playing, his name was frequently recorded in the sports media of the day. The business of H & P McNeil disappeared from the PO Directory by 1896. Bankruptcy had come to Peter and Harry. The deterioration of Peter's mental health caused anguish to his family. In January, 1901, he was committed to Hawkhead Asylum. Peter McNeil lay at rest for many years with his parents, John and Jean, and older brother William in what was an unmarked grave at Craigton Cemetery. Either side of him are his brothers Alexander and James. On the 22nd June 2013 memorials to our Founder Peter McNeil and his family were erected on their final resting places at Craigton Cemetery. Peter’s resting place fittingly looks on to the front door of Ibrox Stadium. Our Founder Peter McNeil died at a young age ,he was only 47, but he lived long enough to see the Club that he helped form and nurture grow from what was essentially a boys club on Fleshers Haugh into a worldwide sporting institution. Today we remember Peter McNeil.
  14. To help with the long days indoors. We're still able to post out books, get your copy here. https://www.thefounderstrail.co.uk/shop
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