25 December 2013

Christmas Day Clashes

by Gary Havlin | Contributor

The Festive period used to be a particularly busy time when it came to watching Rangers. Games crammed in days apart to take advantage of the punters enjoying time off work. The points won or lost during this crucial period, which culminated in the Ne'erday match v Celtic, would go a long way to deciding the destination of the League flag.

Despite the tight schedule of matches, Christmas Day has almost always been left out of the footballing calendar to let staff and fans alike enjoy it with their families. Since Scot Symon replaced Bill Struth as manager in 1954, Rangers have played on Christmas Day on only three occasions. The last time we took to the field on the 25th December was at Easter Road in 1971 where 30,000 fans missed the Queen's Speech and their turkey dinner to watch Rangers win 1-0 courtesy of Colin Stein.

In the early days of the Gallant Pioneers, however, Christmas Day was just another footballing day where they could pull on the blue jersey either at home, or more often than not in the first 40 years of our existence, south of the border in England...

30 November 2013

The 25 Year Scottish Cup Hoodoo

By Gary Havlin | Contributor

It's been four-and-a-half long years since our last Scottish Cup victory. The 2009 Final victory against Falkirk was our 33rd Scottish Cup triumph from the 51 finals we have contested.

Those four-and-half-years seem like a lifetime ago when you consider the trials and tribulations that have engulfed our football club since the 2009 Final. However, it pales into insignificance when you consider that, from 1903 until 1928, the famous old trophy on not one occasion graced the sideboard inside Ibrox.

The 25 year 'hoodoo', as it was described by all in Scottish football, straddled the reign of our first two managers, William Wilton ( Mr Wilton was manager in the 1903 victory) and William Struth. It occurred in an era before our magnificent Main Stand had been constructed, and had Rangers greats such as David Meiklejohn, Sandy Archibald, Andy Cunningham and Alan Morton in serious danger of finishing their careers with no Scottish Cup Medal, which was the premier competition in Scotland at the time, described by Rangers first Historian John Allan as ' footballs most precious prize'.

17 November 2013

The CRO talks to: Fernando Ricksen

by PamelaRFC | Guest Contributor

This interview with former Rangers captain Fernando Ricksen took at the beginning of October before his announcement that he has ALS, in the UK better known as MND. In consultation with Fernando and his biographer Vincent, it was decided to publish it now.

28 October 2013

Goals Galore - The Race to 9,000

Mr. RangersFACTS himself Gary Havlin looks back on 8900-plus league goals for Rangers and asks who will net number 9000...

By Gary Havlin | Contributor

The free scoring exploits of the Rangers squad so far this season could see a goal scoring milestone reached two years earlier than our history would suggest.

Saturday's four goals versus East Fife takes the seasons tally to the 42 mark and, by my count, onto 8,918 league goals since the inception of the Scottish Football League.

Since the Scottish League kicked off in 1890 it has taken on average 14 years for Rangers to score 1,000 goals. The 8,000th goal was scored on 10th August 2002 by Shota Arveladze in a 3-0 victory v Dundee. (This match was delayed by 50 minutes when the new smart card season ticket system suffered a power failure.) So history tells us the 9,000th league goal should be scored sometime in 2016, in keeping with the 14 year 1,000 league goal average.

Goals Galore so far...

Our goal average this season stands at 4.2 goals per game, and with 26 league matches to play the 9,000th league goal could be nestling in the onion bag before the season ends if we keep scoring on as regular a basis as we have been. A difficult task, of course, although even from now until the end of the season our average can still drop to 3.2 goals per game which will see us reach the 9,000 mark in the last match of the campaign. (The .2 is important!)

14 October 2013

Blues Brothers

Derek Parlane and his father, Jimmy.
Both goalscorers for Rangers against Celtic

By Gary Havlin | Contributor

The addition of Nicky Clark to the ranks of the Rangers during the summer makes him and his old man Sandy one of the very few Father/Son combinations to have played and scored a goal for the Light Blues. Jimmy and Derek Parlane immediately spring to mind as being another Father/Son duo to do the same, though they also both scored for Rangers against Celtic. Jimmy's only goal against Celtic was the winner in a 3-2 victory at Parkhead in September 1946 whilst son Derek's first Old Firm tally came 27 years later on January 6th 1973 in a 2-1 victory at Ibrox. He would go on to score another 10 goals against them.

Whilst the Father/Son connection is a rarity in the annals of Rangers past, you don't have to delve too deep into our unrivaled history to discover that the Rangers Family tree has been blossoming with brotherly love ever since the Club's inception in 1872.

As young brothers Moses and Peter McNeil took a stroll through WestEnd Park (now Kelvingrove Park ) in Spring 1872, discussing the new craze of football along with their friends Peter Campbell and William McBeath, they helped plant the seed that has grown into the Rangers we know today.

09 October 2013

The Club is Bigger than the Man – William Struth

‘To be a Ranger is to sense the sacred trust of upholding all that such a name means in this shrine of football. They must be true in their conception of what the Ibrox tradition seeks from them. No true Ranger has ever failed in the mission set him.’

by Gary Havlin | Contributor

The words of William Struth, Rangers Trainer, Manager, Director and Vice-Chairman, from 1914 until his death in September 1956.

If one individual has come to personify Rangers above all others, it is Mr. Struth. His obituary in the Wee Blue Book simply stated, ‘He LIVED Rangers’.

03 October 2013

Walter's Revolution

By Garry Carmody | Contributor

In the years gone by, a special few have had the privilege of taking their place as manager of Rangers Football Club. At the tail-end of the 1990-91 season, Graeme Souness was lured back to Liverpool, and so began the era of one of the most iconic and important managers in the history of Rangers Football Club, Walter Smith.

After five years of serving as assistant to Souness, and described by players as having a huge hand in the “Souness Revolution,” Smith finally took the step up with four games to go in the 90-91 season. With much success in previous years, the standards were set high, but as fans came to recognise Smith knew how to raise the bar to his own level. His first full season would see him place his territory on Scottish football, which no one could touch in years to come.

12 July 2013

Meiklejohn - The tale of an overlooked great

by Ross McAdam | Contributor

A discussion over who is the 'Greatest Ranger' always provokes an interesting debate amongst the Rangers support. I asked the question on Twitter recently and had names such as John Greig, Ally McCoist, Willie Waddell, Walter Smith and Bill Struth suggested to me. 

Personally, Bill Struth would be my choice but in this article I’m looking at one of Struth’s stalwarts, David Meiklejohn, who I would argue was a large contributor towards Struth’s early on field success.

03 July 2013

'Heads We Win' – Triumphs on the Toss of a Coin

By Gary Havlin | Contributor

The 'flipping of a coin' can be traced back to the Romans. Navia aut Caput (ship or head) was their shout on account of the head of the Emperor being on one side of the coin and a ship on the other.A related game, Cross and Pile, was played in medieval England. The cross was the major design on one side of many coins, and the Pile was the mark created by the hammer used to strike the metal on the other side.

In 1903, the Wright brothers flipped a coin to see which one of them would take to the air in the first ever powered flight. Wilbur won the toss but his attempt was only partially successful. Orville's later flight was considered the first example of powered flight.

One of the most significant coin tosses in the United State's history involved the naming of the city of Portland, Oregon in 1845. Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove, who owned the claim to the land that would later become Portland, each wanted to name their new town after their respective hometowns of Boston, Massachussets and Portland, Maine. Pettygrove prevailed in the coin flip, and the town was named Portland.

A simple toss of a coin has played a significant part in historic events throughout the ages.

20 June 2013

The Good Ship Rangers and a North American Voyage: The 1930 tour

Rangers take on Vancouver St. Andrews, 7 June 1930.
by Gary Havlin | Contributor

Before the dawn of the jet age, indeed before global air travel had even left the departure gate, the Rangers of the twenties and thirties had embarked on a tour of North America not once but on two occasions, in 1928 and 1930.

17 March 2013

Rangers in Newsreel

by Gary Havlin | Contributor

A sleepless night last night saw me trawling the World Wide Web in search of inspiration for my next blog when I ended up on the website of the British Pathe Archive. It describes itself as 'The worlds leading multimedia resource with a history stretching back over a century.' Typing Rangers into its search bar and seeing the results certainly backs up its claim!

With archive newsreels dating back to the 1890's, there's certainly no shortage of Rangers footage from the 1920's onwards. Cup Finals, Semi-Finals, matches v English and European opponents, training clips, a couple of visits to Ibrox by King George VI. Even a Boys' Brigade National Convention at Ibrox is there in grainy black and white. The footage of Ibrox before the current Main Stand was built makes for great viewing, which was backed up by Rangers fans who viewed it on the @RangersFACTS twitter feed. For that reason, I've decided to compile the clips I enjoyed the most and list them here, along with some detail on the occasion where possible.