RANGERS V SPARTA ROTTERDAM 1960
Double Dutch? Third Time Lucky
● European Cup Quarter Final Replay
● Wednesday 30th March 1960 Kick-Off 7pm
EXTRACTS FROM : BACKGROUND
EXTRACTS FROM : ROWERS, PROFESSIONALS AND MR STRUTH.
AN ABBREVIATED HISTORY OF RANGERS
• A DAY IN MAY ‘72
In May 1872 Rangers and the trio of McNeils’ made their football debut against Callender FC. They even borrowed Harry for the afternoon to make it a proper family affair. The match finished goalless. Rangers recognise 1873 as their first year because a period of a year was required until any club could become officially registered.
• AMATEURISM AND GEORGE GOUDIE’S £30
During Rangers early years, Queens Park were the supreme team of Scotland and champions of the ‘amateur’ ethos. In 1883, Rangers had to find £30 to stay in existence as they encountered financial difficulties when their tenancy at their Kinning Park ground came under threat. Treasurer Mr J Ness grimly announced to a specially convened meeting, “It has come to this, we must have £30 or we cannot carry on. There is not a farthing in the exchequer. Can anyone suggest where the £30 is to come from?” Club President, Mr George Goudie replied, “We cannot allow the club to go under without a fight, I shall advance the £30 – and let us all hope for better times.” Here was a man who understood what it was to be a ‘custodian’ of the club. Though £30 in 1883 was a considerable sum, I think it’s fair to say that the munificent Mr Goudie was to get his wish.
• JUST LIKE A TEAM WHO’S GONNA WIN THE FA CUP
Season 1886-7 saw Rangers almost win the English FA Cup. Following an early exit from the Scottish Cup, Rangers entered the English competition. Overcoming Everton (Away), Church (FA Cup quarter finalists the previous season), Cowlairs, Lincoln City and Old Westminsters before defeat in the semi final’s to eventual winners Aston Villa in Crewe
• IBROX HOME OF MR WILTON’S PROFESSIONALS & INVINCIBLES
The following season Rangers moved to ‘Old’ Ibrox Park. By the start of the 1890’s, ‘quasi’ professionalism was starting to take root and Rangers were starting to thrive under it. William Wilton who had been looking after the reserves was installed as ‘match secretary’ ie manager for the 1890-1 season and immediately delivered Rangers first League Championship (shared with Dumbarton). In 1893, professionalism was legalised in Scottish football and from then on Rangers along with Celtic began to dominate the game. One of Queen’s Park’s greatest concerns about professionalism was that big city clubs would ‘cream’ off the best talent and in this respect they were to be vindicated. Rangers won their first Scottish Cup in 1894 and by the late 1890’s consistently one of the top teams and regularly winning trophies up to 1903. The pick of Mr Wilton’s teams was the 1898-99 side which won all of its 18 league fixtures.
• NEW IBROX
With invincibles on the park, off the park in 1899 at substantial expense, Rangers moved to the present day Ibrox site, adjacent to the old ground to build a stadium to house their now considerable and growing support. In May they became a limited company and issued shares to fund the construction of the new stadium and to indemnify the members against personal liability should the club go bankrupt. To help repay the debt on the new construction, Rangers hoped that it would be used for International fixtures.
On 5 April 1902 Ibrox hosted Scotland v England and was touched by tragedy. A section of high terracing on the south west corner of the west terrace collapsed. Twenty five people perished, just over 500 more were injured of which more than a quarter sustained serious injury.
“The dead and injured lay piled up in a bloody tangle… Those who had not been killed instantly on hitting the ground were horribly mangled or gashed on the steel supports and corrugated fencing as they fell. Others survived the fall only to be crushed under the weight of people above them… Even hardened doctors and ambulancemen were shocked at the level of injuries.
• TO WORLD WAR 1 AND BEYOND
Rangers went through a lean patch up until 1911, money was limited as the club paid off the debt incurred on the construction of the stadium and accompanying interest charges. From that point on, Rangers re-emerged to dominate the Scottish game. Of course for a few years football became something of an irrelevance in the greater scheme of things when World War 1 broke out. Many fine selfless young professional footballers put their careers on hold to serve for a great good and sadly some were to make a far greater sacrifice. Rangers should be as proud of their contribution to the war effort as any trophy won. (see talking point Wartime Rangers)
Upon the cessation of hostilities, the club victoriously picked up from where it had left off. It is worth noting that the Scottish Cup was something of a ‘hoodoo’ for Rangers who had to wait 25 years from 1903 to once again lift the trophy.
• THE END OF AN ERA
1st May 1920 and at the end of Wilton ’s 29th season in charge, Rangers celebrated another Championship at Ibrox against Morton. The following day, joy turned to grief when this hugely popular gentleman died in a tragic boating accident.
• MR WILTON’S EPITAPH
There are no stands or training grounds named after this gentleman, yet his epitaph is I suspect far greater. He was of course the manager but in those times the manager was pretty much responsible for the day to day running of the club. Mr Wilton not only delivered the club it’s first silverware, 10 league Championships, a perfect season in 1899 he did much more aside. He navigated the club through the early days of professionalism when others fell by the wayside, he moved the club to today’s Ibrox and successfully managed the club from a time when football was a minority sport watched by a few thousand into an era when football and most pertinently Rangers were watched at its substantial home by tens of thousands.
EXTRACTS FROM : THE ‘LEGENDARY’ MR BILL STRUTH
• THE METHODOLOGY
SIMPLY THE BEST
More than anything Struth had a vision for Rangers. He wanted Rangers not only to be the best, he only wanted the best for Rangers. This quest pretty much took up every available hour and he resided in a flat that overlooked the stadium on Copland Road. He retold how he didn’t much enjoy holidays as he would rather be at Ibrox.
Rangers travelled everywhere 1st class. Players were to be immaculately turned out on and off the pitch. Whether arriving at Ibrox for training, matches or any other business, they were to wear a club blazer and slacks with a tie at all times. On the pitch, woe betide a player with his shirt not tucked in.
Struth would not tolerate indiscipline from anyone on or off the field. The sign placed permanently on his desk that read “always remember the club is greater than the man,” served as a reminder that he had and would again happily discard anyone who let the club down and this applied every bit to club staff as it did to the players.
“When the late Mr. Struth signed me, he made it crystal clear that if ever a man did the slightest thing to detract from the good name of Rangers, it would be an affront to him and a disgrace to the player in question. It was the club first and at all times.”
(Eric Caldow in The Rangers Players’ Story)
Not only were Struth teams supremely fit, he could judge by the way someone ran if they were putting in 100% effort and you hardly need me to spell out what happened to those who did not give it.
Due to their exceptional fitness levels and non stop effort, Rangers were renowned for coming back in games that might have seemed otherwise lost as their opponents flagged physically and were panicked into making mistakes. Though it was a case of simply everyone giving of their best for the entire match to the naked eye it of course gave the impression of a team that never gave up, that never surrendered until the final kick of the game. Of course each time Rangers clawed back an unwinnable situation it gave the team confidence that they could do it in even trickier circumstances the next time and frequently they did.
EXTRACTS FROM : THE RANGERS MANAGER 1960.
SCOT SYMON AND MISSION IMPOSSIBLE
• THE QUIET MANAGER WHO SPOKE “AS IF WORDS COST MONEY.”(JOHN FAIRGRIEVE IN THE DAILY MAIL)
Scot Symon did not do PR, in fact he was very much a quiet man, shy and with a genuine dislike of having to deal with the media. Though his quiet demeanour maintained both the Rangers tradition for letting the team to do the talking and something of the mystique that surrounded Rangers. One place where you could find out more about him was in Rangers wee blue book, a small blue handbook that fitted neatly into your inside coat pocket. It contained forthcoming fixtures, statistics, various messages and information from the club and a detailed report of the previous season from the manager.
He was rarely if ever seen in a tracksuit and was happy to empower senior players. A key element in his role was to be the upholder of the Rangers ‘standards’ on and off the pitch and to enforce discipline. He usually maintained a low profile in the dressing room, leaving the senior players to hand out advice and encouragement to their younger colleagues. Though he did not talk much to players on a day to day basis he kept himself fully aware of their activities both on and off the field. Perhaps this had the effect of making any comment he did make, stick in the players head and gave him an aura. Unlike Struth who managed from his seat in the director’s box, Symon preferred to manage from the touchline.
Despite the enormous pressure of expectation he had already delivered, Scottish Champions in 1956, 1957 and 1959, although Cup success had eluded him at this point.
EXTRACTS FROM : THE RANGERS PLAYERS 1960
Capable of playing on either side, Eric Caldow was
one of the finest full backs in Europe and a Scotland regular. He had the
distinction of playing in all 3 of Scotland’s
matches in the 1958 World Cup finals in Sweden. A clever and accurate
rather than physical defender he set up attacks with his fine passing and
attacking runs. Very fast, double footed and a super cool penalty taker.
Joining Millar upfront was Sammy Baird, a player much admired by Scot Symon who bought him for Preston for a substantial £12,000 fee in Summer 1954. However the pair never worked together as days later Symon got the call to become Rangers manager. However after a season with Preston, Symon acquired him again for £12,000, which was a record fee for Rangers. In 1956 he made his Scotland debut and alongside Eric Caldow was part of the 1958 Scotland World Cup squad. He became the first Ranger to score in the World Cup Finals in his only appearance of the tournament, against France. He was the classic big, strong centre forward and wrought havoc in the opponents defence with his power and ability to score.
EXTRACTS FROM : PRE – MATCH BUILD UP
EXTRACTS FROM : PLAYING OFF
Having edged out RS Bratislava in the 1st round of the 16 team European Cup Competition, the Scottish Champions found themselves paired with Sparta Rotterdam. Rangers and Sparta were unable to settle their quarter final over 2 legs. Rangers had seemingly done the hard work with a 3-2 away win in the 1st leg and really should have finished off the tie after 30 minutes but squandered a hatful of chances. In the 2nd leg Sparta defended superbly and scored a late break away goal from Van Ede to win 1-0 in front of 80,000 stunned Ibrox fans. There was no such thing as ‘away goals’ in 1960 and the winner would be determined by a ‘play off’.
• THIS SPARTAN LIFE
All the Sparta players were employed on part time contracts, daytime occupations included : dockers, labourers, clerks, salesmen, an engineer, a physiotherapist, Dutch naval officer, an airport worker and a lucky lad who worked in a brewery
• BRITISH BOSS, BRITISH STYLE
Nevertheless they played in a ‘physical’ British style based on a quick running game and their manager Englishman Denis Neville was a former Fulham defender. Their success in the previous 2 clashes were helped by Denis going on a spying mission to watch how Rangers played.
In their attack they fielded Irish International, Peter Fitzgerald at centre forward who had the cherished job at the brewery. Northern Ireland International John Crossan figured at inside right. Crossan serving a ban from British football for receiving an illegal payment was snapped up Denis Neville.
EXTRACTS FROM MATCHDAY
EXTRACTS FROM : AFTERNOON
• REST, RELAXATION AND SELECTION
During the afternoon the Rangers squad relaxed and rested at their London hotel but it had been a particularly good afternoon for goalkeeper, George Niven. His afternoon nap was interrupted by a telephone call to inform him that he had been selected to keep goal and win his first cap for Scotland in their biggest annual fixture, the forthcoming clash with England at Hampden Park. This great surprise and honour came about after Spurs refused to release Scotland’s first choice goalkeeper, Bill Brown.
EXTRACTS FROM : EARLY EVENING
• WE WILL FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF OUR TEAM
Thousands of Rangers fans had been arriving in London all day. Before the construction of motorways, many fans had travelled on coaches (buses) and in shared vehicles overnight for a journey that lasted at least 10 hours. Some had made a mini holiday of the game and needless to say the night sleeper was fully booked.
Throughout the day, the happy travelling army regaled Londoners with their favourite songs and in particular ‘Follow Follow’ a song about the lengths of distance the Rangers support will go to follow their team. For those who wanted to enjoy a drink, pub hours were restricted to 12-3. So off licences enjoyed a windfall.
Early evening brought a carnival atmosphere of songs, laughter and lively discussion to Islington. At this stage, pubs did not open until 6.30pm and closed at 9.30pm so there were no fortunes to be made by local publicans. However Arsenal were allowed to sell beer in the ground and given the thirst of some of the visitors had a rather more profitable evening.
FLYING THE FLAG
Some of the Rangers support had brought large banners and giant flags with them and as part of the pre-match entertainment were encouraged to parade these around the pitch perimeter so all the crowd could see them and they received a great reception not just from their fellow Rangers fans but from the whole crowd. There was also given the distance from home some splendid, noisy and enthusiastic support from the 1000 Sparta fans.
Aside from football enthusiasts from across London, the remainder of the crowd was made up of Arsenal fans looking to see something a bit different at Highbury.
EXTRACTS FROM : MATCH REPORT
HALF TIME SCORE : RANGERS 1 SPARTA ROTTERDAM 1
♫HALF TIME ENTERTAINMENT♫
46 mins : Almost immediately after the restart Baird narrowly misses with a powerful effort from 25 yards out.
Sammy Baird continues to torment the Dutch defence.
56 mins : This time Sparta go close. The tie is still wide open.
58 mins : GOAL 2-1 RANGERS : Sammy Baird, at least 20 yards from goal, collects a low pass from Wilson and hits a thunderous low left footed drive to beat Van Dijk in his left hand corner. Such is the pace of the shot that the crestfallen goalkeeper does not move before the ball flies into the net.
Rangers miss plenty of opportunities to kill off the tie. Sparta’s attacks are repelled by Caldow, Stevenson and Davis. Sammy Baird continues to wreak havoc in the Sparta defence ably assisted by McMillan’s subtle and accurate passing.
76 mins : GOAL 3-1 : A weak Millar shot/through ball takes a deflection off Villierus and tantalisingly drifts past the stranded Van Dijk, nestling just inside the post.
Spartago for broke. John Crossan in particular belatedly looks dangerous.
88 mins : GOAL 3-2 : Tony Van Ede is felled inside the penalty area. Tinus Bosselaar cracks home the penalty. Sparta desperately chase an equaliser but Rangers hold on for the remaining few minutes.
• MUDDY WONDERFUL
After the referee blew for time, hundreds of supporters and by no means exclusively Rangers fans, run on to the pitch and hoist Sammy Baird on their shoulders, carrying him across the muddy field to the players tunnel. The travelling support deserve a pat on the back from their team for their non stop support and encouragement throughout the match.
FINAL SCORE : RANGERS 3 (Baird 2, Vilerius OG) SPARTA 2 (Vehoeven,Bosselaar).
Attendance : 34,176
EXTRACTS FROM : POST MATCH REACTION
Willie Allison in his book, Rangers The New Era, gave this assessment. “While our display was not out of the most dazzling Ibrox mould, there were spells when we produced some devastating football that had our fans shouting in glee and who gave our boys rapturous applause at the finish. The ankle-deep mud, a legacy of torrential rain, clogged the efforts of both sides, but so intense was the effort that somehow we forgot the miserable conditions as our eyes were drawn to the field as though under hypnosis.”
Hugh Taylor writing in We Will Follow Rangers commented on the tie, “In the quarter final they learned another lesson: never underrate opponents from abroad. Sparta turned out to be a far more accomplished side than the Ibrox people had been led to be believe.”
• A HOLIDAY IN GLASGOW
So much did Dennis Neville enjoy his trip to Glasgow, that he had already arranged a friendly against Celtic to be played on Saturday 14th May, as part of a holiday where the squad would then go to Hampden 4 days later to watch the European Cup Final, hopefully to cheer on Rangers. Given their European run and the nature of playing competitive football, the players probably had very little holiday allowance remaining but how did they want to use it? Playing and watching football of course!
• AND MORE POWER TO THE ‘SPARTANS’
On their way back home to Rotterdam the next day, Sparta stopped off to play Scunthorpe United at 6.45 pm. Football was not even their main income yet there they were, playing less than 24 hours after a European Cup quarter final. A glorious perhaps never again repeated throwback to the amateur ethos of playing the game for the sheer fun of it. I can’t help thinking of too many sides since who wouldn’t have spent the day after a tie and before a long journey home doing anything other than resting.
EXTRACTS FROM : TALKING POINTS
EXTRACTS FROM : THE RANGERS CLUB AND IDENTITY
• EARLY DAYS
This is a huge subject which merits a book of its own not least to scotch the many lies purported against Rangers by those who have an agenda against Protestantism and Unionism. In a few paragraphs I would summarise it as this. Large numbers of Catholic Irish came to Protestant Glasgow (and other parts of Scotland) around 1845 to seek sanctuary from the Potato Famine but for the most part though remaining in Glasgow failed to integrate with the indigenous population. The main reason for this was that their social and religious leaders, the Priests were paranoid about their flock turning away from Catholicism if they mixed and formed friendships with Protestants. So they did everything possible to deter assimilation. Possibly due to a bigoted fear of their flock being led into temptation but I suspect primarily because they feared losing their power, status and authority within the community.
Rangers neither introduced nor had any religious or political identity when created save for the young men who founded the club represented the best qualities in Glasgow’s Protestant youth. Religion and Nationalism (Catholic and Irish) were introduced to Glasgow’s football scene upon the creation of Celtic football club by one such ‘community’ leader, Brother Walfrid in 1888. Typically he wanted to raise money for the poorest Catholics not so much for the humanitarian aspect but because he was fearful that the charity from the Protestant community in the form of ‘soup kitchens’ might be leading its recipients away from Catholicism. Similarly, he had noted the popularity of football amongst young men and how it could in turn break down religious and social barriers. However by creating Celtic he could discourage Glasgow’s Catholics from playing, spectating and forming friendships with Protestants. Incidentally the Irish Potato Famine lasted for 5 years and Celtic’s ‘charitable’ fundraising dimension barely a couple of years.
Sadly from its inception, a significant element of Celtic’s support had a vocal anti Protestant anti British agenda. As football grew in popularity the Protestant community in Glasgow began to adopt Rangers as their favourites. The year I believe that the Old Firm rivalry was established was 1904-1905. The New Year’s Day Fixture attracted 60,000 fans to Ibrox (previous Old Firm League games at Ibrox never exceeded 30,000) but was abandoned because of a pitch invasion. Rangers next highest League crowd that season apart from the replayed Old Firm fixture was 20,000 fans. Yet that was not the end of the Old Firm rivalry in the League that season as despite a superior Rangers goal difference with the Old Firm level on points, the Championship was to be settled by a play off. From 1905 onwards Old Firm fixtures subsequently attracted the biggest League crowds to Ibrox each season. With the intensification of the situation in Ireland and Ulster, the ‘old firm’ fixtures took on a deeper resonance.
• WORLD WAR 1
A possible side effect of World War 1 could have been an easing of domestic tensions against a greater enemy but it did not work out like that. Yes, thousands of Volunteers from the exclusively Irish 10th and 16th divisions fought with Britain for a free world and also many soldiers from Glasgow’s Irish Catholic community served with distinction in British regiments.
However In 1916 the Irish uprising took place and it was suspected to be in hoc with the Germans. Understandably given its timing, the British government were furious and delivered punishments commensurate with their anger, the Irish however considered the reaction as massively out of proportion and this brought the Irish question sharply back in to focus. Certainly in Glasgow there was sympathy from even the most integrated of the ex-patriot community.
1916 was also the year, Ulster’s Protestant 36th Division showed in the Somme a valour, a courage and a self sacrifice on the battlefield perhaps never to be repeated for Britain. Amongst Glasgow’s Protestants the selfless contribution of the 36th highlighted and reinforced the depth of their sacred bond with Ulster Protestantism and Unionism. It also re-inforced a belief that the Irish contribution to the War effort was considerably less than the Britain’s. Irish Republicans preferred to sit this one out, some initially volunteered to fight alongside Catholic Belgian before swiftly concluding that the War was actually nothing to do with them. It also re-ignited a belief that the Glasgow Irish Catholic community’s overall contribution had been considerably less than the Protestant.Incidentally, those splendid brave Irishmen from the 10th and 16th received a hostile reception upon returning home in 1918, the 1916 insurgents were Ireland’s heroes.
With the momentum of 1916, upon the conclusion of the War violent Irish Nationalism / Republicanism was reinvigorated and even in its bloodiest guises enjoyed support at Parkhead and amongst Glasgow’s Catholic Irish community. Creating a more generalised perception that the community were against Britain and something of a 5th column.
• SCOTLAND’S SECRET SHAME
In 1918 Glaswegian Catholic infiltration of the Scottish Labour party was in full swing and its senior members in turn were in thrall to the Priests that led their community who voted for them. Their first of a list of discriminatory demands (sadly to this very day) was for state maintained Catholic only (ie apartheid) schools, was acceded to. These schools in turn were dominated by the most dangerously fanatical and abusive elements in priests and nuns. Not only was this incredibly divisive it erected social barriers for generations to come. It also re-affirmed the belief that Glasgow’s Irish Catholics did not want to integrate with the rest of society which was of course the key reason behind the creation of Celtic.
• WORLD WAR 2 AND FASCISM
By the time we get to the 1930’s and the rise of Nazism, there were many fans of Celtic and Glasgow Irish Catholics who vocally endorsed this most appalling fascism. There was for instance some shocking stuff written in the Glasgow Observer which was exclusively concerned with the Irish and Catholic dimension to local and world affairs and a favourite priestly read.
Indeed one can only sympathise with those decent independently minded 3rd and 4th generation Glasgow ‘Irish’ Catholics who now considered themselves Scottish, and were embarrassed and appalled by the gestures carried out in their name.
Once full scale World War broke out, not only did the pro German football chants at Parkhead in 1940 cause disgust, there was the despicable behaviour of Ireland’s government, politicians and worst of all the IRA. On top of that, consider the dreadful behaviour of the Papacy and the Nazi’s Catholicism and you can appreciate deep Protestant misgivings and mistrust. A few brave Irishmen chose to act independently of their government’s and society’s opposition and yes many Glaswegian Irish Catholics fought heroically and with distinction against Hitler but again questions were raised about the overall level of contribution.Glasgow’s Protestant community noted a large instance of Irish Catholics refusing to join the British Army or upon joining deserting.
At the end of the World War 1 the fans and people running Rangers understandably wanted to enhance its Protestant/British complexion as their way of demonstrating their deep pride in their identity. Celtic had never been slow in emphasising and celebrating theirs and so Ibrox became a place for Glasgow’s Protestants not just to watch great football but to celebrate their culture alongside fans further afield who shared theses values. Of course the triumphs of Mr Struth made Ibrox a special place for those who loved the best in football, Protestantism and Britain.
EXTRACTS FROM : WARTIME RANGERS
• EXTRACTS FROM : WORLD WAR 1
THE MAGNIFICENT 7 & OTHER BRAVE MEN
When Britain joined World War 1, 7 men who represented Rangers in the league in the 1914-15 season enlisted. In addition to the 7, former Scotland International Jimmy Galt who had recently retired from Rangers after an Ibrox career spanning 8 years joined up. As did James Fleming and Jimmy Lister who played for the club in 1915-16. On top of that at least 8 men who had spent at least 2 or more years in the Rangers 1st team joined the forces as did the sons of the Directors.
Finally, Walter Tull, a young man who already had achieved much and although about to start a career at Ibrox was prepared to put this on hold for something he typically considered far more important.
REST IN PEACE
Directors William Craig and William Danskin were alas to lose sons in the carnage of the War, like everywhere in Britain, everyone regardless of class was tragically touched.
Sadly John Fleming never made it home. Neither did former player Jimmy Speirs who had spent 3 years at Ibrox between 1905 and 1908 before going on to captain Newcastle United and score their winning goal in the 1911 Cup Final. Nor did Walter Tull. Fleming and Tull also had connections with Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) of North London. Speirs was awarded the Military Medal and Tull the Military Cross. Tull’s remarkable life story is covered in chapter 11.
Scotland International Finlay Speedie who played for Rangers between 1900 and 1906 was also awarded the Military Medal. After leaving Rangers he helped Newcastle to a League Championship before joining Oldham, Bradford Park Avenue and Dumbarton and made it home. Dr James Paterson who was 1 of the 7 that played in 1914-15 was awarded the Military Cross for bravery.
Thankfully the 7 players from the 1914-15 team all made it home and with just a single exception all resumed playing for Rangers. The one who did not, Alec Smith had been in the 1st team since 1894 and was still there aged 39 in 1915! Even by his exceptional playing standards he was too old to play competitively in the top flight.
Of the 7, a number went on to have remarkable careers. Including Jimmy Gordon who resumed his Scotland international career and was later made captain. Andy Cunningham also went on to represent Scotland and netted 182 goals in 389 appearances for Rangers before hanging up his boots in 1929. If you read page 75 you will find out more of the splendid Dr James Patterson who went on to join Arsenal. Willie Reid capped by Scotland before the War scored a staggering 195 goals in 230 appearances before retiring in 1920.
Following the War, a further 5 men who fought, joined the club. Including Jock Buchanan who was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Tommy Muirhead who despite being wounded, recovered to make 327 appearances for Rangers and represent his country. Though this time thankfully on a football not a battle field.
• EXTRACTS FROM : WORLD WAR 2
GOOD ON THE GROUND AND IN THE AIR
Willie Thornton joined the Duke of Atholl regiment and won the Military Medal in the 1943 Italian campaign, for his courage in Sicily when under ferocious bombardment. You won’t be surprised what this great character went on to do on the football pitch. Going on not only to represent Scotland and netting 194 goals in 308 games for Rangers. He was every bit as fearless in the box as he was on the battlefield.
Ian McPherson who later joined the club was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and flew on the first RAF bombing raid on Germany.
LASTLY, A KOREA WITH RANGERS
A certain Harold Davis now serving in the Rangers midfield had been wounded in Korea and as you have read, shown the most amazing brand of triumph over adversity.
Men of Gallantry, Men of Character, Men of Ibrox.
EXTRACTS FROM : EUROPEAN FOOTBALL AND TV MONEY
• 6+5 AND MULTINATIONAL TEAMS
As Sparta had already shown, some clubs across Europe supplemented their squads with talented players from another European country. Real Madrid in 1960 had already taken this a step further by signing players from another continent. Of their best starting 11, 6 players were Spanish including their captain, Zarraga. The foreign legion comprised of Hungarian genius Ferenc Puskas and the remainder comprising the cream of South American football. From Argentina there was Dominguez and the great Di Stefano Brazil supplied Canario and Uruguay provided Santamaria. Not only were the South American contingent outstanding footballers but it was of course easier for them to adjust to a country with a similar climate, language and football outlook.
EXTRACTS FROM : POSTSCRIPT
EXTRACTS FROM : ONE STEP AWAY FROM THE FINAL
Rangers faced the all German 11 of Eintracht Frankfurt of Germany in the semi finals, and were comprehensively defeated 12-4 on aggregate
(Eintracht winning 6-1 and 6-3) by a splendid team. Scot Symon writing in the blue book felt that were mitigating factors. Too many fixtures, ‘the season’s strain’ as he put it and bad luck when the 1st leg of the tie was delicately poised at 1-1.
So fans and players would miss out on the ultimate thrill of a European Cup win in Glasgow but would make more than interested spectators especially as standing in Frankfurt’s way were none other than the multi national and multi talented Real Madrid.
• DOUBLE BAD LUCK FOR GEORGE NIVEN
Apart from a World Cup Final, I doubt if George Niven could have picked any other game to make his International debut. Unfortunately he collected an injury just before the England match and did not play. Amazingly the following year, history repeated itself for the still uncapped goalkeeper. Brown was not released by Spurs and Niven was selected but again had to miss out through injury. Frank Haffey of Celtic was again selected to cover for Niven, not that it brought him much joy. He conceded 9 goals at Wembley and became the butt of jokes for years to come. Sadly, Niven was never selected for Scotland again and finished his career without a much deserved Cap.
EXTRACTS FROM : 1960 EUROPEAN CUP FINAL
REAL MADRID V EINTRACHT FRANKFURT
• FOOTBALL BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT
Madridled 7-2 until Stein scored a late consolation for Eintracht in the 74th minute. Eintracht were a truly accomplished team and it takes 2 great teams to make a classic but Real had simply taken football to another level.
A generation of British players, managers, coaches and opinion formers either attended the game in person or watched it live on black and white television. They were to have their minds changed about the way the game should be played. Among the Hampden crowd that night were: Jock Stein, Billy Shankly, Matt Busby and Bill Nicholson.
• HOW GOOD?
A BRILLIANT OLD GAME
Jimmy Greaves in his book ‘The Sixties Revisited’ recalls being part of the England squad that watched the game whilst on tour in Hungary, nobody present had ever seen better club football.
“On 18 May 1960, all we League professionals were made to suddenly realise that we were light years behind the best teams in the world. We watched open-mouthed…. It was a match in a million that will live on in football legend as one of the classic contests of all time.”
THE YOUNG FAN IN THE CROWD (GEORGE OF BARGEDDIE)
A young fan in the crowd was 15 year old George Graham from Bargeddie who had already been tipped for a great career in football and whose progress was being closely monitored by a number of clubs. The future Scotland International and hugely successful manager recalls in his autobiography, the Glory and the Grief, “It was like watching football from another planet. I have since played in hundreds of other games and watched thousands more, but I have never seen one to match. The skill level was just unbelievable, and I am proud to say ‘I was there’… It set a new standard for football… It was a joy to watch and it convinced this boy from Bargeddie that he wanted a future in football.”
THE RANGER IN THE CROWD
Ian McMillan of Rangers (Young George Graham’s favourite player and playing role model when he watched him from the terraces at Airdrie.) was another face in the crowd that night. He was staggered, as he felt that Eintracht were the best team that he had ever played against. He told readers of the All Stars Football Book 1962. “I stipulated that Eintracht were the best team I played against, but with many thousands, I watched in wonder when they met and were beaten by Real Madrid at Hampden Park in the European Cup Final. What a game… and what a wonderful boost for football. Real were the soccer maestros and I loved every second of their play. But one great thing came out of that match apart from the sheer brilliance of it all. IT CHANGED THE FACE OF SCOTTISH FOOTBALL. IN FACT, IF YOU WISH, YOU CAN CALL IT THE REAL RENAISSANCE. For, after that game, almost everyone I know vowed to work harder, concentrate more and really get down to soccer as an art.”