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.

• TRAGEDY
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.

DISCIPLINE
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)

NO SURRENDER
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.

•THE WINNER
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’.