ARSENAL V RANGERS 1963
Make Kelsey’s and Rangers a Double
● Jack Kelsey Testimonial Match
● Monday 20th May 1963 Kick-Off 7.30pm
EXTRACTS FROM : BACKGROUND
• CHANGING SEASONS
As the 1963 Season closed, Rangers made another trip to London. Since their last visit, John Lawrence had been appointed chairman following the death of John Wilson. On the pitch there was serious concern about the future career of Eric Caldow. In the England v Scotland clash at Wembley in April 1963, Eric had suffered a horrific triple left leg fracture following an ugly clash with Spurs Bobby Smith and some queried the validity of Smith’s challenge. Though the Englishman stayed on the pitch he also sustained serious ankle and ligament injuries and was never the same player afterwards. On the day it galvanised the Rangers contingent in the Scotland team as Davie Wilson, Jim Baxter and Willie Henderson gave possibly their finest displays in the Scotland jersey in front of a nationwide audience.
EXTRACTS FROM : JACK KELSEY, LUCKY ARSENAL
During Jack’s Arsenal career, Arsenal had generally struggled which in turn put the spotlight on the goalkeeper and he seldom let Arsenal down. He was one truly outstanding performer in a rare era of mediocrity at Highbury. A former steelworker from Swansea, tall and blessed with huge hands he joined Arsenal aged 19 having been spotted by former Wales and Arsenal player Les Morris playing for local team, Winch Wen.
After 2 seasons in the reserves, Jack made his league debut in February 1951 as cover for Arsenal’s high rated regular George Swindin and went on to make a further 3 league appearances that season. The following season he did not feature for the first team, however the year after Jack made 25 league appearances in Arsenal’s League Championship triumph and from that point on was Arsenal’s number 1.
At this stage the shoulder charge was part and parcel of the game, not many fancied their chances against him. His naturally powerful physique had been developed with weight training and he looked like an Adonis between the sticks. That was just one component of Jacks game, he had a brilliant sense of positioning but when he needed to could pull off the most acrobatic of saves. He was as good as anyone at collecting and dealing with crosses and not surprisingly boasted a very powerful throw. The only weak spot in his game was his kicking.
THAT WAS 1958
In 1958, he was a key figure as Wales progressed to a World Cup quarter final clash with Brazil. Time after time he foiled the eventual tournament winners before being beaten late on by a goal scored by a young man called Pele.
In the same year Jack Kelsey won an Inter City Fairs Cup (UEFA) Runners Up medal not for Arsenal but a combined London team who lost out in the final to Barcelona. With the year drawing to a close, on 28 November 1958 he kept goal for Wales in the afternoon in a 2-2 draw against England at Villa Park, Birmingham and hotfooted it to Highbury to make it in time to face the famous Juventus in a prestige Testimonial. Arsenal beat the Italians 3-1. He did have company with his Arsenal teammate England’s Danny Clapton and a couple of police outriders. Given the exertions of playing outfield, Danny came on as a substitute after 37 minutes. Neither man complained about having to play too many matches.
• THE BEST IN BRITAIN
Jack won 41 caps for Wales and was accorded the special honour of being selected to keep goal for Great Britain in a match against the Rest of Europe in 1955. In my opinion he was up there as one of the top 4 goalkeepers in Europe, however the Championship medal from 1953 was his only winner’s medal. By all accounts he had a very good sense of humour and had a particular penchant for playing practical jokes on his teammates. His teammates were also amused at how he would always be the first to arrive in the dressing room at half time despite being furthest away from the players tunnel. The anti smoking lobby might be less amused to know that this wonderful athlete was also a smoker and he liked a quick puff before the team talk. Though I’m not sure if it was the secret of his success or jest when he told of rubbing chewing gum in his hands to make the ball stick.
Whether it was the tobacco or the gum, Arsenal were fortunate to have this world class player and professional.
EXTRACTS FROM : THE STORY OF ARSENAL
• HENRY NORRIS THE CELEBRITY CHAIRMAN
Henry Norris CV :- Chairman of Fulham FC, Mayor of Fulham, Property Developer, Fulham East MP (1918-1922) and Knighted in 1917. Known as a ‘ruthless operator’ or words to that effect by those who dealt with him.
• MERGERS AND MOVING THE FRANCHISE?
Norris bought Arsenal with the idea of merging with Fulham. The League refused this and informed him that he could only be involved with one club. He took the more challenging option of Arsenal and in 1913 decided to move them to the densely populated Highbury district of North London. Their new ground was chosen for its excellent underground, rail and bus links. The club were renamed or should that be rebranded as ‘The Arsenal’ and the 2nd Division club went on a spending spree. Arsenal missed out on promotion at the end of the 1913-14 season on goal average to Spurs. However World War 1 broke out and football was cancelled.
• WHY SPURS HATE ARSENAL AND VICE VERSA
Before the war, Spurs were less than enamoured with Arsenal for turning up in North London. After the end of World War 1, Spurs were ready to start World War 2. Given the assumption that football should re-start where it left off, Spurs were looking forward to Division 1 football. Instead Norris ‘persuaded’ the League that Arsenal should take their place. Games between the pair in the 1920’s and 1930’s were particularly violent affairs especially off the pitch, contrary to the image of thousands of peaceful flat capped fans and the rivalry has been handed down by generations ever since.
EXTRACTS FROM : THE ‘FANTASTIC’ MR HERBERT CHAPMAN.
THE GREATEST ENGLISH MANAGER?
A former Spurs player, he mainly played for their Reserves and something of a journeyman in terms of ability and career. He
wasn’t even the best player in his family, his brother Harry was the star. Herbert played at a number of different clubs for short spells and his main claim to fame were his lemon coloured boots. In 1907 he joined Northampton Town as player manager and transformed ‘the cobblers’ from an appropriately named Southern League outfit into Champions of their League. In 1911, his hometown club Leeds City appointed him manager and great improvements were made until war broke out.
• A BUNG SCANDAL
Leeds were thrown out of the League in 1919 for refusing to show their books when accused of making illegal payments. According to Phil Soar and Martin Tyler in their history of Arsenal, Chapman though probably aware of the payments was not even at the club when they were supposed to have been made. Nevertheless he received a ban.
• A SPECIAL DAY IN MAY 1930
As Chapman himself predicted, success would not be instant. In 1927 Arsenal reached the FA Cup Final only to beaten by Cardiff City. However in 1930 Arsenal returned to Wembley to win the FA Cup, their first trophy under Chapman. On an emotionally charged afternoon, they beat Chapman’s old club Huddersfield watched by King George V, a hovering German Zeppelin and 4 of the original lads from Dial Square.The breakthrough ushering in an era of success.
• CHAPMAN THE INNOVATOR
What was so impressive about Chapman was his forward thinking. Many football managers are constantly moaning and criticising, something has to change but they rarely come up with any fresh ideas to improve the game. Chapman was different, here are some of his ideas :
FOR THE GAME
A 10 yard penalty semi circle (a full decade before it was adopted.)
FOR THE TEAM
• Getting the first team, reserves and junior teams playing the same way thereby smoothing the transition of players rising through the ranks.
• Holding a weekly brainstorm where he encouraged players to come up with ideas and give their feedback.
• Having Arsenal play in white sleeves on the red shirt and blue and white socks so the players could pick each other out better.
• Building small models of players to demonstrate to explain his tactical thinking to players.(Subutteo was created some years later by Peter Adolph in 1947.)
FOR THE FANS
• Shirt numbering to make it easier to recognise players.
• Using a white ball so that fans could follow the play better.
• Trying to sign the best foreign internationals.
• A 45 minute Clock on the South Terracing which not surprisingly became known as the Clock End.
• A public address system to convey information to the fans.
• An electronic turnstile system to count the fans and prevent overcrowding.
• A scoreboard to relay the scores of matches being played elsewhere.
•Changing the name of the local underground station from Gillespie Road to Arsenal.
•Dropping the ‘The’ from The Arsenal in 1927, so that alphabetically they would appear at the beginning of publications.
•Installing a floodlighting system at Highbury as far back as 1932. He got the idea on a football weekend break to Austria where the pitch was lit up by the lights of cars parked on the touchline. He gave it a twist by doing away with the cars and mounting the lights on poles. His rationale was that the popularity of evening floodlit sports such as speedway and greyhound racing could be replicated in football. It took the best part of 20 years for the FA to eventually sanction the use of floodlights in 1951.
•Encouraging members of the playing staff who had a flair for cricket to play the game for county teams and if good enough internationally. Not just to keep the players fit off season but to keep the club firmly in the public eye.
•Chapman played an annual game against Racing of Paris to make the club better known across Europe and most importantly to raise funds for veterans of World War 1.
THE TRAINER AHEAD OF HIS TIME
Working alongside Chapman was Tom Whittaker a man also ahead of his time. The gentle giant installed the most modern medical equipment, varied training routines and tailored individual treatment. The Gunners were always one of the fittest teams. Such was his reputation that tennis legends Bunny Austin and Fred Perry were regular visitors to Highbury. Whittaker had originally joined the club from the army in 1919 but his career was sadly curtailed by serious injury in 1925 whereupon at Chapman’s request he embarked on studying physiotherapy, was appointed assistant trainer and promoted the following year to chief trainer.
• 2 OTHER IDEAS FROM MR CHAPMAN WORTH TRYING?
His idea of 2 referees rather than 1 (I assume 1 in each half of the pitch) has yet to be introduced but I hope eventually it’s trialled as the game is always getting faster and officials don’t always find it easy to keep up with play. My format would be to then dispose of the 2 linesmen.
THE VIDEO EYE
He also suggested goal judges. If he meant in terms of judging if the ball has crossed the line, a ‘video eye’ would certainly be worthy of a trial.
• CHAPMAN’S DEATH
Aged 55, Mr Chapman died suddenly from pneumonia in the first week of January 1934. What had seemed like a heavy cold on Wednesday had claimed his life by the early hours of Saturday morning. He was buried in Hendon at the church he frequently attended and his cortege had to slowly wind its way through thousands of onlookers. He not only delivered success but in the process completely redefined the mindset and very nature of his club.
• ALLISON & WHITTAKER
You can’t replace the irreplaceable so Arsenal essentially split Chapman’s duties. Officially he was replaced by George Allison, a radio commentator! but essentially Allison dealt with the admin and business side whilst Tom Whittaker took responsibility for the day to day running of the team. It may seem a strange arrangement but the trophies kept rolling in.
• BORING ARSENAL, LUCKY ARSENAL?
In 1925 the offside laws were changed to counter negative offside tactics.Arsenal were by no means the first to find tactics to suit the new rules but after a heavy defeat Buchan sought out Chapman and the pair had a brainstorming session. They formulated a plan whereby the centre half joined defence and the 2 full backs who marked the wingers. In turn, at least one and sometimes both inside forwards would join the wing half pairing in midfield. The inside forward(s) in midfield would be more creative, the wing halves usually more defensive. Chapman’s trick was not to go out and pick the best players and then fit them into the pattern but to pick the players best suited to the pattern.
In the past, teams wanted to attack as that had always been perceived as the way to play the game. Arsenal for their part were now happy to absorb pressure and cede territory for long periods in their midfield and defence especially against teams who still used 4 or 5 forwards. Then they hit them on the break. Many opposing fans could not work out how their team could have 80% of the play and lose and viewed Arsenal as either ‘lucky’ or their tactical play undeserving of victory.
• CLASS WAR 2 THE TEAM THEY ALL WANT TO BEAT
Of course everybody wants to beat the top team, which Arsenal were, however there was more to it than that. The 1930’s were a time of great economic hardship and to many people, Arsenal were the club that reflected the upper classes. With their lavish spending, aristocratic directors, luxurious grandstands, big ideas and ultra professional team (many fans still fondly remembered the days of amateurism) that ‘stole’ games they almost became football’s version of the class divide in society. When they travelled to parts of the North that were suffering terrible economic hardship, their games frequently took the metaphor of a ‘class war.’ They encountered vitriolic abuse at away games and a win over Arsenal in some quarters of the country was almost as good as winning a trophy.When lowly Walsall beat Arsenal in the FA Cup, parts of England rejoiced.
EXTRACTS FROM : POST WAR
• TOM WHITTAKER
Typical of the Arsenal contribution to the wartime effort, Whittaker who had served in World War 1, volunteered for the RAF in World War 2, went on to become a Squadron Leader and I was fascinated to learn awarded the MBE for his sterling efforts during the D Day landings.
George Allison retired in 1947 and Whittaker who was essentially the manager (as you and I would understand it) was given the position officially. He immediately delivered a League Championship the next year in 1948 and brought the FA Cup to Highbury in 1950 and a further League Championship in 1953. However, that ‘Coronation’ title marked the start of a barren period for the gunners. Sadly, Whittaker died mid season in October 1956. Some suspected that like Chapman, the huge workload he subjected himself to may have been a contributory factor in his death. He was mourned far beyond Highbury, not just for the passing of a fine trainer, coach and manager but as a kind gentleman and ambassador for the game.
• DECLINE AND FALL?
Arsenal then split the role of manager between Bob Wall as secretary to look after the admin side of the job and former star Jack Crayston to manage the team. Essentially the secretary’s role was to take charge of anything not related to the kicking of a ball ie stadium management, organising contracts, arranging travel, fixtures, office staff etc
Crayston who had been Whittaker’s assistant resigned in 1958. Former goalkeeper George Swindin then took over and encouraged the board to invest but he did not deliver. One of the problems was that despite some very good players, the dressing room had become split into factions. Perhaps over time the club had become too insular and inward looking and with Spurs sweeping all before them, Swindin was sacked in 1962 to be replaced by former England legend Billy Wright.
EXTRACTS FROM : ARSENAL 1963
• BILLY WRIGHT
Since the Chapman era, Arsenal always looked to appoint a manager who had been a player with the club. Perhaps it was now a time for a change and fresh ideas. Though Wright had spent his domestic career leading the fine Wolves team of the early to mid 1950’s, it was easy to see his appeal. Rated as one of the finest ever England players and captains, he won a staggering 105 Caps between 1947 and 1959. A remarkable 90 of those were as captain and he played in 105 out of England’s first 108 post war matches. I can confirm that here was an England captain who did not deliberately get booked to avoid missing a long journey to an international game abroad. I also believe these were all 90 minutes appearances, not coming on for a minute at the end of the match. He was renowned as a gentleman and ambassador of football, respected by older football fans and idolised by youngsters regardless of what team they supported. As if that was not enough, his marriage to Joy Beverley the eldest of the Beverley Sisters (Britain’s highest paid female singing act of the 1950’s) made him the glamour figure in British football. Despite an impeccable footballing pedigree, including a promising stint as England Youth Coach his appointment was a gamble as it was his ‘rookie’ management job.
• ARSENAL 1962-1963 : WRIGHT AT ONE END
The former defender’s team were prolific goalscorers with 86 league goals (2 more than Champions Everton) but leaked goals at the other end, conceding a shocking 77. The loss of the great Jack Kelsey certainly cost Arsenal dear. Forget about the crucial saves, it must have been a great tonic to opposing forwards and unsettled a defence used to his heroics when they failed to clear. Moreover the best talent Wright inherited was attack minded. This season had very much been one for Wright to take stock. He only introduced a single new face to the club, Joe Baker but sold his strong tackling former team mate from England and Wolves Eddie Clamp to Stoke for making an appalling challenge during a game.
EXTRACTS FROM : MATCHDAY
• ISSUE OF THE DAY?
How Good Is Jim Baxter? Rangers’ hero ‘Slim Jim’ had recently asked for a transfer from Ibrox. A number of managers from England’s wealthiest clubs were expected to travel to Highbury to take a close look at him, not that he would come cheaply. A fee of £100,000 had been either estimated by the press or most probably circulated to them by Rangers as the price for his signature.
Arsenal who had used 9 wing halves during the 62-63 season were known to be particularly keen to sign him and manager Billy Wright wouldn’t deny his interest when asked by the media. Although the one thing that Arsenal needed in midfield, a strong tackler was not something that Jim Baxter would bring to the party and of course to accommodate Baxter at left half, Arsenal would have to reshuffle their midfield.
Wright would no doubt have been less than happy to hear that deadly rivals Spurs were also reported to be in the hunt for his signature. With Danny Blanchflower nearing the conclusion of his illustrious career, Bill Nicholson wanted to do what the Scottish selectors didn’t and pair him with Dave Mackay in midfield.
• FEELING THE BLUES
There was a stomach virus going around the Rangers camp and Baxter was one of those suffering from stomach pains along with Millar, Greig, Wilson and Henderson. Wilson and Baxter played but Willie Henderson was in considerable discomfort and replaced with Craig Watson.
Just Before Kick Off, Evening Times reporter Bill Brown noted that a lion rampant flag fell from it’s flagstaff. Was this to be an omen?
EXTRACTS FROM : MATCH REPORT
FINAL SCORE : ARSENAL 2 (Skirton 2) RANGERS 2 (Baxter, Brand).
Attendance 33,007 Receipts : £7,000
EXTRACTS FROM : POST MATCH REACTION
• JACK KELSEY
“It was a great warm reception from the crowd. I really appreciated it and felt quite choked up.”
• 24 CARAT
The Islington Gazette wrote, “Baxter’s constructive play had 24 carat written all over it. (but) defence wise he could be faulted.” The Gazette concluded that he had shown enough touches of class to keep speculation going.
EXTRACTS FROM : TALKING POINTS
EXTRACTS FROM : WHEN ARSENAL MET RANGERS
• WE’RE WITH THE WOOLWICH
The link between Arsenal and Rangers dates back to the 19th century when Rangers travelled south and beat Woolwich Arsenal 3-2 on 30th April 1892. Playing in the Rangers attack was a James Henderson who went on to join Arsenal for the 1892-3 season. Henderson made his Arsenal debut in October and before returning to Scotland in 1895 netted a prolific 19 goals in 38 league games and 12 goals in 9 FA Cup ties.
• A SHARED HERO. DR JAMES PATERSON
Dr James Paterson better known as Jimmy was a remarkable man. Born in London, brought up in Glasgow, the qualified doctor played on the left wing for Rangers from 1910. Upon the outbreak of World War 1 he enlisted in the most appropriate of regiments, the London Scottish. He served as a medical officer and was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery in France. He returned to Ibrox and was a regular and joint top scorer for the 1919-20 season. The following season he moved south to share a medical practise with his brother in law and joined Arsenal as an ‘amateur.’ There was only one team in London that he would join, his brother in law was Arsenal’s team doctor! Not that there was anything amateurish about his football talent and it was somehow fitting that he should become the first Scotsman to play for the English League in their annual fixture against the Scottish League . He retired to devote more time to his medical practice in Summer 1924 only to be persuaded to make a comeback some 2 years later by none other than Herbert Chapman. An onfield story gives the flavour of the man, at Highbury a young girl presented him with a bunch of daffodils during a game. Desperate not to offend he played with them for some time in his hand before a break in play enabled him to find somewhere to put them!
• A SHARED HISTORY
Not only does the relationship between the clubs go back 2 centuries, and not only were Rangers always welcome guests, they were legally entitled to an annual visit as shareholders for Arsenal’s AGM.
Ranger shareholding in Arsenal followed a game between the pair at Arsenal. The date given was reported as 1910 but it can’t have been as they didn’t play each other that year, I’m convinced it was the 1892 fixture when Arsenal had just turned Professional and they figured that a novel going home present for their visitors would be 2 shares, though it’s possible that it could have been payment for James Henderson.
• WHEN THE LEGENDARY MR STRUTH MET THE FANTASTIC MR CHAPMAN
PROBABLY THE BEST TEAM IN THE WORLD
In the 1930’s Struth’s Rangers were the supreme team of
Although both men managed their clubs differently in terms of style, they shared similar core values. Both men demanded the very highest standards not just from players but everyone connected to the club and they both possessed an intensity and dedication second to none. They both believed in discipline, attention to detail and would not tolerate anything that damaged the reputation of their clubs and above all both men always put the club above any individual.
MR STRUTH V ARSENAL
After Chapman’s death the games continued. Another ‘one off’ Championship game was arranged at Ibrox in September 1935 which finished 2-2 and was watched by 25,000. In September 1936, a match fought under the title ‘British Cup Winners’ was played and Arsenal recorded their first ever victory against Rangers with a slender 2-1 win. In the final pre-war game, Rangers beat Arsenal 1-0 in August 1938. A 16 year old called Willie Waddell scored the winner on his debut.
Post War, the friendly rivalry was rekindled in October 1951. A capacity crowd of 62,000 at Highbury watched Arsenal triumph 3-2. This match marked the inauguration of Arsenal’s new floodlighting and a further 10,000 fans were locked out. Those fortunate to gain entry, saw that 13 years later, Willie Waddell was still every bit as good. To mark this historic evening, Arsenal erected a special balcony for a photographer to take a wide screen panoramic shot of Highbury under lights. The wonderful image of a full house bathed in floodlight was subsequently hung at the top of Arsenal’s marble staircase.
• THE BUSINESS OF ARSENAL 1962-63
Arsenal had just published their Trading Results for the end of 1961-1962:
•Arsenal made a profit of £15,025, down from £31,232 the previous year.
•Gate receipts were up £7,000.
•The main increase in expenditure from the previous year was player wages. Of course, in 1961 the £20 maximum wage came to an end and salaries plus bonuses and benefits to players had risen from £45,425 in 1961-1962 to £61,252.
• WHY GREAT PLAYERS AND CAPTAINS DON’T ALWAYS MAKE GREAT MANAGERS?
Probably different explanations apply to each case. However I would say that the great player who has achieved everything and been feted may lack the hunger and ruthlessness to succeed in their new career. They may go into management unprepared and thinking that their existing knowledge will carry them through. Sometimes they lack the communication skills, or they may lack the ability to empathise and relate to lesser players. They may simply expect players to have the same drive and desire that they did, and not know what to do when they see a player who does not have it. Sometimes they may mistakenly join the wrong club at the wrong time with the wrong players and wrong directors. However there is one factor which any manager needs, which you can’t influence however great a player you may have been. Luck. A defenders pass, a referee’s decision, an impossible save, a kick to your star player etc… can make the difference between glory and failure.
• WHY DO DEFENDERS TURNED MANAGERS CREATE ATTACKING TEAMS AND VICE VERSA?
I would argue that most successful teams are by their very nature attack minded (Chapman’s Arsenal an exception), a successful team usually dominates games. However what is the case of an average team? A former defender will probably be the best judge of an attacker as he will watch the forward and think ‘How would I face him?’ and ‘What would I do?’ – And the former forward vice versa. The skills in their given position are often natural ones which they therefore aren’t given to thinking about. A classic case of poacher turned gamekeeper. It is also the case that a former defender may try to overcompensate what he considers to be his weak spot. Or the case of ex players who secretly would have loved to have played in the opposite position. A tough gnarled centre half building a team on flair. The fancy dan emphasising defence and tackling. A manager might be influenced on how their former managers constructed their teams. Though perhaps the logical explanation is that any good manager will make the most of the resources immediately available to him. If his best players are forwards, he will develop a system to emphasise that, and vice versa if the strength is in defence.
• SOME ARSENAL TRIVIA, FIRSTS AND LASTS
•When Arsenal and Huddersfield came out together in the 1930 Cup final it was the first time that the teams came out side by side at a major game. (Please can we go back to the old days of teams coming out separately except for cup finals.
•The 1927 Cup Final between Arsenal and Cardiff was the first to carry Radio commentary and to broadcast a live goal on air. (the commentator... George Allison.)
•Arsenal were fined £250 by the football League in 1936 for resting injured players between cup ties on their way to winning the FA Cup. (Squad rotation?)
•The first live football match shown live on TV was from Highbury on 16 September 1937. It featured a practice match between Arsenal and Arsenal Reserves
•In 1934-35 Arsenal were the first club to generate annual gate receipts in excess of £100,000.
•Arsenal’s Bernard Joy was the last amateur to represent
•Arsenal goalkeepers wash their new shirts before playing in them. The practice dates back to the 1927 Cup Final when Arsenal Keeper Dan Lewis blamed his slippery
•In the 1930’s Arsenal used Margate as a nursery club.
•Former England Winger Jock Rutherford who played for the Gunners between 1913 and 1926 found his place in the team under threat from his son John who joined in 1924!
EXTRACTS FROM : JIM BAXTER
• HOW GOOD WAS JIM BAXTER?
Perhaps the answer to this question could be found on 23rd October 1963. Baxter was selected as 1 of 5 substitutes for a Rest of the World Team that was invited to play England at Wembley to celebrate the FA’s Centenary. The starting 11 included Di Sefano, Gento and Eusebio and sharing the subs bench with him was one Ferenc Puskas. Illustrious company.
• SYMON’S QUANDRARY
For Scot Symon this represented a new problem. Traditionally any Ranger living this sort of lifestyle would be dropped and a replacement found. However in terms of style there simply was no replacement at Rangers or in Scotland. Curiously the former tough defender and disciplinarian Scott Symon was one of Baxter’s biggest fans and their relationship on a personal level was good. Symon was pragmatic and though he would of course have preferred it otherwise, he allowed his charge to live his life so long as he delivered on the pitch. Yet Baxter had made some very powerful enemies at the club, most notably the directors who were appalled both his behaviour and rebellious challenges to their authority. He also fell out with a number of senior professionals at Rangers. Not only had they been subject to the traditional rigorous discipline at Ibrox, they felt that there was one law for Jim and one for the rest. Notably in terms of: attitude to training, demeanour and the latitude given to the younger man to make income through columns and endorsements. Some felt that he would not give 100% in matches against poorer opposition and sometimes he would try to make them look inferior. Such was Baxter’s self confidence and cockiness that he mistakenly ‘tried it on’ a couple of times with Harold Davis and had to be rescued by Symon! Certainly had Rangers not been as successful during this period, things would have boiled over. Yet with younger players starting to replace the senior professionals the situation was alleviated to some degree. The fans mainly agreed with Symon’s ‘live and let live’ opinion and demanded his inclusion. The younger ones seeing in Baxter, someone living out their dreams. The other criticism of Symon was that by letting Jim do his own thing, he was preventing him from fulfilling his potential in the longer term. But, disciplining as strong a character as Jim Baxter would also be tricky as he would accept the punishment and carry on regardless. Trying to curtail his extravagances would probably not have made him a better player in the short term, indeed he strikes me as someone who thrived on living life on the edge. Had Rangers dropped him, there was also the probability that he would take his skills elsewhere, so Symon’s policy was probably the shrewdest option.