President 1882 – 1883
Vice President 1883 – 1885
Club records would suggest that in terms of length of service to Rangers Football Club, George Goudie would not readily be thought of as one of the great figures in our history. It was for one act, though, we are forever, literally, in his debt.
George Goudie was a Paisley “Buddie”, born at 2, Hamilton Street in the town on 9 April, 1859 to Humphrey, an engine-fitter (although later records would state he was a marine engineer), and his wife Anne.
It would appear young George spent his formative years overseas. There is no trace of the family in the census of 1861 or in that of 1871. They do appear in the 1881 census. By then the family home was at 14 Union Street in Leith. The census records twenty-one year-old George had three siblings. Eighteen year-old Matthew and sixteen year-old William had been born in Greece. The youngest of the four sons, fourteen year-old Henry, had been born in Turkey. George’s occupation was given as “clerk”.
Research has, as yet, failed to reveal how the young clerk from Leith became, within a year, vice-president of Rangers Football Club! Goudie’s first appearance in the Glasgow PO directory was not until 1886/87. We do know, though, that he was an accomplished athlete, being successful at distances ranging from 100 yards to 880 yards. It is not an unfair assumption that George became friends with Tom Vallance on the athletics circuit and he was brought into the Rangers’ circle through Tom.
When Archie Harkness died so tragically young in November, 1882, Vice-president George Goudie assumed the presidency of the club. These were not good times for the Rangers. Peter McNeil had left to concentrate on business and his steady hand on the rudder had been missed. There had been no attempt to build up the club membership. The club was in such financial straits, the committee approached President Goudie requesting he provide a loan of £30 (just under £3,000 in today’s terms). This he did. Would Rangers Football Club have survived if Goudie had not agreed to provide the loan? We have to assume that without it, the end may have been nigh. By the summer of 1883, the club was £100 in debt. George served just a matter of months as president. He stood down at the annual general meeting in May, 1883, held at the Athole Hotel. Tom Vallance became president. George served as his vice-president for the next two years.
The fact the committee felt they could approach George Goudie for a loan would suggest he had already established his business as a produce merchant with some success. George married Jane Currie on 14 April, 1887 at her family home at 20 Kelvingrove Street. George had been living at 89 Grant Street, a short distance from Rangers’ old Burnbank ground. The first marital home would appear to have been at Sandyford Street. By 1891, the family, now augmented by George, Jnr had moved to 20 Kelvingrove Street. George had had offices in Waterloo Street and York Street. Such was the success of his business, the family could afford to employ a domestic servant.
By the time of the 1901 census, George, Jnr had been joined by sister Jane and brothers Alexander and James. Five years later, the Goudies had moved to Pollokshields, the family home being “Dunard” at 14 Leslie Street. George had retained his sporting competitive spirit, turning his hand to bowls. He had been a member of the St Vincent Club, then, on moving south of the river, Titwood Bowling Club. His final business address was in Howard Street.
George suffered from heart disease for the last eighteen months or so of his life. He died, aged only fifty-one, on 24 February, 1911. His funeral took place at the Western Necropolis, attended by his “wide circle of friends”. The funeral directors were James Henderson and Co. Yes, the same James Henderson who, too, became president of Rangers and at the time of George’s death, was chairman of Rangers Football Club Limited. We do not have a great record of George Goudie’s time on the Rangers committee. That one act, however, the granting of a loan of £30, will ensure his place in our history will live for ever.