Follow up story in today’s Evening Times.
Follow up story in today’s Evening Times.
Over the last four years since the Founders Trail took to the streets promoting our incredible story and celebrating the kids who formed our wonderful Club, it was always our intention to take it out into the mainstream of Scottish life.
It’s a wonderful Scottish story and why shouldn’t it be part of cultural festivals ?
We secured a listing on the Visit Scotland website and have our Founders Trail and Ibrox Stadium Tour leaflets on display within the Tourist office in Glasgow.
Back in 1871 when our Founders, who were mere teenagers , arrived in Glasgow they settled in the west end of the city where the McNeil’s in particular stayed for many years.
With this in mind we applied for and secured a stall at the popular West End Festival in 2011.
It proved to be a huge success where we raised a fair amount of cash for both Yorkhill and Erskine Hospitals.
In an effort to broaden our scope we took a stall at last years smaller but still popular Gibson Street Festival , the link being that Peter McNeil, brother of Moses and his family stayed for a few years at 32 Gibson Street.
It was a huge success again.
To enable us to again secure a stall at this years Gibson Street Festival we applied for a stall in January.
Two weeks ago i got an email back from the stalls coordinator stating ” Unfortunately we can’t offer the Founders Trail a stall this year due to the controversy your stall caused last year”.
I immediately suggested that we meet.
This meeting took place last week in a west end cafe where i asked for a full explanation.
They had received two phone calls and two emails. I asked for the worst of it.One email had said ” The Gibson Street event is a folk and community festival and it shouldn’t be aligning itself with a bigoted organisation”
We spoke at length about how we’re promoting a wonderful Glasgow story of kids who came into the city from rural Scotland to find employment but gave birth to one of the world’s greatest sporting institutions.
I stressed that he as organiser was doing nothing more than bending to bigots. That he wasn’t taking into consideration the many people who’d stopped at our stall and had complimented us on what we were there promoting.
I stated that our project will move on and the only people who would lose out from his decision were the kids at Yorkhill and the residents of Erskine Hospital.
It held no sway.
We set out four years ago to show that our Club’s story is indeed unique and it’s been hugely successful .
Glasgow and this country will forever live in the past as long as we have people such as those at the Gibson Street Festival who are willing to do the bigots work for them.
The Founders Trail which tours Glasgow telling the story of our Founders has since it’s inception in 2009 taken over 2,000 people on our journey of discovery which culminates in a guided tour of Ibrox Stadium.
Details of our research, the Founders Trail and Ibrox Stadium Tour can be found at :
The final location that we visit during the tour is Craigton Cemetery which is situated just over a mile from Ibrox Stadium. Buried there is Rangers greatest manager Mr William Struth .
Laid to rest in the same area are Founder of Rangers Peter McNeil , his parents John and Jane and bothers William and James .
These graves are unmarked and were located only after extensive research.
Over the last four years when visiting this site the feed-back from Rangers supporters has ranged from ‘’ this is a disgrace, surely the club should do something about this ‘’ to ‘’ Can you urge the Club to have memorials placed there’’ ?
This is a project that we’ve been keen to address but with the Club being where it was over the last couple of year the time just never seemed correct.
We at the Founders Trail feel that there is now an element of stability around the Club and with our club history being celebrated now more than ever that the time is now indeed correct to honour these gentlemen.
Peter McNeil, brother of Moses, was only 17 back in 1872 when he and his friends formed Rangers Football Club. He was a trusted committee member, and a wise administrator during the Club’s turbulent early years .
Research into our Founders has managed to locate Peter McNeil’s Grand-Daughters who attended our Founders dinner at Ibrox in 2009 and the Grand-Daughter of Peter’s brother James who is buried in the adjoining plot.
We have the full approval of both families on this project who have been kept up to date on developments.
Through Glasgow City Council and research at the Mitchell Library, we’ve established that James McNeil’s Grand-Daughter Mrs. Elizabeth Pirie, who was a guest of the Club at Ibrox in December 2012 at our 140th celebration day, is the legal owner of both plots.
She has been involved in the project from the outset as the lairs have been passed down to her from the original owner and her Grand-Father James McNeil.
Mrs. Pirie is the oldest living relative and is now in possession of the title deeds.
We at the Founders Trail have felt strongly for some time that the incredible contribution made by the McNeil brothers in first forming Rangers Football Club and guiding it through our turbulent early years should be recognized by the Club by way of the restoration and the placing of memorial stones at these plots at Craigton Cemetery.
Three weeks ago we completed our research and handed a lengthy document into the Club for approval.
Jim Hannah very kindly took our project on and met with Charles Green.
On Monday of this week we were told to go ahead with the project and order the stones which was done yesterday, 3rd April 2013.
Charles Green’s words were ” The Club is delighted to back this project . Once the stones are in place i’ll take the Founders Trail and pay my respects to these gentlemen”.
It will be a period of 6 weeks from the time of ordering the stones to them being placed at Craigton Cemetery.
All updates will be posted on these pages between now and when the memorials are put in place to honour our Founder and his family.