Your Club, Your History, Your Story To Tell

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Your Club, Your History, Your Story To Tell

We at the Founders Trail continue to be overwhelmed by the support shown to our project. Over the last 7 years, approximately 5000 people have joined us on our tour of Glasgow, listening to the story of how our Club was formed, where we played our early games and where our Founders lived and worked in the city.

The Founders Trail and Ibrox Stadium Tour wouldn’t be as successful as it is today without your continued support so we’d like to say a big thank you to you all!

As a club and support, we have been to hell and back over the last four years. This has seen many fans look to our history with a renewed fondness. As promotion to the Premiership looms large on the horizon, we’ll soon be back where we belong and now is a great time to embrace our history and shout it from the rooftops.

We have a story that is unique in world football so let’s start sharing it. Tell your friends, family, workmates, or even the boys down the local about the four lads who formed the World’s most successful club. We have a history to be proud of. This is your club, your history and your story to tell.

For those wishing to learn more about the formative years of the Club, you can join us on the Founders Trail & Ibrox Stadium Tour. Check out our website www.thegallantpioneers.co.uk for upcoming tour dates then just drop us an email to thegallantpioneers.co.uk or call 07902 855536 to secure your seat.

115 Years Ago Today….

115 Years Ago Today….

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On the 30th March 1901 our Founder Peter McNeil passed at Hawkhead Asylum in Glasgow.

He rests in Craigton Cemetery with his brothers William and James and parents John and Jean.

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Rangers team-mate William Dunlop wrote about the Club’s first few weeks on Fleshers Haugh in the SFA Handbook of 1881.

Using the name ‘True Blue’ he penned that ”genial Peter McNeil would travel on a Saturday morning to a desirable part of the Glasgow Green, set up the noted standards and stand guard until the classic hour came when he would be joined by his friends”.

We felt this was a very dramatic and moving image and commissioned a painting to be done depicting this scene .

The painting by artist Helen Runciman hangs at the top of the Marble Staircase at Ibrox.

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http://www.thegallantpioneers.co.uk/Peter-McNeil.html

A Tribute to The Gallant Pioneers

The following is a very touching poem sent to us by fellow Rangers supporter and poster ItsInTheNet.

The Gallant Pioneers / Founders Trail

It was the turn of the year in Eighteen Seventy-Two
When four young men who were steadfast and true
Walked through West End Park and spoke of their dream
To fashion and form their own football team

They were named Peter and Moses McNeil of Rosneath
Alongside Peter Campbell and William McBeath
Tom Vallance would soon join them to captain the side
As they began to play football with passion and pride

No obstacle deterred those bold Pioneers
They refused to give up as they sweat blood and tears
Until that blest day upon Fleshers Haugh
The Rangers were born in wonder and awe

On that historical date on that Spring day in May
Callander were the team the Rangers did play
The team thrived and grew against all the odds
As they delivered their fates into the laps of the gods

From such humble beginnings rose this glorious story
Of our dear club’s rise to fame and world renowned glory
For it was planned in the heavens from the day of it’s birth
That the Rangers would be known in the four corners of earth

Their names we shall honour, their memories we shall hail
As we retrace their footsteps on the club’s Founders Trail
Thank you Gordon Bell, thank you Iain McColl
For making our history a pathway for all

Restoring the gravestones from morning ’til night
The results are a sacred and beautiful sight
Engraving the names in marble and stone
You know who you are, you are one of our own

Now our footprints can merge with those gone before
In passion and love for our Founders of yore
Ne’er shall we forget the price that they paid
As we build upon the foundation they laid

As all great men do they knew heartbreak and sorrow
But the tears that they shed are our hope for tomorrow
The trumpets were sounded as they entered God’s rest
For those Gallant Pioneers were simply the best

So look down from Heaven, look down with pride
On the team that you formed on the banks of the Clyde
We will never forget through the passage of years
You four Angels of Ibrox, The Gallant Pioneers

ItsInTheNet

 

140 Years Ago Today……

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25th March 1876

On the 25th March 1876 Moses McNeil became the first Rangers player to be capped by Scotland when they defeated Wales 4-0 at Hamilton Crescent in Partick.

Joining him in the Scotland team was older brother Harry who scored.

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129 Years ago today……

24th March 1887

Rangers required funds to help with the move from Kinning Park to First Ibrox subsequently a committee was formed which was chaired by Tom Vallance.

The ‘’Monstre Concerts’’ which were organised proved to be extremely popular and quickly sold out.

The outlets shown at the bottom of the advert show that tickets could be purchased from Harry and Peter McNeil’s shop on Union Street , and from George Gillespie and James Watson who both played in that legendary series of games that was the 1877 Scottish Cup Final.

This was the lads who’d formed our Club, and others from our early years, fund-raising to help their dream become a reality.

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The Waterloo Rooms stood on the corner of Waterloo Street and Wellington Street.

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In 1910 it became The Alhambra Theatre which was demolished in 1971.

Today it’s the Alhambra House office block.

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126 Years ago today….

 

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One of our locations on the Founders Trail is the site of what was Holton’s Commercial Hotel at 28 Glassford Street Glasgow.

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Today it’s the Merchant City’s Gala Casino.
It was here on the 20th March 1890 that the Scottish Football League was formed, Rangers were of course to share that first League win with Dumbarton.
Some two years previously William McGregor, a Scot serving on the committee of Aston Villa, had written to the secretaries of 12 leading English clubs of the day and requested a meeting that had led to the formation of the Football League.
The success of the competition had brought admiring and envious glances from north of the border, and so Peter Fairly, secretary of the Renton club had written to the representatives of 12 leading Scottish clubs requesting a meeting at 7.30 p.m. at Holton’s Commercial Hotel in Glassford Street in Glasgow.

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John Mellish

The clubs who attended were,Abercorn,Cambuslang,Celtic,Cowlairs,Dumbarton ,Heart of Midlothian,Rangers (who were represented by John Mellish,president, and match secretary William Wilton), Renton,St.Bernard’s,St.Mirren,Third Lanark and Vale of Leven.

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William Wilton

This list,of course,is notable for the absence of Queen’s Park,undoubtedly the strongest club of the day, but one which was sure the League would lead to professionalism (which it did).
The principles of the League were agreed at the meeting, although St.Bernard’s were not admitted to the League and this left 11 clubs to compete in the first season, due to commence on 16th August 1890, and it was also agreed that League matches were to take preference over all other games with the exception of Scottish cup-ties.
More importantly, it now guaranteed Rangers a regular series of fixtures.

The Restoration of Rangers Graves Project. John McPherson.

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As the work on the Rangers Graves Restoration Project continues we were delighted and honoured to be contacted recently by the Great Grandson of Rangers player John McPherson.

He informed us that Mr Mcpherson is buried in Craigton Cemetery , which has over the last few years become hallowed ground due to the ever growing list of Rangers Legends laid to rest there.

At the end of of last week , due to to information received from the his family , we managed to locate the final resting place of Rangers ‘’ first superstar’’John McPherson.

His plot will now be added to the Rangers Grave Restoration Project and will be brought back to it’s original glory.

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JOHN MCPHERSON
THERE have been some hugely talented players who have pulled on the Light Blue over the decades and it is fair to say that John “Kitey” McPherson was the club’s first superstar.

The recruitment of the Ayrshireman coincided with the formation of the Scottish Football League in 1890 and he became a huge figure in what was a highly successful era for Rangers.

Indeed, he made the kind of start that dreams are made of. He scored on his Rangers debut – a 5-2 win over Hearts – scored four times in his second game, a 6-2 thumping of Renton, and then hit five goals in the 8-2 demolition of St Mirren.

It was an unbelievable start, but it was no flash in the pan. McPherson was a pivotal player in 12 years on the field and subsequently a skilled administrator of the Club.

He actually played in every position for Rangers, including goalkeeper, but it was as an inside forward that he shone brightest scoring goals as well as setting them up with tremendous regularity.

He was part of the first Championship-winning team when Rangers and Dumbarton shared the inaugural Scottish League title.

The two sides had finished level on points and the authorities ordered a play-off which finished 2-2 so a share was a declared.

McPherson was captain by the time Rangers achieved one of their main ambitions, to win the Scottish Cup.

They had not been in the final for 15 years when they faced Celtic at Hampden in front of 17,000 in 1894 and, fittingly, McPherson scored the third goal in a 3-1 victory over the team that was fast becoming their main rivals.
Jock had scored in every round on route to the Final as Rangers finally claimed the prize seen as the Blue Riband of the Scottish game.

McPherson was on the score-sheet again when Rangers won the trophy for a second time in 1897 when Dumbarton were thrashed 5-1 and a year later the old trophy was retained when Kilmarnock were beaten 2-0.

Season 1898/99 was astonishing to say the least and McPherson was a key man in a league campaign that has never been equalled anywhere in the world.

Rangers won all of their 18 league matches scoring 79 goals and conceding just 18. It was the perfect league championship win and McPherson played in 15 of the games, scoring seven times.

It was the start of a wonderful stranglehold of the Scottish title and the team that did it is undoubtedly on a par with the great sides that dominated the 1920s and 30s, the late 1940s, the early 1960s and the 1990s.

With McPherson at the hub of it all, Rangers retained the title in 1899/1900 by seven points from Celtic.
He only missed two matches the following season and scored seven times as the title remained at Ibrox for a third successive year, and then Rangers made it four in a row in 1901/02, McPherson’s final season in the first team.

Incredibly, his final league appearance was as goalkeeper in the 3-2 win over St Mirren on January 18 1902 – a match Rangers had to win to hold off Celtic for the title – as regular keeper Mathew Dickie was injured.

It’s a bit like Brian Laudrup replacing Andy Goram .

McPherson had been a massive player in a fantastic era for Rangers. In 1907 he became a director of the club and served until his death in 1926.

He collapsed and died while watching the Clyde Sports at Shawfield and one contemporary described him as “the finest player in the first 50 years of the club’s history”.

Born: June 19, 1868, Kilmarnock.
Appearances: 218. Goals: 121.
Honours:
League title – 1890/91, 1898/99, 1899/1900, 1900/01, 1901/02 (5)
Scottish Cup – 1893/94, 1896/97, 1897/98 (3)
Caps: 9, Scotland (5 with Rangers)

Saturday’s Dedication service To Harry McNeil.

A huge thanks to everyone who came along to Rutherglen Cemetery and paid their respects today to Harry McNeil.

His family were overwhelmed by the turn out for their Great Grandfather.

We were joined by Rangers Chaplin Stuart MacQuarrie who read the dedication to a Ranger who played in that first ever game at Fleshers Haugh.

The plots were purchased by Harry’s son John McNeil . Andrew Park who is listed was John’s Brother In Law.

Annie Robertson McNeil Scott was Harry McNeil’s daughter.

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Dedication Service for Harry McNeil. Saturday 12th March.

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On Saturday 12th March a dedication service for Harry McNeil ,conducted by Rangers Chaplin Stuart Macquarrie, will be held at 1pm at Rutherglen Cemetery Mill Street Rutherglen .

Also buried there are Harry’s Brother in Law Andrew Park and his daughter Annie Robertson McNeil Scott.

Thereafter a reception will be held at Rutherglen Masonic Hall 5 Melrose Avenue.

All those who wish to attend will be made welcome.

This commemoration is part of the Rangers Graves Restoration Project which is supported by Rangers Football Club.

Harry McNeil.

Harry McNeil was the older brother of our Founders Moses and Peter.

He has the distinction of having played for the Rangers in that first ever game v Callander in May 1872 on Fleshers Haugh.

He would play for the Club again during the 1880’s and was a member of the Rangers Ancients team, along with the likes of Tom Vallance,who played many exhibition and charitable matches.

Harry would go into a business partnership with his brother Peter , their H+ P McNeil sports good premises were a feature on both Union Street and Renfield Street Glasgow from the mid 1870’s until 1896.

Once he’d hung up his boots Harry was to run the Royal Hotel in Bangor County Down.

He was still attending Ibrox cheering on his beloved Rangers during the early 1920’s

Harry McNeil passed in 1924 and is survived by his Great Grandchildren Ann Law and Archie Stewart who as guests of the Club ,attended Ibrox in January .