161 Years Ago Today.
On the 29th October 1855 our Founder Moses McNeil was born.
Moses was from the east side of the Gareloch , his father John was from Comrie in Perthshire and mother Jane Bain from Downpatrick in Ulster.
He was a natural athlete Powerful and of stocky build , it was said that was known for his pace and he had stamina too.
Moses is the name recognized by most people when talking about our Founders as there is a theory that he gave the Club its name of Rangers.
The name Rangers appears in CW Alcock’s English Football Annual of 1871.
The only other Club listed with the name Rangers was the Swindon Rangers Rugby Club who are still going strong today.
Clubs back in the early days of association football chose dynamic names such as Rovers and Wanderers and this is possibly why the name Rangers attracted the young Moses.
We at the Founders Trail are continuing to work on this and are hopeful of getting something more definitive soon.
In the Ibrox trophy room is a cup won by Moses for a half-mile race at the Garelochead Athletic Sports on 1 January, 1876 and it’s the oldest Trophy that the Club has.
Moses played for the club he helped form for ten years, playing in the 1877 and 1879 Scottish Cup Finals. He was also a member of the first Rangers side to lift a trophy, the Glasgow Merchants Charity Cup in 1879.
He actually left Rangers to join his brother Harry at Queen’s Park for a few months at the end of 1875 but quickly returned to the Light Blues.
He was the first Ranger to play for his country, in a 4-0 victory over Wales at Hamilton Crescent Partick in 1876 and was capped again, when Scotland defeated England 5-4 at First Hampden Park in 1880.
For a great deal of his playing career, he formed the Rangers’ left wing with his old friend and fellow Pioneer, Peter Campbell.
Although being a member of committee during his playing days, he had little involvement after his football career was over. He did feature, though, on a number of occasions with his old pals in the Rangers “Ancients” team who played many exhibition and charitable matches.
Moses led a nomadic lifestyle mainly due to his 20 year employment with the company Langs whose name was synonymous with the famous brand of whisky.
Their premises which Moses worked from was on Union Street in Glasgow.
During his time in Glasgow Moses lived at 169 Berkeley Street and 333 Dumbarton Road.
These locations are among many others that we cover during the Founders Trail.
During research for the Gallant Pioneers book an elderly lady was interviewed who until her recent passing still lived next door to Moses old house at Clynder on the shores of the Gareloch .
As a little girl back in the early 1930’s she could recall him being known around the village as “The Rangers man’’, and that he was always very dapper in his suit and bowler hat. It was said that Moses would travel to Glasgow once a month to collect his pension, most likely from the Club, and then return later in the day with a spring in his step and a slur on his speech!
He spent the last few years of his life living with his sister, Isabella, in Clynder at Craig Cottage. She died in 1935, to be followed by her brother, the last of the siblings, in 1938.
They lie together with their sister Elizabeth and Isabella’s husband, Duncan Gray, in the lovely churchyard at Rosneath.
But sadly for the man who gave Rangers their name his own wasn’t inscribed on the family headstone. This was due to Moses being the last of the family in the area and there wouldn’t have been anyone around to add his name to the stone.
The late Sandy Jardine was a great supporter of the Founders project. We knew that Sandy had been working on having a plaque with Moses name on it placed at the churchyard at Rosneath.
On Sunday 28th June 2015 as part of the Rangers Graves Restoration Project a plaque bearing the name of Moses McNeil was unveiled at Rosneath Cemtery at a dedication ceremony conducted by Parish Minister Christine Murdoch.
Rangers Football Club was represented by former captain Ally Dawson.
A memorial is now in place for a lad who fought so hard to establish the Rangers during those turbulent early years.]
Moses McNeil packed a bag in 1871, left Rosneath, and headed to industrial Glasgow seeking employment.
What he actually did was help form a football club that was to become the world’s most successful and would affect the lives of millions worldwide for generations to come….that continues to this day.