10 December 2012

Here's to the Next 140 Years

by Andy McKellar | CRO Deputy Editor

Four men had a dream
To start a football team
They had no money, no kit, not even a ball
But they carried on
The Rangers were born
54 titles, we’re still going strong


 Saturday was quite an occasion, wasn’t it?

Rangers Football Club and its loyal supporters this weekend celebrated 140 years of our proud institution and commemorated the numerous achievements, successes and victories throughout our illustrious history. It was always going to be an emotional day, heightened certainly by the recent tribulations we have overcome, and so it proved to be.

Stirling Albion were the visitors for league duty in the Third Division however, in truth, Saturday was about much more than the football on the park. The Rangers supporters filtered into Ibrox before kick-off and were treated to a very moving montage on the big screens, chronologically passing through the most noteworthy moments throughout the years.
The crowd revisited our humble beginnings, were taken through the domination of the Struth era and of course shown that famous night in Barcelona. There was also a poignant reminder of the tragedies that have shaped our Club, particularly the Ibrox disaster of 1971, and we should never forget those who came to watch their team and sadly never returned home.

Then of course there was 9-in-a-row which, quite frankly, speaks for itself. We marvelled at the talents of Laudrup and Gascoigne and then were quickly fast-forwarded into the days of De Boer, Van Bronckhorst and Mols. We remembered that Lovenkrands’ header in the last minute of the Scottish Cup final. We remembered Helicopter Sunday.

Thereafter came the darker days of the McLeish / Le Guen years before Walter Smith returned when duty called. He brought us that famous night in Florence, when Nacho Novo sent Rangers to Manchester and the three titles that followed, despite crippling financial difficulties. And then came McCoist. What comes next in our story is really up to him.  

The match itself started in fine fashion with Rangers creating numerous chances to open the scoring. Sadly our finishing left a lot to be desired and Stirling Albion weathered the storm, settled down and eventually restricted our chances. The huge crowd of 49,913 though weren’t put off by the lack of goals and the BF1 ‘mad squad’ in particular were doing a fine job in creating an atmosphere.

The half-time whistle sounded and the players made their way down the tunnel. Then came the main attraction. Andy Gray emerged from the tunnel, microphone in hand, and began to speak of our history and of the various successes achieved by Rangers Football Club.

After a quick recap of our numerous titles and trophies, it was time to welcome some of the great men who were crucial in the creation of such a fine history. From Bobby Brown, the final barricade of the famous Iron Curtain defence, right through to Lorenzo Amoruso and Michael Mols, we were treated again to the presence of some fantastic footballers.

There was of course one man sadly missing from the celebrations, someone who has been a great Ranger both as a player and as an ambassador of the Club. This man fought as hard as anybody to keep our club alive following our entry into administration and for that he deserves great recognition. I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing him well in his recovery. All the best, Sandy.

The half-time proceedings were very emotional and it was great to witness the legends of our Club receiving such a rapturous welcome by the supporters in the stadium. There have been many proud moments in my life as a Rangers supporter but Saturday was right up there with the very best of them. I must admit it was very difficult not to shed a tear.

While Saturday was about acknowledging and appreciating our past, it was also about building for the future as the current team secured another home win to remain at the top of the table. Ally McCoist’s rebuilding job continues as we seek to get back to where we belong – the top of Scottish football.

The rest of the Rangers’ story remains unwritten, blank pages waiting to be filled. So much potential, so much hope. Here’s to the next 140 years.

Rangers: Then, Now, Forever.