Sunday, July 20, 2014

Glasgow Rangers club tour

Emdad Rahman: Glasgow has an abundance of history and Mohammed and I popped up to Gasgow for the day. Our first port of call was the historic Ibrox Stadium - to survey and savour the history of one of the world’s great football clubs.

Many moons ago 4 young men shared a dream - to start a football club. They had no money, no kit - not even a ball.

Yet from such humble beginnings emerged a magnificent football club  - Rangers FC. None of those four men could have foreseen the shockwaves the ripple effect of their actions were about to do when they met in 1872. At that time all they wanted was having their own little team to play for and represent. No one dared dream that over a century later the baby named Glasgow Rangers would become a venerated football goliath.  Nor could they have envisaged that Glasgow Rangers would win trophies galore and have a worldwide following running into millions.

All those championships and cups would never have found their way into the Ibrox Trophy Room but for that encounter between Peter McNeil, his brother Moses, Peter Campbell and William McBeath.

Their first match was an unlikely affair against Callander FC at Flesher's Haugh on Glasgow Green.

The pitch was open to all-comers, so to claim it for your game you had to make sure you were there first. The home team played in street clothes, with the exception of four "guests" who, as they were members of other clubs, already had their own strips. The ball was second-hand.

The result was 0-0, but that didn't matter. Rangers had been born.

The famous 'RFC' Scroll crest is now instantly recognisable to football fans across the world and is steeped in history.

It is believed to have been used by the Club since its formation in 1872 although the oldest item to be found with this crest stamped on it is from 1881-82 season. The Rangers-Celtic Old Firm rivalry is one of the oldest and fiercest in world football, dating back to the late 19th century when Celtic were founded in Glasgow's East End.

The teams first met at Celtic Park on May 28, 1888 in what was also the Parkhead club's first-ever match. Around 2,000 fans saw the home side win 5-2.

The nickname 'The Old Firm' originated during the early year of the 20th century when the clubs began to dominate Scottish football and the term in part referred to the financial benefits associated with their frequent meetings.

No two teams have dominated their national championship as much as Rangers and Celtic - between them they have won 96 of the 114 Scottish titles available since 1890.

And they have also contested numerous dramatic head-to-head encounters.

Taking over as manager from William Wilton in 1920, Bill Struth was Rangers' most successful manager, guiding the club to 14 league titles before the onset of the Second World War. On 2 January 1939 a British league attendance record was broken as 118,567 fans turned out to watch Rangers beat Celtic in the traditional New Year's Day Old Firm match.

Leading the club for 34 years until 1954, Struth won more trophies than any manager in Scottish Football history, amassing 18 league championships, 10 Scottish Cups, 2 League Cups, 7 war-time championships, 19 Glasgow Cups, 17 Glasgow Merchant Charity Cups and other war-time honours. During the wartime regional league setup, Rangers achieved their highest score against old firm rivals Celtic with an 8–1 win in the Southern Football League.

Our tour guide was Chris and what was evident right away was his love for the club. Couple that with his knowledge and constant research into all things Rangers, and you have a fantastic Club Ambassador. A big thank you to Chris for being such a terrific host.

Whether you’re a football fan or not you too can experience the magic of this world famous stadium with your very own 'access all areas' pass!

On the Ibrox Tour you will get exclusive access to the home dressing room, climb the marble staircase and explore the illustrious Trophy Room. Plus take a virtual tour of the Club's state of the art training facility at Murray Park and run down the tunnel before taking a seat in the dugout.

Ibrox Tours run every Friday, Saturday* and Sunday* and are priced at just £8 for Adults, £5.50 for Children/OAPs - Kids 5 years & under go free and a family ticket for 2 Adults & 2 Kids is £24.50.

*Not on match days.

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