History of Rangers FC

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    • Ayrshire_Billy_Boy on FF.com schrieb:


      Willie Robb - a tribute to a forgotten goalkeeping hero of Rangers


      Part I:

      Rangers have been blessed with some truly exceptional goalkeepers down through the years. Bears of certain vintages will wax lyrical about men like Jerry Dawson, Bobby Brown and Billy Ritchie, and more recent times have seen talents like Chris Woods, Andy Goram and Stefan Klos excelling in the Rangers goals. Exclusion from the preceding list is not in any way intended as a slur; it is just intended as an example to show the quality Rangers have had at their disposal in that particular position through the years. However, conversation of Rangers goalkeepers will inevitably contain the aforementioned and more, yet one name will not feature on many lists. His name was Willie Robb.

      Willie Robb kept goal for Rangers in an astonishing 217 League games in a row from his debut on April 13th 1920 till October 24th, 1925. In short, he kept goal for five and a half seasons’ worth of League games without missing a solitary one. If we factor in the Scottish Cup then that adds another 27 games to the total. Factor in the Glasgow Cup – a big tournament in its day – and 19 gets added to the total. Factor in the Charity Shield and that adds a further 10 with his successor – Tom Hamilton - being selected for the 3 games in that tournament in 1924/25. If we look at the four tournaments then from the time of his debut till the time he missed a game then Willie Robb featured in 273 out of a possible 276 competitive first team games. If we look at the unbroken run up to the Charity Cup of 1924/25 then Willie Robb kept goal for Rangers for 257 times in a row. That in itself is a remarkable achievement but it is his consistency of appearance in League games he should be remembered for and this article seeks to pay tribute to a forgotten son of Ibrox.

      It should be pointed out right at the start that this article is not as it should be; lack of time precluded consultation of all existing archives but it is hoped enough was gathered to paint a picture of the player in question and to allow others to form an idea of the type of goalkeeper he was and the part he played in the development and triumphs of Rangers.

      A Ruglonian by birth, the story of Willie Robb’s involvement with Rangers began on Friday April 9th 1920 with news in the Scottish Press that a Willie Robb of non-league Armadale and previously of Birmingham City and Third Lanark (whom he played for during WW1) had signed for Rangers and would join up with his new Club the following season. Robb had been pivotal in Armadale’s exceptional Scottish Cup run of 1919/20 which had seen them defeat Clyde, Hibs and Ayr United only to lose at the quarter final stage to eventual winners Kilmarnock. However, Herbert Lock – the then current custodian of the Ibrox goals – injured himself in a 0-0 draw at Tynecastle on April 10 1920, necessitating Robb’s transfer to Ibrox to be brought forward and he was scheduled to make his debut at Somerset Park, Ayr on Tuesday April 13th, 1920. Thus he did, performing in a ‘masterly’ fashion according to a scribe of the time and helped Rangers win 2-1 in front of 15,000 in their 36th League game of the 1919/20 season. Robb’s run in that competition would last until he missed a game on October 31st, 1926.

      Rangers clinched the title in Robb’s inaugural season as Rangers goalkeeper with a 0-0 draw at Dumbarton on Wednesday April 28th with Robb making a few fine saves in his first clean sheet as the Rangers goalkeeper. Robb saw the season out in goals as was the tradition then by taking part in the Charity Cup. It was not a success, however, as Rangers lost 2-1 to Celtic in the semi-final after defeating Partick Thistle 4-0 in the opening round.

      The incomparable Bill Struth took over as manager on June 21st 1920 after the tragic death of William Wilton and took Rangers on a path to glory and himself to immortality. Willie Robb played a part at the start of this journey.

      It is difficult to form a totally accurate picture of Robb as a goalkeeper as no TV footage of his is likely to exist, nor will there be many – if any - Rangers fans alive who saw him play. All the modern day researcher has to go on is accounts by journalists of the time. The descriptions of Robb are very favourable. He was 6 feet tall and very few mentions are made of him making any major errors; in fact, the limited descriptions of him there are refer to him as being brilliant’ and ‘outstanding’ during the course of various games of his opening career although he does appear to have had a habit of at times straying too far from his goal, such as in a 2-1 win at Rugby Park. Descriptions of the saves he made allow us to form a picture of a tall goalkeeper who was nonetheless able to get down quickly to either side when the need arose although a newspaper noted at the end of October 1920 that Robb had yet to be tested properly in the Rangers goal. It seems to have been a factor of his time at Ibrox that he was idle for long spells of the games he played in as Rangers dominated their opponents, meaning his concentration had to be complete. This he seems to have managed with little difficulty.

      For a goalkeeper with such a successful club, representative honours were thin on the ground during his career. However, he was picked for the Scottish League’s XI for their fixture against their Irish counterparts at Ibrox in October 1920. Sadly, the heavy fog that descended on Glasgow on the day of the fixture necessitated the game’s postponement and he had to wait until January 25th before taking part in the fixture. In between times, he played a huge part in Rangers’ 1-0 win on January 15th 1920 which took Rangers 5 points clear of Celtic who had drawn 1-1 at Morton. Ten days later, as mentioned, he took part in the Inter-league game which resulted in a 3-0 win for Scotland in a game that featured Sandy Archibald. Robb, although rarely tested, kept a clean sheet which is all a goalkeeper can do during a game to call it a success.

      As Rangers progressed to another title win, Robb, Billy McCandless and Bert Manderson were forming a triumvirate described as a ‘tip-top trio’ by an alliterative onlooker as the Rangers rearguard ended the season conceding only 24 goals from 42 league games, a wonderful statistic when viewed in the context of the time. It’s obvious an understanding had developed between the three players; a comparison can possibly be made with that of Woods, Butcher and Roberts in the second half of 1986/87 season. Despite success on the domestic front – apart from the Scottish Cup – further representative awards eluded Robb as he was not chosen for the inter-league fixture with England at Highbury.
      :panthers:
    • Ayrshire_Billy_Boy schrieb:


      Part II:

      Moving into season 1921/22, Robb was described as a ‘great’ and ‘brilliant’ keeper in two separate games. While not having any corroborative evidence to substantiate this, it must be borne in mind that journalists of the day were less given to hyperbole than their infinitely less talented successors of this era so that has to be taken into account when trying to define the standard he was at. He picked up his first winner’s medal shortly after that season started in a 1-0 win over Celtic in the Glasgow Cup Final, Davie Meiklejohn scoring the goal. He is also said to have performed exceptionally well in the 0-0 draw with the same opponents in the 1922 New Year game. Proving there was more to his game than keeping clean sheets, Robb also took to the field as an inside forward for Rangers in a testimonial for Clyde’s Tommy Shingleton; however, he was not among the scorers in a 2-2 draw. 1921/22, despite domestically not being a particularly happy one for Rangers (Charity Cup aside), ended with Robb’s second consecutive 100% appearance record in domestic competitive games.

      Rangers regained their Crown in 1922/23 and representative honours of sorts came Robb’s way again. He was selected to play for Glasgow in an inter-city game against Sheffield. However, he had very little to do as Glasgow coasted to a 5-0 win at Firhill.

      It has been mentioned that for long periods, Robb would see little of the ball then would be called upon to make a sharp save. This was highlighted by the media in, ironically a 0-0 draw with Morton in September 1922. Despite almost total dominance, the Rangers attack could not find the net and Robb had to have his wits about him to keep the goal intact during Morton’s rare breakaways.

      He was obviously catching the eye of people other than the Rangers management and coaching staff as again, minor representative honours were bestowed upon him as he was selected as goalkeeper for a West v East charity fundraiser, again at Firhill, on November 21, 1922. The game ended 0-0 and he is said to have performed well. He was again selected for a Glasgow v East challenge, this time at Tynecastle in a testimonial for John Williamson of the East of Scotland Football Association and again kept a clean sheet as Glasgow won 1-0. Interestingly, the media commented on how he appeared to be lacking in a bit of confidence but he still played well in a 4-1 win over Dundee (a top of the table game) in December 1922.

      With this imperfect look approximately half way through Willie Robb’s run, it is perhaps time to reflect on what has been learned. He was 6 feet tall, had good reflexes and undeniably top-class concentration. His kicking was never in questioned – and there is evidence to suggest he was one of that rare breed of left-footed goalkeepers. For a tall man, he could get down to either side sharply and, according to a report of a 1-1 draw with Morton in 1923, he was capable of making full-length fingertip saves when necessary because of an exceptional reach. Little wonder the master that was Bill Struth picked him so often.

      Robb, and Rangers, ended 1922/23 as Champions and Charity Cup winners, but again without the Scottish Cup as the hoodoo looked to move into its second decade. However, bearing the hoodoo in mind, Tom Hamilton – synonymous with the game that broke the hoodoo – made his debut in a friendly at Linfield in April 1923.

      Rangers began 1923/24 as Champions; however Robb actually missed a game early on in that season due to blood poisoning, the fixture in question being Arthur Dixon’s testimonial in September 1923. Normal service was resumed, though, and Robb took his customary place in goals for what was to be a 1-0 win over Celtic in the Glasgow Cup semi-final before Rangers lifted the trophy, beating Third Lanark 3-1.

      The press noted a couple of errors as 1923 moved towards 1924; errors of judgement at Tynecastle and Dens Park, while not consequential in terms of points being lost, were highlighted although his judgement in rushing from goal to break opposition attacks was noted and praised as well. Indeed, it is said he was roundly cheered by the Ibrox crowd for his performance in a 4-0 win over Hamilton in December 1923.

      International recognition had not been forthcoming thus far; however, he came close to it when he was selected for the “B” team in March 1924 in the trial game to decide who would represent Scotland at Wembley in the upcoming international. Sadly, despite playing well for the winning team as “B” beat “A” 2-1, Willie Harper was given the nod. Compensation, though, was forthcoming in the form of another Championship medal, 1924’s being clinched with a 2-1 win over Hibs on April 5th. In the last game of that season – a 0-0 draw at Airdrie, he was described as never having been better in his time at Ibrox. Praise indeed.

      While Rangers won the title again in 1924/25, the season had an horrific moment in which Rangers lost 5-0 to Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final. While the temptation is there to delete it, the fact is it is a game Willie Robb took part in and was without doubt his lowest moment as a Rangers player. However, that season had happier times both for him individually and as a team-mate. He was again picked for the Scottish League to play against Ireland and was again victorious as Scotland won 3-0 at Tynecastle. Again, he was selected for a trial game, this time for the upcoming inter-league fixture with England. Again he was in the “B” team, again he was on the winning side (4-2) and again he was overlooked as first choice! The same scenario unfolded in the trial game for the international against England in 1925. The trial game ended 0-0 and again the Ranger was not selected for the main event.

      Despite this, his form in the league for Rangers was exceptional. Indeed, as the race for the title went to the last game, Robb excelled. One game – a 0-0 draw at Rugby Park – was described simply as “Robb v Killie”, a testament to his ability to withstand a heavy barrage as well as being relied upon to be focussed when Rangers were dominating games. As Rangers lifted another trophy, Robb was rested for the Charity Cup games, bringing to an end a quite remarkable attendance record. However, he did manage – quite uniquely – to end the Millport Sports Day’s 5-a-side tournament as top scorer in the summer!

      Moving into the season which would see his run of league appearances – and his time at Rangers – come to an end, Robb carried on where he had left off, performing exceptionally in the 1-0 win over Celtic in October 1925. A fortnight after this game, on Hallowe’en, 1925 Willie Robb missed a Rangers game in the league for the first time since he had made his debut in 1920. However, there is a pleasant story behind it as he was making his Scotland debut in a 3-0 win over Wales in Cardiff as Tom Hamilton kept goal for a Rangers team who lost 1-0 at Kirkcaldy. It’s easy to suggest that a run like that of Robb’s coming to an end like it did is far better than putting it down to injury.

      However, he was back in the Rangers team the following week and remained there until a collision with an opponent in a game against Motherwell on November 25th kept him out until Rangers’ first ever visit to Tannadice on December 19th 1925. He was blameless as Rangers slipped to a 2-1 defeat. His last game for Rangers was not long in following, a 2-2 draw with Hearts in January 1926. He was blamed for both goals and was never seen in the Rangers team again, ending up at Hibs where, ironically, he played against Rangers at Tynecastle in the Scottish Cup Semi Final of 1928as Rangers set about ending the hoodoo in its 25th year.

      However, despite what appears to have been a fairly ignominious end, nothing should be allowed to detract from the efforts Willie Robb made on behalf of the Rangers. Contemporary reports allow us to form an image of a highly capable goalkeeper who deserves to be remembered. It is debateable if anybody will ever display such consistency again. When it’s asked how good he was, the answer must surely be that he was good enough for Bill Struth to pick him for over 5 years in a row.

      Willie Robb – gone but never again to be forgotten.


      PS: Thanks Ayrshire for permission to post it here :nuke:
      :panthers:
    • A comment of David Leggat on the happenings during Manchester 2008, as written on his blog on August 27th, 2010 (incl. 80 comments).


      Friday, 27 August 2010

      MANCHESTER MYTH


      THERE was nothing more certain, than when Rangers were paired with Manchester United in the Champions League, it would spark of a feeding frenzy in the press.

      When the draw was made I predicted, in a telehphone conversation with a friend, that Rangers supporters had better get ready for the badly reported events in Manchester in May 2008 to be repeated....

      Over and over, and over, again and again

      What even I could not predict though was that one newspaper - the Daily Mail since you ask - would go as far as to report Greater Manchester Police could tell UEFA the match must only take place behind closed doors.

      That was just about as irresponsible piece of journalism as I've seen for many a long day.

      For instance,did the the Daily Mail suggest that this summer's T in the Park should take place behind closed doors? No! Yet there has been murder, mayhem and rape at this event. And less than half the people at it than there were Rangers supporters in Manchester for the UEFA Cup Final.

      T in the Park went on again this year and there was more violence and drug peddling, just as there will be next summer. Maybe the Daily Mail will find there were a few Rangers supporters at the music festival and blame them for all the trouble.

      Some of the coverage of the events in that city just over two years ago made me ponder - and wonder at decisions taken by desk-bound newspaper executives, despite input from journalists who were eye witnesses to many of the things which happened.

      One paper which was willing to print eye witness accounts by reporters and photographers on the ground, of the way some police officers behaved, was the Daily Record.

      I had one experience myself of the attitude of Greater Manchester Police as I made my way back to my hotel, just after midnight. As I passed along Piccadilly my way was barred by the fierce sight of a line of police, fully kitted out in riot gear, and brandishing the sort of deadly looking batons Dixon of Dock Green never carried

      This line of steel stretched across the street, preventing me getting to my hotel, and, not being too sure of any other route, I approached one of these scary looking riot police.

      Now, as anyone who knows me would tell you, as opposed to some of my colleagues who go their work dressed as though ready for a shift on a building site, it is my habit to look respectable.

      So there I was, a suited and booted middle aged man, wearing a shirt and tie, approaching a policeman to ask how best to reach my hotel.

      My reasonable request was met by a snarl, followed by the brandish towards me of a riot stick, which would have looked more at home on the streets of Paris in 1968, and topped off by his bark of, ''f**k off.''

      Fortunately - and unusually for me - my UEFA press pass - a large and impressive document - was still hanging from my neck, just out of sight under my buttoned jacket which, stepping back, I undid.

      When I motioned this pass to a prominent position ,and then said :''Excuse me officer, I am officially UEFA accredited,'' there was a quick double take and he then told me of an alternative way to my hotel.

      Now, needless to say, there are those of you who are wondering why this information did not appear in my column in the Sunday newspaper I worked for then.

      Only now can I tell you that it was written in a column, which also deplored the action of the minority who caused the trouble, and the few who took advantage of it to loot a few shops.

      I also wrote than I took the view that only when the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth - and that included the actions and attitude of the police - was uncovered, could a final verdict be delivered.

      Within an hour the sports editor was on the phone saying that no, he could not accept what I was saying.
      Despite reading the accounts in that day's Record to him, and asking him to read them for himself, he laid down the law, and the column had to be rewritten.

      To this day I am certain only my UEFA accreditation saved me from a whack on the head from that angry and aggressive riot cop, plus probably arrest when I came out of a coma.

      How many other innocents, who didn't have my credentials, were battered by a police force which, in my view, gave every impression of being out of control?

      Remember too Greater Manchester Police was leaderless, and in state of shock after its chief constable had climbed to the top of a hill, swallowed a bottle of vodka, and committed suicide.

      It is also worth nothing that by seven on the Friday morning a senior policewoman was put in front of the nation's television cameras to show a soft side. It was classic spin. And it worked.

      Now, nobody should mistake any of this as an apology for the morons who threw bottles at the televsion screens when they failed right at the start of the UEFA Cup Final. How did they think that was going to help the screens? As I said, morons.

      Nor should it be seen as a defence for anyone who joined in with the senseless attack on the defenceless policeman, the pictures of which were shocking and sickening.

      I hope the forces of law and order hunt down the last culrpit, and that they face the full Majesty of the law, and feel its full weight.

      But, and this was the view of the leader of the local council in Manchester, only just over 1000 at the very most were involved. That is a little more than 1000 from 2000,000. Or, to put it another way, just one HALF of one per cent

      Which is a lot less than the percentage of murderers, rapists and drug dealers who have been at the last two T in the Park events.

      I am however, still wondering what was the motivation of my sports editor in denying me the right and journalistic freedom to write about what had happened to me.

      It is something I would have liked to have discussed with him. Unfortunately, shortly after, he was sacked and the police called in to investigate his involvement in a £300,000 fraud.

      There may be some who believe much of the reporting at the time of what did and did not happen in Manchester, which is now being repeated by people who were not there, is a bit of a fraud too.
      Gæð a Wyrd swa hio scel!


      RANGERS AN SINN - RANGERS AN DRASDA - RANGERS GU BRATH
    • And on the same note ... Manchester 2008


      UEFA Cup Final riot: The police lost control

      May 16 2008 By Keith McLeod In Manchester

      BEING on the wrong end of a full-scale charge by police in riot gear is not an experience I'll want to remember.
      One minute the police had lined up, batons drawn and shields up, the next all hell broke loose.
      The police charges seemed ad-hoc, ill-planned and badly co-ordinated.
      One minute they drove fans in one direction, the next it was another.
      This meant that innocent people who had little knowledge of what was going on became embroiled through no fault of their own.
      Some, taken by surprise, were simply not fast enough to outrun the police, who brought in vans and dogs.

      The trigger had been a small number of "fans" who goaded the police by going eye-to-eye with them or chucking a bottle.
      And it was remarkable that almost none of the ringleaders wore club colours or spoke with a Scottish accent. There were, however, many English and Northern Irish accents.

      However, no matter who was involved, the charge by the police was indiscriminate.
      Anyone in their line of advance was a potential target, or so it seemed.
      This meant that when the charge began, the first of a dozen when police frankly lost control of Manchester city centre, those fans who had provoked it scattered quickly, leaving innocents behind to deal with the consequences.

      This was Piccadilly Gardens, the main fan zone in Manchester's showpiece UEFA Cup final celebration.
      I can remember running back with my right hand up to protect myself from any baton blow.
      People were being chased into a confined space with no obvious escape route.
      Thankfully, the full-on police charge halted short of me and I escaped intact.
      Others were not quite so lucky though. I saw baton blows being landed on heads. Maybe police were aiming for the upper arm but the blows did land on heads.
      The next thing I saw was more clear cut. This time, three riot officers chased one man who fell to his knees next to the shutters of a shop.

      Despite the fact he was down, a baton blow hit him square on the back, quickly followed by another.

      The police officer who cuffed him saw fit to land three kicks to the kidney area. The next two hours were punctuated by similar charges where drunk hooligans went face to face with the police.
      Each time more riot police were bussed in, the buses themselves along with police cars became immediate targets for bottles.

      My colleague Craig McDonald was also caught up, though in a different area.

      Several people had hit the deck and showed no sign of getting up any time soon.
      Ambulances were allowed through the mob but police vans and cars were instant targets.

      It was a good idea to crouch in a shop doorway or a nearby alley because there was no way of telling where the next missile was going to land.
      I saw many people with head injuries and baying macho fronts on both sides. A small group of thugs were taunting the police to come forward, which they did at speed, some thumping their batons against their shields. As a bottle was thrown, one cop wearing helmet and visor chose to meet it with a headbutt.

      As the chaos continued I saw elderly people trying to flee and mothers running with toddlers in their arms or in their chairs.

      At one point, police bundled two Record photographers into a police van for their "own safety" - only for other police to force them out again seconds later.

      Only when the police cleared out, leaving no target for the bottle throwers, did things calm down. Zenit fans mingled with Rangers fans with no inter-fan fighting.

      We were shocked by the trouble but not surprised.

      I was uneasy at 4pm on Wednesday.

      I had arrived at Piccadilly Gardens and was even then concerned by the huge numbers on the streets.

      Yes, it was a carnival atmosphere.

      But there were too many people. Even at that stage there were too many, causing bottlenecks and potential for crushing.

      As I made my way to another fan zone at Cathedral Gardens it dawned on me there were too many fans in the city as a whole.

      Police and stewards were doing their best but there were not enough of them.

      It struck me police had badly misjudged numbers of fans. There seemed to be double the anticipated 100,000.

      Manchester City Council had told us they were used to huge sporting events and could cope.

      Fan zones with a combined capacity of 22,000 just didn't stack up.

      The trouble on the streets seemed to be sparked when a huge screen in the main fan zone broke down five minutes before kick-off. For 15 minutes, a sign on the screen said the link from the stadium was being repaired.

      Then the screen went blank.

      At this point, thousands of angry fans tried to get to the other big screens elsewhere in the city centre.

      At first, police allowed access down Oldham Street. Then a line of riot police blocked the street off.

      When aggressive riot police line up, it is highly intimidating. It seems to bring out aggressive and intimidating behaviour in people that way inclined.

      The worst of the trouble began when the riot police arrived. It stopped when the riot police left.


      Daily Record
      Gæð a Wyrd swa hio scel!


      RANGERS AN SINN - RANGERS AN DRASDA - RANGERS GU BRATH
    • Rangers 0 Hibs 0 1950

      Mr.Struth schrieb:

      A title decider, The Rangers Iron curtain v the Hibs famous five ... the score was 0-0 Rangers drew the following week to clinch the league title once? more !! Crowd was given at 101, 000 though the amount of kids lifed over in those days would suggest the exact figure would have been far higher.
      :panthers: