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On This Day. Rangers First Manager William Wilton.



On This Day. Rangers First Manager William Wilton.


121 Years Ago Today on the 1st June 1899 William Wilton was appointed first manager of Rangers at Trades House Glassford Street Glasgow.


William Wilton (9 June 1865 – 2 May 1920) was the first manager of Rangers Football Club, serving the club in that position from June 1899 until his death in 1920.


He had previously filled several roles including match secretary to the reserve and first teams.


Mr Wilton joined the club in September 1883 as a player but never progressed beyond the second string eleven. He was soon appointed secretary to the club's youth team and reserve side. He was also on the special committee that oversaw the club's move from Kinning Park to the first Ibrox ground in 1887.


Mr Wilton became match secretary of the first team in 1889, succeeding from Jimmy Gossland. The club shared the inaugural Scottish League title in 1891. Mr Wilton had been appointed as the league's first treasurer at the start of the season.


When the club became a limited company ten years later Mr Wilton was chosen as manager.

In his decade as match secretary for the first team, the club won two League championships in 1891 and 1899, as well as three Scottish Cups in 1894, 1897 and 1898. He also won four Glasgow Cup's in 1893, 1894, 1897 and 1898, and a Charity Cup in 1897.


Rangers had achieved the first ever 100% league record, winning all 18 games and scoring 79 goals in 1898-99. To date no team has achieved the same.


Under Wilton's stewardship as manager, Rangers won eight league championships and another Scottish Cup, nine Glasgow Cups and seven Charity Cups. In his final season as manager the club won its tenth league championship.


Mr Wilton tragically died in a boating accident at Gourock in 1920.


John Allan’s book, The Story Of The Rangers, paid him this fitting tribute: “The ideals for which he strove are still sought after by those who are left in custody of the cherished traditions of the club.”




Mr Wilton’s final resting place at Cathcart Cemetery has been restored as part of our Restoration Of Rangers Project.

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