130 Years Ago Today.
The opening of First Ibrox 20th August 1887.
Rangers Football Club was formed on Fleshers Haugh in 1872.
In 1875 we moved to the West End of Glasgow and Burnbank where we leased the ground from the Glasgow Accies Rugby Club for one season.
1876 and we were on the move again to the Southside and Kinning Park where we remained for 11 years.
By 1887 the City of Glasgow was growing and Industrialisation had spread south of the river.
The ground at Kinning Park was being squeezed by companies such as the Clutha Ironworks and the tenement buildings which were springing up.
On the same weekend that Rangers booked their place in the Semi-Final of the FA Cup against Aston Villa the Rangers committee after much deliberation settled on a 6 acre piece of land at the Copland Road end of Paisley Road. The new Stadium which would cost £750 would include a Pavilion, a 1,200 capacity stand, an enclosure and a four lane running track.
Ibrox in 1887 was actually out in the country, and it was said at the time that the people of Glasgow were shocked that Rangers were moving so far out of town!
In fact a correspondent in one of the Glasgow newspapers suggested that Rangers should consider installing drinking fountains at their new home at Ibrox as it was that far away from the nearest pub!
But the Rangers Committee had predicted the growth of Glasgow further west and how right they were.
The Club had in fact first looked at a ground in the Strathbungo/Pollokshields area of Glasgow. But the Rangers back in 1887 were attracting a rather unruly and boisterous crowd from the docks and Kinning Park area and when the Strathbungo residents heard of Rangers intentions they protested furiously.
The Wednesday before the ground was officially opened Tom Vallance held a cake and wine party within the pavilion shown to show off our new stadium.
On 20th August 1887 Rangers played Preston North End to mark the opening of first Ibrox.
On the evening of the opening match v Preston Founder Peter McNeil read a rousing speech in Ancell’s Restaurant which was part of what is today’s Trades House on Glassford Street he said ‘’ I have been a member of the Rangers since it was first ushered into the world and I cannot recollect an event which will bear comparison with today’’.
It was said it was not un-common to find Club President Tom Vallance working the turnstiles at first Ibrox on match-day.
Rangers, after leading a very much nomadic early existence in Glasgow, had found somewhere we could now call home.
We would remain at 1st Ibrox for 12 years before moving to our current location.
The move, a few yards to the West was down to the Hinshelwood Trust requiring the land that First Ibrox occupied for redevelopment.