Today marks the 55th anniversary of Bill Struths death. Although he is gone his legacy lives on in Rangers Football club and in the hearts of every Rangers fan.
Bill was born in Milnathort and was a professional athlete and stonemason to trade. His first position at Rangers came in 1914 as assistant to then manager William Walton. Walton was to sadly die in a tragic boating accident in 1920 an Struth took over charge of Rangers FC.
Struth taking over at Rangers saw a new era of Rangers history begin. Struth believed in strict discipline and respect for authority. he insisted that all Rangers players adhered to a strict dress code while representing the club and any player who fell short of his standards was sure to get a request to go up the marble staircase to explain themselves to him. One example of just how strict he was would happen if players walked up to Ibrox with their hands in their pockets. He would watch from his flat and any player caught with hands in pockets was sent back to walk it again with their hands by their sides.
Struth’s outlook for the club and his authoritarianism seemed to work well as Rangers went from strength to strength under his leadership winning the League Championship 18 times, including a dazzling spell of 14 in 19 years before the second worl war. Those titles included a run of Five-In-A-Row between 1926-27 and 1930-31. Struth oversaw the first league and cup double in 1928 and its first treble in 1949.
Struth was to step down as Rangers manager in 1954 at the age of 79 and died 2 years later. His legacy at Rangers, however was to carry on long after he left and has been instilled deep in the clubs history and his effect can be seen even now. His influence and the respect that the club has for him can be seen by the fact that Rangers renamed the Main Stand at Ibrox The Bill Struth Main Stand in 2006 and unveiled a bust of the him which now sits on the first landing of the marble staircase as though he is still overseeing everything.
one of Bill’s famous sayings that all Rangers fans know is:
“I have been lucky – lucky in those who were around me from the boardroom to the dressing-room. In time of stress, their unstinted support, unbroken devotion to our club and calmness in adversity eased the task of making Rangers FC the premier club in this country.
“To be a Ranger is to sense the sacred trust of upholding all that such a name means in this shrine of football. They must be true in their conception of what the Ibrox tradition seeks from them. No true Ranger has ever failed in the tradition set him.
“Our very success, gained you will agree by skill, will draw more people than ever to see it. And that will benefit many more clubs than Rangers. Let the others come after us. We welcome the chase. It is healthy for us. We will never hide from it. Never fear, inevitably we shall have our years of failure, and when they arrive, we must reveal tolerance and sanity.
“No matter the days of anxiety that come our way, we shall emerge stronger because of the trials to be overcome. That has been the philosophy of the Rangers since the days of the gallant pioneers.”
Mr bill Struths memory will live for ever as long as there are Rangers fans to support their club and carry on the traditions that this great club has and was created around.