Rangers FC signing policy

Between the 1920s and 1989, Scottish club football club Rangers FC had an unwritten rule of the club that would have been known to Roman Catholic . [1] Rangers were viewed as a ” Protestant Club” and discussed in their Old Firm rival, Celtic who were viewed as having a Catholic club . The policy was ended in 1989 by Rangers manager Graeme Souness when he signed Mo Johnston .


Prior to the First World War , Rangers did not have any policy regarding religion dictating if they could be signed or not. Prior to the war, Rangers did not have a number of Catholic players. [2] In the 1920s, Following The rise in popularity of the Orange Order in Glasgow Where Rangers players and directors Attended functions, [3] Rangers quietly Introduced an unwritten rule que le club Would not sign Any player or employee Any member Who Was staff openly Catholic. [4] [5] The politics was kept a secret within the Rangers until 1965 when Ralph Brand revealed to the News of the World that Rangers operated a Protestant-only policy when he left themManchester City . [6] Two years later Vice-Chairman Matt Taylor was asked about anti-Catholicism with the “No Catholic” signing policy at Rangers, he stated “[it is] part of our tradition … we were formed in 1873 as a Protestant Boys Club To change now would lose considerable support. [7] The policy was mirrored by Northern Irish club Linfield , who shares a similar club culture to Rangers, up until the 1980s as a contrast to their Big Two Glentoran rivals though it was not as strict as Rangers’. [8] Some Catholic players did play for Rangers during this time despite the policy with Don Kitchenbrandkeeping his Catholicism secret and Laurie Blyth , who left the club after his Catholic faith was discovered. [9]There were also some questions about the role played by non-Catholic players who married Catholics. However, the former manager and manager of the United Kingdom Alex Ferguson , a married couple, confirmed that marriage to a Catholic is not a part of the signing policy to exclude players. [10]

Banning Protestant players. However until 1992, all of their directors were Catholics. [4] In private, there was sectarianism at Celtic; 1960s defender Tommy Gemmell wrote in his autobiography that he was shunned by some teammates who wanted an all-Catholic team. [11] Celtic manager Jock Stein (Celtic’s first Protestant manager after Celtic had appointed Catholics prior) [12] Once again, he was offered a Catholic player and a Protestant player, he would sign the Protestant. When asked why he said: “Because I know Rangers would never sign the Catholic”. [13]


As manager of Rangers, Graeme Souness thing to sign openly Catholic players.

In 1976 a friendly at Aston Villa was abandoned owing to hooliganism . This included Rangers fans attacking a pub That HAD beens bombed by the IRA three years prior, qui Particular drew criticism from the Orange Order in newspapers. The Orange Order stated “How many of us saw the cruel irony in the fate of the Tavern on the Town – the one bombed three years ago by the IRA – smashed and devastated by the crazed minds who blood Orange songs. These are the same examples of low life life that are so strong on the Rangers are one and the same with the foul-mouthed drunks who cause us great embarrassment every July when they turn up to ‘support’our annual rallies “. [14] In response, the Rangers manager Willie Waddell, declared that it will not be possible to do so. put up at this club Regarding signing of players “and Pledged to remove fans from Ibrox Who Did not accept it. [14] DESPITE this, no Catholic players Were signed by Rangers Following it. [14]

In 1986, Graeme Souness became a manager and declared to be a team based on merit rather than relying on personal restrictions. A year later he signed Rangers’ first black player Mark Walters. [15] In 1989, Souness signed Mo Johnston , to form Celtic Player and Openly Catholic. This was Rangers’ first sign of an openly Catholic player, but it had been claimed in the media that it was done to counter to FIFA inquiry into Old Firm sectarianism. [16] According to Johnston’s agent Bill McMurdo, Souness had been eager to sign a Catholic player, and had negotiated in secret with “four or five” before signing Johnston. [17]At the press conference following his signing, the English Rangers played the Scottish players boycotted it. The President of the Rangers Supporters Association stated “It’s a day for Rangers, I will not have a lot of children.” I do not want to see at Roman Catholic at Ibrox. the majority of the support has been brought to life with the idea of ​​a true blue Rangers team. ” [18] As he predicted, Rangers fans responded by burning their season tickets; Celtic supporters claimed Johnston had betrayed Catholicism, calling him ” Judas “. [19] The Rangers kitman refused to go out Johnston’s kit before each match has a protest against a Catholic playing for Rangers.

DESPITE signing Johnston Several tenets of the original policy still officiellement Remained in place as Rangers Did not attempt to sign Catholic Any further Top players for the next FEW years and Because The media branded HAD Johnston as a ” card-carrying Catholic.” [16] The club did not make another major Scottish Catholic signing until Neil McCann in 1998. [21] In the same year, the Rangers lifted a ban on players making the signal of the cross at the behest of Gabriel Amato but warned them not to do it in front of supporters. [15] In 1999, Lorenzo Amoruso became the first Catholic captain of Rangers. However, in 2002 defenderFernando Ricksen , Who HAD beens sectarian receiving send phone calls from Celtic supporters, STATED “If you’re Catholic and you play for Rangers, Then You are a Protestant. If you play for the Protestant people, you do not play for the Catholic people . ” [22]

Depictions in the media

The politics was parodied in the BBC comedy Scotch and Wry where the Rangers chairman unknowingly signed a Catholic and tried to contract the policy. [23]

See also

  • Sectarianism in Glasgow


  1. Jump up^ John DC Gow (2015-02-23). “It’s time Rangers fans did more to condemn bigot chants but branding us all Ku Klux Klan is ridiculous and offensive too” . Daily Record . Retrieved 2016-08-10 .
  2. Jump up^ Murray, William (1984). The Old Firm: sectarianism, sport, and society in Scotland . J. Donald Publishers. p. 82. ISBN  0-85976-121-5 .
  3. Jump up^ Esplin, Ronnie (2011). The Official Biography of Rangers . Hachette UK. ISBN  0-7553-6313-2 .
  4. ^ Jump up to:b Nauright, John (2012). Sports Around the World: History, Culture, and Practice . ABC-CLIO. p. 149. ISBN  1-59884-300-1 .
  5. Jump up^ Dunmore, Tom (2011). Historical Dictionary of Soccer . Scarecrow Press. p. 208. ISBN  0-8108-7188-2 .
  6. Jump up^ Steen, Rob (2014). Floodlights and Touchlines: A History of Spectator Sport . A & C Black. p. 42. ISBN  1-4081-8137-1 .
  7. Jump up^ “Fran Sandaza interview opens up old wounds of Sectarianism at Rangers” . Scotzine . 2012-12-30 . Retrieved 2016-08-10 .
  8. Jump up^ McKay, Jim; Messner, Michael A .; Donald F., Sabo (2000). Masculinities, gender relations, and sport . WISE. p. 185. ISBN  0-7619-1272-X .
  9. Jump up^ Witzig, Richard (2006). The Global Art of Soccer . CusiBoy Publishing. p. 48. ISBN  0-9776688-0-0 .
  10. Jump up^ Miller, Tom (2014). “3”. Slim Jim: Simply the Best . Black & White Publishing. ISBN  1-84502-851-1 .
  11. Jump up^ Smith, Andrew (4 March 2017). “Tommy Gemmell: The Celtic full-back who took part in the future” . The Scotsman . Retrieved 11 May 2017 .
  12. Jump up^ “Rembering Jock Stein” . BBC Sport. 2005-09-05 . Retrieved 2016-08-10 .
  13. Jump up^ Cowley, Jason (2009). The Last Game: Love, Death and Football . Simon and Schuster. p. 70. ISBN  1-84737-185-X .
  14. ^ Jump up to:c Gallagher, Tom (1984). Glasgow, the Uneasy Peace: Religious Tension in Modern Scotland, 1819-1914 . Glasgow: Manchester University Press. p. 301. ISBN  0-7190-2396-3 .
  15. ^ Jump up to:b Romanos, Joseph (2010). Great Sporting Rivals . ReadHowYouWant.com. pp. 144-145. ISBN  1-4587-7966-1 .
  16. ^ Jump up to:b “Old Firm Get Crossed Wires” . Sunday Mail . Retrieved 2016-08-10 – via HighBeam Research . (Subscription required ( help )) .
  17. Jump up^ McMurdo, Bill (11 July 2009). “July 10, 1989: Rangers sign a Catholic”. The Guardian .
  18. Jump up^ Ewan Murray. “Why Mo Johnston still stirs emotions across Glasgow”. The Guardian . Retrieved 2016-08-10 .
  19. Jump up^ Fleming, Dave (1999-05-17). “Holy War” . Sports Illustrated . Retrieved 2016-08-10 .
  20. Jump up^ Murray, Bill (2000). The Old Firm . Edinburgh: John Donald. p. 232.ISBN  0-85976-542-3 .
  21. Jump up^ “Interview: Neil McCann, football pundit and train player” . scotsman.com . May 14, 2011 . Retrieved 5 April 2016 .
  22. Jump up^ Hello (2002-12-01). ” ‘ Real Catholics do not come to Rangers’ claims Ibrox star” . The Scotsman . Retrieved 2016-08-10 .
  23. Jump up^ “Scotland: BBC weeks 51 and 52” (PDF) . BBC . Retrieved 2016-08-10 .

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