From every corner of the world have come visitors to the Stadium, eager to see the home of The Rangers Football Club. Every Sunday during the season you will find a constant stream of people from every walk of life on the weekly pilgrimage. And when their tour of inspection is over, you will, I have no doubt, hear them say: "It is truly a wonderful stadium - and wasn't the Trophy Room just terrific."
The story of this room of soccer treasures dates back to 1959. Manager Scot Symon had a commendable idea of gathering our many trophies and gifts collected over the years in this country as well as in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Denmark and elsewhere and putting them on show. The Trophy Room is the result and is being copied by several other clubs whose representatives have come and left convinced they had to have something similar.
With the oil painting of the late Director-Manager Mr William Struth, gift of a number of Glasgow businessmen, holding a prominent position on a wall surrounded by the 34 (now 51) League Championship flag replicas, and pennants and photographs in profusion, you can sense the "atmosphere" as you enter. This is different from anything you are likely to see in any other club.
Three massive glass cases holding our many trophies dominate the room. The glittering silver and crystal of our cups and vases, the glow from the golden football on the silver base, gifted by Real Madrid, to the sheen of the intricately carved Caravels presented to us by Portuguese side Benfica, can have a magnetic appeal.
There are trophies and awards in stately array, each with a touch of magic. Behind the gaining of them, lies some of the most enthralling, most desperate and most inspiring battles in our history. Indeed, our very history since becoming a power in the land, had it's genesis in the harvesting of those trophies.
Down the years, practically every cup which could be won in this country has come to The Stadium while records have been created that must be the target of all.
The winning of them has brought sweat, toil and tears - and the Churchillian philosophy of success against the odds. We are proud, indeed, to have on show a gift from Sir Winston following an important meeting he held at The Stadium.
Handsome cups that will never leave our possession, having been won and held in perpetuity, such as the Victory Cup, which took the place of the Scottish Cup in 1946, the War Emergency Cup, and so many others never fail to hold the visitor's attention, while there on the walls, smiling benevolently from their framed photographs, are many of the heroes of the past, the men who brought the glory to the club and set the pattern for our greatness.
None can pass through this room without, if he be a true Ranger, being swept by a wave of intense pride felt in the feats of the club.
The room which houses the club's trophies dates back to 1929 when the Main Stand was opened. The Grandstand was the crowning glory of architect Mr Archibald Leitch. He had worked on many other grounds but the Main Stand at Ibrox was his finest work. At that stage the room was the Players' Billiards room and was used for general relaxation before and after training sessions. It is thought that the idea for the Trophy Room was first suggested by William Struth in the 1950's, but it was in fact his successor Scot Symon who having seen Real Madrid's Trophy Room on a visit to their ground, decided to create a room within The Stadium to house the club's trophies.
Until that point, trophies were kept in the Boardroom, and gifts etc were kept in the Managers Office. However with the inception of European competitions in the mid-1950's, a much larger number of gifts, pennants and trophies were acquired so the club decided it would be appropriate to have a more permanent location for them.
Main Trophy Cabinet including Mr Bob McPhail's medal collection and the Bruce Casket amongst others
Originally the room housed three huge glass-panelled mahogany show cases but as the years progressed and more items were collected from around the globe, this was doubled to six. The Main Trophy Cabinet, Centenary Cabinet, Loving Cup Cabinet, Youth Cabinet and Churchill Cabinet, just some of the names of these huge show cases filled with a spectacular display of silverware, porcelain, crystal and memorabilia stretching back to the foundation of the club.
Like The Stadium itself, The Trophy Room has expanded but the most historically important items retain pride of place; the oil painting of William Struth, the miniature replicas of League Championship flags, the Victory Cup of 1946 and the Loving Cup.
Some of the many interesting items on display include:
Gifted to The Rangers by Stoke City President, Sir Francis Joseph, on the occasion of Rangers playing Stoke in a fundraising match for the Holditch Colliery Disaster of 1937. These cups were originally cast to commemorate the coronation of King George IV and Queen Elizabeth in May 1937. They were presented to the 22 English First Division clubs, but Stoke gifted theirs to The Rangers to mark their generosity at the subsequent benefit match. Sir Francis requested that the cup be used to drink to the health of the reigning Monarch on the occasion of the first home match of the New Year - a tradition which is still observed to this day in Ibrox's Blue Room, although it is believed that only the chairmen of the participating clubs drink from the cup - due to it's rarity and value the rest of the assembled guests use champagne flutes!
It is thought that Rangers Loving Cup is one of the few remaining and certainly the only one in regular use.
Mr Bob McPhail played for The Rangers from the 1926-27 season to 1939-40. During his long career he won a total of thirty-six medals, including 9 League Championships, 7 Scottish Cups, 6 Charity Cups and 5 Glasgow Cups. This is the highest number of medals won by any player in Scotland. Mr McPhail played for The Rangers on 461 occasions and scored a remarkable 343 goals - a fantastic achievement in any era!
This competition was to celebrate the end of World War II. It was played for in April, May and June of 1946. The trophy itself had previously been used as the Southern League Cup, played for during the war years and won by Rangers on four occasions. The Rangers defeated Hibernian 3-1 in the Victory Cup Final in front of 100,000 spectators.
Before the days of European Competitions, The Rangers on occasion played abroad. One of these was a friendly against Benfica, the Portuguese Champions in 1948.
Before the match, captain Jock Shaw was presented with a piglet as a mascot to lead out onto the field ! " Tiger" was having none of it and refused to enter the field with the beast by his side!
The Rangers won the game 3-0 with goals from Willie Thornton and Jimmy Caskie (2). It was on the return flight from Portugal when Willie Waddell met the air hostess who would later become his wife!
This is a replica of the trophy The Rangers won on a memorable night in the Nou Camp, Barcelona on 24th May 1972. On their run to the 1972 Final they defeated the best France, Portugal, Italy and West Germany had to offer. The Final itself against Moscow Dynamo, was an exciting affair with The Rangers storming to a 3-0 lead before eventually being pegged back to 3-2. When the final whistle sounded, The Rangers had recorded their greatest ever victory and at the third time of asking, they had claimed this trophy.
On our successful European Cup Winners' Cup run of 1972 we faced the toughest opposition European football could present us with.Stade Rennes of France, Sporting Lisbon of Portugal, Torino of Italy, Bayern Munich of West Germany and Moscow Dynamo of the Soviet Union - these are the clubs we faced that season on the road to our dramatic win in Barcelona and their pennants are shown in the display case.The vast array of pennants on display throughout the Trophy Room tell the story of our many European exploits and add a touch of colour amongst all the silverware.
Unusually for a major final, there was no programme printed for this match. This beautiful poster was on display around Barcelona, advertising the final. This one has been signed by the triumphant Rangers team.
In the 1988/89 season,The Rangers played Polish club G.K.S. Katowice in the First Round of the UEFA Cup. The Poles presented Rangers with this beautiful trophy when they visited Ibrox for the First Leg. It is carved from solid coal and is a wonderful addition to the Trophy Room. Rangers won the first leg 1-0 and a fantastic away performance in Poland saw them progress 5-2 on aggregate.
Other pieces in this photo are the Sparta Rotterdam Vase from 1960 (back left), Spode China Bowl from Wolves 1961 (centre left) and the Ankaragucu Trophy from 1973 (back right).
The European Super Cup which has traditionally been played for by the winners of the previous seasons' European Cup and the European Cup Winners' Cup, was first played for as a challenge match organised by Willie Waddell to mark the clubs Centenary in 1973. The Dutch maestros Ajax were the opposition. Their brought their brand of " total football" to Ibrox for the first leg. On a cold Glasgow night, the crowd were thrilled as the visitors turned on the style and eventually ran out 3-1 winners. The Rangers played better in the return leg but were defeated 3-2 Ajax became the first winners of the Super Cup.
The Dutch Club presented The Rangers with this beautiful wooden clock to mark the memorable occasion and this now hangs on the trophy room wall.
This authentic French miner's lamp was a present to us from St. Etienne when we faced them in the 1975/76 European Cup Campaign. It was the second time we had played them as they had previously visited The Stadium in 1957 for another European Cup tie. On that occasion we defeated them on aggregate, but in 1975 they gained their revenge.
Their gift to us in 1957 was the famous French racing bike which sits proudly under the William Struth painting.
Richard Gough was The Rangers' Captain for much of the Nine In A Row Championship era. He was a truly great captain and ambassador for the club in the mould of famous names before him like Meiklejohn,Shearer and Greig. The collection contains all his Championship and Cup Winners medals.
Other interesting items seen here are Sandy Jardine's Winners and Runners-up medals from the 1972 and 1967 European Cup Winners Cup Finals and the pair of beautiful silver goblets, presented to us by Partick Thistle to mark our Centenary in 1973.
This beautiful piece was presented to the club in May 1949 when the Leader of the Opposition, addressed a rally of Scottish Conservatives at Ibrox. 22,000 were at Ibrox that day which is believed to be the largest ever gathering of Scottish Conservatives.
Moses McNeil was one of the founders of The Rangers Association Football Club in 1872. He and his brother William played prominent roles in the inaugural years of the club - both were members of the historic first Scottish Cup Final side in 1876/77. This trophy is not in fact for football but was won by Moses who was an excellent athlete, at a local athletics meeting. It is probably the oldest and one of the most treasured items in the collection as it is a vital link with our early years.
Other interesting items are the St Etienne racing bicycle, Moscow Dynamo vase, Richard Gough's medals,various Centenary gifts, the Bruce Casket and the vast array of pennants which have been exchanged over the years.
The Ibrox Trophy Room literally is an Aladdin's cave of riches and a person could return many times before seeing all the items on display.
The club has many more trophies which could and should be on display but due to lack of space, these are not on show, however on occasions some less well known items are displayed.
Surely as we progress as a club in the 21st Century, the time is right for the club to have their own Museum, where these treasures can be given an even better home and a wider audience. In the same way as Messer's Struth and Symon had a vision of a Trophy Room, perhaps the time is right for a Rangers Museum which if done sympathetically to history and tradition, could further enhance the standing of this great club in world football.
The Ibrox Main Stand and in particular the Trophy Room have thrilled fans, guests, visiting players and dignitaries alike for many years. The grandeur and splendour of the building is awesome and has been likened to a stately home rather than a football stadium.
If you take a trip to Ibrox, climb the famous marble staircase and view the Blue Room, Managers' Office and Trophy Room you will no doubt feel an enormous sense of pride and awareness of the traditions of this great Institution - You are indeed in a special place, a place of legends.