Rangers fan in bid to restore Bill Struth’s grave

THE final resting place of the most decorated football manager in British history lies crumbling in a forgotten corner of a Scottish cemetery - but now the grave of Rangers legend Bill Struth is at the centre of one man’s campaign to restore it to the shrine he feels it should be.

Bill Struth, front row far right, pictured with a Rangers team in the late 1940s. Picture: Contributed

Struth, the second manager of the Glasgow club and known for decades to fans and players simply as “The Boss”, was at the helm for of Rangers for over a third of a century, from 1920 to 1954.

He died aged 83, in 1956, at his home in Dumbreck and was buried in Craigton Cemetery, overlooking Ibrox.

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Now, lifelong Rangers fan Craig Houston, instigator of a supporters’ group called Sons of Struth, is spearheading a campaign to restore and maintain the legendary Light Blue’s manager’s headstone.

Mr Houston said today: “Bill Struth was the most important man in the history of Rangers Football Club.

“I have a phenomenal amount of respect or the man and it really saddens me to see his grave fallen into disrepair.

“He did so much for Rangers, now we want to give something back and repair his grave.”

The high regard Struth is held in by Rangers fans is not just because of the success he enjoyed during his 33-year period as manager.

With 73 trophies to his name, Struth is the most decorated manager in British football history, despite retiring back in 1954.

Struth was renowned as a disciplinarian, insisting that the team wore a collar and tie when turning up for training - bowler hats were obligatory for Rangers players.

But though times have changed, Mr Houston says every Rangers manager from Graeme Souness to Walter Smith has strived to be at his level.

Mr Houston said: “Bill Struth is a legendary figure at Rangers, that’s how we arrived at the name The Sons of Struth for our group.

“I didn’t even know where his grave was, but when I went to see it and realised it had fallen into disrepair, I felt really strongly about it.

“I knew something needed to be done.”

Born in Edinburgh and a stonemason by trade - although also a professional athlete - Struth helped to carve the future of Ibrox club in the first half of the last century.

He had been a trainer at Clyde and Hearts before coming to Rangers in 1914 to take up the position of assistant manager. At the age of 45, in 1920, he took over as manager after his predecessor William Wilton was killed in a boating accident off Gourock.

In 2005, Rangers’ then chairman Sir David Murray unveiled a bronze bust of Bill Struth, located in the Main Stand at Ibrox, now known as the “Bill Struth Main Stand” in his honour.

The high standards Struth demanded helped to ensure Rangers became the most successful league club in Scotland and the world.

Craig now wants the ideals Struth instilled in those around him to live on - especially at his grave.

He said: “It is a privilege to be given permission from the Struth family to carry out repairs.

“I want to make Struth’s grave somewhere all Rangers fans can go and visit.

“I want them all to feel the emotion I did, standing at his grave.”