1920s Blantyre man saves the day

1920 James Kelly on left. Shared by Nora Anderson

1920 James Kelly on left. Shared by Nora Anderson

Not wanting to dwell on the subject or football too much, I did however want to tell this little story. Its a story of people of different religions helping out those not of their own faith. It branches across and unites people and its for that reason, i’d like to share this.

During the great depression of the 1920’s , Celtic Football Club bailed out Rangers Football Club through an indirect manner. In 2012, former Celtic Director Michael Kelly revealed a family secret which had never until then been made public. It is alleged that during the 1920’s, Rangers football club found themselves short of money to operate the club normally. Michael’s grandfather, then Celtic director and Chairperson of the 1920s James Kelly, invited Rangers to his home to listen to their plea for cash.

The entire Rangers board travelled to Mr Kelly’s home at Thornhill in Blantyre to make their case for aid. Rangers had a temporary and minor cashflow problem and Celtic gave them an unconditional short term loan. Part of the agreement included an interest rate very much in favour of Celtic and the agreement was written up that it would not be announced, to save embarrassment of the club. There was a mutual respect amongst the businessmen that the clubs were certainly at the time inter dependant upon one another. Michael Kelly, who was then 71 when this information was disclosed, told local press that this mutual respect existed between the clubs until the beginning of the days of Mr David Murrays ownership of Rangers.

Being a fan of one of these clubs, its not a story I particularly want to dwell upon but if anything at all, its a story of a Blantyre man saving the day. James Kelly is pictured on the left in this photo from 1920.

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