The death of iconic Rangers kit man Jimmy Bell this week has led to calls for him to be inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame after almost 40 years of service to the Light Blues.
Bell’s sudden death has hit the club like a ton of bricks and it is little surprise to see fans clamour for a more permanent tribute to one of the longest-tenured employees at Ibrox in a long, long time.
While there’s absolutely no doubt that Jimmy – or Kaiser to some – deserves that tribute from the club and, with the death of the long-serving Bell coming soon after we also lost Walter Smith, the club faces a slight problem in honouring them.
As things stand, the Hall of Fame is exclusively for the achievements by players on the pitch – there’s no Walter or Bill Struth in there – and, without ‘watering down’ the current Hall of Fame, the club should introduce similar for the non-playing legends of the last 150 years.
Rangers need to honour non-playing legends of Ibrox like Jimmy Bell
The achievements of the Rangers players are rightly immortalised on the Hall of Fame panel above the Marble Staircase inside Ibrox, with the Gallant Pioneers joining the likes of R.C Hamilton, Dougie Gray, Jock Shaw, Eric Caldow, John Greig, Sandy Jardine, Ally McCoist, Richard Gough, Andy Goram, Paul Gascoigne and Barry Ferguson as those who have taken their place in the Hall.
But, as incredible as it may seem, there’s no place for Jock Wallace or Bill Struth nor is there anywhere for Walter Smith or Scot Symon among the ‘recognised’ greats of the club.
Even former Rangers managers such as John Greig and Willie Waddell are only in there on the strength of their achievements as a player rather than as manager of the club.
Throughout the club’s 150 years there have been a number of behind-the-scenes staff who have given incredible service to the club – arguably more so than some of the players in the Hall of Fame – and it is time the club does something to formally recognise them.
New Edmiston House would make ideal permanent home for tributes
Whether it is former managers and coaches like Struth, Symon and Smith or whether it is long-serving staff like Bell or Tiny Gallagher and her family, Peter Jacobs or Stan Holloway, Rangers are FAR more than eleven players on the pitch and a manager.
The outpouring of tributes from ex-players after Jimmy Bell’s death was announced shows just how much he meant to a club that is virtually unrecognisable from the one he joined almost 40 years ago.
Bell, and many others, have been there through the highs and lows as they watched players and managers come and go over the years.
The upcoming opening of the new Edmiston House would be a fitting home for a physical tribute to the staff who have given unflinching service over the years and there are few names who would deserve to be the first ‘induction’ than Jimmy Bell.