Alan Morton

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For other people named Alan Morton, see Alan Morton (disambiguation).

Alan Lauder Morton (24 April 1893 – 12 December 1971) was a Scottish international footballer and "Wembley Wizard". He was known for his stirring wing play as an outside-left and commitment to Rangers. He retired from active play in 1933.

His Early life[edit]

Morton was born in Jordanhill, Glasgow and grew up in Airdrie, where his family relocated due to his father's work. After leaving Airdrie Academy, he had an unsuccessful trial with Airdrieonians. Consequently, he entered studies to become a mining engineer, simultaneously playing with Queen's Park, the famous amateur club with whom he began his career in 1914. Once fully qualified in 1920, he turned professional, becoming Bill Struth's first signing as manager of Rangers, but only on the proviso that he could maintain his position as a mining engineer.

Morton only measured 5 ft 4 inches in height but his talent lay in his physical balance, speed and thought. As a result of this association, Struth's intuitive training and the combination of an array of internationals (not least Bob McPhail and David Meiklejohn), Rangers enjoyed a sustained period of success. Highlights included the famous 1928 Scottish Cup triumph against Celtic in which Rangers ended a 25‑year wait to win the Cup 4‑0.

In addition to this Morton went onto receive winners’ medals as Scottish Football League champion in 1921, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1927–31, and as a Scottish Cup Winner in 1930 and received runners-up medals in 1921, 1922, and 1929. Morton made his debut for Rangers against Airdrieonians on 17 August 1920 and played his last game against the same opposition on 7 January 1933 in between which ‘The Wee Blue Devil’, as he was nicknamed played 495 times and scored 115 goals.

Rangers[edit]

Morton had already been capped while an amateur before joining Rangers (making his debut for Scotland on 26 February 1920 against Wales) but would go on to play in every international against the Auld Enemy, England, from 1920 to 1932 bar the fixture at Old Trafford in 1926, eventually winning 31 caps. In addition he made 15 appearances (scoring 1 goal) for the Scottish League XI[1] (making his debut on 22 February 1919 against the Football League at St. Andrews, Birmingham) and 3 Scotland Victory International appearances (the first of which was on 26 April 1919 at Everton's Goodison Park, in front of 45,000 in a 2‑2 draw).

It was in the 1928 full international in London where Morton, as part of an under-rated Scottish side that beat England 5‑1 in driving rain to record a famous triumph, earned the moniker: "Wembley Wizard". Three of Morton’s crosses were converted by Huddersfield Town's Alex Jackson. Ivan Sharpe, the ex‑player and writer, commented on the victory: "England were not merely beaten. They were bewildered – run to a standstill, made to appear utterly inferior by a team whose play was as cultured and beautiful as I ever expect to see."[2]

Appearance[edit]

Morton's dress was as precise as his play. He was a familiar figure strolling down Paisley Road West towards training at Ibrox sporting, as befitted a professional man of the time, bowler hat and umbrella, which caused locals to dub him "The Wee Society Man" (insurance salesman).

Retirement[edit]

After retiring Morton’s impact was felt as an administrator, becoming a powerful figure within Scottish sport. He was appointed to the Rangers board and he remained there until the year of his death. Further afield, he demonstrated an inclination toward Unionist politics in reaction to the rise in post-War Scottish nationalism. Today a portrait of Morton in his Scottish strip stands at the top of the marble staircase at Ibrox's Main Stand such is his enduring stature at the club.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Scotland FL Players by Appearances". Londonhearts.com (London Hearts Supporters' Club). Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Wembley Wizards report in the profile of Hughie Gallacher
  • Morton, Brian (8 January 2006). Blue Devil With A Briefcase: Alan Morton - Rangers And Scotland Legend. Trafalgar Square. ISBN 1-84018-472-8. 
  • Cairney, John (2004). A Scottish Football Hall of Fame. Mainstream Sport. ISBN 1-84018-920-7.