He had his ‘moments’, but without Willie Maley, there would have been no Celtic

Twenty Things You May Know Or May Not Know About Willie Maley…

Willie Maley

1. He was born in Newry, Ireland, on this day 25 April, back in 1868.

2. His father was a soldier in the British Army.

3. He played in Celtic’s first ever game on 28 May 1888 against Rangers.

4. He played in Celtic’s first ever Scottish Cup win in 1892.

5. For a while, he played under the pseudonym of Willie Montgomery (Montgomery was his mother’s maiden name) so that his employers (at that time a firm of Glasgow accountants) would not know that he was playing professional football on a Saturday!

6. He thought he had retired by November 1896 but was compelled to play again when three members of the Celtic first team refused to play in a game against Hibs.

7. Following Celtic’s disastrous Scottish Cup defeat to Arthurlie in January 1897, he was appointed as “Match Secretary” of Celtic in April 1897.

8. In 1907, Maley’s Celtic became the first Scottish team to win the Scottish League and Cup double in the same season.

9. Maley celebrated his 40th Birthday on 25 April 1908 by beating Rangers at Ibrox in order to win the Scottish League. This was part of a quadruple in which Celtic “swept the boards” in 1908.

10. Two years later, he celebrated his 42nd Birthday by winning the League again, this time drawing 0-0 with Hibs on an anti-climactic Monday afternoon.

11. During the Great War, he was always very careful to telegraph results to the War Office for forwarding to troops on the front line. Celtic won the League in 1915, 1916 and 1917. Soldiers in the trenches probably knew results within a couple of hours of the final whistle.

12. After the War, he became Chairman of the Scottish Football League.

13. He celebrated his 68th Birthday by winning the Scottish League in 1936 by beating Partick Thistle 3-1, although in fact Rangers’ defeat in midweek had won it for him.

14. He won the Empire Exhibition Trophy on 10 June 1938, beating Everton in the final.

15. It was widely expected that he would announce his resignation at the Golden Jubilee Celebration Dinner in the Grosvenor Hotel a few days later in June 1938, but failed to do so.

16. He wrote “The Story of The Celtic” which was published in 1939. This had followed a series of articles in The Weekly News.

17. He eventually demitted office in early January 1940, but the departure was by no means cordial.

18. From 1940 until 1953, he had no contact with anyone at Celtic Park, but was frequently seen at Cathkin Park and even Ibrox, where he was treated as an honoured guest.

19. After the reconciliation in 1953, he wrote a series of articles in The Evening Times on the early days of Celtic.

20. He died on April 2 1958 in a Glasgow nursing home only a few weeks short of his 90th birthday.

This is nothing like the complete story of Willie Maley! There was an awful lot more to him than that. One way or other, he was involved in the winning of 15 Scottish Cups and 19 Scottish League titles, as well as a host of Glasgow Cups and Glasgow Charity Cups.

He had his enemies, and he had his “moments”, but without Willie Maley, there would have been no Celtic!

David Potter

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The Celtic Star’s Father’s Day Promotion has been so successful, with hundreds of books at great prices being posted to Celtic fans all over the world, that we’ve decided to continue with the sale until the end of July. We’ve reduced all six books currently available from their usual retail price of £20 and prices are as low as £6 (see below).

All books are high quality hardback, with some signed by the author. And it’s also worth noting that you only pay postage on one book, so it’s free for the second, third and so on. ORDER HERE or click on The Celtic Star image above…this is how it feels to be Celtic!

About Author

I am Celtic author and historian and write for The Celtic Star. I live in Kirkcaldy and have followed Celtic all my life, having seen them first at Dundee in March 1958. I am a retired teacher and my other interests are cricket, drama and the poetry of Robert Burns.

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