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Wednesday, 17 July 2013 07:00

Rangers Mourn Jack Gillespie

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Jack Gillespie served on the Rangers board for nearly 20 years Jack Gillespie served on the Rangers board for nearly 20 years

RANGERS have been saddened to learn of the death of former director and life-long supporter Jack Gillespie.

Mr Gillespie, who was 87, was a director for nearly 20 years from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s and he played a significant part in the club’s history.

He joined the Rangers board in 1977 after buying up shares which led to a 20 per cent stake in the club – the single largest at that time.

He had a successful car dealership business in Lenzie outside of Glasgow and had expanded into other businesses – including the leisure industry.

He became the vice-chairman in 1983 but was deposed from this post following the retiral of Rae Simpson as chairman but returned to the role in 1985 replacing Tom Dawson after further increasing his share-holding.

Rangers had never had a majority share-holder in their history but Mr Gillespie’s decision to sell his shares to Lawrence Marlborough in 1985 changed all of that.

Originally the deal was to sell his shares over a five-year period and it gave Marlborough, the grandson of former chairman John Lawrence, a 52 per cent stake which would rise further with subsequent share purchases.

He had, in effect, become the owner of Rangers and the first significant move was to place his own man – David Holmes – as Chief Executive and between them they hatched the plan to make Graeme Souness the new manager which, of course, dramatically changed the fortunes of Rangers and changed the landscape of Scottish football.

Marlborough then agreed to sell his majority share-holding to David Murray in November 1988 for £6.6millon which, again, had a dramatic effect on Rangers who enjoyed arguably the most successful period in their history.

Although never a close ally of Murray, Jack remained on the Rangers board until 1996.

In 2002 he joined the board of Airdrie in a consultancy role at the same time as former Airdrie and Rangers favourite Ian McMillan.

However, Rangers were always in his heart and despite failing health he tried to watch his beloved Light Blues when he could.

Manager Ally McCoist said today: “The Club are deeply saddened to hear former Director Jack Gillespie has passed away.

“Everyone at Rangers sends their sincere condolences to the Gillespie family and our thoughts are with them at this very difficult time.”

Copyright 2014. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to www.rangers.co.uk

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