After what seems like an eternity in the making, my new book Temple of Dreams: The Changing Face of Ibrox will hopefully be in the shops soon. The publishers expect to take delivery on Monday September 29th.
For more than 100 years, Ibrox has been the home of Rangers Football Club. It has been the scene not only of some of this sporting institution’s greatest triumphs, but also of two of the worst disasters in British football. An imposing ground that is rich in history and tradition, Ibrox also boasts state-of-the-art facilities that rank alongside the best in the world. Its wood-panelled entrance lobby and famous marble staircase evoke memories of a distant era, while the glittering trophy room inside the magnificent Main Stand tells the story of the club better than any words.But although Rangers have managed to preserve the traditions of the famous old stadium, much of the Ibrox of today bears little resemblance to the ground which opened in December 1899. This book charts, in words and pictures, the history of Ibrox, from the early days, through the creation of Archibald Leitch’s stunning Main Stand in 1929, with its Masonic imagery, to the present day five-star facilities.
Using official records and eye-witness accounts, it tells the story of the two Ibrox disasters that claimed a total of 92 lives, and tells how the second tragedy in 1971 resulted in a complete overhaul of the stadium and the creation of the most modern football ground in Britain, years ahead of its time.As well as the many football triumphs, the stadium has witnessed dozens of other events over the years, including the famous annual Ibrox Sports meeting created by the legendary manager Bill Struth. On one spectacular afternoon, seven world records were broken in one race on the Ibrox cinder track. The book also reveals the part played by famous figures like Buffalo Bill Cody, King George V, Winston Churchill, Eric Liddell, Billy Graham, Frank Sinatra and Elton John in the history of the stadium.Ibrox, which holds the record attendance for a League match in Britain, would of course be nothing more than a pile of bricks and mortar without the fans who breathe life into it every other Saturday.
Here, supporters recall their memories of the stadium, from starting bonfires on the vast terraces to keep warm in the depths of winter, to donning customised hard-hats as protection from flying beer bottles in the 1960s, to the spectacular Champions League nights of the 21st century. A fascinating journey through the history of the club, Duff’s absorbing narrative is charged throughout with the passion of the fans and the red-hot atmosphere in the ground.