Mo Johnston | A Catholic At Rangers: A Brief History Of

By | September 1, 2019

When Graeme Souness was appointed Rangers
manager in 1986, he was asked if the club’s long-standing, unwritten policy of not signing openly Catholic players would be broken under his leadership. He promised that it would, that he would select players based on their ability, and nothing else. Three years later, he signed Mo Johnston from
under the noses of Celtic, achieving the feat of upsetting both
sides of a divided football city. In the early years of Rangers, plenty of Catholics
represented the club, but in the 1920s it was quietly and unofficially acknolwedged
that no openly Catholic player would be signed: even then, some did represent Rangers, but
their Christian preferences were kept quiet. Souness backed up his pledge that taboos would
be broken by signing Rangers’ first black player, Mark Walters, and their first Jewish
player, Avi Cohen. Under his management,
Rangers won the Scottish title in his season, having failed to win it in the previous nine. But he felt they were still missing a forward to help them in Europe. In 1987 Johnston left Celtic for Nantes, but
after two years in France, he was ready to come home, and let Celtic manager Billy McNeil know he was “desperate” to return. In May 1989Johnston signed a “letter of intent” promising he would join Celtic, but didn’t actually sign a contract: however, keen for some PR at the
end of a season in which they finished third, ten points behind Rangers, Celtic announced the signing of Johnston for a Scottish record fee of £1.2million. “I didn’t want to leave two years ago and
I don’t intend to now,” said Johnston after posing in a Celtic shirt. “There is no other British club I could play
for apart from Celtic.” However, a couple of weeks later rumours began
flying that Johnston had second thoughts, and that Rangers had tried to muscle in on the deal. Celtic manager Billy McNeill told his
board to prevent any further hitches by paying the £800,000 remaining on the transfer fee,
having to that point only paid a £400,000 deposit. One Sepp Blatter, at that point Fifa’s
general secretary, assured Celtic that the letter of intent was enough to make Johnston their player, but the club’s board refused on a
point of principle to pay the rest of the fee, for a player who was having second thoughts about joining them. The move collapsed, and Rangers swooped, but
still few believed the rumours. Rangers called a press conference, but even
after the Scottish Sun broke the story, most still expected they would be announcing the recruitment of English midfielder John Sheridan. When Johnston walked in, there were gasps
from the assembled media. “Obviously it’s going to be difficult,”
said Johnston, with considerable understatement. A group of Rangers fans congregated outside Ibrox, with a few insisting they would stop supporting the club. “Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow and it won’t
be true,” said one. “It is a sad day for Rangers” said David Miller, from the club’s supporters association. “I don’t want to see a Roman Catholic at Ibrox. It really sticks in my throat.” In the end though, the scale of the protest
wasn’t as large as you might expect. Some demanded a refund on their season tickets; the Rangers kitman refused to lay out Johnston’s
jersey before games; it was said that a Glasgow pub kept a league table that didn’t include
Johnston’s goals. But attendances didn’t fall, the threatened
boycott was minimal, and ​ Johnston’s religion was largely forgotten
when he scored a last-minute winner against Celtic at Ibrox a few months later. For Johnston, the consequences were a little more long-lasting. He left for Everton after two
seasons, but avoided Glasgow for some years afterwards, and has only recently spoken
about the move. “If I had signed a contract I would have
been with Celtic,” he said. “Money came into it, I’m not going to hide from any of the facts. I did it almost 30 years ago and I
won two championships.” Several Catholic players followed Johnston
but even now, 28 years on, you will still find those on both sides of the city who will not remember him fondly…

100 thoughts on “Mo Johnston | A Catholic At Rangers: A Brief History Of

  1. Tifo Football Post author

    There's a problem with YT notifications, so you're likely not receiving videos when they come out. I've emailed YT and they're working on the problem 👍🏻 Thanks for your support, enjoy the video! New FM video out tomorrow at 9am 🙂 – Danny

  2. Robbie McDermid Post author

    The "unwritten policy" is the biggest shite ever told in Scottish football, I did not exist.

  3. IgotPMT Post author

    The fact that a signing can split fans based on their religion is disgusting – why is this more acceptable than a player being ignored for being black, being muslim, being Jewish?

  4. Gerry Carpenter Post author

    Great series guys, I think you should start doing episodes on some of the greatest matches of all time, preferably starting with liverpools istanbul heroics in 2005

  5. Enzo Post author

    good video

    silly adults with their silly childish religion

  6. DarrenCeltic1888 Post author

    It should be noted that, that kit man is still in the same job today despite that incident.

  7. Khairul Arif Post author

    can you do about hull city manager? marco silva..

  8. Ryan Shields Post author

    Well, I learned something today. Thanks UMaxit.

  9. Callum Bird Post author

    Would love to see a video about the team I support Lincoln City especially after our amazing cup run this season

  10. Charbel Riachy Post author

    F*ck the people who knew about this channel but never said to me

  11. anonymousbystander Post author

    Interesting how the two most controversial transfers, including Figo, were a result of transfer shenanigans and broken/bad promises.

  12. ajamo campbell Post author

    Great video this was also a Fantastic history lesson for me never knew a player's religion was so important to clubs thought it all came down to his skill and abilities

  13. Apathy Post author

    A video on Hearts and their criminal chairman Vladimir Romanov bringing then to the brink of liquidation would be nice to see

  14. snib96 Post author

    Should never have been signed no catholic should be signed for rangers

  15. kennard conte Post author

    I learned something today, thanks for the history lesson. Keep them coming thanks!!

  16. SLwootwootUK Post author

    Being slightly biased here but maybe you could've mentioned us (Watford) in this vid as we sold him to Celtic and was a brilliant player for us in that half season he was with us. I'm only saying this cos I really want us to be in one of your vids 🙂

  17. Ilham .abdil Post author

    can you make a video regarding asian powerhouses like Japan, South Korea, Australia and Iran based on their tactics, how they play and their history in football?? Please!!!!

  18. R Mac Post author

    good video. not often you see a well balanced video on the old firm. Just brace yourself for the incoming comments ahha. More videos on scottish football (especially Rangers) would be appreciated. I know the quality is not quite what it once was but it's not like you'd struggle for anyting to write about after the last few years we've had! maybe wait til next season once we've got our trophy back

  19. Bobo Smrad Post author

    niko kranjcar was a catholic and as far as i know he was respected

  20. Gary Cheshire Post author

    I knew this was going to be brilliant even before I started watching. I remember when it all happened the first time around, BBC Scotland's "Scotland's Game" series also explained and portrayed it well, but this channel is unique in the way it combines visuals with facts. Bravo uMAXit, as always.

    Oh, and Souness had nuts the size of Jupiter. Winning the Turkish Cup for Gala at Fener's ground and sticking the Gala flag in Fener's centre circle like Ulubatli Hasan only confirmed this.

  21. Marsellus Wallace Post author

    Fantastic video as always! You should do more videos about The great Scottish teams of the past!

  22. martypython Post author

    Mo Johnston was the first manager and director for Toronto FC.

  23. Graeme Gunn Post author

    If its about mojo why ìs the gage drawin Stuart mccall

  24. TheUltimate Gooner Post author

    Hey guys. Could you please do a video on the history of football jerseys? I'd like to see their evolution from the different types of material used to make them, through to the baggy-shirted '90s up until the modern day.
    Hope you'll consider.

  25. TheUltimate Gooner Post author

    Oh. And also, a history of football boots.

  26. Mark Kane Post author

    Try and make a video abut Rangers FC being liquidated and corruption in the Scottish game.

  27. Kieran Fitzgerald Post author

    English midfielder? You might want to check who John Sheridan played for.

  28. Ger Post author

    How about a video on English goalkeepers? Why is Joe Hart England's first choice? Who are the rising stars of English goalkeepers?

  29. shaquille sheppard Post author

    I really enjoyed this video very informative

  30. Dr. Evil Post author

    The old Rangers FC that died and the new club that replaced them were/are the most vile clubs in Europe, if not the world. All they do is sing sectarian songs while I have still yet to hear Celtic fans sing a sectarian song, I honestly bet nobody can name me one sectarian song Celtic fans sing? Of course, there were/are a lot of good supporters from the old deceased club and the new club of Rangers but in general, the club and what they stand for is extremely worrying. Celtic has always welcomed people from all colour, nationality, faith etc. Al though I cannot deny, over the years Celtic have had a very, very small minority causing trouble abroad, it is nothing compared to the scale of the old Rangers (we have still to see the new Rangers in Europe) which is not a small minority (Look at manchester 2008), what do you expect the reaction to losing in a final is going to be from people who were brought up supporting a club like that with its ideology etc.? When the old club died, I hoped and prayed that whatever replaced it would shake off its horrible sectarian attitude and ideology, but sadly so far it does not seem so. I want a Scotland where we all respect one another with no sectarianism, but sadly this new Rangers just do not seem to want to get rid of the problem that they have. It is such a shame.

  31. kris stewart Post author

    Hes nothing but a ginger heeded wanker that was shit at fitbaw that sooked graham's dick fur a wage and fucked off tae the states coz he would've got his ginger baws volleyed about the calton where he was a super grass. .

  32. Nae bad Post author

    A catholic playing for the rangers is equivalent to a black nazi

  33. mike devaney Post author

    rangers…..what a racist shit piece of a club!!

  34. Bagg1e5 Post author

    people need to understand that 1986 was 15 year before peace in northern Ireland

  35. The Old Man Post author

    Walter Tull was actually the first black Rangers player before WW1.

  36. Justin Parsons Post author

    Toronto FC took years to recover from his incompetence.

  37. MrJahka Post author

    Why would anyone want to play for a Hun club like Rangers?

  38. David Kerr Post author

    Well done Mo!

    'Brave little bugger'- Graeme Souness

  39. Kyle Butler Post author

    Could you do a video about the racist treatment Mark Walters received at Parkhead every time he played there for Rangers?

  40. Tammy Evans Post author

    you should do a Alan cerbishley at Charlton and the collapse of the club after he left

  41. trip2themoon Post author

    Celtic are the true loyal to the crown and country team of Glasgow. Celtic pay their taxes in full. Rangers love a tacky display to suck up to the troops whilst scamming the country out of millions in tax money that would go towards vital equipment for the troops they (supposedly) love so much. Loyal is nothing but a mere buzzword to Rangers and their fans.

  42. MrJahka Post author

    What's more important loyalty and honor or money? For Mo Johnson the answer was clearly money. I can't imagine why someone would play for a club that's entire existence is based on a hate for your people.

  43. Jordan Taylor Post author

    Contrary to most will try and say and what a lot of the Scottish media will spout, it's not 'Just as bad on both sides' several of the most celebrated Celtic legends in history are protestants. Celtic have a statue and a stand named after a protestant, whereas along with the well noted signing policy, rangers fans regularly sing songs glorifying the murder of Catholics. The red band at the knee of the socks of their home kit is disgusting symbolism of the lyrics of one of those sectarian songs. There are plenty of decent non bigoted fans of rangers a good few of which I know, but they are a club with a strong, hateful, intolerant and bigoted core which seems to be ingrained in the upbringing of the majority of the fans.

  44. Badly_Dubbed Post author

    The sooner Scottish football rids itself of its pathetic religious ties the better. As you can probably tell from the vast majority of comments here, the small mindedness of people are to blame. People that know nothing abut religion all of sudden become experts when the old form are involved. Both Rangers, Celtic and the rest are great clubs, however the supporters are what drag them into the gutter and part of the problem in regards to the game moving forward.

  45. Clapton Ultras Post author

    Difference is Celtic fans won't remember him fondly do so because of betrayal, not bigotry.

  46. Oscar May Post author

    Wow, some video this is bloody brilliant you will be a really big youtuber some day liked and subscribed

  47. mydogiscalledoscar Post author

    "Not remember him fondly" is being very very kind.
    Among Celtic fans he's Judas. His real name is rarely used.

  48. Jason Hay Post author

    I will never forget it Judas signed for rangers 10th of July he should have waited till the 12th great player but why only 2 year's at Ibrox?any Answers Aly and mark???

  49. Robbie Wright Post author

    Tommy Gemmell recieved sectarian abuse at Celtic Park

  50. eric mourinho Post author

    Im catholic i played football but i could never play for the orange order

  51. EasterEgg0 Post author

    It'd be really cool if you could make a video dedicated to the rivalry between Rangers and Celtic. I love the rich history in the game and as one of the most historic and bitter rivalries in the sport I'd be extremely interested in seeing that video or video series.

    Also just a rivalries and derbies of football would be a great series.

  52. Craig Wilson Post author

    Try making a video about the shameful segregation of innocent 4/5 year old kids to Apartheid Sectarian Schools for a Foreign Roman Church in Scotland in 2018. Even more shameful the parents sending kids to them. Scum

  53. Wee Man Post author

    You never mentioned that Celt*c had paraded Mo Jo 24 hours at earlier at Parkhead before he signed for Rangers.

  54. Glesga Post author

    Typical like the engerlish wae Beckham he scores a goal he's the best thing since sliced bread no johnston scores against the Bhoys n he's accepted fs joke ay the time 😂😂😂😂😂

  55. Dave Dante Post author

    Fact is he's remembered fondly at Ibrox and will always be welcome back.

  56. Karma Bomb Post author

    It's not the fact he signed for them despite virtually pledging his life to Celtic. Its the fact he tried to endear himself to us by trying to be more catholic than the pope, blessing himself at Ibrox and the like. He played on his Celtic upbringing and total love for the club and fans to the extent we considered him "one of us".He grew up not far from me and was completely aware of all the complications and nuances of our culture. Then he signs for them Couldn't believe it.Still don't to this day.What a betrayal .He is persona non grata.Celtic were slipping behind Rangers and could really have done with him at the time and he made big Billy look foolish and amateurish too. I think he regrets it, deep down I think he knows he blew it.Now he is irrelevant when he could have been a legend

  57. Daniel SCP Post author

    Imagine having religious requirements for a club, so stupid

  58. ahmed siddique Post author

    Souness had an EBT. EBTs killed Ragers. E=MC2

  59. Billy McMonagle Post author

    Mo was brilliant for Rangers i loved the guy, great footballer. Could not give two fucks what other Gers fans thought, and i loved the fact he shafted those dreary obsessed tossers from the East end.

  60. The Right Honourable Rev Ian Paisley MP Post author

    Rangers and their fans just never fancied the Catholic church due to there horrendous abuse of children and there backwards religious dogma.Also celtic are a notoriously racist club who throw bananas at players in which was the worst incident of abhorrent racism ever witnessed in British football.If your Jewish or an Orangeman keep away from celtic as your likely to get attacked and abused badly.Celtic fc are a truely vile club who have covered up child abuse for decades,jeez there greatest ever manager wanted the 'Good name of the club' (no laughing at the back) protected so kept it quiet.DISGUSTING TO BE HONEST.

  61. Kenny McLeod Post author

    used to love mo johnston when growing up never cared he was a catholic he played for the famous

  62. Glasgow Rangers 1872 Post author

    Here comes all the celtic fans sitting on their moral high horse. You’s are just as bad if not worse.

  63. Ron Mac95 Post author

    I remember watching no at partick thistle in the late 1970s. He was a great player when young.

  64. bomberzak Post author

    Mo has lived in America since the end of his career due to the threats to his life from Celtic fans for snubbing them & signing for us, I was at most of his first games, he was accepted after his last minute winner v them. We'd had plenty catholics before, just not as high profile. People hated Mo not for his religion but for the kinda player he was against us( see his sending off at Hampden V Rangers). He wrote in his book just a year before signing for us how much he hated us and could never play for us, but then money talked.

  65. koomz Post author

    This is the sort of thing that has to be stamped out of rangers and stamped out of Scottish football. As a rangers fan, I think we need to do more to eradicate this problem. For the future and benefit of the club.

  66. Alasdair Morrison Post author

    Walter Till was Rangers first black player not Mark Walters

  67. Rory Scottish Post author

    Aberdeen do not care what religion you are. ⚽️⚽️

  68. Garry McCammon Post author

    Should have added the Celtic fans perspective, too. We hate him more, but for a more legitimate reason tbf

  69. jaime romano Post author

    Come on! There's so much more stuff about this transfer alone to even make a 10 minute video

  70. Greig Neilson Post author

    John Sheridan? Garbage. Jimmy Bell story, garbage. What utter tosh this video is.

  71. Jamie Rees Post author

    You should do won on Mark Walters. He got the worst of it.

  72. spd47 Post author

    If Rangers had signed John Sheridan presumably that wouldnt have gone down well either would it?,he was probably a Catholic and played for ROI.

  73. Bryan 67 Post author

    My uncle got arrested for throwing a coin at mo Johnston in the old firm he’s a snake

  74. Magnus McGee Post author

    Great content bar one awkward point: Johnston signed for Glasgow Rangers not Rangers.

  75. Michael Cooke Post author

    John Spencer had been with Rangers when Mo arrived. He wasnt a first team player at the time. But John is Catholic. Mo got all the headlines because he was a former Celtic player. Not because of what church he did or didnt go too.

  76. Shortall Liam Post author

    Lads, I was away in the US at university at that time, so I never quite understand exactly what happened. Thanks for uploading and explaining what was a difficult situation very clearly.

  77. Ciaran Doyle Post author

    this video just shows the mentality of the huns

  78. daniele campolo Post author

    i hate souness 89 for me is a disgrace .

  79. DidyeAye 13 Post author

    He had agreed to sign for Rangers in January

  80. krankenshaft Post author

    My favourite ever Rangers signing. Souness never gets enough credit for doing this. As for MoJo, I just fucking love the man.

  81. Bears1872 Post author

    The Tim’s were raging then and they’re still raging now😂😂😂

  82. Frederick Hermann Post author

    The closing comments are a bit inaccurate.Johnston could walk into any Rangers supporters club anywhere in the world and be treated like a hero


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