Born on the 7th March 1921, William Waddell was an outside right footballer who spent his whole 16 year playing career at Rangers. Signing for Rangers in 1938 his career was interrupted with the breakout of World War 2.
Born in Forth, Lanarkshire Waddell would play his 1st game for the clubs reserves at the age of 15yrs, then manager Bill Struth saw potential in a young Waddell and farmed him out on loan to Strathclyde Juniors to help him gain experience. He returned and turned professional in May 1938.
As a player he would make 301 appearances for Rangers scoring 58 times for the club, Waddell made his debut at the age of 17 in a friendly match against Arsenal. It was a sensational start for young Waddell as he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win. A week later he made his league debut in a 4-1 win against Ayr United and the team went on to win the league championship.
The following year the 1939/40 Scottish League season was abandoned after 5 games due to the war. Rangers played in area division leagues during the war with Waddell being a regular influential performer winning all 7 league titles. In all 34 Competitions played in Rangers won 25 of them. During these years Waddell turned into a strong and powerful winger with his speed he was able to turn and sprint his way past defences. His crossing ability would test most oppositions nerves.
In 1946/47 Waddell and Rangers would pick up where they left off by winning the new Scottish League cup trophy, Waddell didn’t play in the final but he did assist with scoring goals in the previous round against Hibernian in the Semi-final. Rangers would beat Aberdeen 4-0 in the final to become the 1st winners of the trophy.
Waddell’s story of unlucky finals curse struck again the following year when Rangers defeated Raith Rovers in the League Cup final in March 1949, he still managed to be the top scorer in the competition which included a hat trick against Clyde. Later that year he was in the team that would beat Clyde 4-1 in the Scottish Cup Final. That was the season Rangers became the first team to win the domestic treble.
Waddell scored possibly the most important goal of his career at the end of the 1952/53 season, Last Game needing only a point to win the championship Rangers were 1-0 down to Queen of the South with 15 mins to go, up popped Waddell and Rangers won the Championship on goal difference from Hibernian. He would also win the Scottish Cup against Aberdeen after a replay.
Waddell retired as a player in the summer of 1956 his last appearance in a friendly against Manchester City. He immediately moved into management and had a successful spell with Kilmarnock, they won the Scottish Division 1 championship on the final day of the 1964 season winning against Hearts.
Sharing his time as Kilmarnock Manager and Sports Journalist for the Scottish express it wasn’t long before Waddell was back at Ibrox replacing Davie White as manager.
Difficult times were to come at Ibrox as Celtic were enjoying the best period in their history under manager Jock Stein but Waddell stepped up to the challenge and started to bleed the youngsters. Which paid off in the 1970/71 league cup final when a young 16 year old named Derek Johnstone scored the winner against Celtic.
1971 is a year that all fans of football would want to forget, On January 2nd 66 fans would perish and over 200 people injured when a crush on stairway 13 would be Britains biggest disaster in football. Waddell being the manager at the time took a leading role on the rebuild vowing this would never happen again. It is Now Ibrox stadium as we know it.
Almost 100 years to the day that a young Moses McNeil came up with the idea for the club, Rangers finest European night was to become a reality when Rangers won the European Cup Winners Cup in Barcelona. With wins against Rennes, Torino and Sporting Lisbon in the early rounds the big guns of Bayern Munich came along in the Semi-final, A 1-1 draw in Germany followed by a 2-0 home win. Rangers were on their way to Barcelona.
25,000 fans descended on Barcelona on May 24th to see Rangers play Dynamo Moscow in the Camp Nou, Rangers raced to a 2-0 half time lead with Goals from Colin Stein and Willie Johnston, In the second half Rangers went 3 up with another from Johnston but things Started to change with Dynamo coming back in to the game replying with 2 goals to set up an nervy last 5 mins. Rangers held on and lifted the cup winners cup at the 3rd time of trying.
Waddell would hand the managerial role onto assistant manager Brother Jock Wallace and take up a new role in the boardroom, he would continue in the roles of managing director and then vice-chairman until the middle 80’s.
Waddell would pass away in hospital with Heart Failure on the14th October 1992 aged 71
He was married to Hilda who was an Air hostess, they met on an official flight to Lisbon when Rangers travelled to play Benfica in a friendly. Children Ronnie, Peter and Ailsa
Inducted into the Rangers Hall of fame in the year 2000
4 League titles 1938/39, 1946/47, 1948/49 and 1952/53
2 Scottish Cups 1948/49 and 1952/53
18 caps for Scotland scoring 6 goals
Scottish League Division 1 Championship
Scottish League Cup 1970/71
Uefa Cup winners Cup 1971/72
William Tweedie Orr Waddell was a Master Mason of The Lodge of Glasgow Saint John 3bis
Initiated March 2nd 1954
Passed March 16th 1954
Raised April 20th 1954