The Loving Cup sits proudly in the magnificent Trophy Room at Ibrox. An unusual item, you might think, to sit in a sacred place where mementoes of the triumphs and friendships of one the worlds foremost clubs adorn the walls and cabinets, however, The Loving Cup is testament to the stature of Rangers, as far as back 1937, and a symbol of the willingness of Rangers to come to the aid of a member of the ‘football family’, as they had done so many times before.
One of only 30 cast from a special mould, The Loving Cup was commissioned by the then Stoke City chairman, Sir Francis Joseph, to commemorate the coronation of His Majesty King George VI (who would visit Ibrox in 1938 to open the Empire Games). Of the 30 cast, 22 were given to English League clubs that finished the 1936/37 season( of which Stoke were one), 2 were given to the clubs who gained promotion that year, one to the SFA on the occasion of the Britain v Rest of Europe match at Hampden Park, the English FA, the English Football League and the King himself.
The story of how The Loving Cup came into the possession of Rangers is part of their history, and the ‘cup’ still plays a part in the clubs continuing history to this day.
On the 2nd July, 1937, a tragic incident occurred at the Holditch Colliery, near Stoke. 30 miners were killed and 8 were injured due to a fire and subsequent explosions. To raise funds for the dependants of the victims of the disaster, Stoke City requested to play the champions of Scotland, the famous Glasgow Rangers. The manager of the time, legendary Bill Struth, accepted the invitation immediately.
The 19th October 1937, saw Rangers travel to the Victoria Ground to play Stoke City. 30,000 fans saw a 0-0 draw. The Rangers team that day was Dawson, Gray, McDonald, McKillop, Simpson, Main, Venters, Smith, Kinnear, Fiddes, Little. £2,000 was raised for the relief fund.
After the match, as a token of appreciation, Stoke City chairman Sir Francis Joseph gifted Rangers their own Loving Cup. His one request being that the vessel should be used in perpetuity to toast the health of the reigning monarch prior to the clubs first home match of every New Year.
So it is, to this day, in the Blue Room in Ibrox, before the first home game of each New Year, the Toast to the health of the reigning Monarch is celebrated by the Rangers board members & the board members of the visiting team.
GOD SAVE THE QUEEN
* It is thought that there are only 5 Loving Cups’ left in circulation. Chelsea’s cup is in their museum, Stoke City got a replacement for the one they gifted us and Grimsby Town, Everton and Rangers still have theirs. Out of the 5 clubs, Rangers, Stoke City, Everton & Grimsby Town still to this day, toast the health of the reigning Monarch before the first home game of the new season.