A look back at the beginning of NARSA through the eye’s of Wullie Paton, Detroit RSC
It was a bitterly cold day in January 1992 and we had the meeting in the Holiday inn in Mount Clemens. The main clubs in attendance were Toronto, Bramalea, London, Cambridge and Detroit. Now there may have been more but those are the ones that I recall.
As we all know this was Tam Plunkett’s dream to have a North American Rangers Supporters Association. He knew he had the backing from Bob Reilly (of Rangers F.C.) at the time, so you could sense the enthusiasm and the excitement in him.
At the meeting he explained about how all of this was going to work, and he even convinced a sceptic like me. My concerns were that Rangers at that time were trying to deal with the sectarian problem, and may have wanted to distance themselves from a guy like Tam, but he was such an engaging character that he could convince anyone of anything.
It just goes to show how wrong that I was, as Tam has become a legend with his own wall honouring him at Ibrox. Our very first annual dance was held in the Commonwealth Club in Detroit.
That was in June of 1992 the same year that N.A.R.S.A was born. I don’t have any pictures of that night as we were told that a photographer would be in attendance. He went around the hall taking pictures and he was either a con man or his camera did not work. I know that I paid him ten bucks for a group photo of our table and I did not see that guy again. Billy Plunkett was supposed to get the pictures from him but no one ever seen this guy again. Anyway it turned out to be a great night, with about 100 people there. We’ve came along way from then now we can boast conventions hosting from 800- 1000 in attendance.
The following year (1993) they had the annual dance in Hamilton, which I could not attend. Bringing us to 1994. A crowd of us from the Detroit club went over for the cup final with Dundee Utd, with us having high expectations of winning to give us another treble, which would have been back to back trebles which had never been done before.
But unfortunately we went down 1-0. Wullie, thank you so much for this feed-back on the birth of NARSA. It’s great to have some history to look back on. It’s too bad we didn’t get any pictures of the meetings, or the first dance back in in the early days. They would have been a real bonus to this new NARSA web page.