Willie Maley

The Celtic Graves Society is proud to announce that there will be a ceremony to mark the resting place of


Celtic Player 1888-1897
Celtic Manager 1897-1940

At Cathcart Cemetery, Glasgow (Brenfield Road entrance) on Saturday 21st September 2013 at 11.30am

Attendees at the event will include:

Davie Hay, former Celtic Player and Manager
John Paul Taylor, Celtic FC Supporter Liaison Officer
Chris McKay, Celtic supporter who discovered Willie Maley’s resting place
Members of the Maley Family
Jim Craig, Celtic Graves Society Patron
David Potter, Celtic historian

A Blessing will be given by Rev. Father John Sweeney, St Maria Goretti Church, Cranhill. All Celtic Supporters are welcome to attend and flowers/tributes can be laid at the graveside.

“You can beat them if you start from the whistle to play the ball and keep playing it all the time. Now then, boys, go on determined to do your very best and remember the old Celtic spirit.” – Willie Maley, pep-talk to Celtic tram, Ibrox 1921 – Rangers 0, Celtic 2

It was Brother Walfrid who, at a meeting at the Maley household in 1887 where the club’s founding fathers sought to persuade Tom Maley to join the new Irish Combination, turned to younger brother Willie and said “Why don’t you come with him?” That invitation led to one of the longest and most-rewarding relationships in the history of Celtic FC.

19 year old Maley signed up and featured in Celtic’s first ever match, a 5-2 victory over Rangers, and then established himself as a half-back throughout the club’s first decade.

His performance in the 1892 Scottish Cup Final helped secure the club’s first major trophy with “his blocking and feeding simply perfect… checking, returning, general engineering… immense.” He remained faithful to the Glasgow club when many of his team-mates were tempted away by the lure of bigger money in England.

The following year was monumental for Maley as he earned two international caps and was a member of the Celtic team that won its first League Championship in 1893. Maley and his team-mates repeated the feat the following year and he rounded off his playing career with another League winners medal in 1896. He made 95 first-team appearances for Celtic and scored four goals.

Willie Maley became “Secretary-Manager” of Celtic in 1897 and his team won the Championship in his first season. He went on to forge some of the greatest teams in the club’s history. The record-breaking 6-in-a-row side of 1905-1910 contained legendary figures such as Quinn, Gallacher and McMenemy. The secret of his success was claimed to be that “He catches the players young and breathes into them the old traditional Celtic fire of which he himself appears to be the very living fountain and source” (Glasgow Observer, 14 March 1914). His next great team won four titles in succession between 1914-1917.

In total Maley’s teams won sixteen league titles and fourteen Scottish Cups and were responsible for creating an attacking style of football that remains synonymous with the club 125 years on. His managerial career finished with a flourish as he reached 70 years of age: the Scottish Cup won in 1937 and the League Title and Empire Exhibition Cup in 1938, Celtic’s golden jubilee year. It was during the jubilee celebration that the man himself said: “The club has been my life and without it my existence would be empty indeed.”

As part of the 125th anniversary of Celtic’s foundation the Celtic Graves Society is holding this commemoration to honour one of the greatest ever Celts whose name is still celebrated in the stands of Celtic Park today.

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where donations to the work of the Celtic Graves Society can also be made.