HE was the first footballer to be transferred for £100 – a whopping world record fee back in the late 19th century.

But Celtic star Willie Groves, like his teammates Neil McCallum and Mick McKeown, was to fall on hard times and ended his life in poverty and sadness.

Born in the Gorbals, Willie’s starry career included a Scottish Cup-winning goal for Hibs in 1887 at the age of 19, two further Scottish Cup medals for Celtic, and four goals in three games for Scotland.

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The apprentice shoemaker had to return to work in 1903 but a heart condition forced him to apply to the poor law authorities and sadly, he died in 1905.

Willie’s story is contained in a huge collection of sporting records held by Glasgow City Archives, including fascinating early plans and pictures of Ibrox Stadium, home of Rangers FC, from 1910 and 1935.

The Dean of Guild Court plans include many for sport buildings and stadia across the city, such as the main stand at Ibrox, designed by Archibald Leitch and opened in 1929.

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Incidentally, Rangers players were not immune to the hardship experienced by their Old Firm rivals, as archivist Michael Gallagher explains.

“Peter McNeil, one of Rangers’ founders, who was an administrator and also played for the club, applied to the poor relief fund,” he says.

“He was subsequently admitted to Hawkhead Asylum because of stress caused by financial problems and sadly, he died in the asylum.”

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While libraries remain closed, Michael and his colleagues, Lynsey Green, Nerys Tunnicliffe, senior archivist Irene O’Brien and Barbara Neilson, are running Ask the Archivist, which gives people the chance to ask questions about the city collections. More details are available on the Glasgow City Archives Facebook page.

The team has uncovered some fantastic little gems including this magnificent photograph of the 1889 Strathclyde Police tug-of-war team.

Look closely at the gentleman in the middle, dressed in Highland regalia.

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“He is the team’s captain, William McIntosh, father of Charles Rennie,” says Michael. (Charles changed the spelling of his surname to Mackintosh later.)

“Some sports were particularly good at keeping records. We hold some for bowls, cricket, golf, angling and rambling clubs, and a wonderful collection from the Arlington Baths, Europe’s oldest swimming club.”

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One of Michael’s favourites is the poster for baths and wash-house bye-laws.

“There are some crackers, especially number 15: No person shall, when undressed, used the pond, or any of the apparatus therein, unless he wears pants,” he smiles.

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Not everyone has been impressed by Glasgow’s sporting excellence, points out Michael.

In what is probably the earliest mention of sport in the city’s archive, the Church of Scotland kirk session of 1595 made it fairly plain how they felt.

“Games forbidden on a Sunday - the session directed the Drum to go through the Town, that there be no Bickering nor plays on Sunday, either by Old or Young. Games, golf, bowls, etc, are forbidden,” it reads.

Share your favourite sporting tales from Glasgow’s past by emailing ann.fotheringham@glasgowtimes.co.uk