MORTON have announced the death of long-serving respected former chairman John Wilson at the age of 84.

Originally from Port Glasgow, Mr Wilson was a Kilmacolm resident who joined the club's board of directors in October 1985.

He was a self-made businessman and managing director of Sir J.H. Biles, design consultants and naval architects and engineers.

When appointed, Mr Wilson stated that he offered a fresh face, a fresh approach and a fresh attitude at Cappielow.

He had been particularly disappointed at the decline of Morton's scouting and youth links and wanted to restore them.

Mr Wilson was appointed managing director in August 1986 and vice chairman later that year.

By the end of 1987/88 season, he was effectively in charge at Cappielow, taking over as chairman after dispensing with his other business interests.

He was committed to strengthening the club’s financial base, and with Allan McGraw as manager and an effective youth system in place, Morton brought in nearly £1.5 million in transfer fees between 1990 and 1993, with the sale of a number of players from a conveyor belt of talent, including Alan Mahood, Brian Reid, Mark McGraw, current manager David Hopkin, and Alex Mathie.

Those fees counterbalanced annual losses reported as £200,000 per annum, at a time when there was a constant need to invest in Cappielow to meet new safety legislation.

A man of strong principles, Mr Wilson hit the headlines when he resigned from the Scottish Football League management committee at the end of 1993, after the league had refused to postpone successive matches, despite Morton having 14 players certified injured and another four certified as ill.

He said at the time: “I believe they have impugned the reputation of the club, particularly the club doctors and officials.”

A difficult 1993/94 season saw relegation to the third tier, but the club bounced back in style, with the board sanctioning expenditure of £250,000 to bring Finnish internationals Janne Lindberg and Marko Rajamaki to Cappielow in November 1994.

This was the catalyst for very two memorable seasons.

Morton won the Second Division in 1995 and then just missed out on a return to the top flight 12 months later.

Profitable sales of home grown talent had continued, with the departure of Derek McInnes to Rangers and Derek Lilley to Leeds United bringing in almost £800,000.

After the exit of flying Finns Rajamaki and Lindberg in May 1997, the club changed hands a couple of months later, with Mr Wilson stepping down from the board and selling his controlling interest in Morton, and controversial new owner Hugh Scott taking over.

Allan McGraw stepped down too, having worked with Mr Wilson throughout his time as manager.

He was subsequently quoted as saying: “I hope John Wilson gets his credit some time, because he took a lot of stick.

"But he ran a well-run ship.”

At the time, Roger Graham, then-sport editor of the Telegraph, said: “John Wilson’s heart was in the right place, and he undoubtedly left Morton Football Club in a far healthier position than the one in which he found it.”

Morton say they were 'very sad indeed' to hear of Mr Wilson's death.

Pictured, from left to right, is Allan McGraw with Morton directors Andy Gemmell, John Wilson and Douglas Rae.