Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Ten: My 10 Rangers Cult Heroes

And no, cult isn't a mistype before I get any smart-ass comments.
I'm currently reading a book called Rangers Cult Heroes that mysteriously deems John Greig (European trophy-winning captain, 20 years at Rangers as a player, later manager and club director), Ally McCoist (all-time club top goalscorer. Current assistant manager and manager-elect) and Jim Baxter (widely regarded as one of the most talented players in Rangers and Scotland history) to be cult heroes.
So here's my own personal alternative list:
1: Mark Walters - When I first became properly interested in football, Walters was the Ibrox wing king. Fast and creative, he was in the first Rangers team I ever saw in the flesh.
2: Rino Gattuso - In his days before becoming a World Cup and Champions League-winning dynamo in the heart of the AC Milan midfield, Rino Gattuso was a terrier as Rangers missed out on 10-in-a-row at the final hurdle.
3: Terry Hurlock - With long greasy hair and vaseline on his eyebrows, Terry Hurlock looked more like a wrestler when he entered the field of play. Anyone described as a "Millwall hardman" is going to add substantial grit to a team. I think that to this day, Mither thinks his name was Terry Warlock.
4: Dale Gordon - Scored twice on his Rangers debut, joining the nine-in-a-row squad during its unchallenged superiority, and managed to score a fair few goals despite competing for them with Messrs McCoist and Hateley.
5: Pieter Huistra - Effectively forced out of Ibrox by the arrival of Brian Laudrup, Huistra was another foreign-born wing wizard. Five league medals, two league cup medals and a Scottish Cup medal tell their own story, but many was the hour I spent in the garden attempting to teach myself to turn with the ball like Huistra did.
6: Charlie Adam - Fat, slow, not overly disposed to defensive duties, loathe to track back. Possessor of a powerful shot and capable of scoring spectacular goals. Charlie Adam is my most recently departed cult hero thanks to the fact that he is the professional football player I am currently closest to resembling.
7: Jorg Albertz - The Hammer. Everything that made Albertz a crowd favourite at Ibrox was packed into that steamhammer left peg. I remember seeing an unfortunate East Fife defender take an Albertz free kick in the balls from 10 yards, and heard the whole ground groan on his behalf.
8: Alan McGregor - Still at Ibrox, but I think that of all the current Ibrox players, Shagger has the most unique bond. He features frequently in the tabloid gossip columns, and my favourite McGregor moment came as he took to the field at Tannadice for a match with Dundee Utd and greeted the chants of "Shagger, Shagger gies a wave" with a subtle nod of the head.
9: Nacho Novo - There's only one Nacho Novo - famously turned down the chance to sign for Celtic and became an immediate Ibrox favourite as a result. Scored a barrowload of goals in a Rangers team that was frequently uninspiring. And he sings The Bouncy in a heavy Spanish accent.
10: Maurice Johnston - My first favourite Rangers player. Probably the most controversial player in the club's history. But I didn't fully understand the religious overtones (or that his time as an ex-Celtic player counted against him). I was gutted when he was packed off to Everton to make way for the McCoist-Hateley partnership.


Mike Smith said...

I remember a week before the 1998 Scottish Cup Final the Hammer got sent off. I was delighted as it meant he missed the final - which Hearts gloriously won!

Anonymous said...

the old banter line that goes 'they call Albertz 'The Hammer',eh? That's fair enough, I agree that he is a tool.'

(insert wink emoticon)

Anonymous said...

.... what about Gazza?.... or has everyone disowned him now?..... wasn't he a Ranger?....


Groanin' Jock said...

Yeah, Gazza was at Rangers from 1995-1998. He's the second best player I've seen in a Rangers shirt.

But he was so good and such a legend that he doesn't, in my opinion, count as a cult hero.

My definition of cult hero is someone that caught the imagination despite not being the greatest player, or someone who built up a good relationship with the fans.

Gazza is a bona fide Rangers superstar.