The story of the team that “died” and “resurrected” to reach a European final – Ovation – 05/09/2022

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The presence of Rangers de Glasgow at the end of the Europa League on May 18 in Seville against Concord de Francfort it goes beyond the simple sporting result: it is the return of traditional colors to the first European level. It is the team of Scottish Protestantswhich “died” and “resurrected” in recent years.

In 1988 the club began to “die”, if this is a possible alternative for an institution that beyond papers has life in thousands of fans. Was when David Murray, Scottish steel tycoon, launched his idea of ​​turning it into a football powerhouse. The policy followed to achieve this, request loans for the signing of foreign players, never managed to achieve the objective. Worse still, he accumulated a debt that the world economic crisis that broke out in 2008 was transforming into unpayable. A year later, Lloyds bank, one of the main creditors, took over the administration of the club, and in 2011 another businessman, Craig Whyte, assumed the reins of the institution when the downhill was unstoppable. In June 2012, the final debacle occurred. The British Treasury office rejected a plan to refinance the debt of 26 million euros and declared bankruptcy.

The renowned Glasgow Rangers disappeared as such, although that same day Charles Greenex-soccer player and businessman in England, paid 7 million euros and signed the refoundation under the name The Rangers Football Club.

However, the misfortunes would not end there. The “new” team asked to join the First or eventually the Second Division, the rest of the clubs did not accept it and the Scottish Federation forced him to start from scratch. The proud Rangers became one of the fourth category.

The following years were an ordeal for the institution, which at the same time watched helplessly as Celtic, their usual rival, added championships without any opposition. But at the same time, the punishment served to prove that the history, passion and convening power of the big clubs is capable of overcoming the worst moments. During those endless seasons in exile, 50,000 Rangers fans packed Ibrox Park in each game even though they didn’t even know the names of their opponents and they traveled all over the country to follow their team through unknown pitches. The Gers easily won the Fourth and Third tournaments, stumbled in a promotion against Motherwell in their first year in Second and reached First in 2016.

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In 2018 he was hired as a coach Steven Gerrardthat talented midfielder who was an idol of Liverpool and came to play there with Luis Suarez, who updated the style of play. Hand in hand with him, in the 2020-2021 season, Rangers celebrated their 55th title with a record 25 point lead about Celtic.

Gerrard then returned to England to accept the offer of the Aston Villa. His successor, the Dutch Gio Van Bronckhorst, he maintained and even deepened the idea of ​​the game.

The Europa League 2021-2022 gave him international projection. successively surpassed the mighty Borussia Dortmund in February, at Red Star Serbian in March and also to Braga Portuguese. In the semifinal, she left behind the Leipzig German. After going down 1-0 in the first leg, they triumphed 3-1 at Ibrox Park, completing their revival.

RIVALRY

The hot classic with Celtic

Scottish football has always revolved around the Old Firm, the old company, the Glasgow classic between Celtic and Rangers. Both share most of the local titles. And when they play each other, sparks fly on the pitch and in the stands. In the not too distant past, episodes of violence were frequent.

Why is it called Old Firm? The baptism is attributed to a Glasgow newspaper, which back in 1909 insinuated that the rivals had arranged to draw a final to dispute another and increase the collection. But the issue is not economic: in addition to the rivalry on the field, there are religious, cultural and political reasons for the gap between the two.

Celtic is from its origin the Catholic, Republican, pro-Irish and even left-wing club. It was founded by a Marist Brother of Irish origin, Andrew Kerings, to support his fellow immigrants. Rangers, meanwhile, is the Protestant team loyal to the British crown, also leaning to the right.

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The fans do not carry Scottish flags to the field: those use the tricolors of Ireland, these the British Union Jack.

Rangers Football Club was founded in 1873 with no religious ties, but sporting opposition to Celtic led to everything else. And he became even more sectarian than his adversary, to the point of not accepting Catholic players in his ranks for decades. Celtic, on the other hand, had no problem incorporating Protestants.

When in 1989 Mo Johnston, a former Celtic player, also a Catholic, was signed by Rangers from French Nantes, an earthquake was felt in Glasgow. Celtic fans disowned him, but Rangers didn’t accept him for months, until he scored a decisive goal. Later there were other Catholics in the club.

Despite efforts by the clubs to appease the most sectarian fans, the rancor reached such serious levels that UEFA itself had to intervene with sanctions for both clubs.

Although the internal dispute was always very even, Rangers was the first of the two to reach a continental final, that of the Cup Winners’ Cup (the now defunct tournament that brought together the winners of the national cups) in 1961, which they lost to Fiorentina . Celtic surpassed him by winning the European Cup (today the Champions League) in 1967 against Inter Milan, to become the first non-Latin team to do so. That year, the team with the white and green jersey with horizontal stripes played the final of the Intercontinental Cup at the Centenario Stadium against Racing de Avellaneda. And he received the majority support of the Uruguayan public that sunny afternoon.

Later, in 1972, Rangers finally reached their European crown, winning the Cup Winners’ Cup, after beating Dinamo Moscow 3-2 in Barcelona.

As for the Scottish leagues, Rangers (in their two existences) have 55 titles, while Celtic have 52.

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