Football: from bankruptcy to the elite, the rebirth of Glasgow Rangers



Perhaps the story begins there. As if to give flavor to the epilogue, expected on Wednesday May 18 in the Europa League final against Eintracht Frankfurt, there were first the drone afternoons. In 2011, the Glasgow Rangers were still one of those regulars in European games. By committing to it in the summer of 2012, the French player Sébastien Faure joins only the crumbs left behind by a judicial liquidation and a relegation to the fourth national division of the most celebrated club in Scotland (54 championships). The result of an almost unanimous vote of the members of the Scottish championship with regard to the “Gers”, whose debt is then estimated by its administrators at 166 million euros.

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The giant no longer even swims in the small pool, he slides to the bottom of the pond, condemned to frequent the steeple stadiums. At Berwick, his teammate Lewis Mcleod hit one of the first corners of the match when he almost lost support, the establishment of the lawn hardly exceeding the touchline. The Rangers are warned, the pitfall awaits them at each trip. “We got into it but we had no room for error. Our supporters did not accept that a team is better than us in 4and division, and even gets even a single chance against us”, says Sébastien Faure.

45,000 spectators in the Scottish 4th Division

At home, for the first season of this new era, the stands of Ibrox Park are still crackling. More than 45,000 faithful on average come to replenish the coffers since the sale of tickets has become the main resource of the club. The team refocuses around a few familiar faces. On the bench, Ally McCoist, the club’s top scorer between 1983 and 1998, lines up an eleven made up of international players, where three remaining have agreed to lower their salaries.

Logic makes them pass this first obstacle, then the next one, which promotes them to the second division after 33 wins and three draws in 36 games. “If the best French clubs went bankrupt and found themselves playing among amateurs, I’m not sure they would end up with such good results”, advances Sébastien Faure. Because in Glasgow, the defender trained in Lyon never really felt like playing “elsewhere than in the first division”. “There is the atmosphere and the infrastructure of very big clubs there”, confirms Daniel Cousin, former Gabonese striker, still marked by his only season spent under the blue tunic of the Teddy Bears, in 2008. “This club is holding up thanks to the unconditional support of its supporters. I had scored a goal against Celtic and they told me I would never be forgotten. »

Steven Gerrard, winning bet

The return to the top flight has been delayed for another season, delaying the return to the highest level of the “Old firm”, the derby which places the historically Protestant Rangers against the Catholics of Celtic, the second most successful club in Scotland. At the same time, the rival did not hesitate to seize, without difficulty, five championships. He will welcome with a slap (5-1) the return of the Rangers to the first division. If the 2016-2017 financial year proves to be painful – three coaches parade on the bench in the space of a season – the essential is elsewhere: the place on the podium validates the investments of Dave King, reforming president, as much as it allows a breathing space for Scottish football, whose renewed interest attracts “once again sponsors and investors”assures Christopher Jack, responsible for monitoring the Rangers for the daily The Heraldin Glasgow.

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A bet – the appointment as coach of the young retiree Steven Gerrard, a former midfield magician in Liverpool but a novice in this position – will restore the image of the “Light Blues”, another of their many nicknames, for good. Under his thumb, the club adds a new line to its record in 2021, the first in ten years, and offers itself a margin of 25 points over Celtic, its runner-up in the league. A reward for the Englishman who dared to use unbridled tactics, led by players accustomed to overcoming function. James Tavernier, training right back, thus becomes one of the best gunners and the emblematic captain. He remains so this season, despite the departure of Gerrard in the fall, replaced by the former club Giovanni van Bronckhorst. His seven goals traced the European course of the Rangers, until finding, Wednesday evening, heights which they had not reached since 2008 and a final of the Europa League, lost at the time against Zenit Saint-Petersburg.

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An open final

The final of this Europa League was not the most anticipated, Wednesday in Seville (Spain). We owe it, on the one hand, to the Glasgow Rangers hunting board. Giovanni Van Bronckhorst’s players notably defeated the Germans of Borussia Dortmund and then RB Leipzig in the semi-finals. Eintracht Frankfurt had surprised him by standing up to FC Barcelona in the quarters. The winner of the match (9 p.m.) will pocket a ticket for the next group stage of the Champions League, the most important club competition in Europe. It would be the first European title for the Scots in fifty years, and since 1980 for the Germans.

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