Goram: We’d have beaten Milan in the Champions League Final
This is the second part of our exclusive interview with Rangers legend Andy Goram conducted at the fantastic Wee Rangers Club last Saturday.
This part of the interview deals with Andy’s love for cricket, the 1992/93 Champions League, some revelations about Marseille before starting to talk about the current team and his admiration for Walter Smith.
There’s more to come after this article also…
You’ve represented Scotland both at football and at cricket, how proud of that achievement are you?
Well football I played every day and it was my job and I loved it. But the cricket for me was like a hobby. So I’m actually more proud of getting there since it’s harder work than achieving things at a club like Rangers or Hibs when you’re surrounded by great players than at club cricket level when you sometimes have to do things for yourself even though you still have the boys round about you.
Do you still get a chance to go and watch the cricket or even get a game yourself?
I don’t get much chance to watch it, but I played three games in a week last year and couldn’t walk for three weeks after it. So that’s your body saying no, time to forget it.
Back to the football now! Was the Rangers team of 1992/93 good enough to win the Champions League?
Aye. I think that if we’d got to the final then we’d have won. But McCoist and Hateley never played together for the whole Champions League, so that causes a problem for Rangers.
We had a right good side at the time but we were just lacking that wee bit of magic that you get from a Davie Cooper, a Jim Baxter, a Paul Gascoigne or a Brian Laudrup. Don’t get me wrong, we were a very hard working side and I’m not saying that the other players couldn’t and it’s no disrespect to the players we had. But we just lacked that little bit of extra world class that one of those guys would have brought. Guys that could create something from nothing.
That was the year that Bernard Tapie the Marseille chairman got himself and his club into bother with match fixing and eventually got their title stripped. Do you think that had any influence on the way things turned out for Rangers that year?
Well, Mark Hateley got a phone call the day before the Brugge game from a Frenchman who offered him a lot of money to miss the Marseille game. Mark obviously said no and then during the Brugge game there was that nothing incident where the boy went down and the referee stood over him with the red card. It was then that Mark realised that the they had got to the referee and he would miss the Marseille game due to suspension.
It was a real shame that the one year that Rangers came close it was an outside influence that affected the way things turned out and not necessarily what happened on the pitch.
Milan were knackered having played a lot of games and carrying a few injuries and it showed, they were there to be beaten. If we’d have got to that final then we would have beat them. I really believe that.
What was your relationship like with the other goalkeepers at the club, is it sometimes a strange relationship you have since only one can play?
Well with the other goalkeepers my relationship was never any question, it was great and there’s never any bad blood between us. Even if one is playing and the other is not. I’ve never known a situation where there’s any bitterness or that was ever in doubt – there’s just no bad blood at all at any club I’ve ever played at with any keeper.
What about the outfield players at the club? Sometimes relationships can be strained on the park can they not?
Me and Nigel Spackman had a little set too at half time against Aberdeen once. But that happens, you don’t go through your career at Rangers without arguments or a wee bust up – it shows that you care. Not necessarily arguments, but we had discussions every week. If we didn’t do that then we wouldn’t have won what we won.
Do you sometimes think that is maybe lacking in this current side? Do you think there’s the same passion that you all had for the club now?
I think that they have the passion, but they don’t have the same characters as we had. Having said that, to have been seven points behind last season and then to come back and win it by four shows a massive lot of courage in there and bottle to do it.
Just look at our team in the 90’s, if we’d been seven points behind Tommy Burns’ team then we’d have found it hard to come back from. So I tip my hat to what they did last season. Yes, it wasn’t pretty football, we all know that, but we haven’t got the Gascoignes and the Laudrups or anybody else. So for them to get the points back and for the gaffer to keep everyone going at that point is a great achievement.
What do you think about the way that Walter set up the team last season? There was a lot of talk about it being a negative set-up, but do you think it was just a product of being behind and just doing anything for a win?
Don’t get beat. That’s the only real thing. When Walter came back, we were twenty one points behind Celtic. He’s won us four trophies and took us to a European Cup Final. In the state we were in when he came back, if you’d asked any fan, anyone, would you take that? No matter what kind of football we played, no matter how we were struggling, you’d take that in two fucking seconds.
Yes it’s frustrating that we can’t play great football and we’re not seeing the same great talented players, but you can’t support anyone else. You’ve just got to bite the bullet.
What about the players with everything that is going on in the background at the club at the minute? Do you think it will galvanise the players and maybe help them to raise their game?
Well, it’s impossible for a player to just raise your game in that way. You can’t just decide, ‘I’m going to play well today’ you have to get out there and just do it. But the gaffer has a lot to do with it, to keep you focussed.
The game the other week there and other ones, the first game against Unirea for example, the gaffer just put his hands up and took the blame for the result and just deflected all the shite off all the players.
He took it just to protect the players. That’s just the way that he is. But when we win and we do well, he lets all the players take all the credit. It’s the same with Alex Ferguson, like the other week when he blamed the referee for not being fit. It was just the same, to deflect the shite away from the players. It’s man management, it keeps your players protected and that’s what they are both good at.