Posts Tagged ‘Legends’
This is the third and final part of RangersMedia’s exclusive interview with Rangers Legend Andy Goram that we undertook last weekend at the fabulous Wee Rangers Club. This bumper final part of the interview covers a multitude of topics as Andy answered a whole range of different questions that the members of RangersMedia put to him.
Topics like Allan McGregor, the thought of Rangers playing in England, and who he thinks the next great Scottish goalkeeper will be were covered – and you might be surprised…
McGregor and Alexander, obviously both have attributes that are better than the other, but who do you think is the better keeper? And was it right for McGregor to step straight back into the team last year?
Well McGregor, he’s had a few years now where he’s hardly made any mistakes and no one can pin him for one real howler. Every game he makes saves to keep us in it. Obviously Alexander came in when he had to and you can’t fault him for anything. But I think that given McGregor’s record before, he was right to put him back in. The way the gaffer handled him is why we’re seeing the form he’s in now. I do feel sorry for Neil, but at the end of the day, he will know the situation as well
Everybody knows what I think about McGregor as a goalkeeper. He doesn’t make mistakes, he’s great physically and is really strong now.
Whenever you were playing for Rangers Andy, you often found yourself being quiet for large parts of the game before being called into action often to make unbelievable saves. How did you handle that mentally and be able to keep your concentration?
Well if you ask me, you can’t teach that. It’s something that’s in you. With the likes of Allan in the Hibs game, he’s made about nine saves that has kept us in the match. It’s not just the one, which is sometimes what happened when we played.
The difference was that we were just that good. He is under much more pressure and is getting man of the matches. However, if McGregor does end up leaving the club, then there’s no problem with Alexander stepping in.
How would you compare McGregor to yourself when you were his age? Is he as good as you were at that age?
I think that he’s done just as much as me, obviously performance wise. I mean, I played with Richard Gough and John Brown and he’s, with no disrespect to the current guys, playing with players that were in my opinion maybe not as good as us.
I think we’re exactly the same to be honest. I mean, he’s twenty six or twenty seven and I don’t think that I played my best football until the four years between twenty eight and thirty two, so he can still get better.
What are your thoughts about Rangers maybe playing their football in England?
You’d have to give Rangers and Celtic £200 million just to catch up – the standard down there is just that far advanced. If you put the two teams into the English Second Division now then they might struggle.
But yet, because of who we are, we could of course go down there and beat a lot of the teams in the Premiership. If you look at the standard of even the bottom teams in the league, they’re hard teams to beat.
You see they’re physically stronger down there, the players are big and are more like runners, it’s just a totally different game completely.
Euro 96 and Gazza’s goal – Was that the best goal scored past you? Do you think you could of saved it?
No, no, that’s the one. I don’t mind that being the best goal scored against me though, as he’s the only player that could have done that. I just kept shouting at Colin Hendry to stand up, I mean, we’d just missed a penalty 30 seconds before that. I’d have rather that Gazza scored than any other English player, that’s for sure.
What would you say is your most special moment when playing for Rangers?
To be honest it has to be the Celtic games, just being involved in them is fantastic. Every game against them, especially when you win is something special. Other than that I would maybe say the Leeds games – but nothing will compare to the Old Firm games, especially against the Tommy Burns teams.
If there was one result that you could have changed or a game you could have re-played differently, what would it be?
That’s simple, it would have been Marseille, the semi-final. We’d done everything, we’d won the league, the League Cup, the Scottish cup and to have our chance at the big cup would definitely be what I’d choose.
Would you have ever considered moving away from Rangers when you were at the peak of your career? Is taking the chance to move abroad , say with Brescia, something that you wish you’d done?
Yes, I did have the chance to go to Brescia, but I was quite happy at Rangers and didn’t want to go anywhere else. I was on decent money at the time, winning all the time, we were getting bonuses, we were winning trophies, playing in the champions league – so there was no point. You see players that go away to other countries and time and time again they just end up sitting on the bench. I was very happy at the big club.
When Bill McMurdo told you that Celtic were interested in you, how many seconds did it take for you to turn them down?
Well he only told me two years ago. So at the time, he didn’t even ask me, he kept it to himself. As for how long it would have taken me? I think you know the answer to that…
You have a great support from the Rangers fans, could you tell us about your thoughts about them?
How can you fault the Rangers fans? Especially after the 9 in a row celebrations. We gave them so many memories, but see when I go away in Europe with them, they give us loads of memories too. I suppose the thing is that we can’t remember them all (as Andy slugs from a glass of expensive red wine).
But they are great, it’s different times now though. Back then we drank with the fans, we even played dominoes with them. Me, McCoist, Durrant, McCall we were fans too, but we were just lucky enough to have played for the club too.
Do you think it’s a shame that the players can’t really do that now?
Well its changed times now, just totally changed. The difference is that we were winning every year. I think Walter won 14 trophies in 7 years, so when the team isn’t winning like that, then it’s the players that are going to hear the shite. It was easy for us when we were playing.
How would you compare Walter to Sir Alex?
I would say that they are so similar. Is it all about the mind games? I don’t think so, I think that its all about their man management – but more importantly they are fantastic coaches. You can’t do what Walter has done and what Sir Alex has done without having a real talent for coaching.
Would you ever fancy getting back into coaching or management yourself?
No, I wouldn’t say so. Not unless it was with the big club. Rangers. But I can’t say that now though, however if it ever came up and I had the chance to, I’d take it in an instant.
What about if McCoist and Durrant were to take over whenever Walter decides to call it a day?
Aye, well, if you’d said it to me when we were playing then I really wouldn’t have said that they would have a chance. But since they’ve mautred since then. Whenever you see Walter now he has Durranty beside him. If they want to be a manager, then they have the best teacher, that’s for sure.
Apart from any of the current Rangers keepers, who would you say is the next up and coming keeper in the country?
If we’re talking young Scots then I’d have to say young David Hutton. I was at Clyde with Hutts and I just think the world of him. I see so much of him in me and so much of me in him – just the way he goes about things. I had a great few months with him at Clyde and he was only 22. At his age, he is the best I think I’ve ever seen.
Will he be good enough to be a Rangers keeper? He’s certainly got what it takes. I’m sure of that.
Your dinner to celebrate the launch of your book , The Goalie: My Story, is this Sunday (15th November) and will be a great chance for you to see some old faces you played with. Who do you know is coming?
Well, all in there is probably about 25 players coming. Lads from my time with the club and also some guys that are currently playing. Walter’s coming, Bain and about 8-10 current first team players. There’ll be a table for some of the lads from my time with the likes of Laudrup and Albertz. I can’t wait, it should be a great night.
Just to kind of end things now Andy, could you tell us about what you think of the Ex-Players Fund charity which RangersMedia are actively involved in raising money for?
Well, I don’t see anybody else helping the ex-players, especially the older players that didn’t make the money that a lot of the other players are making.
A lot of these players need operations, surgery, for injuries that they sustained playing for the big club. No one can decry the ex-players the money after what they have done for us. I mean they gave a lot physically as well as mentally and it’s a great way for the fans to show their support for some of these guys and to thank them.
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.
This is the first part of a serialised exclusive interview with Rangers Legend Andy Goram which he very kindly gave to the site at the weekend.
This first part discusses Andy’s early career, hearing of the interest from Rangers, how he scored twice in a season and some other very interesting facts including his great admiration for Alan Hodgkinson and also how Souness had a word in his ear about joining Rangers…
1) Your dad, Lewis, was a Scottish footballer and you’re named after him, what position did he play, how good was he and what kind of influence did he have on your decision to make football your career?
He was at Hibs from 1940 to 1950 at the same time as Tommy Younger, then he went down to Bury for about £8,000. He moved the family down to Blackpool and had about 7 years at Bury then he broke his leg in a game against Hull and that finished him.
Well you want to do what your dad does and he was a goalie as well. I used to play centre forward on a Saturday for a young team and then would play as a keeper on a Sunday. Goalkeepers are all frustrated centre forwards!
2) When you were growing up, who did you aspire to be like? Who was your hero or your idol?
Well I didn’t really have one, but I was Bryan Robsons apprentice at West Brom when I was a 14 or 15 year old and I just thought he was a fantastic player. Goalkeeping wise, it was probably Shilton. I thought he was exceptional and Ray Clemence as well.
My dad always said, don’t try and be like someone else, pick things up of other people. It’s like a jigsaw, you can’t be anyone else; although they do say there’s two Andy Gorams.
3) How did you first hear of Rangers’ interest in you when you were at Hibs? How did it feel and what were you thinking when they contacted you?
Well the club signed me in 1991. I met Souness at a charity do, it was a Question of Sport thing with every player at a table. Everyone was having a good drink and a carry on and Souness came up to me and said ‘so you’re going to be the next Rangers goalkeeper?’ and then walked away. I’m sitting there thinking, ‘wait, come back and tell me!”.
But at the time they tried to buy me then, Hibs made it public that Rangers were interested, to try and make it into an auction. Oldham were interested and wanted to take me back down there, but because Hibs had made it an auction like that I didn’t go anywhere. So I had to wait another season at Hibs, knowing that I’d be at Ibrox the next year.
4) I think I can remember reading once that you scored when you were playing for Hibs?
I actually scored two. The first one we were playing against Morton who had already been relegated. The gaffer said the if we don’t score three goals today then we aren’t getting our bonus. So we went one nil down and then we scored. I was kicking them all over the place, out the park and everything. So then I got told to just fucking boot it and I just caught this one and it’s flown downhill, downwind and the goalie, Davie Wylie just came out and it bounced right over the top of him.
The other was in a League Cup game against Clydebank and Jim Gallagher was in goal. The game went to extra time and penalties and I was the captain that day. So I took the responsibility and scored the winning penalty. I scored two that season, so I got the golden boot that year – ha ha.
5) Alan Hodgkinson has been with you right since the start of your career as both a coach and a mentor. How highly do you rate him as a coach and how important was he to your career?
Hodgie has been my Svengali since I was about 21 year old at Oldham. I mean, my dad was a big influence but he had to stop playing in the 50’s – Hodgie he played 8 times for England and had 22 years with Sheffield United and is only 5 foot 9; so he understands the rough and tumble of the game and he was absolutely brilliant.
The gaffer had seen that I had a bad side and he said that he can’t help me, that he didn’t know what was going on what could the club do to help me, and I said could you bring Hodgie up.
So at first he would come up twice a week and then club saw the benefit of it and eventually Rangers brought him on full time and then he ended up with the Scotland job too. When my dad died it was hard to deal with and Hodgie has been with me ever since – without him I’d be knackered.
Andy was talking to us at a signing of his new biography, “The Goalie: My Story” that he has written with Iain King – the man who wrote Durrant and Bazza’s books.
However, if you want a chance to mingle with Goram, members of the 9 in a row team, some of the current first team, Martin Bain and Walter Smith then you still can!
To celebrate the new book, a spectacular dinner has been arranged at the Thistle Hotel in Glasgow this Sunday (15th November). Tickets are close to a sell out, but we have managed to get you all the chance to some of the last few.
If you are interested in coming along to this piece of Rangers history then you can contact Scott on 07939303486