Rangers hit the jackpot on “instrumental” £7.5m gem
Glasgow Rangers have endured their poorest start to the season in recent years as Michael Beale has led the Ibrox side to just four wins from nine games thus far, with one coming against second tier Greenock Morton.
The Gers have already exited the Champions League at the playoff round while suffering an underwhelming 1-0 defeat to Celtic in the first Old Firm game of the season.
It isn’t the time to panic, yet with important matches against St Johnstone and Real Betis to come following the international break, the pressure is currently mounting on Beale to rejuvenate the team.
With nine summer arrivals, the club underwent their biggest overhaul in years, yet the 43-year-old has still to find the ideal system in which to get these new signings firing.
The club desperately need a leader that will increase the standards at the Glasgow side, and despite his attacking contributions in recent years, James Tavernier has only led the club to one Premiership title and a Scottish Cup triumph, nowhere near good enough.
What the supporters would give to have a player like Barry Ferguson back in the starting XI, raising the standards to the levels expected and leading the club to trophies.
When did Barry Ferguson make his debut for Rangers?
The youngster grew up watching his elder brother, Derek, turn out for the Ibrox side under Graeme Souness and the younger Ferguson finally got his first taste of senior action under the late Walter Smith in May 1997, shortly after the Gers had secured their ninth league title in a row.
Having been edged into the first team picture slowly, Dick Advocaat saw him as a crucial part of the team and even made him captain in 2000 when he was just 22 following a poor start to the season, signifying just how important he was turning out to be for the club.
How much did Rangers sell Barry Ferguson for?
The midfielder really came to the fore under Alex McLeish during the second half of the 2001/02 season and was immense during the 2002 Scottish Cup final, scoring a stunning free kick to draw the game level before Peter Lovenkrands netted a last minute winner.
The very next season was to be his most productive at the Light Blues. He captained the team to an iconic treble, claiming the title over Celtic by just a one goal margin while winning both domestic cups and the future looked bright for the player.
During the summer transfer window of 2003, there were rumours circling regarding his future at the club and with mounting debt and the need to reduce the wage bill, McLeish had no choice but to sell Ferguson to Blackburn Rovers for a fee in the region of £7.5m.
In an interview with Simon Ferry on Open Goal (via Glasgow Times), the 45-cap Scotland international claimed it was a mistake moving south of the border.
He said: “The year before there was a couple of clubs who were interested in me. I wasn’t interested in leaving, to be honest with you. A couple of clubs came in, but I kind of just let the club deal with it, I didn’t want it to play on my mind.
“But the club needed a bit of money at that stage and Blackburn met the valuation. I knew that week leading up to the Copenhagen game that that was my last game.
“Did I want to leave? In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have left, I should have stayed another season. I went down to speak to them and I knew as soon as I signed, I knew a week later I’d made a mistake. It didn’t feel right.”
What happened to Barry Ferguson after he left Rangers?
A fee of £7.5m was impressive business for a player who had cost nothing, yet his career failed to take off at Blackburn, and he was back in a Rangers’ jersey within 18 months of leaving – with the Old Firm giants having to fork out just €6.5m (£5.5m) to seal that reunion.
From January 2005 to May 2009, Ferguson became the linchpin of a new-look Gers side who went on to win two league titles along with four domestic cups and following a dramatic last day of the 2008/09 campaign in which Rangers secured their first title since 2005, Ferguson left to join Birmingham City, managed by McLeish.
Ferguson went on to win the League Cup for the club, defeating Arsenal following a late winner and the former Gers manager praised him during his spell in the Midlands, saying: “We’ve asked him to change a little bit since coming to Birmingham and Lee Bowyer has taken the lion’s share of the goals.
“But that was vintage Barry against Forest and the run forward, and the finish for the goal was exemplary. It was a good finish and in the second half he was very commanding in the game for us.
“He was very instrumental in us getting the victory with his performance, apart from his goal. He has made a big contribution since he came here.”
How many times did Barry Ferguson play for Rangers?
Across his two spells in Glasgow, the former midfielder turned out 428 times for the Light Blues, scoring 60 goals across those appearances.
There is no doubt he is arguably one of the finest ever academy graduates at the club, especially judging by the sheer volume of silverware he won and the number of matches played.
Ferguson – who was dubbed a “leader” by former Rangers defender Marvin Andrews – had to mature quickly when he was appointed as the Rangers captain 23 years ago, yet it was potentially the best thing to happen to him as he began to take a lot more responsibility and led the club to some wonderful moments.
Beale would love a player in the mould of the former Scottish international right now, one who could take games by the scruff of the neck and dictate the play, while also proving to Celtic that Rangers are the finest team in Scotland.
Although the club had to live without him for a brief spell following his sale, the transfer went down as the biggest sale (at the time) in their history, and they certainly hit the jackpot, especially considering he didn’t take long to come back to Scotland.
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