Welcome to the refreshed Got The Battle Fever On! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favourite teams. If you’d like to do the same, head over to the FanPosts to begin. We’re collecting all of the stories here. Come Fan With Us!
Like many of you reading this I’ve no real idea of how and when I became a Rangers fan, it’s just always been that way for me. Some of my earliest childhood memories revolve around Rangers and, in all honesty, much of my childhood did too. Whether it was going to games or getting that years’ strip for my birthday, Rangers have been part of my life longer than anything that isn’t my family.
I can still remember the ‘Battle of Britain’ with Leeds United for a place in the inaugural UEFA Champions League in 92/93 and the delight that beating the then-champions of England brought to my dad and the thousands of bluenoses I saw on TV at the game. Not long after, Santa brought me my very first Rangers kit and I was completely hooked on the Famous.
Everything immediately became about Rangers. Have to do a talk at school? I’ll do it about a Rangers player. Art project? What can I make that’s Rangers-related. Football on TV? If it wasn’t the Gers I didn’t really care.
I was lucky enough to have been a kid during the most successful spell in the long, illustrious history of the club and that only made it even better for young me. Ally McCoist was in his pomp, his League Cup final winner against Hibs stands out clear as day in my memory and to this moment is still one of my favourite goals scored by a Rangers player, superstars like Brian Laudrup and Paul Gascoigne arrived in Glasgow and took a team that was already up there with the best Scottish football had ever seen and, somehow, made it even better, and every year there was another league title to savour and likely cup final appearance to enjoy.
It wasn’t just that Rangers were winning that made it such an important part of my life as a youngster. There was an emotional attachment that I’d never experienced before. Here was 11 guys in blue shirts who made people around me ridiculously happy. Being able to sit with my dad and watch games on TV or, as was more often the case than not in the early 90’s, listen to it on the radio gave us something in common that I don’t really remember us ever having before that. My little brother was a Man United fan (he eventually saw the error of his ways and became a Rangers fan) so it wasn’t even a bond that he shared with our dad and it was something unique that nobody else in our house shared. My mum and sister couldn’t really care less about football.
Then my uncle started taking me to games now and then. My first was October 15th 1994, a present for my eighth birthday, and was a 2-0 win over Kilmarnock (for those who remember Ibrox back then we sat in the brown seats in the Broomloan rear). I’d only ever been to Ibrox once before but had never been inside and can still recall the sheer excitement as I climbed the stairs from the concourse to the stand as a sea of red, white and blue grew closer and closer. The noise was something that 8-year-old me had absolutely no way to comprehend. Even as the fans clapped the players’ names as they were announced pre-match it was deafening.
As part of that, I also got my most treasured possession (it still is today) when my cousin, who went to school with ex-Ger Davie Hagen, had got me a birthday card signed by the Rangers first team. It wasn’t one of the facsimile copies the club issued to members of the Teddy Bears Club - remember that? - but an honest-to-goodness real life signed card. McCoist, Goram and the rest had all signed a birthday card for me.
Even now, aged 30, I feel the same way approaching Ibrox as I did the very first time; the stadium takes my breath away every time I see it and I invariably think about all the times I’ve been with my dad, my uncle or friends and the sheer joy the place has brought me over my lifetime (and hopefully will for the rest of my days too). It was never about politics, religion or anything else other than football for me. Others have attached that as their reason for supporting the club but, to me, it was - and remains - about a love of football.