Sunday, 11 January 2015

"Me and Rangers" - Francisco Sandaza talks exclusively with

In a world exclusive for, former Rangers striker Francisco Sandaza talks frankly about his time at Ibrox, his relationship with Ally McCoist, his views on Charles Green, and of course, ‘that’ phone call. 

IN: What changed your mind about joining Rangers when you'd said no the first time?

FS: “There were a lot of problems financially in January, all the people said to me not to sign at that time in that they were going to go bust and stuff like that. I decided not to sign at that time.”

IN: So when admin happened in 2012 and the club started a new chapter it was better for you to join at that point?

FS: “In June there was a new owner (Green) and they were ok financially. They offered me 4 years with that contract so I could make my family financially stable and support them.

Also it was a big club and a big opportunity to play in front of many supporters. For me it was a good option, I had other good offers and still chose Rangers. It was better just because they offered me 4 years and to go up with the Club till we got in SPL. It was a good challenge for me.”

IN: What was Ally McCoist like to play for?

FS: “He was an ok manager and good guy for me until I had that incident with the phone call. Then he showed me he was a total coward.”

IN: By not supporting you?

FS: “He didn’t defend me at all. I was expecting some support from the managers or coaches at the club, I felt really disappointed. They saw me training hard and coming back from a really bad injury, they were just really unfair. I won’t forget that.”

IN: Moving onto more football matters, was it actually like playing in front of 50,000 at Ibrox? You scored v East Stirling at home. How did that feel?

FS: “Since I was a child I was dreaming to score in front of so many people, even though it was not a good season for me, I could make a dream come true. When I scored it was a really good feeling for me.”

IN: You also won the match v Peterhead away. Must have been nice to win the 3 points with your goal?

FS: “It was special and I won’t forget that. Against Peterhead was a good win, but it was a special goal for me because it was after my head injury, I dedicated that goal to myself because only I know what I suffered.”

IN: Yes, about that injury. It was a shocker. Jaw. How bad was that period and the recovery?

FS: “Well first I think that guy (Sean Hutchinson, formerly of Motherwell) could avoid that incident, he went totally mad to that ball, he didn’t have a chance to get it, was crazy how he went. He didn’t even visit to me in hospital or apologise in person for what he did.

That pain was the worst I ever had, I almost lost my eye, 3 months out. It was the worst injury I ever had, I still have pain when it is really cold.”

IN: Thankfully you didn't lose your eye. Was it hard recovering on your own?

FS: “Imagine recovering from that injury... How bad it was! Just a reminder to all the people that criticised my form, that half of my face is titanium (!)”

IN: You now have metal in your face from the recovery?

FS: “My jaw, my cheekbone and my nose were broken. Yes I have metal in my face.”

IN: No wonder you celebrated at Peterhead so much. Must have meant a lot.

FS: “Was just a goal for myself.”

IN: Your form wasn't maybe as good at Ibrox as you'd have liked, any reason why?

FS: “Was not a good season for me, I signed in August, didn’t make preseason [of course, there was no pre-season for any of the players that year] and I got injured for 3 months in September.”

IN: As someone who joined during August, during the rebuilding, what was the place like. It looked chaotic from outside.

FS: “Didn’t get my pace, didn’t feel good in the team, couldn’t show my best and after all that nonsense I got that phone call (From “Tommy in Glasgow”) in March. The club acted really poor with me.”

IN: We saw you for Utd & St Johnstone, we knew you could play.

FS: “I knew it wasn’t a good season for me, but still we were top and we were going to get promoted so I was thinking I still have three years left to show what I can do for this Club. I had scored more than 35 goals in the SPL, so I was quite confident that the good times would have come.

After that phone call the club acted really poor and I didn’t expect even more (nonsense) when they knew what happened with me (injury). It was total chaos.

The owner (Charles Green, then-CEO) didn’t even know about football, he just knew about business and money, but we all know that money doesn’t make people.

Everything happens for a reason but when they acted like that with me I knew I didn’t want to stay at Rangers.

I didn’t care about money or whatever you know. My conscience is in total peace.”

IN: So after you left you ended up at Lugo, what was it like being back in Spain? Back home.

FS: “Well after being in Scotland for 4 years which I still have good friends from, it was a good change for me. I was missing my home and I could visit home frequently and stay near my friends, so it was a positive change for me.”

IN: Sounds like just what your career needed. How was your form? Did the injury still bother you at Lugo?

FS: “Yes I needed to be at home at that time, my form was ok, I played well in the first part of the season (12 games 5 goals) but the second part was not good. I had a problem in my ankle so I didn’t play as much as I wanted. Lugo was just ok for me.”

IN: But now you find yourself at Girona. Is there a real chance Francisco Sandaza will be in La Liga next season? How likely is promotion?

FS: “Well this season is totally different, we are doing really well, would be really good to have the chance to play in La Liga next season. We are fighting every week, I have the confidence from the coaches and the Club and I feel good.

We’re fourth at the moment and we hope to at least play for promotion which would be a really successful year for Girona.”

IN: You're fourth. Yes, play offs beckon. That would be fantastic if you can make it.

FS: “The league is really long and hard but I have positive feelings about this team. We will see what happens.”

Ibrox would like to thank Francisco for his time on this interview. You can follow him on Twitter via @fransandaza1

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© Ibrox Noise 11-01-2015
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