The heartbreaking news today of Rangers Legend Fernando Ricksen’s passing brings to the end a story every inch as epic as any you’ll see in Hollywood.
Ricksen became a genuine icon for all the right reasons, caused by a very wrong affliction, given his stunningly courageous fight against one of the most vile illnesses a person can have, fought with bravery, humour, and humility.
As a player Ricksen was a colourful chap – mischief followed him everywhere, along with a few fireworks, and while many remember how badly his maiden Old Firm match went, it was the start of one of the most powerful player/fan relationships Rangers have ever had.
Ricksen was an absolute fighter – it’s such a cliché, that someone is a fighter. It’s usually said to make others feel better as they helplessly watch someone suffer from ill health. But in Ricksen’s case his full-combat on the pitch seamlessly blended into his off-pitch demeanour and he really did put up one hell of a defence against ALS.
He swore he’d be the first person to beat it, and with Fernando, you almost, almost believed he could do it. He sure did. Why the hell not?
Of course, he couldn’t – but for six years he put up a better defence than most do, and he inspired everyone around him with his courage in doing so.
It must also be noted that Fernando shouldn’t only be remembered for his terrible post-career disease, but for the glory of his career itself.
This guy won a tonne, leagues, cups, and of course, hearts. Let’s also not forget the POTY award he won, plus the captaincy. After that red card v Celtic, not a soul would ever have attributed him to achieving that level of acclaim. But he showed then his fighting spirit and that would serve him well in his darkest days to come.
And he supplied yours truly with maybe our favourite moment in football over the past 25 years too:
“You’ll neee…veer walk aaaloonne…..”RICKSEEEEEN!!!!” *pin drop*”
Only time we can ever recall this happening, and it is as sweet today as the day it happened.
Of course, it’s now tinged with bittersweet, but it’s a memory we’ll cherish.
Just as we’ll cherish that he was One of Our Own, fought like One of Our Own, and will be remembered like One of Our Own.
All of us here at Ibrox Noise would like to pay tribute to Fernando, and express our deepest condolences and love to his wife Veronika, and his daughter Isabella.
He will not be forgotten and we are all immensely proud of him.
R.I.P. Fernando Ricksen.