When Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown last March, it changed everything. It changed the way we live, think, and indeed our entire lives.
But one of the most damaging impacts has been felt in an unobvious place, and that’s in youth football.
Ibrox Noise has a member of the family in Scotland Boys’ Club, a well-known national training hub for kids of all ages who meet a certain standard.
This isn’t a club anyone can just start at, they have to be good enough in the first place to get to this level, and our boy is in there.
Only, the past year has put paid to a lot of the ambitions, not just of him, but of all lads and indeed girls in youth football.
He explained that the biggest drag has been on his fitness – he’s miles behind now where he should be, aged 14, at a precious point in a young footballer’s development, and while he can catch up, it’s potentially 6 months to a year of loss in this area.
But this isn’t the only problem – a huge one is the one that affects Rangers, and indeed Celtic and all other clubs in Scotland and elsewhere – because these kids have been unable to play, scouts have been unable to watch, and therefore recruit.
An entire generation of potential gems for Auchenhowie has been lost, or certainly badly hindered by this pandemic.
Kids who would be into the Academy by now working with Rangers’ youth teams remain at the Scotland Boys Club or other similar academies, their development being held back because they didn’t get recruited and their fitness is down.
What price have we had to pay to keep our people safe? It’s been big – it’s not just the losses of our loved ones and the economy suffering, it’s in every facet of our lives, and as we’re explaining in this piece, there could be an entire generation of future Rangers stars lost to this.
He said mental health wise he’s ok, and indeed his mates in the club are too, but it’s the medium to long term damage that the virus has done to football and the potential lost generation of Rangers players that we worry about.
True, it might not be too bad in the end – these kids may still get picked up in time, and it’s never too late for talent to rise. Look at David Weir and his late start in football.
But still, it’s a year on hold as football tries to rebuild.
It won’t be easy.