This summer Rangers announced Arsenal, and now Real Madrid.
Arsenal, and Real. They are basically two of the biggest names in world football, with brands which go deep over the globe and dwarf just about every other club around, bar an elite few.
Rangers secured friendlies with both.
Now, a lot of you will scream ‘The GERRARD EFFECT’.
No, it isn’t – he definitely helped, but if it was the Gerrard effect alone, we’d have gotten friendlies of this calibre soon after he was appointed. This is, after all, the fourth pre-season since he signed up.
No, the game-changer was 70/30 in favour of clinching a Champions League spot, and becoming champions.
Being in the Champions League, as champions, has opened doors that were previously shut to us – doors that even the influence of Stevie as boss couldn’t quite open.
But now we’re back in the CL (yes yes yes, we know it’s just qualifiers at this point) and are the kings of Scotland once again, the Gerrard name in conjunction with our own has suddenly got even more clout, and friendlies that might have been possible in previous seasons but which didn’t get over the line are now being seized upon by teams like Madrid and Arsenal.
The Rangers name means something again – it always did, but we got dragged through the mud for long enough. Now we’re back where we should be, and as a result of that, we’re getting the credit for it and the opportunities are coming back.
Rangers USED to get friendlies like this all the time. Arsenal, Milan, you name it – we had big teams come to Ibrox during the summer.
Now we are again.
Get used to it…