The retirement of Lee Wallace signals the end of one of the most honourable careers in world football, and reminds us of how dreadfully Wallace was treated by Rangers, having given the club everything he had.
The left back, who was exalted by fans for remaining at Ibrox during the hell of 2012 and effectively sacrificing the best years of his career, eventually found himself cast out by the club following the Kenny Miller fracas at Hampden with then-manager Graeme Murty.
Wallace was binned, thrown to the flames, before he eventually got a move to Mark Warburton’s Queen’s Park Rangers, and while he didn’t have the most stellar few seasons there, they were honourable.
See, Wallace was damaged by the whole Rangers experience – he gave us the peak years of his career, including sacrificing his international career with Scotland (which was just getting going at this point) in order to help the club during the dark days.
Now, we’re not fools – his-then girlfriend was pregnant, and he was settled here, so there was a sense of the upheaval a move could cause. But this is overstating it a lot – he could easily have left, they could easily have moved south and got an easy switch to a Championship (or better) side.
But he chose to stay.
And he earned that captaincy eventually, becoming a true figure of what Rangers and our fans were all about – dignity, resilience, honour, and loyalty.
And for that loyalty, he was banished – that incident at Hampden was the end for him, with Steven Gerrard clearly under instructions not to pick him ever again. The fans got to say goodbye to him, and showed exactly what he meant to them, but we will never forgive the club for how he was treated.
In three seasons he got 63 appearances for QPR, which is ok, but his is a bit of a career of what might have been.
He made the choice to sacrifice it all for Rangers, and maybe for his family too – and we thank him for all that he gave us when we really needed him.
He is welcome back any time to Ibrox, and he will always be one of us.