The Protestant club from Glasgow returns to a European final ten years after its fall to the underworld of the Scottish fourth division
They weren’t in the top favorites’ groups to win the Europa League, far from it, but Rangers have planted themselves in the final in Seville to revive old laurels. The club with the most titles in Scottish football, although this time dethroned in the national championship by its perennial foe, Celtic, will face Eintracht Frankfurt in its fifth final on the Old Continent after winning the European Cup II in Camp Nou against Dinamo Moscow in 1972, the defeats to Fiorentina in 1961 and Bayern in 1967 in the same competition and the UEFA Cup runner-up in 2008, with Zenit Saint Petersburg as their rival.
Eintracht is an old acquaintance, executioner of that distant semi-final of the European Cup in 1960, the biggest milestone for Rangers in the highest continental competition and ahead of the legendary final of the Germans against Real Madrid of the Di Stéfano, Puskas, Gento, Kopa or Rial, relentlessly in a 7-3 for history, right in Glasgow. The Pizjuán final also holds special significance for a large and boisterous Protestant and pro-British crowd, aspects that make the Old Firm versus Celtic, Catholic and with Irish roots much more than a football match.
Exactly ten years ago, the entity’s financial troubles led to the earthquake of bankruptcy. The club owed €26 million to the British coffers and the situation was untenable, leading to the Rangers reform. Businessman Charles Green bought all his assets for some seven million dollars, which came under the umbrella of The Rangers Football Club Association, its official name from then on. Lamented by a one-year unsigned sanction and the obligation to pay its debts, although postponed, the club attempted to register for the Scottish Premier League, the top tier, but was rejected and ended up formalizing its entry in the Third Class. the fourth tier of Scottish football.
Never before has such a large club sunk so low. It grew out of the hell of the amateur league, taking two consecutive promotions in 2013 and 2014, but stagnating in the Championship, its previous step into the elite, where it was third in 2014-15 to finally make its long-awaited return in 2016, after four years of traveling through the desert in front of a huge social crowd, inappropriate for such competitions. The intense Old Firm, the watchword of Scottish football, returned, but it would be another five years to see a champion Rangers again. His hometown Ibrox Park regained last season with an unattractive league title, ten years after the previous one. More than a hundred points were scored by the blues thanks to Steven Gerrard, who packed his bags for Aston Villa in the middle of this season.
Another illustrious ex-footballer, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, has continued the work of the former Liverpool midfielder in a good way, at least in Europe. With the Dutchman on the bench, Rangers secured second place in their Europa League group, then left the fearsome Borussia Dortmund, Red Star, Sporting de Braga and finally Leipzig, arguably all-time favorite Barca, behind. Now in Seville, he is resisting lifting a trophy that eluded him in 2008, when Russian magician Arshavin’s Zenit broke the illusions of the tens of thousands of fans who traveled to Manchester. In Seville they will also be in the majority, and that they will face another feisty fan, as the Eintracht fans showed at the Camp Nou a few weeks ago.
Source: La Verdad
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