As football fans, we sometimes forget how important a particular transfer is, we find ourselves get lost amongst the success or disappointment of the players spell. In this series I aim to pick out one particular player from each Rangers manager in my lifetime, and the overall importance of that transfer and why.
I now move on in this series with a player from the Walter Smith era. The tendency in this time is to go with either Laudrup or Gascoigne, for all the joy, trophies, and natural ability they brought to Rangers, however I have opted for another player, one who joined at the start of Walters first full season in charge. There’s only two Andy Gorams as the song goes.
Lost in the general agreement that Goram is by far the greatest keeper Rangers, and Scotland have ever produced is the fact he had huge gloves to fill upon arrival in Govan. Goram was taking the place of England number one Chris Woods, a player who many supporters were gutted to see leave. Woods had formed a strong bond with the support and was only being moved on due in large part to the 3 foreigner rule being in place at the time.
Although Goram had earned rave reviews for his performances for Hibernian, in fact there had been a clamour for him to replace old bandy legs, and Vaseline over the eyebrows Jim Leighton as far back as the World cup in 1990, but coming to Rangers was a culture shock, and would take a man with a strong will to endure his first few months.
Younger readers may be somewhat surprised to learn that many Rangers fans were not happy or indeed sold on Goram early doors. His very early career at Ibrox was shaky to say the least, at fault for a Scott Crabbe winner at Tynecastle, together with his display in the European Cup qualifying round vs Sparta Prague, many fans were openly starting to wonder if this was a waste of money.
To his credit Goram quickly put his early form behind him, and started turning in the type of displays that would form his legacy, making the fans who had once questioned the purchase to alter their views.
The reason I feel he is the most important signing of the Smith era is quite simply the level of performances he turned in season in season out, at times single handily winning games or all important points for the Gers.
Gorams biggest enemy was always, and still is himself. He even found himself on the transfer list due to his lifestyle choices and reckless way he lived. If Goram were at Rangers today you can only begin to wonder what issues he would cause, due to camera phones and social media.
For fans who never got the opportunity to see him play in his prime, let me tell you this he was stunning, he made saves he had no right too, and not in meaningless games, no he saved his best displays for the biggest and most important games. Time after time when our defence had been breached he saved us, with him between the posts we always stood a chance.
My only slight gripe is on his final season for us. My personal view is that he and Rangers suffered from Goram failing to look after himself in the manner a professional footballer should, in turn suffering a downturn in form, but so did many others in that failed ten in a row campaign.
Andy Goram was Walters Smith’s most important signing, we would have been poorer side without him.