In this week’s Three of a Kind I am looking at three players that “graced” our magnificent club for just one season, each with varying degrees of success.
As always, it is my game therefore my rules, I could’ve had a few other contenders such as Frank de Boer and Jean Alain Boumsong but they’ve already made it into this series via the “Free of a Kind” category so I can’t have them again.
Doran Goian and Carlos Bocanegra weren’t far away but because they played at the start of the 2012/13 season they can’t be counted. Vladimir Weiss and Sone Aluko were both popular players during their time at the club but just didn’t have the impact or personalities to make this list. I’m sure, as always there are plenty that I’ve forgotten but these are the ones I’ve gone with because in one way or another they’ll always have a part in our history.
I’ll always remember when Big Dunc was signed, there had been plenty speculation in the papers, as was the custom back in the day. I was 13 years old and Rangers had just finished a season where we had won the treble and were a goal away from reaching the inaugural Champions League Final, it seems ridiculous even typing that now given the predicament we are in at the present moment in time.
Duncan Ferguson was the hottest property in British football and his £4 million transfer fee reflected that, it was the British transfer record at the time he signed. He had scored roughly a goal every two games for Dundee United in the previous season but that wasn’t the main reason for signing him. He was seen as the natural successor to Mark Hateley, who at 32 wasn’t exactly passed it but the consensus was he wouldn’t have long left at the highest level.
The strike partnership of McCoist and Hateley had scored a ridiculous 76 goals between them the previous season, Ferguson was never going to force his way into the line-up unless there were injuries. As it was McCoist suffered a few which gave Ferguson his chance, however playing with two forwards that are 6ft 4 inch with almost exactly the same style is never going to work, although Hateley did have his most successful goal-scoring season. With Hateley putting Ferguson well and truly in his place and his various disputes with the SFA and Scottish justice system, he left the club permanently at the end of 1993/94 with the league title and 5 goals in 21 games.
We all know how Ferguson’s story ended at Rangers, for me it was a shame we never really got to see him play with McCoist over a couple of seasons, I always followed the clubs he was at after he left us hoping that one day he would come back. Despite never having a great goal-scoring record his style of play and attitude endeared him to fans everywhere he went. That and his penchant for beating up burglars!
There can’t be many players, at any club, play for just one season and be remembered so fondly for what they achieved. Carlos Cuellar played 65 games for Rangers in 2007/08 and would’ve been more but for suspension. He played 19 games in Europe alone, to put that into perspective he is only 9 appearances behind Stuart McCall despite him being at the club for six years more.
In a formidable partnership with David Weir Rangers, collectively, played the maximum number of games possible for a club side in Scotland reaching the Champions’ League group stages then the UEFA Cup Final and both domestic finals in the same season.
The current Rangers team needs to find at least one Carlos Cuellar because for £2 million there can’t have been many better value for money signings especially when you consider we made a £6 million profit on him after one year. Apparently, John Brown was responsible for scouting and suggesting Cuellar even before Rangers played Osasuna in the previous year’s UEFA Cup.
He is a brilliant centre half; his reading of the game is excellent and without him there is no way we would have made the UEFA Cup final. Pace, power, great header of the ball and more importantly for me, he defended the penalty box as if his life depended on it. We should have signed him when he left Aston Villa, he maybe wouldn’t be as quick but he would do what no centre half over the last six years has done – defend competently!
Without a doubt one of the best centre halves the club has ever had and played in one of the two most successful seasons in my lifetime and will always be held in high regard by all supporters of Rangers. A class act.
This might seem a wee bit strange at first. He was a World Cup winner when we signed him in November 1998. Yes, November. That should’ve sent alarm bells ringing to start off with. Newcastle were happy to let this boy go after just a few months of the season.
After scoring two goals on his debut we were thinking we had a genuinely player on our hands here but alas he soon lost interest and it became evident that we were as well playing with ten men every week rather than starting Guivarc’h. Despite ultimately being useless he will always be remembered because of the expectation v reality storyline that was his Rangers career.
He scored more than a goal every three games in his one season but 5 goals in 14 games isn’t really an acceptable return for a £3.5 million striker in Scotland. But, and this is why he makes this list, he mumped about for a full season, scored a few goals and finished the season with a League title, Scottish Cup and League Cup medal in his suitcase on the way back to France. Not bad work, if you can get it!
If you have another three names that made an impact in just the one season or had a memorable stay for whatever reason, comment or get in touch @allaboutrangers