Well we really have been very fortunate on Sky Sports this week, haven’t we Richard? Anfield on Sunday, a very big club. St James’s Park on Monday, another very big club. Old Trafford new Sunday, the biggest club possibly in England. And here we are tonight at what I regard as certainly the biggest club in Scotland, and possibly and definitely one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Now, for about 17 years pal I used to come and watch this side play, and this was about as far as I got, queuing up for autographs, catching glimpses of what were my heroes then. Never knowing whether I’d get through those doors behind me. Well I did, I was about 17 and I signed up for Dundee United, and I got through these doors. So, let me take you through and give you a little insight into what makes this club very special indeed.
Now, if we come through, the first thing that strikes you about Ibrox is this wonderful marble entrance. The marble floor, the pillars, the very famous staircase where managers of the caliber of Bill Struth, Scott Symon, Willie Waddell to name but a few have gone up and taken a seat in the office. Up there also a very famous trophy room, which Nick Collins will show you a little bit later on.
I just want you to pan round there, Ronnie, this gentleman here as well. Many people think Colin West was Ibrox’s first Englishman, but Stan there, who is English, signed here at Ibrox 13 years ago. So, he is officially the first Englishman who signed for Rangers. How are you, Stan?
All right, Andy.
But this is what I was talking about. When I came through with Dundee United I would always have to go left here through this door, because that was the away dressing room. And for two years I did that. It took me 17 more years to go this way, so let’s take a look at the important place in this, this is where the Rangers players go.
So, if we go through here, Ronnie, there’s been major developments here in the last four or five years. All this, there’s been lots of money spent on it. But the one thing, and the nice thing about it is they’ve get the tradition. The oak paneling here all along the walls is there, they’ve managed to keep there. And I can remember the first time I got to about here, and I remember the dressing room, it’s what, about 10 or 15 yards ahead of me. My throat was dry with nerves. I was the most excited person in the world. You have to remember I was 33 years of age at the time as well.
But we’ll go up here, because you know I do the Boot Room? Andy Gray’s Boot Room on a Thursday, and many people have asked me, “We see the titles, the opening titles of the Boot Room, where is that? Which English club is that taken from?” Well, it isn’t taken from an English club, it’s taken from this place here.
One of the most impressive boot rooms that I’ve ever seen in my life, it really is an impressive place. And this is it. Oh, hold on a minute, I got blinded there. Ronnie, could you get us a shot up here? Something was blinding me. It’s so shiny and so clean. I should have known, Ally McCoist’s boots, unused this year, and as shiny as they’ve ever been. But enough of the boot room, let’s take you into this dressing room over here. Again you can see the tradition, the oak paneling is still in store.
Would you cover yourself up you lot? And this, one of the most impressive dressing rooms I’ve ever been in. Again, the tradition is still there, the oak paneling on the walls, the famous blue jerseys hanging up. Jimmy Bell hanging them up, how are you Jimmy?
The photograph up there, part and parcel of being in the Rangers dressing room, Queen Elizabeth. But although there’s a lot of tradition, there’s some modern, the ghetto blaster. It’s not only Wimbledon that have those you know, Rangers have got their ghetto blaster tele. John Greig, another great Ibrox legend, how are you there John?
I’m all right.
You’re looking well. And fitter than I’ve ever seen you I have to say.
That would be nice.
And through here, there’s changes everywhere. Into what is a very impressive shower area. Tiles naturally blue, what other color could they be? And notice that the communal bath has been taken away as well, there used to be a big, big bath in the corner which the players shared. But in the interest I suppose of hygiene these days, the baths are more individual. And I think that’s where players end up after the game, because no matter what happens, we all need a bath.
But let’s go through now and we’ll make our way through the tunnel area. Well, the players will eventually find themselves in this area here. This is the first time that the Rangers players tonight will have come face to face with the Levski players. But even this has changed since my day. If you look down that corridor there from as far as you can see down there to about the same distance behind you, this used to be empty. Just a huge space. We used to play five a sides, we used to play head tennis. We even used to park our cars here to keep them safe when we were on away games. But the tension will begin to mount here quite dramatically. The throat will be getting a little bit dry, you know, a little tickle, trying to get some saliva in your mouth. That’ll all be gone.
As you get to here though, if you look down there, you can see what, there’s maybe 200 or 300 seats that are visible. That’s the first sign for the crowd that the players on their way, and Richard Gough is leading his team down there. And that’s the trigger for the rest of the ground, they can’t see them, because Rangers have installed in recent years this tunnel here as a security tunnel. The fans were very close on either side of that before, so Rangers installed this. So the players again will be coming down, they’ll be coming down a long way. And as you can see, more and more supporters will pick up the fact that the team is almost upon them.
And I’ll tell you something, we’ve heard some noise over the last weekend at Sky Sports, but when Richard Gough passes me now, be prepared for something special. Watch the hairs on the back of your neck, because they are sure to rise.
Terrific, thank you Andy Gray. This is live again now, it really is a marvelous sight this stadium, and they got the equation right as well, they were able to build while continuing the success story. Fabulous …