A phoenix named Rangers / C3 / Demies / Rangers-Leipzig (3-1) / SOFOOT.com

By toppling Leipzig into a glowing stadium, the Scots have finally put an end to the worst chapter in their history. Ten years after relegation to the fourth division due to financial problems, the other Glasgow club offers its first European final since 2008 and is truly back on the map of the Old Continent. Could only spend an evening as only Ibrox can book them …

11:07 pm this Thursday night in front of Ibrox. For an hour the Rangers have no longer dreamed of a European final, they are here. And Joe, in his cream-colored three-piece suit, enjoys sending a well-controlled finger of honor to the Leipzig players holed up in their bus. “We’re back” , their mouth squares with the child’s skull, while the horse guard escorts the Germans. Ten meters away, Sam, 80 shots on the stopwatch and as many anecdotes hidden in his raincoat, bursts out laughing. “He didn’t drink only water” laughs the eighty-year-old. Neither does he, to tell the truth, but this grandfather has the eyes of a five-year-old when he looks at the huge facade of the red brick fence. “This stadium is made for European evenings. This club is made for European parties. I have been a supporter for over 70 years and even after so many years my hair stands on end. This game has gone down in history. ”

“This stadium is made for European evenings. This club is made for European parties. ” Sam, 80 year old fan

This is exactly what Mike had predicted, two hours before the semifinal, at the Albion Car Park, adjacent to the Rangers’ lair. Between two hints of fish and chips, he swears it later “so many years of difficulty in which everyone has buried us, tonight we will show all of Europe that Rangers are back” .

The fourth division with an average of 45,000 spectators

Very few would have bet on such a quick resurrection. Because in the summer of 2012, the Azzurri they are catapulted to the fourth national level. The British taxman claims 115 million euros from them, the total debts (166 million euros) are as deep as the ocean and the consortium of British entrepreneur Charles Green is rejected. 25 of the 30 pro clubs ship the country’s largest trophy cabinet (54 league titles at the time) into the depths of League Two, for a club that had never seen relegation since joining the pros in the 1890s. “I still have it there” , mimes Bryan putting a hand on his throat. The 48-year-old fan is still struggling to conjure this free fall where “We thought we would be wiped off the map, that we would only talk about Celtic. But with heart and altruism, a club like ours never dies. ” .

Cut up – only three pros remained during the relegation – Rangers are back step by step on surface. 45,000 fans on average at home in D4, two consecutive accesses first in the elite in the spring of 2016, an integration of fans in the capital (5% of the shares), a axis of leaders readjusted, the machine is restarted. It will be even more so with Steven Gerrard on the bench (2018-2021) whose championship, stolen from Celtic in the spring of 2021, has become an indelible mark. But it was missing “This aura on the European scenecontinues Bryan. This return to the limelight is a great achievement. But elsewhere than in Scotland, it was no longer talked about. ”

With this relegation, we know what people have endured here, they defend their club, no matter the conditions. ” Rangers defender Leon Balogun

“Nothing will stop us”

Until the last few weeks, when Dortmund, Red Star Belgrade, Braga and Leipzig clashed against Hadrian’s Wall. With the apotheosis for the Germans who took the decibels in the face indefinitely, where a world record of pints exceeded and where the goal of the matter in the last ten minutes caused yet another earthquake. Twenty minutes of lap of honor followed with 50,000 madmen jumping at the same time. “In front of such a crowd, conceding a goal very quickly doesn’t help” German coach Domenico Tedesco was also estimated after the fact, baffled. Almost as good as Giovanni van Bronckhorst, whose handover with Steven Gerrard, who left for Aston Villa last fall, turned out to be the right one. The last time I lived here was against Parma (during a third qualifying round of C1 in 1999, ed). I can repeat it, but it is for these moments that we do this work. ”

the Simply the best by Tina Turner still resonated under the hand support that central defender Leon Balogun pulled out the emotional card, another: “Before the match, I exchanged messages with the fans. We knew the atmosphere was going to be crazy, but I didn’t expect it. With this relegation, we know what people have endured here, they defend their club regardless of the conditions. And there we offer them a European final. ” There were thousands of them filling up with trips to the Highlands in the fourth division just ten years ago. They will be an army in Seville on 18 May. “It doesn’t matter if we go by plane, by train, by car, on foot or by bicycle, nothing will stop us” , Bryan promises. XXL determination.

By Florent Caffery, in Glasgow

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