For anyone of my generation who started watching Rangers around the early noughties, Fernando Ricksen was always a player who captured the imagination.
He was, first and foremost, a great player but whether it was the odd red card here and there or whatever antics he’d been getting up to off the park appearing in the red tops, Fernando was someone fans of the club could relate to in more ways than one. He may not have been a boyhood fan but he felt like one of us – he cared about what the club meant and he cared about the fans.
Fernando was a player who managed to transcend the big-money Advocaat era and the scrimping and saving of Alex McLeish’s tenure. In the 2004/05 season especially, he showed what it means to be a true Rangers captain with some incredible displays of leadership as he spearheaded one of the biggest turnarounds our club has seen to win a title which appeared to be beyond us. He stood up to the role of Rangers captain in a way which ensures he will always be remembered as an example of what wearing the armband should mean, albeit it wasn’t for the longest period of time.
Fernando provided us with some fantastic memories in his time at Ibrox – the goal which silenced Parkhead during 'You’ll Never Walk Alone', the free-kick at Pittodrie or the numerous trophy victories – and he will go down as an all time great of the club. He gave 100% in the royal blue of Rangers, so it was no surprise to see him tackle Motor Neurone Disease with the same fight and determination. It may have been a fight he could never win but he made a difference for others fighting the disease, raising awareness and money along the way.
Fernando will be remembered at Ibrox for so much more than the goals he scored and the medals he won. He was one of a kind – and, more importantly, one of us. Fernando will be greatly missed by everyone and Gersnet's thoughts go out to his family and close friends who have to overcome the devastating loss of such a fantastic footballer and person.