The Banter Years are an era that we’ll look back with the same kind of fondness you have over an ugly scar.
You’d have really rather never have gone through the pain. But if some good comes of it, it’s a constant reminder of what you have and where you’ve been. Even if it still hurts.

Yes, lads, we could hardly look on either. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Every now and again, it’s good to peer back to see how far you’ve come. Here’s the peak Banter Years XI nobody asked for. Eleven names that’ll astound you actually played for the club. Eleven players which range from the absurd to the ridiculous to the head-scratchingly bonkers.
You might want to read this as you watched them. Through the gaps in your fingers.

GK – Steve Simonsen (2013-15)

Best remembered for flapping against Dundee United in the 2014 Scottish Cup quarter-final at Ibrox, he never quite managed the weight of expectancy at Rangers. Steve also enjoyed a flutter and was charged and eventually suspended for betting on football matches whilst at the club.
And we hope Dundee United at least enjoyed that win – it’ll be their last one at Ibrox for a long time.

It still hurts. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

DR – Anestis Argyriou (2012-13)

Signed by Rangers from AEK Athens in the summer after the club’s relegation, this was supposed to be a shrewd signing. A bumbling, out-of-sorts right back, he barely lasted over a year. His contract was mutually terminated on September 13.

DC – Sebastian Faure (2012-15)

Seemingly hailed as some kind of French wonderkid that would net us a fortune upon our return to the top league, Faure was a former French youth international. He might’ve served his contract, but he played less than 50 league games in three years.

DC – Bilel Moshni (2013-15)

The eccentric Tunisian is a name that won’t be forgotten in a hurry at Ibrox. A big, commanding defender with a penchant for madness, he absolutely flipped as we got skelped off Motherwell in the Championship playoffs. He, in turn, skelped Motherwell’s Lee Erwin and received a seven-match ban.

Classic Moshni in Motherwell photograph this one. (Photo by Jeff Holmes/Getty Images)

DL – Steven Smith (2013-15)

A former Bear who was supposed to know how it worked at Ibrox, I reckon he was pretty stunned when he walked back into the club. Smith is still plying his trade in the Scottish Premiership, but something was rotten about his second spell in Glasgow, and it wasn’t just his performances. He only managed 26 league appearances across two seasons.

RM – David Templeton (2012-16)

The nearly-man of Ibrox. A player with undoubted talent but with an injury list that’d make a Glaswegian A & E look tame. Constantly on the treatment table, when he could he showed flashes of why Rangers shelled out £700k on the player.
Templeton’s misery was also compounded by claims he was “forced out of Hearts” when Rangers came knocking.

CM – Ian Black (2012-15)

One of Scottish football’s well-renowned hammer throwers, Black was a feisty presence in Rangers midfield for three seasons. That’s all well and good – you need this type of player in Scotland’s lower leagues.
But it all unravels when you find out he’s been betting against his own team. Banter Years in full effect.

Yes, this is a photograph of Ian Black at Annan Athletic’s Galabank Stadium. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

CM – Francesco Stella (2012-13)

Australian midfield maestro who’d bring in the style and eventually the dollar. Sadly, neither of these things proceeded to happen. One of those players we all forgot about as soon as he moved on, Stella returned to Melbourne Victory before the season was out. Francesco, we hardly knew ye.

LM – Shane Ferguson (2015)

One of the infamous Newcastle Five, it’d be a travesty not to include one on the list. Or a travesty that we are including them. You decide.
Ferguson joined four other Newcastle loanees in joining the club in January 2015. Ferguson, like another three of them, was injured. He only made two appearances. They just happened to be in the Playoff final. Unbelievable.

Shane Ferguson is impressing for Millwall but he didn’t stand a chance at Rangers.(Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

ST – Kevin Kyle (2012-13)

A Scottish football punt-the-baw striker if ever there was one. Big Kevin Kyle had a coupon like a 50p piece and strutted around Ibrox with all the enthusiasm of a depressed Camel in Edinburgh Zoo.
He didn’t want to be here and that showed over his 11 appearances and only three goals. This is a player we rivalled the likes of St. Johnstone to sign. He left in March 2013 by mutual consent.

ST – Francisco Sandaza (2012-13)

Another classic striking signing in the face of our impending demise. Sandaza showed much promise in the early days at Ibrox but in peak, Banter Years style shot himself in the foot. The big Spaniard admitted to a Celtic fan hoaxer he was only at Rangers for the money.
He’d never be seen again and Rangers terminated his contract. That didn’t stop him attempting to raise a lawsuit, before dropping it later in 2013.

Big Sandaza helped usher in the Banter Years era. (Picture by Mark Runnacles/GettyImages)
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