This week, with Rangers heading out for the Florida Cup in Orlando I have decided to mix up a touch.

I spoke with David Edgar, former spokesman of the Rangers Trust and for the last seven years the voice of Heart & Hand.

Heart & Hand’s flagship shows on a Monday & Friday, attracts audiences of well over 100,000 and can also boast to hold the most downloaded podcast episode ever in Scotland, following a recent interview with ex-Rangers player Kevin Thomson.

Recently Heart & Hand evolved into a new subscription platform, one that provides daily updates and a varying mix of content. You can go to @rangersnewsuk for your articles and Heart & Hand for breaking news and everything else.

We have covered many topics from the evolution of the podcast, to what’s coming up next and a host of other topics, in a four-part special.

In today’s article, we cover the genesis of the show and David even tells of a time when his co-host Scott is correct.

I hope, over the next few days you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed speaking to David.

SH: When you started the podcast way back in 2010, did you ever envisage it would become quite so big and well received? Heart & Hand is without a doubt the go-to for Rangers podcasts.

DE: Ah well thank you for that, but no not at all. For several reasons, firstly there wasn’t really any other model to look at in terms of how successful it would be up here, there wasn’t a lot of club podcasts. I mean maybe there were, but I didn’t listen to any of them.

In terms of the Rangers ones, I remember there were others, one because they took the name I wanted, and they were ahead of us but apart from that obviously I didn’t know how well they did, so no I don’t think I envisaged it taking off.

I mean, If you’d said to me back then you are going to get one hundred thousand people listening, no chance that’ll ever happen because even now I struggle with that. I struggle to kind of take that in and understand the fact that you get people from Canada, New Zealand, Africa and Australia getting in touch with you. You’re like wow, this is incredible. This little thing that started off as a bedroom enterprise, technically a kitchen enterprise as I used to record it in my kitchen, it would be staggering to think you can do it, you can sit with your mates and record something that people actually look forward to.

A guy got in touch with me last week to say ‘oh I listen to it on the nightshift where I work in an Indian Casino in North Carolina and you’re like Christ, I mean that’s astonishing to me, that sort of thing just brings it home to you at (a) how big Rangers are and (b) how much it means to people all round the world, and yes the size of it did surprise me because you have to remember that when I was in the Trust a lot of people didn’t really like me.

I thought it was going to be more Marmite than it seems to be because I don’t think we’ve got a lot of people who really out and out hate it and cannot stand what we do. I think that’s because right from the start its always been genuine and the fact that all the guys that are on it really are this passionate about Rangers. We’re all season ticket holders still even though we’re all that bit older but all of us were every game guys at one point in our lives.

Cammie formed the club deck Royal, Ian was a major mover in the Blue Order when it first kicked off so you’ve got guys that are, as I say, incredibly passionate about the club and I think that comes through, so I think if you’re a genuine fan, yes, no I take that back, genuine fan’s a terrible word. I think if you’re a fan and a supporter of the club then you will recognise when it’s a genuine supporter of the club, that was what I meant.

SH: Is that what, in your opinion, makes Heart & Hand so unique? There are other podcasts out there but it seems to me, yours is the one everybody gravitates towards.

DE: Eh well no, because I think that the boys that do the other ones are passionate so I don’t think it’s that, I don’t know anybody who genuinely isn’t massively passionate about the club. All the fans I know are 100% loyal, obsessed with Rangers, so no I don’t think it’s that.

I mean I think first of all it’s honest, (and this will probably look terrible at print), second of all I think it’s always had a very singular vision of what it should be and maybe that was coming off the Trust, and sort of knowing and having learned throughout that what I wanted it to be and also I wanted what I didn’t want it to be. I think that’s important, that I’ve always had very narrow parameters set on what we will do.

Not all podcasts do that, and not specifically Rangers ones, I want that as a key point because I don’t want people to think I’m getting on at them, I’m not, it’s a more generalised statement.

I think there are two reasons to start podcasts.

Firstly, I think I’ve got something interesting to say and I’m going to share it and I think that’s the best reason because it doesn’t matter about audience, you’re not concerned about numbers, you’re not concerned about anything other than ‘I’m just going to put out this show and I hope it’s a good show and hopefully people will like it but I’m putting it out because I think its important that I do this’, that’s the best reason.

The other reason is, I’m going to put out a show or a blog or I’m going to be in a band or whatever because I want to be successful then you’re fucked. That doesn’t work. There’s simply no way that, that model will get you there because you’re not offering anything that is genuine and that people want, that will hear the honesty and one thing I’ve learnt over the years is if you’re inauthentic people will get that Steven and people will understand that and they will say no and it will put them off and they won’t come back. It’s one of the reasons why in-house media sometimes struggles because it’s put together by a paid professional.

SH: Too polished at times isn’t it?

DE: Oh yeah absolutely and it’s put together by a paid professional.

Now at Rangers I know for a fact that it’s put together by supporters, I know that. See the guys in-house at Rangers, they are big Rangers fans so I know, I’ve worked at other organisations where the content that goes out doesn’t have that sort of human touch to it because it’s been done by people who are doing a job and they don’t have that passion and people can sense that.

I think that the major thing was that it was honest and it was fairly unique, I don’t think there was another show that was exactly like it and without being arrogant we are good at what we do, that’s not saying that we are wonderful podcasters, there are loads and loads of things that we can’t do but we were always aware of what we couldn’t do, we stuck in our lane and we know what we were good at and we knew what we weren’t good at and we never attempted to be something we weren’t to try and get more listeners because, well we never once sat down and did a meeting in seven years and that’s 300 podcasts, 50 already on the subscriptions service and we’ve said what can we do to get more listeners. Never once because it is literally just about what do we want to do with the show.

What message do we want to put out and how do we want to do it? And I think a key part of it was the decision really early on, in fact the decision was made before we started and it’s never changed by me and my friend and I’m extending that slightly now to more people because it’s established enough, I think I’m better at being a host now, you know I can do that more than I could then, I’ve got seven years experience now. I think back then we decided or I decided that it was going to be me and my mates because I thought we were funny. They made me laugh and I figured that if they make me laugh they might make other people laugh and I think a big part of the success of the show was the dynamic between me and Scott for example because if you listen to me and Scott, Cammie says it brilliantly, he says you know sometimes you can finish each other’s sentences and he’s right we do. We are like an old married couple and Scott and I will go off, Scott and I have about six in-house jokes that we tell each other constantly and the other one will go off on it and we do that privately, you know we do that by text message and a lot of the stuff you hear in the pod was literally the conversations Scott and I would have been having anyway, except we recorded it so I always thought that people might gravitate toward that, just not in the numbers that they did.

Again, you know I had some public speaking experience with the Trust, I’ve worked in comms. I thought we could make it entertaining and that’s the key point because at the end of the day the content could be really worthy and it could be well-intentioned and it could you know contain a good message, but if it wasn’t entertaining people wouldn’t listen to it and I know that because I’m the same with certain podcasts I download because they come from a good place but I never listen.

SH: When you first set up the pod, I’m assuming by just keeping it between you and your friends it was so you had an existing camaraderie and that would translate instantly on air?

DE: 100%, the ethos of the pod if you like was, this is a conversation at the pub between your mates that you had been invited into and mates discussing Rangers. Also because again the dynamic was important. If you listen back to our early pods, and I’m really proud of this, they’re not stilted, there’s no huge gap where people are thinking what to say because we never had that because it was just, you know, at the time it was four which is just too many but it was just, we’d just sit and talk to each other. There wasn’t that awkwardness that you sometimes hear on shows and even on TV when people are clearly thinking what to say and how to react and you get that gap, you know, just that split second but it’s enough and it puts you off because you realise that it’s stilted and it’s not an actual conversation, so if I got people in I didn’t know then you’d have that, you would also feel awkward because you didn’t know them so how could you have that level of natural when you’ve got all of us? It also meant it would kind of flow off in different directions.

I remember the time Mark told the story of about how when he was a kid he wanted to shave but he didn’t have a razor so he thought he would burn the hair of the face with a match, now he’s not going to say that at an interview at the BBC. He can say that because it’s me and Scott and he knows we’re going to laugh so I think that there that that if you like if there ever was, see I’m not a big one Hoggy is, I’m not and it drives him nuts working with me, Hoggy will sit down and will plan stuff out where as all through my career anyone that’s every worked with me will tell you this that I always bet on myself if you know what I mean and I’ll always deliver and I know that and I know I sound arrogant but its just who I am its just kind of like don’t worry I’ve got this and that’s just my approach.

So when we sat down to discuss what the pod was going to be they were like I’ve got ideas and I was like it doesn’t matter I know what we want to do and they’re like well what do you want to do and I was like don’t worry I’ve got a vague idea in my head. I’m good Steven at pointing, see if I decided on the destination I’m pretty good at kind of vaguely pointing myself in the direction and getting there and I don’t know how it happens it just kind of happens. I’m not very good a sitting writing a business plan, right three months we’ll be here and six months we’ll be here because I’ve not got the attention span for it.

SH: But you kind of know roughly where you want to go and the rest just fills in the blanks basically?

DE: Absolutely and we get there how we get there and I think that because of that the natural, I think you’ve got space then to move, I don’t think you’re tied down by anything I think you become more capable of rolling with the punches.

I know what I want this to be and because of that I make sure it sticks to that and that’s what’s always happened which is why you know we joke about it on the pod is we know I’m the pod overlord and all that kind of thing. The boys have always understood right from the start that I listen to them, despite what I say I listen to them, I usually say no but I listen to them but it’s just always been this is my vision, this is what I want to do and if somebody else came along and said you know David, I want to do this I’d encourage them you know I’d help them to go off and set up on their own but I wouldn’t let them do with the show because for right or for wrong or for better or for worse the pod is what I want it to be and it’ll be that way until it finishes.

If you’re going to fail at least fail making your own mistakes.

SH: In your early years most prominently, you contemplated quitting several times, what made you stick with it?

DE: At the start I never expected it to take off the way it did and there’s always just certain rules that we have and one of them is we’ll do it and we’ll do it the way we want to do it and if it finds an audience then that’s fantastic, the day it doesn’t then we’ll stop doing it because we’ll have had our run and that that would be it. That’s the key to it, which is why I have no idea how long this will run.

I didn’t think it would get seven years for a start, twice in particular generally every summer I would go, umm I think that might be us but after the first three. I was like cool we’ve done three years we are quite good let’s get out why we are on a high, but there were two times in particular where Scott really did talk me back off the ledge.

I was just like I’m done, I can’t be bothered with this anymore and he’s gone no you need to, you’ve got an audience, you look to them, you know you can’t just set something up and them pull the rug and he was right and I thought, no, you’ve got a point.

His argument has always been the audience will tell you when they don’t want you to do it anymore, he’s right there, the clinching argument was when Scott said, you listen to podcasts, right? I said yes, there’s a couple I absolutely love, they’re a must for me, Steven, I know the minute they come out and I will download them and listen to them and I set that time aside. His argument was ‘well what happens if they just pull that, you’d be fucking raging’ and he’s right.

SH: Did it wear you down? Was it the time it impacted on your life? Or just you needed a break at the end of the football season to recharge?

Definitely an element of that because when I was working full time you had to get, first of all, you had to get the people together at the start, we had to physically get people together then I’d have to edit it, I’d have to do it so you know you work 50/60 hours a week in your job and then that’s before your responsibilities at home and all the rest of it kind of thing, so you’d be in a situation where we had to get it out, even as late as maybe two years ago we didn’t ever set dates. There was one a week and I pretty much guaranteed there’d be one a week.

I couldn’t say when and it was because a lot of that was due to availability of other poders and you know it was like right I can do it between half 7 and half 8 and they’re like right okay so maybe you and this would be me, I’d maybe change the plans or whatever. It was maybe just a cold day on a Tuesday and you’re knackered and you come home and need to talk about Rangers getting fucked over by the spivs. What gets us through that is the punters saying thanks for that I enjoyed that I appreciated that and in all honesty it would be a lie if I didn’t say Scott and I get together and sit and chat about it, we have a laugh, it would cheer me up but yeah the motivation to do it throughout the season, especially as I say when you’re busy, whereas now I don’t work I do have the time to do it.

That will do for Part 1. Tomorrow we will be switching our attention to the Heart & Hand’s new subscription service available via patreon.

Please get in touch with your thoughts and questions as always.

@rangersnewsuk @steven_harrigan

David is @ibroxrocks