For most clubs, a player from a different country comes in and makes his new club an immediate home on only a handful of occasions.
But at Rangers, it is rarer that they don’t. Almost all those who come through the doors of Ibrox never truly leave. Brian Laudrup. Nacho Novo. Fernando Ricksen.
Three names, amongst many more, who became one of us; who are one of us. And for the last few years one of our own has needed our support.
— STV News (@STVNews) June 14, 2019
But as he did on the pitch, in the same way he won a place in every Rangers fan’s heart, Ricksen has proudly stood up to it.
Ricksen, a noticeably smart man by all accounts, has been struck with one of the most imprisoning diseases known to man.
Motor Neurone Disease is a truly awful thing. There’s no way to butter this debilitating, frustrating, horrible illness up. It destroys the body whilst keeping the mind, by all accounts, intact.
Ricksen is like every other 42-year-old man with a family, trapped inside a body which will not work how he desires it to. It’s fucking tragic.
From the early symptoms all the way up to his final residence in an Airdrie Hospice, Ricksen has never once shied away from his ailment or his responsibility to it.
It’s that fighting spirit that made the Dutchman a Rangers captain. It’s why he’ll always be remembered as one.
Fernando has realised that he’s lived a life of privilege through his footballing ability. And now the cloud of this disease has gripped him, he remains committed to raising money for and awareness of the illness for those who suffer from it alongside him, and those who will after him.
He has never once given up. He has never once surrendered.
Whatever happens from here, Fernando won’t just go down as a Rangers legend, but a great man who, in the face of challenges most of us cannot ever imagine, chose to use the last of his energies to fight it. And to invite us to fight it with him.
No surrender Fernando Ricksen.