In the modern age in which we live, many people doubt the existence of a higher being looking over us; nevertheless, people follow many different Gods with many different names – Allah, God, Zeus. Personally, I am an atheist.
But I have however had the privilege of seeing a God walk amongst us, the likes of which had not been seen for a long time and he wore the famous blue jersey. Brian Laudrup was his name.
A magician on the football field, power, pace skill – Laudrup had all these qualities in abundance. Add to that his impeccable behaviour off of the park, a true gentleman and a credit to the club.
Brian knew what it meant to be a Ranger and he represented everything a Rangers player should be he was the perfect example of dignity, pride and professionalism in a professional footballer.
After an unhappy spell on loan at AC Milan from Fiorentina, Brian signed for Rangers in July of 1994 for a bargain price of £ 2.3million. Prior to this he had been an integral member of the Denmark team that won the European Championship in 1992.
Only at the tournament because of a civil war in Yugoslavia, they defied all the odds to get to the final where they beat heavy favourites Germany to lift the trophy. Brian didn’t score in the tournament but his performances on the wing caused every team he played against problems and top class international ones were no different. This lead to Laudrup winning his second of what would later on be four Danish player of the year awards.
Brian’s first game was a 2-1 win over Motherwell at Ibrox and he showed the fans right away what they could come to expect from him in that blue jersey. He provided a measured cross for the first goal for Mark Hateley to head home and ran from his own box the whole length of the field and measured a perfect pass for Duncan Ferguson to score the winner. If the fans were impressed by this display then they had not seen anything yet!
Rangers went on to win their seventh title in as many years that season and Brian was voted player of the year by the football writers and football association. He played in 33 games and scored 10 goals.
The following season Brian was joined at the club by Paul Gascoigne, having the two of these players in the one team was too much for any team in Scotland and they formed a formidable partnership helping Rangers to their eighth successive title.
Laudrup also shone in the Scottish cup that season, he scored arguably the goal of the tournament in the semi final against Celtic, controlling the ball on his chest before lifting the ball over the keeper for the winner. The final was one of his best games for the club, scoring two goals and setting up Gordon Durie for all three of his, he simply shone that day and no-one could touch him when he was on form like this.
The best was still to come from Laudrup though, the following season would be one that Rangers fans would remember for a long time, one that they had been waiting on for the past 8 years — 9 in a row.
Brian scored 16 goals in 33 games including scoring the winner in a 1-0 win across the city with a screamer from outside the 18 yard box among many other important goals, one was to come though that would stand out more than most!
It was the final game of the season and Rangers were away to Dundee United having lost the chance to wrap up the league at home to Motherwell the game before. Brian rose to crash home a header Mark Hateley himself would have been proud of to give Rangers the 1-0 win they needed, it was fitting that he was to score the winner having gave so much to the Ibrox fans in his short time at the club.
Not many players can make the impact that Brian made in his short 4 years at the club, he is one of only a handful of players that I have seen in the flesh that I can honestly say were world class and I thank him for the joy he brought me and many other Rangers fans — A God among men.
We’re not worthy!
Appearances — 150
Goals — 45
International Caps — 75 for Denmark (27 with Rangers)
Honours — League Winner (3) League Cup Winner (1) Scottish Cup Winner (1)
This article was previously published on RangersMedia.co.uk.