31 August 2012

An Ode to Kirk Broadfoot

by Andy McGowan | CRO contributor |

This week signaled the end of his Rangers’ career of one of the clubs longest serving players: Kirk Broadfoot. Having been with the club since 2007 Kirk Broadfoot has witnessed the highs and the lows during his time at Rangers, making 80 appearances during his five year stay and also winning five caps for Scotland.

Broadfoot was part of the first team squad which won the SPL title between 2009-2011, featured in the UEFA Cup Final, and also part of the side which won the League Cup in 2008. During his time at Rangers his versatility was utilized as he played all across the back four although most often at right back.

As he prepares to leave for pastures new I can’t help but ask the question, why is he being released? No, he is certainly not a fan favourite. He is often said not to be ‘Rangers class’ as the old cliché goes, but surely it is now time to reassess what it means to be ‘Rangers class’.

There is no doubt in terms of ability that Kirk Broadfoot can play third, second and first division football; he is a Scotland international, after all. Yet there seems to be a real lack of apathy about his departure. I can’t tell you what Rangers strongest back four is at the moment, and I highly doubt even Ally McCoist could. We have signed several defenders but none of them big names, none of them internationals, and none of them as decorated in terms of achievements as Kirk Broadfoot.

I am not saying that these players couldn’t be better than Kirk Broadfoot: Sébastien Faure looks to have potential given his youth CV and Emílson Cribari has played the majority of his career at a high level in Italy. No, what we appear to be missing here is that Kirk Broadfoot offers us something we badly need right now – stability and understanding.

It will take time, months at best, for our new back four not only to settle in the squad but settle in Scotland, and into Scottish football. Life in Division 3 is not for the faint of heart; we’ve learned that the hard way. Will French, Greek and Brazilian styles really suit the rough and tumble of Scotland at this level? Even in the top division the game is industrial.

Kirk Broadfoot also understands the club, he understands the pressure of playing for, and what it means to be one of the privileged few who play for Rangers Football Club. This is something badly lacking in the defensive department at the moment with the most senior defenders having only been at the club for little over a year, not including the youth players of course.

The decision may have been purely financial; at £9-10k a week maybe the club felt Kirk Broadfoot didn’t offer enough bang for his buck as it were, but then the club has lost all of its top earners and retained its biggest source of income – Season ticket sales. The club is potentially in its healthiest financial state for almost 20 years, certainly since the ego of David Murray cast a shadow over the clubs future.

Most importantly however is that Kirk Broadfoot did what many others did not, he stayed. In the weeks following the rejection of the CVA we learned who had taken a wage cut to help the club and who had done so to strengthen their bargaining position in the transfer window. Kirk Broadfoot was one of only a few players who stood by the club while others who Rangers had made millionaires walked out, costing the club millions in transfer fees.

Even players from within the Rangers’ setup such as Jamie Ness who could not have made it as a professional without Rangers countless attempts to cure his injury woes walked away. Kirk Broadfoot showed the club loyalty beyond the call of duty and perhaps he should have been given the same in return.

The grass is always greener as they say. Many fans will disagree with this article but personally I will be sad to see Broadfoot leave the club. He was part of some very good memories for supporters such as the run to the UEFA Cup Final as well as a 3-in-a-row won against all odds. We owe players such as Kirk Broadfoot a debt of gratitude and I hope you will all join me in wishing him well wherever he signs. Thanks for the memories Kirk; the good ones far outweigh the bad, and don’t let people tell you otherwise.