Fernando Ricksen: Thousands of fans gather for funeral

The former Rangers legend lost his battle with motor neurone disease last week.

Team: Steven Gerrard and his squad joined thousands of fans at the stadium. <strong>SNS</strong>
Team: Steven Gerrard and his squad joined thousands of fans at the stadium. SNS

Thousands of Rangers supporters have gathered to pay their final respects to Fernando Ricksen.

The former Light Blues legend lost his battle with motor neurone disease last week.

On Wednesday, his funeral cortege stopped at Ibrox ahead of the service in Glasgow’s west end.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard and his team joined thousands of fans at the stadium.


Supporters applauded the squad’s arrival and continued as two other coaches drove past – with one carrying nurses who had cared for Ricksen, as well as club legends Mark Hateley and Richard Gough.

Ricksen’s wife and family, wearing black football tops with his surname and the number two on the back, left the cars and went into the stadium for a few minutes.

Fans threw scarves and roses among the tributes which lay across the vehicles.

Family: Veronika and Isabella Ricksen stopped at Ibrox. SNS

His family was greeted with more applause as the cortege left, piped away from Ibrox with a bagpiper, on the way to the church.

Rangers: The fans were out in full support. SNS

Jim Boyd, who had come from Livingston in West Lothian, where Rangers play on Wednesday night, said: “He was solid, he was just brilliant.

“It’s sad but proud as well, it just shows you how much people liked the guy as a footballer and a person.

“I’d met him a couple of times at the training and he always took time out to take pictures and sign stuff.

“He could have a laugh with you and stop and talk to you, he was really good.”

Another fan, Stefan Souttar added: “You see all the different clubs here [among the tributes]. I’ve seen a Villarreal scarf and all the Celtic tops.

“It just shows he was a well-liked guy. Even though there’s the Rangers and Celtic rivalry, they still come together for respect.”

Following its stop at the football stadium, the funeral procession made its way along Broomloan Road and Edmiston Drive before crossing the Clyde Arc bridge and onto Wellington Church.

Church: Peter Lovenkrands, Steven Thompson, Billy Dodds and Michael Mols ahead of the service. SNS

Mourners began to enter the church shortly after 1pm.

A number of Ricksen’s former Rangers teammates – including Tore Andre Flo, Nacho Novo, Neil McCann and Peter Lovenkrands – arrived together.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon, who came up against Ricksen in his playing days, was also in attendance.

Ex-teammates Novo, Michael Mols and Thomas Buffel, along with friend Vincent de Vries, helped to carry the coffin inside.

Funeral: Nacho Novo, Michael Mols, Thomas Buffel and Vincent de Vries helped to carry the coffin. SNS

Ricksen’s church service included ABBA’s Fernando, Four Lads Had A Dream and Marshmello’s Here With Me.

As well as readings and hymns, club historian David Mason spoke on behalf of Rangers while former Light Blues star Marvin Andrews led the tribute from footballers who played alongside Ricksen.

Service: Mourners exited the church to Simply the Best. SNS

Mourners then exited the church to a Rangers favourite – Tina Turner’s Simply the Best – ahead of a private family service at Linn Crematorium.

Glasgow: Thousands of fans flocked to Ibrox to pay tribute. SNS

In a statement, Rangers said: “The family would like to thank everyone who has paid their respects to Fernando over the last week, it has been a source of comfort at a very difficult time.”

The former Holland international died aged 43 at St Andrew’s Hospice in Airdrie, six years after being diagnosed with MND.

Tribute: Fans across the country left strips, scarves, flowers and flags outside Ibrox Stadium. SNS

Following his death, fans across the country left strips, scarves, flowers and flags outside Ibrox Stadium in tribute to the full-back, who was one of a trio of Dutch players brought to Ibrox by Dick Advocaat in 2000, joining Bert Konterman and Ronald de Boer in making the move to Glasgow.

Ricksen would go on to make more than 250 appearances for Rangers between 2000 and 2006 and was a firm favourite among the fans, winning two league titles during his time with the club.

Rangers: The players wore black armbands in Ricksen’s memory. SNS

During Rangers’ Europa League clash with Feyenoord at Ibrox last Thursday, a minute’s silence was held in honour of Ricksen.

The home team also wore black armbands in his memory.

On Sunday, a minute’s applause was held at Celtic Park ahead of the Hoops’ game against Kilmarnock.

Legend: Ricksen played for Rangers between 2000 and 2006. SNS

In recent years, Ricksen raised awareness and funds to help other sufferers of MND through the Fernando Ricksen Foundation.

A benefit match for the Dutchman, held at Ibrox in January 2015, saw over 41,000 fans attend and raised £320,000 with the proceeds split between Ricksen, his daughter Isabella, MND Scotland and the Rangers Charity Foundation.

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