Fernando Ricksen funeral: fans pay moving tribute as player is laid to rest

25 September 2019, 16:43

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Former Rangers footballer Fernando Ricksen, who died at the age of 43 last week after battling motor neurone disease, was laid to rest in Glasgow today.

Ex-teammates, thousands of fans and the current Rangers first team joined Fernando Ricksen's family in paying tribute to the former Dutch international footballer.

The streets outside Ibrox Stadium were lined with supporters who applauded the funeral cortege of the man who captained the club to Scottish Premier League success in 2005.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard and his squad arrived at the ground shortly beforehand to the sound of warm applause.

Since the Dutch defender's death last week at a hospice in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, tributes to the former player had poured in at the gates of the Ibrox with tops, scarfs and flowers lain by fans.

Other guests included former teammates Tore Andre Flo, Nacho Novo, Neil McCann and Peter Lovenkrands along with former Old Firm rival and current Celtic manager Neil Lennon.

Fernando Ricksen's funeral was held at Wellington Church in Glasgow
Fernando Ricksen's funeral was held at Wellington Church in Glasgow. Picture: PA

Jim Boyd, who had come to Ibrox from Livingston, 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, had only watched highlights of Ricksen but said: "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."

The Rangers first team stood at the front door of Ibrox to join the thousands of supporters paying tribute to Ricksen as the cortege paused outside.

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 had thrown scarves and roses among the tributes which lay across the vehicles.

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

Mourners began to enter the church shortly after 1pm.

Reporting by Phil McDonald and Alan Zycinski