David Weir: A fans tribute to a Rangers Legend


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As a Rangers fan, it has been a privilege to watch the now 41-year-old play for the club I love over the past five seasons.

Let’s start back in January 2007 when Weir arrived at Ibrox. Rangers were a club in crisis, with Walter Smith having been brought back in to try to solve the mess left by Paul Le Guen.

His first move was to sign Weir, a player he knew from his time as boss of Everton and Scotland. At that time, Weir was 36, so he was only signed on a six month deal.

Immediately, Weir gave the Ibrox men what they had been missing. Solidity, experience and general intelligence at the back were restored as alongside fellow old man Ugo Ehiogu he gave Rangers some pride back and ensured they finished in 2nd place.

But with his six month deal having expired, was Weir going to have to find a new club? The short answer was no as Walter Smith and the rest of the management saw that Weir had proved an astute signing, so they promptly signed him up for the following season.

The 2007-08 season saw Weir produce a superhuman effort. At the age of 37 and nearing his 38th birthday, he managed to play in an incredible 60 games for Rangers as they chased trophies on four fronts.

But it wasn’t just simply the fact that he somehow played in 60 games. No, it was the fact that he was unbelievably consistent throughout those games and was arguably one of Rangers top performers in that remarkable season.

Alongside Spaniard Carlos Cuellar, he formed an incredible partnership which kept even the very best strikers out as first Rangers beat Lyon 3-0 away from home in the Champions League and then kept Lionel Messi and co. out as Rangers gained a superb 0-0 draw against Barcelona at Ibrox.

After ultimately failing to reach the latter stages of Europe’s premier competition, Rangers then embarked on a journey in the Uefa Cup which eventually saw them go all the way to the final, where they were beaten by Zenit St Petersburg.

Throughout that run, Weir was colossal alongside Cuellar at the back with Rangers only conceding two goals on their way to the final as they beat Panathinaikos, Werder Bremen, Sporting Lisbon and Fiorentina. In the two legs against Fiorentina in particular, Weir’s heading and reading of the game were second to none as they kept out the firepower of Adrian Mutu and Christian Vieri for 210 minutes of football.

It was testament to Weir’s abilities that this week Carlos Cuellar said to him via Twitter, that he was the best partner he ever played with.

Whilst Rangers ultimately only ended up with the two domestic cups from that season, Weir had defied the footballing gods to play his part in delivering silverware back to the Ibrox club after a couple of barren years.

But surely now Weir was ready to put his feet up and enjoy retirement or go into coaching? Not a chance. Weir instantly signed up for another season.

As Cuellar left for new pastures down in England, Weir was partnered with new signing Madjid Bougherra as Walter Smith tried to lead his team to their first League title in four seasons.

Weir was once again a rock at the heart of the Rangers defence as they battled Celtic in yet another nip and tuck title race. With his pace now having all but disappeared from his game, he adapted himself brilliantly proving himself to be one of the most intelligent readers of the game across the whole of the UK, not just the SPL.

After Barry Ferguson’s infamous behaviour whilst on international duty, Weir was appointed captain for the end of season run-in. He had already been a captain under Smith whilst he was at Everton, so was a natural and experienced choice.

He didn’t disappoint, leading Rangers to the title on the last day as they beat Dundee United 3-0 to pip rivals Celtic to the crown. A week later, Weir was lifting his second trophy as captain as he led his side to a 1-0 win
over Falkirk in the final of the Scottish Cup.

With him agreeing to stay for another season and Ferguson being sold to Birmingham in the summer, Weir was appointed permanent captain and during season 2009-10, this added responsibility seemed to spur him onto further heights.

As Tony Mowbray’s Celtic side floundered, Weir made sure Rangers didn’t do the same under his leadership. His leadership on the park was as influential as manager’s Smith was in the dressing room. In February 2010, he won
the player of the month award, a deserving tribute for some excellent performances.

In the League Cup Final the following month, he arguably produced one of his finest displays in a Rangers shirt, with his side down to nine men after the sending off’s of Kevin Thomson and Weir’s defensive partner Danny Wilson, he somehow kept St. Mirren at bay, while at the other end Kenny Miller snatched a winning goal to ensure Weir was once again celebrating at Hampden.

The league was all but a formality and for the second year running Weir got his hands on the trophy.

As he celebrated his 40th birthday Weir signed yet another one year contract extension, as if to stick two fingers up to his critics that said his body couldn’t cope anymore.

Just two months into the season, he produced a magnificent performance at the heart of the defence as Rangers held Manchester United to a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.

With Neil Lennon having replaced Mowbray as manager of Celtic, there was a much more competitive title race and at times it looked as though Rangers were going to lose their grip on the SPL trophy.

Weir himself looked as though he had run out of steam as Celtic and in particular Gary Hooper steamrolled Rangers in a 3-0 Old Firm win in February 2011.

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However, with fans including myself writing off the veteran defender, Weir produced a sterling performance as Rangers defeated Celtic exactly a month later to win the League Cup. It was so good, you could be forgiving for asking if Hooper was even on the pitch that day at Hampden.

As the title race swung back and forth, Weir continued to produce sterling odds and on the final day in Kilmarnock captained Rangers to a third successive league title.

He may not have been the loudest voice on the park, but everyone in the Rangers team over the last three seasons respected David Weir. He was extremely intelligent and knew how to inspire everyone to give that extra gear for the club.

That day at Kilmarnock was to prove something of a swan song for Weir, as he got injured against Malmo in a Champions League qualifier in July and new manager Ally McCoist promptly went out and bought Dorin Goian and Carlos Bocanegra, who have settled in as the new Rangers centre backs.

But you can bet your mortgage on the fact that Weir will still have been a massive influence around Murray Park.

On a personal note, I met David once and found him nothing to be a gentleman. He quickly proved why he was so respected throughout football and why he had so much success in the game.

So farewell then to a magnificent Rangers player and captain – truly one of the best players I have seen at Ibrox.


About Author

Ewan is a third year Journalism student at Glasgow Caledonian University. A Rangers season ticker holder, he is interested in all things related to Scottish Football, but also writes about the English Championship.

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