EXCLUSIVE FROM STEVE BRENNER IN NEW YORK
MAURICE EDU lives over 3,000 miles from Glasgow – but his heart remains at Ibrox.
The former Gers enforcer now plies his trade for the Philadelphia Union in America’s Major League Soccer and is loving being back in his homeland.
He spoke to SunSport just moments after a typically gritty display helped his side bag a deserved point in New York against Manchester City’s MLS team NYCFC.
Yet his Yankee Stadium delight soon turned sour as he began talking about watching Rangers fall into a financial abyss which threatened to destroy them once and for all.
As Stuart McCall’s men push for a Premiership return, the nightmare memories of embarrassingly falling to the bottom of the pile could soon be locked away forever.
Edu ,though, reckons promotion needs to happen now – for the sake of everyone at the club.
“As a former player it’s hard to believe what has happened there in the last few years. It’s a crazy devastating situation, “ said the American who made over 100 appearances for Rangers after costing £2 million from Toronto in 2008.
“When you play for a club like Rangers you soon find out it’s a real family club. You always feel tied to it no matter where you go in your career.
“If you were to ask any former player now, they would say that we all feel that burden. We all wish the situation was different and that they were back where they deserve to be.
“I was there during the initial stages of administration and it was hard to take. As a player it’s the worst thing possible because it’s something which is totally out of your hands.
“You wish there was something you could do – that I could score a goal and all will be well again – but all you can do is sit tight and hope for the best.
“They are the reason the club have been pulling themselves back up through the ranks. The players will play for the jersey and for them.“
Edu had his moments in Scotland – most notably bagging an Old Firm winner against Celtic in February 2010 in a season which saw him scoop a domestic double.
Coming from sunny California, Glasgow was to prove one hell of a culture shock for the 29 year-old.
Yet there no regrets. Far from it.
“It shaped me into who I am today, it forced me to grow as a player and a person. Being a long way from home on my own, it forces you to grow up and be independent. I learned a lot from a playing and personal standpoint.
“It’s a hard environment to learn. I have always been a strong minded individual and those circumstances help you grow.
“Playing in huge matches, appearing in the Champions League , they are situations which mould you into a stronger person on and off the pitch.
“I loved my time there and I still speak to a core group of guys.
“I will never understand the accents though.”