EDU : MY PAIN AT GERS HELL

SOCCER-EUROPE/SCOTLAND

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.

“Going up the season is important though. That’s the goal and what they are aiming for. There is still hope from us former players and still belief they can get back up there. I just want the situation to change quickly.”
The Ibrox faithful have been through enough heartache to last five lifetimes.
And Edu, who jumped ship in 2012 after the club were plunged into liquidation,  reckons without their help, there would be no promise of a brighter future.
He added:”The fans are unbelievable. To see that in the first year they were relegated to still have 40,000 was amazing. They are the most passionate fans I have ever played in front of.
“They have stuck by and supported the team. It would be easy for them to have turned against the players , turn their back on the club and say this isn’t the Rangers I started supporting.

“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.

“I loved every minute of it, ” the US ace recalled. 
“There were a lot of high moments for me there and there were some low ones too but playing for Rangers was a defining moment in my career.

“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.”