Daisuke Nakajima quickly packed his bags whilst his editor’s secretary arranged his flights – a 6000 mile journey to cover a story of global proportions. For a country with a history and heritage as rich as Japan’s it was seldom a story emerged from the West with a tale of honour, which could catch the imagination of a country reared in the tales and traditions of the Samurai. But this one most certainly had.
Nakajima was returning to Scotland , not to the the city of culture, nor the home of the Scottish Parliament but to of all places Elgin, to report on Scottish football. But this story was not about players, teams, pitches but about fans – a certain type of fan. The type of fans who deserve to be called “extraordinary”, “loyal”, “devoted”. Fans whose actions prove to be the catalyst to reporters journeying across continents.
The stories of the Rangers support has now crossed continents seizing the imagination of all who hear. In a country where football has become toxic – they are the antidote. Let us talk not about impersonators – for these truly are the greatest fans in the world. Bar none.
Treated with disdain and with malevolence Rangers found themselves consigned to the lowest echelons of Scottish football. But that did nothing to deter the loyal. Still they came in their thousands, following and preserving a footballing institution. It was not for glory – for there was little to be had but out of devotion to a football club. If they had to play in the streets then the pavements would have been brimming.
This army of blue legions defied the hatred and machinations of a country, a footballing authority and a less than sympathetic, or impartial media. While others falsified attendance figures, offered two for one ticket deals and extended season ticket sales, the Rangers support broke attendance record after attendance record. On many a week the loyal army following Rangers would outnumber all the SPL attendances. Whose laughing now ?
Nakajima never got to see Rangers at Elgin. The match was cancelled due to the demand from the loyal Rangers fans for tickets. But for Nakajima this in itself proved to be a bigger story than the one he had hoped for.
Rangers – The Legend goes from strength to strength (even in Japan)