IF there was a Cult Hero XI at Ibrox, Marvin Andrews would be one of the first names on the teamsheet.
It is the Rangers Legends side that the former Light Blues defender turns out for these days. He is reluctant to use the term or put himself in that esteemed company, though.
Three years after playing his final professional game as Clyde faced Queen’s Park in a play-off tie at Hampden, Andrews is still regularly pulling on his boots. But there are no points at stake, no trophies to be won or medals collected.
Instead, he helps to raise money for those less fortunate, to raise awareness for good causes across the country, as new memories are made with star names from years gone by.
Andrews is a familiar face to a support that took him to their hearts during his short but successful Ibrox career. To this day, those same fans still turn out in their numbers to see former Gers heroes in action.
“One of my friends, Charlie Miller, is involved in these games a lot and his friend is the one that arranges the matches,” Andrews said.
“At the same time, they are involved in helping with food banks so that people can get a meal at night and there are a lot of charities and good causes that benefit.
“You get guys that have the chance to meet and play with players that they have only seen on TV and they are like ‘I can’t believe I am on the pitch with Marvin Andrews or Charlie Miller’. There are Celtic guys that play as well and it is all in good spirits and for a good cause, which is the most important thing.
“I enjoy every minute of it and I am pleased to give something back.
“I am a footballer, but if I can use my talent to help someone who is less fortunate or raise money for a good cause, then that is great.
“Everyone has a different walk through life and they may need help with food or clothes or housing, whatever the case may be. There are so many charities that benefit and I am always willing to play and to help.”
Andrews may only have spent two seasons at Rangers but his place in Ibrox folklore is forever enshrined.
It was he, of course, who kept believing as Alex McLeish’s side won the title in 2005 and the defender became as renowned for his faith as his football as he battled back from a knee injury to play his part in a memorable title triumph.
The 43-year-old is now a regular feature on squad lists and at supporters functions. He won’t overstate his place amongst the finest names to pull on the famous jersey, however.
“I would call myself more of a cult hero than a legend,” Andrews said.
“Some of the players that played here are incredible, the things that they achieved for Rangers Football Club, are incredible.
“ I don’t really see myself in the same category as these guys. Maybe I am a cult hero because of Helicopter Sunday. I can wear that tag.
“But when it comes to a legend, it takes great things and great achievements to be considered a legend at a club like Rangers.
“I only played here for two years but I know Helicopter Sunday will go down as a one of the great days for the club. I am so happy and so humbled to be part of that history.
“The word legend, you can’t just throw that around here. some people may think that I am, but I am just so humble and happy to have played for such a wonderful football club.
“And to have achieved great things with Rangers in terms of winning a couple of trophies and to give the fans one of the greatest days of their lives. I am happy with the cult hero status.”
A place in the Rangers Legends squad has given Andrews a chance to be reunited with former team-mates or make new friends.
He is a well kent face at these events now. Wherever and whenever, he is happy to play his part both on and off the park.
Andrews said: “You definitely get a few aches after them these days! You feel old very quickly.
“But it is a good ache and a good pain when you are part of it. when you are retired and you are not as active as you were when you are a professional, it takes you longer to recovery from them.
“I try to keep myself fit and I do a bit of running to make sure I am able to play in these games.
“I was at Cheltenham last week with Gordon Smith and we went to the racing before a charity game at night for the Injured Jockeys Fund. Me and Gordon took part in that. I love doing these things.
“It was to help jockeys that are no longer able to ride but they need a bit of help or assistance financially and I was delighted to be part of that. The main sponsors were 32Red and Unibet and they asked us to come down. We had a really good time and I always want to be available as often as I can. I want to play and take part.
“When you play these games, it is all good banter and a good laugh. I have never played with some of the players but I have heard about their great achievements with Rangers.
“So it is nice hear the stories from when they used to play and to be on the same pitch as them.
“It is all great fun. As a former player, you really miss that dressing room banter and that camaraderie.”
SOURCE: The Herald