Big Marv may be off soon but he'll live long in the memory.
As fans of Rangers we appreciate those men who are willing to go the extra mile for the club. We applaud those who play for the team first and the wage packet second. Our respect lies with those who work hard to achieve something great, even if the body isn't as able as the mind is willing. For these reasons alone, Marvin Andrews will be remembered fondly at Ibrox.
With new manager, Paul Le Guen, looking to bring in a higher calibre of player, Marvin has been told that he can leave the club after two seasons. During this time he has experienced both the ultimate highs and the lowest of lows. In the midst of the worst periods of last season, Marvin was a player that you would have wanted playing for you. He is someone you can rely on to inject some spirit into a faltering campaign.
The wisdom of his signing in 2004 was questioned by those who believed that he simply wasn't good enough for Rangers. Perhaps he wasn't the best of defenders and maybe we as a club should have been looking at a higher calibre of player. But to consider these facts along without taking into account the immense amount of belief in the individual would be foolish. Big Marv didn't doubt his own ability. He convinced himself that he was able to be a good player for Rangers and to hell with the rest of it. He was going to try his very best.
Many average players have passed through the front doors of Ibrox in the past five years. Some of them were good players, some were formerly good players. Some didn't understand what was expected of them and some simply didn't care. We have been frustrated with those who have earned far too much and produced too little. These players didn't understand what playing for a club like Rangers meant. They all could have learned something from Marvin Andrews, who endeared himself to the support in the best way possible. "I had to earn the right to play in the Rangers first-team."
During the season of 2004/05, Andrews exceeded everyone's expectations and played a vital part in Rangers regaining the SPL trophy. It will be remembered by all in Scotland as his finest year: what makes it all the more remarkable was his stubborn unwillingness to have surgery performed on a damaged knee. His belief in God was all he personally needed and, miraculously, he came through the season unscathed and ended it with a league winner's medal. He was also rewarded for his toil by being voted the Rangers Players' Player of the Year. To be recognised by your own team-mates probably means more to a professional than any praise you can receive from external quarters.
His damaged knee makes his future prospects in football unclear. With the injury still there and clubs more exhaustive in their medical testing it may be the case that clubs are unwilling to take a risk on him. We can hope that he will have the opportunity to remain in Scotland. He will be a useful performer for another SPL club. The most disappointing fact for Marvin is that he didn't get a chance to play for his native Trinidad and Tobago at the World Cup. Almost to a man the Rangers support would have given Marv their full support.
Marvin Andrews does not qualify as a Rangers legend but he has shown enough heart and fight during his time at Ibrox to be deserving of a fond farewell and a good luck for the next stage of his career. If every professional footballer was to put the amount of effort into their performances as Marvin Andrews put into his then our sport would be the better for it.