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A truly wonderful eulogy written by Andy Steel for the site on the day of Sandy's funeral in Edinburgh.




He was a legend we could ill afford to lose.


A man from a different time, when footballers achieved fame by actually kicking the ball. Young men from working class backgrounds were forced into unfamiliar, expensive suits and smiled awkwardly for the newspapers. A time when players became legends at one, maybe two clubs and were taken to the hearts of generations of fans.


How times change.



This era - where only the peccadilloes of politicians can kick the sexual exploits of players off the front pages and which sees barely comprehensible men of considerable intellectual limitations paraded on TV to broadcast their boring, meandering thoughts - this era needed all the figures like Sandy Jardine it could find.


Fans aged under 40 won't remember the elegance of the player, or the pride the fan felt in seeing such class in a Blue Shirt. Possibly they can't yet understand, because they haven't reached a sufficiently decrepit age, how much it means to see a childhood hero stay 'loyal' to our club, to speak up for it, to make it all right to be a fan while also being a Dad or Grandad.


In this age of infantilism, when football has achieved important cultural status - look at the laws concerning it - while at the same time veering between hideous excess on one hand and puritan, tight lipped societal disapproval on the other (usually when it is a player or manager of someone other than your team involved) the game is crying out for grown ups, people who can view the big picture with perspective instead of an adolescent rage or 'humour' which is, in adults, most unseemly.


Put it this way, Sandy Jardine would not have been filmed singing about refugees in an Edinburgh pub, nor would he have signed an autograph with an FTP.


He may not have been university educated, he may not have been a solicitor or a doctor or one of the other professions whose members are sometimes seen as representing an elite, but by God he understood football and he understood fans. He knew what it meant to fall in love with a club because he had done it, with Hearts as a boy and Rangers as a man. When the rag-tag army of opportunists, exploiters and just plain dimwits seized on our period of lunacy, it was Sandy who stood up and spoke for the majority, those for whom the club means the world but who also realise there are more important things in life...and in death, too.


Few families in this country can be unaffected by this horrible illness which claimed Sandy. Thankfully cures are coming at last but for far too many, there are spaces around the table where loved ones used to be. I struggle yet to drop my wife off at the Race for Life, in which runners' vests are adorned with the legend 'Running for' and the name of a lost loved one written in. 'Running for Dad', 'Running for Gran', 'Running for Jim'...so many people, gone. Having lost, to cancer, the uncle who was for me the original link to my beloved club a few years ago, I find it hard to see, and reminders at Ibrox of all places are too much. Pain remains raw for far too long, especially when the lost one is as young as Sandy, and so many cancer sufferers, were and are.


But, in this age of football stupidity, perhaps we can draw a little comfort if we follow Sandy's life example.


The tributes paid to the man's life have been generous: dignity and class the watchwords, and they point toward a legacy which would make Sandy proud. Just as in Sandy's native Edinburgh last week a grieving Jim Sillars called on the political and chattering classes of Scotland to debate this independence referendum with maturity, putting aside personal hates and enmity and realising that the other person is entitled to their opinion, in passing Sandy has, I hope, reminded people that Rangers is not the Source Of All Evil in Scottish football but a club followed and played for by ordinary, decent people, who ought to be allowed an opinion as well without the necessity of being burnt at the stake first, just in case. Maybe we could use that lesson in this period of fan bickering, too.


But it's up to us to decide whether we, as individual fans, want to follow his example or ignore it. No-one is going to treat Rangers and Rangers fans with respect if we don't act in a manner to deserve it, and even then it might be thin on the ground. So be it! All the more reason to stiffen the sinews and make men and women of ourselves, all the more worthwhile if it is done to improve ourselves rather than desperately seeking the approval of others. If we aspire to be like men like Sandy Jardine we'll fall short, of course we will, because we are only human; no doubt Sandy failed in his life as well. Not to try at all, however, is not the Rangers way. Not the Jardine way.


Football often allows us to entertain the child within us, but this sad passing might teach us to take the inner child and temper him with the maturity and common sense men like Sandy Jardine epitomised throughout their playing days, their management days, their ambassador days and finally, sadly, their dying days. There can be no greater tribute for this man, that we rebuild ourselves, and our club, in his image.

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Scottish football says final farewell to Rangers and Hearts hero Sandy Jardine

Friday 2 May 2014


Leading figures in football have gathered to say farewell to Rangers and Hearts hero Sandy Jardine, who died last week after battling cancer.


Sir Alex Ferguson and Rangers manager Ally McCoist were among about 1,000 mourners who attended a funeral service in Edinburgh.


Former Rangers player, manager and director John Greig was one of the coffin-bearers at Mortonhall Crematorium.


Ex-manager Walter Smith and captain Lee McCulloch also turned out to pay their respects to Jardine, who died last week aged 65.


He made almost 800 appearances in his Ibrox career, helping the side secure three league championships, five Scottish Cups and five League Cups.


Edinburgh-born Jardine died last Thursday. He had been diagnosed with cancer 18 months previously.


The service in the Lorimer chapel began with the song The Old Rugged Cross followed by a tribute from lifelong friend David Ross.


He told mourners that the three things Jardine loved most were football, friends and family.


He said: "He will be remembered as one of the greatest ambassadors of the game."


Legions of Rangers fans will also remember Jardine, whose first name was William but who was known as Sandy due to his hair colour, as someone who served the club with great distinction and loyalty, he said.


Mr Ross said his illness began with the discovery of a lump in his neck while out for dinner on November 2 2012.


He was informed that his cancer was terminal in January this year and had shown "strength and courage beyond belief", he said.


He thanked NHS staff on behalf of Jardine's wife Shona, his son, daughter and seven grandchildren.


He said: "Their service has been outstanding."


Mr Ross ended his eulogy with the words: "Billy has been a dedicated, loving husband, father and grandfather.


"Let's remember him for all his great qualities and appreciate the time we spent with him.


"We should make sure that his memory lives on in all of us as long as we live. He was simply the best."


Jardine is remembered for his role in Rangers' 1972 Cup Winners' Cup final victory over Dynamo Moscow in Barcelona and at one time co-managed Hearts.


His association with Rangers lasted well beyond his playing days and he spearheaded fundraising efforts to save the club when it went into administration in 2012.


Following his death, McCoist described him as a ''truly remarkable human being'' and a Rangers legend ''in every sense of the word''.


Sir Alex had also paid tribute to his former colleague as ''a noble and courageous man''.


He said: ''The respect he is held in at Rangers is immense. He was one of the greatest players ever to wear the jersey.''


The 40-minute service ended with mourners singing My Way, a song they were told Jardine enjoyed singing himself.


The order of service had a picture of Jardine with the words: "A legend in his lifetime. In our hearts forever."

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Just got back from holiday. Blissfully unaware of Sandy's death and funeral until I read these fine words. Thank you Andy. I was privileged enough to watch Sandy as a player when my dad first took me to Ibrox in the 1970's. A great player and a true Ranger.

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