Barry Ferguson: No fall-out with Lorenzo Amoruso over Rangers captaincy

Barry Ferguson insists there was no fall-out with Lorenzo Amoruso after the Scottish midfielder was the beneficiary of a decision to strip the Italian centre-back of the Rangers captaincy.

Lorenzo Amoruso (centre) playing peacekeeper and keeping Barry Ferguson and Neil Lennon apart in the 2002 CIS Cup semi-final. Picture: David Moir
Lorenzo Amoruso (centre) playing peacekeeper and keeping Barry Ferguson and Neil Lennon apart in the 2002 CIS Cup semi-final. Picture: David Moir

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Dick Advocaat was the manager who made the controversial choice back in 2000 after a poor start by Rangers to the new season saw the Dutchman shake things up.

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Amoruso had been captain of the club for two years but had to watch as the armband was taken off him and handed to his younger team-mate, who was only 22 at the time.

Though Ferguson would go on to become a modern-day Rangers legend, winning 15 major trophies across two spells with the club, Amoruso was later critical of the decision, saying Advocaat was hell-bent on destroying him and that Ferguson was too young for the responsibility.

Speaking to Si Ferry as part of Open Goal’s series of in-depth Scottish football interviews, Ferguson insists there was no animosity in the dressing room after his dream to captain the club came true.

Ferguson said: “It was an opportunity that I couldn’t knock back. It was my dream.

“To go on and play for Rangers and become a regular was great, but to become captain was unbelievable. It was a no brainer.

“There were probably a couple of reasons why he [Advocaat] gave me it. I’d got into a couple of bits of trouble before that, and it was maybe to mature me a little bit and make me realise the potential that I had. Also, he would have seen the passion that I had and how much I wanted to win.

“He pulled me into the office, told me that he was going to relieve big Amo’ of the duties and that he wanted me to be captain. He brought Arthur Numan in as well - initially I thought he was going to make him captain and maybe me vice-captain. Then he says to me, ‘I want you to be captain’.

“There were a few looks in the dressing room, seeing as I was only 22. But they were great, a few handshakes and then we got back to concentrating on winning.

“There was no fall-out. He [Amoruso] took it like a man. Obviously he was disappointed but there were no issues.”

Amoruso and Ferguson were two players who were often thought of as rivals inside the Rangers camp, but the ex-Clyde boss insists there were never any personal issues between the pair - simply they were both determined to win and weren’t afraid to criticise others on the training ground.

Ferguson added: “He got a lot of criticism at times, but the big man was a winner. I had my ding-dongs with him, quite often. But do you know what? I had my ding-dongs with everybody. I don’t mind someone having a go back. I quite liked that about him.”