Rest easy Fernando: Steven Gerrard leads his Rangers squad at Ricksen’s funeral as thousands of fans line the streets outside Ibrox in tribute before Nacho Novo and former team-mates carry coffin into church
- Fernando Ricksen passed away last week aged 43 at a hospice in Airdrie
- He lost his battle with motor neurone disease after his diagnosis six years ago
- Supporters lined the streets outside the stadium to pay tribute to Ricksen
- The Rangers legend’s funeral is being held at Wellington Church on Wednesday
Former team-mates of Fernando Ricksen have joined his family and thousands of fans for a final farewell to the former Rangers star, who died after a long battle with motor neurone disease.
Supporters of the Glasgow club gathered outside Ibrox Stadium as the funeral cortege of the former Light Blues captain halted briefly outside.
The Rangers first team stood at the front door of Ibrox to join supporters in paying tribute to the Dutchman, who passed away aged 43.
Fernando Ricksen’s coffin is carried into Wellington Church on Wednesday afternoon
The likes of Michael Mols, Thomas Buffel and Novo wore shirts with his name and number on
Fans line the street outside the church as they prepare to carry the coffin out of the hearse
Ricksen’s wife, Veronika (centre), walks wearing a black football top with his surname and No 2
Celtic boss Neil Lennon, who came up against Ricksen in his playing days, was in attendance
Supporters turned up in their thousands outside the Ibrox ahead of Ricksen’s funeral
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard turns up to pay his respects to the former Ibrox player
The Rangers squad paid tribute to Ricksen, who passed away last week at the age of 43
Rangers legend Ricksen passed away following his battle against motor neurone disease
Ricksen’s wife Veronika and their family, wearing black football tops with his surname and the No 2 on the back, left the cars and went into the stadium for a few minutes.
Shortly before the cortege’s arrival at the ground, Rangers manager Steven Gerrard and the first team were dropped off by a coach.
Fans applauded the squad’s arrival and continued as two other coaches drove past – with one carrying nurses who had cared for Ricksen, as well as club legends Mark Hateley and Richard Gough.
Mourners also gathered at Wellington Church in Glasgow, where the funeral service is being held.
A number of Ricksen’s former Rangers team-mates, including Tore Andre Flo, Nacho Novo, Neil McCann and Peter Lovenkrands, arrived together.
Supporters put scarves on the hearse, carrying Ricksen’s coffin on Wednesday afternoon
A supporter holds up a rose outside the Ibrox as fans line the streets prior to the funeral
Fans paid their respects to the Dutch defender, who became a Treble winner at Ibrox
Supporters wait for Ricksen’s funeral cortege to drive past on Wednesday afternoon
Celtic manager Neil Lennon, who came up against Ricksen in his playing days, was also in attendance.
The Dutch defender died last week aged 43 at a hospice in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, following a motor neurone disease diagnosis six years ago.
Tributes which had been left at the Ibrox gates had grown in number since the Dutchman’s death with more tops, scarfs and flowers lain by well-wishers on Wednesday.
Jim Boyd, who had come to Ibrox from Livingston, West Lothian, where Rangers play on Wednesday night, told the PA news agency: ‘He was solid, he was just brilliant.
‘It’s sad but proud as well, it just shows you how much people liked the guy as a footballer and a person.
An order of service for the funeral is held up by a supporter outside an emotional Ibrox
Tributes which had been left at the Ibrox gates have grown in number since his tragic death
‘I’d met him a couple of times at the training and he always took time out to take pictures and sign stuff.
‘He could have a laugh with you and stop and talk to you, he was really good.’
Another fan, Stefan Souttar, had only watched highlights of Ricksen but said: ‘You see all the different clubs here (among the tributes). I’ve seen a Villarreal scarf and all the Celtic tops.
‘It just shows he was a well-liked guy. Even though there’s the Rangers and Celtic rivalry, they still come together for respect.’
‘Rest easy Fernando’: A banner is displayed near Rangers’ ground prior to Wednesday’s funeral