44 year old former Spanish striker Novo Nacho needs very little introduction when it comes to Ibrox and Rangers, although in fairness he may be a new name for the more youthful fan.
Suffice to say, when he joined us from Dundee back in the summer of 2004 for a reported £450,000 fee, he went on to prove that he was an absolute gem of a bargain at that price and very quickly established himself as a huge fan favourite. For those fans who like a bit of a flutter, even as the best sites are compared, you have to wonder what the odds would be on someone like Nacho (and his experiences) happening again.
Our new No 10, following the departure of Michael Mols, scored in his second game (our defeat to Russian side CSKA Moscow), but he was goalless for the next eight games and was dropped, to take the pressure off and let him adjust better. It worked out perfectly, as in his next run out, against former club Dundee, he came on as a 66th minute substitute and scored two goals in as many minutes, and he simply did not look back. He ended his first campaign with us with 25 goals to his name, and he hit the winner against Hibernian that won us the league title.
His struggles were not over at that point as injuries hit, and he had form issues, but he did remain with us until the summer of 2010 and left having made well over 200 appearances in total, returning 71 goals. There will be those fans who feel his goal return and threat probably warranted more starts than he actually got. He did however leave with three league titles, a Scottish Cup, two Scottish League Cups and a UEFA Cup runners up medal to his name.
Back in 2014, he was inducted into our Hall of Fame.
Some might wonder why he is back in the news having long hung up his professional playing boots, but back in 2022 he got himself on the managerial track and reunited with former Carolina Railhawks team mate, Sam Stockley, as he took on the assistant coach role at USL League One side Lexington SC. That role also saw him installed as the head coach of their Under 23 set up.
Stockley served as both manager and sporting director of the club, but he recently decided to step down as gaffer and focus on the sporting director side of the American game, so in return Nacho has been suitably promoted into the manager position as he takes the next step in his career. A career that was sadly at one point in doubt as he suffered a serious heart attack back in 2018 that required emergency surgery, aged only 38 years old, whilst he was representing our legends side at the AOK Masters in Berlin.
His new position is currently on an interim basis, and he has already played out his first 90 minutes as the main man in the hot seat, seeing his side play out a 2-2 draw with Charlotte Independence – a game that bizarrely saw the kick off time delayed for more than an hour due to lightning strikes.
The interim basis on the job for him is the perfect testing ground, as having made his managerial debut, there are only now four games left in the USL League One season, and it is partially a dead rubber for them as their play off hopes are basically over already and they sit in ninth place currently in a twelve team division (the top six enter a US post season extension), so our former player can simply get used to the ropes, look to impress, but ultimately take the experience as something he can use in the future even if the club change their mind in the off season.
For those who remember him well, they may want to keep a small eye on how he progresses.