Fleetwood hosts Fernando Ricksen charity match

The town of Fleetwoood played host to nearly 5,000 Rangers fans on Saturday afternoon as they supported Fernando Ricksen.

The former Holland right-back was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) nearly four years ago, ending his playing career and massively shortening his life.

Ricksen, 40, played 182 times for Rangers in a spell that spanned six years between 2000 and 2006 but was told in late 2013 that he had just two years to live.

The Dutchman has since defied medics and continues to raise money and awareness for MND with a previous charity match at Rangers’ Ibrox Stadium generating £320,000 to be donated to charity.

Fans travelled from across the United Kingdom to support the 2014 Gers’ Hall of Fame inductee, with one travelling all the way from Northern Ireland.

The game between an England XI and Rangers Legends finished 3–2 in favour of the home team, however, the score was unimportant on a hugely successful day for Ricksen’s MND Foundation.

Fleetwood’s Highbury Stadium hosted the charity match

England’s side featured retired pro’s such as Teddy Sheringham and Paul Ince, while Ricksen’s former teammates Barry Ferguson and Nacho Novo turned out for the Light Blue Legends.

Fleetwood’s Highbury Stadium turned out to be the perfect location for the event with only around 350 of the 5,300 tickets available not being sold.

The ground, which was initially redeveloped in 2008 before more construction in 2010, has a capacity of 5,327 and the new Parkside Stand is one of the most impressive in the league.

Rangers fans, who are renowned for travelling in numbers, were impressed by the League One club’s facilities ahead of the big day.

One of the stories of the day came courtesy of Rangers fan Alex Dick, who was one of three Rangers fans to donate £500 to play in the event.

Dick scored the final goal of the day for Rangers Legends which captured the spirit of an inspring day in the north west.

On the whole, Rangers fans were not left disappointed at the day as all proceeds of the match went to Ricksen, something they were very happy with.

Dad-of-one Ricksen now lives in Spain but his contributions to Scottish football, and more specifically Rangers do not go unnoticed.

His campaign to battle MND is truly admirable and all 5,000 visitors to Fleetwood on Saturday fully respect the ongoing daily battles he undertakes with his lethal disease.

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