NARSA 2019 VIP – Marco Negri
Born in Milan in 1970, Marco had spells in his homeland with Udinese, Ternana, Cosenza and Bologna before his 15 goals in Serie A for relegated side Perugia brought him to the attention of Walter Smith.
Marco Joins Rangers
Rangers paid £3.5M to bring the Italian to Ibrox in the summer of 1997. Regarded as one of the best strikers in Italy at that time, Negri certainly lived up to his reputation as he blazed a trail during a phenomenal first six months at Ibrox. He netted twice on his league debut against Hearts at Ibrox – his second goal was a sublime chip – and proceeded to score in each of the first ten Premier Division fixtures. This shattered the record for scoring in successive top flight matches that was held by Ally McLeod of Hibs, who had scored in eight successive matches in the 1970s.
During that run, Negri became the first Rangers player since Derek Parlane to net five goals in one match, against Dundee United at Ibrox at the end of August. One goal in particular stood out, a wonderful individual effort that saw the Italian lob the ball over the heads of three United defenders before chipping Sieb Dykstra in the United goal. Absolutely magic!
By Christmas, Marco had netted thirty-three times and his goals looked set to propel Rangers to the title, but his season, was effectively ended after he sustained an eye injury during a squash game with team-mate Sergio Porrini early in 1998. The injury seemed to rob him of his sharpness in front of goal, and he scored just twice after he returned to the team in the closing months of the campaign.
Marco’s pre-Christmas run of 1997 was still enough by the campaign’s end to place him fifth in the European Golden Boot. Even by May, his 32 Scottish Premier goals were 14 more than anyone else could muster.
Unable to regain the regain the explosive form that made him a firm favourite among the Rangers support, Marco returned to Italy turning out for Vicenza, Bologna, Cagliari and Livorno before finishing his playing career with a short second spell back at Perugia.
Last season, Marco was a striker coach as part of the technical staff at Italian Serie A side Udinese. These days, Marco can be found participating in Legends matches for charity and he will be back in Glasgow in January, 2019 to take part in the Star Sixes tournament
The great news just keeps on coming! It’s fantastic that Marco has agreed to join us again and I’m sure our guests will thoroughly enjoy his company in Windsor. For those on or around social media, you’ll know that Marco has a very strong presence on multiple platforms and takes every opportunity he can to talk positively about Rangers and his love for the club. A true Blue Nose! – Gary Gillan, NARSA President