Former Rangers & Dutch Star Arthur Numan – Forever Blue!

I was watching a TV show on Sky Sports just before the last Old Firm game and former stars Barry Ferguson, Neil Lennon, Kris Boyd and Kris Commons were discussing the fixture.

During the programme they were stating who they’d want to see line-up beside them in such an important game. The usual suspects of Ferguson, Henrik Larsson and Scott Brown were given and then former Gers captain Barry Ferguson said his selection would be Arthur Numan.

It reminded me how good the Dutch left-back actually was.

The full-back joined the Ibrox side in 1998 for a £4.5m fee and he was already an international for the Netherlands and represented his nation in the World Cup in France 98.

As soon as he stepped onto the pitch in Govan, you could tell Arthur was a classy operator.

He was a modern day full-back who possessed a good engine and the right kind of work ethic to get up and down for most of the game. While he seemed natural at getting down the flanks and attacking the opposition, the Dutchman always knew his first priority was to defend his own goal.

Playing under a manager like Dick Advocaat meant you had to be disciplined and Numan was definitely an Advocaat player; the Little General was also his international manager, his gaffer at HFC Haarlem and his boss at PSV Eindhoven before his move to Glasgow.

The experienced influence that Advocaat on the sidelines and Numan on the park gave Rangers in that era helped the club become a more mature force in European football. Arthur was clearly a foot-soldier that Dick knew he could trust on the field and the other players certainly seemed to respect their teammate too. That’s why he was perfect as the club’s vice-captain.

Going back to his playing style; he was accomplished with the ball at his feet, whether it be in the pass or in the dribble.

One of the biggest memories I have of Arthur Numan, the footballer, was just how smart he was. I particularly remember him against Celtic and up against Didier Agathe. The winger was a speed merchant and he caused many a defender in the SPL problems during that period of time. Yet Numan seemed to work out the perfect game plan to nullify the wideman’s threat.

The Gers left-back knew Agathe wanted to draw him into a foot race, yet the experienced defender knew that would be a mistake as the Celtic man was too fast for him to handle. The Dutch star also knew that the Frenchman wasn’t the best provider of an early ball. So with all that in mind, Numan played Agathe perfectly by just sitting off him, he’d allow Didier to have the ball in space ahead of  the defender in deep positions but then the space in behind Arthur was non existent and that’s exactly where Agathe wanted to be.

Now I am sure Celtic fans can point to a fixture when their man got the upper hand but I genuinely can’t remember that and that’s probably because it didn’t happen in a lot of occasions.

The Dutch full-back scored the odd goal but none stood out more than his left-foot piledriver against the club’s Old Firm rivals at Ibrox!

The former PSV man just seemed to understand and appreciate the Rangers cause (Cue EBT chat from rival supporters). His work ethic, intelligence and determination to succeed were no doubt the reasons why Barry Ferguson named him as the perfect partner to be beside him in the trenches.

Arthur Numan clearly loved his time in Glasgow and remained in Scotland after his retirement in 2003. He has been seen in the stands alongside the Gers support and the fanbase loves it when any player, never mind a foreign player, shows that kind of adulation for the badge.

Yes injuries curtailed Numan’s time at Rangers but he still won trophies and he showed great dedication for the Light Blues. He was one of those stars that just seemed to push our game on during that impressive era for the Old Firm sides.



Comments are closed.