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Broadfoot back on the ball but still hurting

IT was both make and break.

Broadfoot began the season at Rangers. Picture: SNS
Broadfoot began the season at Rangers. Picture: SNS

The decision to leave Rangers was painful for Kirk Broadfoot, but it was inevitable. The 28-year-old, left on the sidelines after two years of injury, knew he had to start playing again regularly. Rangers, in financial meltdown, needed a high wage earner off the books. The departure of the player to Blackpool made sense, but it still had the capacity to hurt the Scottish internationalist.

"I am not going to lie, it was difficult,'' he said on a brief return to Glasgow yesterday. "It is hard to put into words. I didn't really want to leave, but because of the football I missed I had to go. I wanted to prove myself at a high level after two horrendous injuries."

It was, as the best Tarantino movie has it, emotional.

"I went and gave everybody a cuddle, including the manager. I said thank you for everything. It was hard to take because it was such a big step when I drove out of those gates at Murray Park for the last time. I didn't realise how big a step it was."

He added: "I took a wage cut to go to Blackpool. I did it to help Rangers and I did it to help my career. I hoped getting off the wage bill would help the manager bring other players in. It worked both ways."

It is certainly benefiting Broadfoot, who is enjoying his spell at Blackpool under new manager Michael Appleton. He relishes the challenge of a new league, though he is keen to emphasise that the Scottish game is much maligned.

"The Championship has been like a breath of fresh air, going to all these new stadiums, playing against different teams and players. But I don't think the Scottish game gets the credit it deserves,'' he said.

"The SPL is a very hard league to play in, especially if you play for Rangers or Celtic, because it is always the opposition's cup final."

Broadfoot was in Glasgow to promote a book of sports journalists' reminiscences with the proceeds going to charity. There was a reference in the book to the player being unavailable for interview and the press conference was his good-natured response .

"There is a bit in the book talking about me, but I would like to say I was never asked for that interview,'' he said with a smile.

He was more serious about how the move to Blackpool, with his contract only extending to the end of the season, was vital in revitalising his game and prospects.

"I have played a few games in the Championship and if I can get a few more the new Scotland manager might come down and have a look and I might even get back into the set-up," he said.

"The aim is to play regularly again. The new manager has come in and he has been excellent. It is a good league with loads of games against big teams. The ambition is to get in the play-offs with Blackpool. I have now played five on the bounce at centre-half which I feel is my best position. Things are on the up.''

Yet his mind often strays back to Ibrox.

He is scathing about the Craig Whyte regime but would not be drawn on the dispute between Rangers and players who left the club during a period of extraordinary turbulence.

"As it turns out, we won the big tax case and I think the likes of Steven Naismith and Steven Whittaker could still be playing with Rangers right now,'' he said.

"Everyone makes their own decisions during their career. They have made the decision they thought was best for their career and they have to live with it. I am still good friends with them, but they have made their decision and I've made mine."

If there is pragmatism in that answer, there was romanticism in the next. When asked if the move worked both ways – to the benefit of club and player – Broadfoot replied: "I have great friends at Rangers, friends for life, and I loved it there. I will never forget Rangers and maybe one day I could go back and play for the club again. "

n Kirk Broadfoot was speaking to promote Henrik, Hairdryers and the Hand of God, published by BackPage Press at £8.99. A collection of exclusive stories by top Scottish sports writers, all profits go to the stillbirth and neonatal charity Sands.

IT was both make and break. The decision to leave Rangers was painful for Kirk Broadfoot, but it was inevitable. The 28-year-old, left on the sidelines after two years of injury, knew he had to start playing again regularly. Rangers, in financial meltdown, needed a high wage earner off the books. The departure of the player to Blackpool made sense, but it still had the capacity to hurt the Scottish internationalist.

"I am not going to lie, it was difficult,'' he said on a brief return to Glasgow yesterday. "It is hard to put into words. I didn't really want to leave, but because of the football I missed I had to go. I wanted to prove myself at a high level after two horrendous injuries."

It was, as the best Tarantino movie has it, emotional.

"I went and gave everybody a cuddle, including the manager. I said thank you for everything. It was hard to take because it was such a big step when I drove out of those gates at Murray Park for the last time. I didn't realise how big a step it was."

He added: "I took a wage cut to go to Blackpool. I did it to help Rangers and I did it to help my career. I hoped getting off the wage bill would help the manager bring other players in. It worked both ways."

It is certainly benefiting Broadfoot, who is enjoying his spell at Blackpool under new manager Michael Appleton. He relishes the challenge of a new league, though he is keen to emphasise that the Scottish game is much maligned.

"The Championship has been like a breath of fresh air, going to all these new stadiums, playing against different teams and players. But I don't think the Scottish game gets the credit it deserves,'' he said.

"The SPL is a very hard league to play in, especially if you play for Rangers or Celtic, because it is always the opposition's cup final."

Broadfoot was in Glasgow to promote a book of sports journalists' reminiscences with the proceeds going to charity. There was a reference in the book to the player being unavailable for interview and the press conference was his good-natured response .

"There is a bit in the book talking about me, but I would like to say I was never asked for that interview,'' he said with a smile.

He was more serious about how the move to Blackpool, with his contract only extending to the end of the season, was vital in revitalising his game and prospects.

"I have played a few games in the Championship and if I can get a few more the new Scotland manager might come down and have a look and I might even get back into the set-up," he said.

"The aim is to play regularly again. The new manager has come in and he has been excellent. It is a good league with loads of games against big teams. The ambition is to get in the play-offs with Blackpool. I have now played five on the bounce at centre-half which I feel is my best position. Things are on the up.''

Yet his mind often strays back to Ibrox.

He is scathing about the Craig Whyte regime but would not be drawn on the dispute between Rangers and players who left the club during a period of extraordinary turbulence.

"As it turns out, we won the big tax case and I think the likes of Steven Naismith and Steven Whittaker could still be playing with Rangers right now,'' he said.

"Everyone makes their own decisions during their career. They have made the decision they thought was best for their career and they have to live with it. I am still good friends with them, but they have made their decision and I've made mine."

If there is pragmatism in that answer, there was romanticism in the next. When asked if the move worked both ways – to the benefit of club and player – Broadfoot replied: "I have great friends at Rangers, friends for life, and I loved it there. I will never forget Rangers and maybe one day I could go back and play for the club again. "

Kirk Broadfoot was speaking to promote Henrik, Hairdryers and the Hand of God, published by BackPage Press at £8.99. A collection of exclusive stories by top Scottish sports writers, all profits go to the stillbirth and neonatal charity Sands.

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