Andy Goram calls sectarian claims ‘nonsense’ as he talks about love for Northern Ireland

andy goram has said that he has always been proud of his strong ties to Forest ranger fans in Northern Ireland.

the Ibrox The legend responded to claims that he was sympathetic to loyalist terrorists and described accusations that he engaged in anti-Catholic behavior as “nonsense”.

The 58-year-old goalkeeper legend, diagnosed with terminal esophageal cancer, Gers supporters said in Belfast it made him “feel relaxed” every time he visited the city’s pubs.

Now, those fans are backing him in his fight for life after doctors predicted that Goram has around six months to live.

He said: “I have received more messages from fans in Northern Ireland than anywhere else.”

Andy Goram controversially wore a black armband at the time a loyalist was killed
Andy Goram controversially wore a black armband at the time a loyalist was killed

Goram regularly visited over 100 Rangers supporters clubs in the province, including Belfast. Shankill Road – a Protestant and Unionist stronghold.

He added: “I have never tolerated sectarianism. The fact that you have close links to Northern Ireland and have been to the Shankill Road does not mean that you endorse bigotry or terrorism.

“I was delighted to go to Belfast, where the bettors have treated me very well.

“Why should I be ashamed of that?”

Goram said the outpouring of support he has received from fans in Northern Ireland since it was revealed he has terminal cancer it has been overwhelming.

He said: “I have been to all the supporters clubs in Northern Ireland and they have all messaged since they found out I was sick.

“I really can’t thank you enough.

“I have received messages and cards from Rangers fans all over the world, but the number from Northern Ireland trumps them all. They have been brilliant.”

Shankill Road has been a flashpoint of sectarian clashes
Shankill Road has been a flashpoint of sectarian clashes

Goram first went to Northern Ireland with teammate Ian Durrant shortly after he signed for Rangers in 1991.

The club wanted to build a closer relationship with the fan base and sent the pair to Portadown to award prizes at a futsal tournament.

It was the beginning of Goram’s 30-year relationship with the region marked by Problems.

However, the former Rangers number 1 said religious intolerance had not played a role in his frequent visits to Belfast.

He said: “Rangers and Celtic players must take care of their shoulders every time they go out Glasgow.

“There is always a risk that someone will try to give it to you just because you play for half of the Old Firm.

“I’ve witnessed it, it’s just a fact of life.

“I never felt that in Northern Ireland. I always felt relaxed with people.

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“I love the fans and their jokes. They took care of me.

“Much has been said about my love of the place and going to Shankill Road.

“Where am I supposed to go in Belfast as a Rangers player or as a former player?

“Do people expect me to go to Falls Road? Let’s go.”

Andy Goram once had a conversation with Loyalist leader Billy Wright on a plane
Andy Goram once had a conversation with Loyalist leader Billy Wright on a plane

The Falls Road is a main street in Belfast that is considered a Catholic and it is only a few meters from Shankill Road.

Goram last visited a fan club in Northern Ireland with former teammate Charlie Miller and former striker Derek Johnstone three months ago, just weeks before he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

He added: “The reception was as good as ever, if not better.

“The fans are very encouraged because the club is back where it belongs and the team is working.”

Goram pointed out that his close friendship with the Celta idol Frank Mc Avennie it was evidence that he was not a bigot.

He also said that he would not have married his second wife, Tracey, whom he met when he signed for hibs in 1987, if he had sectarian beliefs.

Goram said, “People have tried to say that I am a fan. Has no sense.

“I have Catholic friends. Macca is one of my closest friends – my second wife, Tracey, was Catholic.

“People can say what they want. They have their opinions.”

Andy Goram is good friends with Celtic star Frank McAvennie
Andy Goram is good friends with Celtic star Frank McAvennie

Goram was embroiled in controversy after it was claimed that he wore a black armband to an Old Firm match in tribute to loyalist terrorist Billy Wright.

wright- nicknamed Rat King by his enemies, he was the leader of the Loyal Volunteer Force and had been linked to 20 Catholic murders.

The match against Celtic at Parkhead on 2 January 1998 came just days after Wright was murdered in Belfast’s Maze Prison by prisoners of the Irish National Liberation Army.

They shot him three times. Goram insisted that the bracelet was in honor of his aunt Lilly, who had recently died.

She said the game against Celtic was the first televised game since she passed away.

Goram added: “I met Billy Wright once on a flight to Belfast.

“He sat across the aisle from me and we chatted about football.

“I had no idea who he was until someone told me.

“We were not friends. We didn’t know each other.

“The black bracelet was for my Aunt Lilly, who played a very important role in my education, that’s the truth.”

He said: “When you spend as much time in Belfast as I do, you will meet people who have been involved in The Troubles.

“A lot of times you have no idea who they are.

“I have never approved of violence and I have never been interested in terrorism.”

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