2003-05 Rangers Home Shirt Size Small - Ball #18
Era: 2003-05 (Used for the 2003-04 and 2004-05 Scottish Premier League season’s and the 2005 Scottish League Cup Final)
Name/Number: Ball #18
This classic shirt comes to you in excellent shirt as it closes in on 20 years of age at the time of writing! The shirt material, sponsor decal, name and numbering, plastic crests on the sleeves and embroidery are as good as any version of the shirt you would find today! There is however, is some very slight staining to the white collar; nothing, however, that should take away from the conditioning of the shirt!
Pit to Pit Measurement: 20 inches
Shirt Length: 29 inches
Made by Diadora in 2003; this shirt is typical of those made in the early 2000’s – namely, that the sizing is much bigger than shirts made today, so if you are a size medium, this shirt may be a better option for you than it would be for a small.
Diadora’s second and final home shirt they produced for Rangers spanned both the 2003-04 and 2004-05 season’s where Alex McLeish’s side got a taste of UEFA Champions League Group Stage football for the first time since the 2000-01 season and would also another enjoy another Scottish Premier League and Scottish League Cup success in the 2004-05 season! Unlike the 2002-03 debut edition; this shirt was vastly contemporary; taking inspiration from the Nike template which was introduced in 2002 as the collar was ditched, as was the hologram style pattern that embossed into the 2002-03 home shirt. In their place came a classy white v-neck collar, while the red accents were relegated to the bands of the sleeves and the spikes which emanate from the collar. Carling would take over as the club’s new shirt sponsor. This shirt would be worn by incoming legends and stalwarts such as: Zurab Khizanishvili, Henning Berg, Emerson, Frank de Boer, Hamed Namouchi, Dado Prso, Alex Rae, Jean-Alain Boumsong, Nacho Novo, Thomas Buffel, Sotirios Kyrgiakos and the returning Barry Ferguson!
Alex McLeish would enjoy an incredible first full season at the helm at Ibrox in 2002/03 – guiding the club to their seventh domestic treble; an association football record, with their Scottish Premier League title win coming in the most dramatic of circumstances when they dethrone Celtic on goal difference!
They would have come into the 2003-04 season without the likes of: Barry Ferguson, Arthur Numan, Claudio Cannigia, Bert Konterman, Lorenzo Amoruso and Neil McCann. There were however, interesting arrivals in the form of: Nuno Capucho, Zurab Khizanishvili, Paolo Vanoli, Henning Berg, Emerson, Egil Ostenstad and Hamed Namouchi.
The defence of the league title would begin with 7 straight victories, and would end the year of 2003 with 14 wins out of 18, however, with Celtic looking imperious; ‘the Gers’ were already 8 points off the pace and that was further exacerbated when they beaten by their arch-rivals 1-0 on 3rd January to kick off the year of 2004. This would set the tone for a disappointing second half of the season where they would suffer the ignominy of losing all 4 Old-Firm Derby clashes; eventually losing the title to Celtic by a 17 point margin.
The defences of the Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup were equally disappointing as Celtic deposed them from the Scottish Cup in the quarter final, while Hibernian with upset them on penalties in the semi-final of the Scottish League Cup.
It was no surprise then the UEFA Champions League campaign also unfolded similarly as they firstly overcame FC Copenhagen 3-2 on aggregate to enter the Group Stages. Drawn alongside: Stuttgart, Panathinaikos and the glamour tie of Manchester United! The campaign began well enough as they defeated Stuttgart and drawing away in Greece versus PAO. From there it would go downhill as 4 straight defeats condemned them to an exit from Europe by end of 2003.
After the disappointing 2003-04 season where the club finished trophyless, there were a number of high-profile departures as: Frank de Boer, Ronald de Boer, Emerson, Nuno Capucho, Henning Berg, Michael Mols, Christian Nerlinger and Mikel Arteta all left the club in the summer. There was much to look forward to as far as arrivals were concerned however as: Alex Rae, Nacho Novo, Gregory Vignal, Jean-Alain Boumsong, Marvin Andrews and Dado Prso all descended upon Ibrox!
The 2004-05 campaign seemed to be following suit of the previous tenure as they won just twice in their opening 5 games, where they would also suffer a 1-0 defeat away against Celtic on 29th August. From there, Alex McLeish’s side became a force of nature as they went unbeaten for the rest of the year – winning 13 of those 15 games! Incredibly, that wasn’t enough to unseat Celtic, with the champions leading the way at the end of 2004 by a solitary point.
New Year’s Day 2005 would begin with a disappointing 1-1 draw away against Dundee United, however, that would set the tone for a fine 7-match winning run where they finally defeated Celtic and would move ahead of the champions on goal difference following the seventh of those wins which came against Hearts on 2nd March. Rangers extended their unbeaten run in the league to 27 games when they beat Motherwell 3-2 in a thrilling contest at Fir Park on 3rd April to go top by 1 point. 2 defeats in their next 3 games saw Celtic go 5 points clear with 4 games to spare, however, Rangers would rally and win their final 4 games of the season to regain the Scottish Premier League title by 1 point!
In the domestic cups, the Scottish Cup would represent another failure at the hands of Celtic when they bowed out 2-1 in the 3rd Round. The Scottish League Cup however, was a completely different animal as they won the competition for the second time in just 3 seasons when they crushed Motherwell 5-1 in the final on 20th March!
Europe would represent its own set of struggles as they failed to reach the Group Stage of the UEFA Champions League when they were beaten 3-2 on aggregate by CSKA Moscow, however, they would reach the Group Stage of the UEFA Cup when they beat Martimo on penalties in the 1st Round. Despite claiming wins over Amica Wronki and Grazer AK; follow up defeats to AZ Alkmaar and Auxerre would resign them to a Group Stage exit.
The notable players that season(s) were:
Ross McCormack, Egil Ostenstad, Shota Arveladze, Steven Thompson, Michael Mols, Dado Prso, Nacho Novo, Charlie Adam, Barry Ferguson, Christian Nerlinger, Hamed Namouchi, Peter Lovenkrands, Bojan Djordic, Chris Burke, Zurab Khizanishvili, Dragan Mladenović, Alex Rae, Thomas Buffel, Emerson, Nuno Capucho, Mikel Arteta, Stephen Hughes, Ronald De Boer, Frank De Boer, Henning Berg, Maurice Ross, Michael Ball, Paolo Vanoli, Fernando Ricksen, Alan Hutton, Kevin Muscat, Jerome Bonnissel, Bert Konterman, Marvin Andrews, Gregory Vignal, Robert Malcolm, Arthur Numan, Craig Moore, Stefan Klos, Ronald Waterreus
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