20 years ago today: The Irish News on June 19 1997: Rangers continue amazing summer spending spree

Former Rangers manager Walter Smith

RANFERS continued their astonishing summer spending spree last night by signing 26-year-old Perugia striker Marco Negri on a four year contract following a £3.7million move.

Negri becomes the third Italian player to join the Scottish champions during the close season.

Defenders Lorenzo Amorouso and Sergio Porrini moved to Ibrox from Fiorentina and Juventus respectively.

Rangers have made wholesale changes during the summer in a bid to make an impact in the Champions League next season and the arrival of Negri pushes their spending to over £14million.

Amorouso cost £5million, Porrini £3million and there were other major signings as well during a hectic schedule by Rangers.

In addition to the three Italians, manager Walter Smith splashed out £1.5million on Rosenberg defender Staale Stensaas and recruited the Swedish skipper Jonas Thern and Australian Tony Vidmar for nothing.

Negri’s arrival in Glasgow means that Rangers are now only searching for another goalkeeper but Dutch star Oscar Moens looks unlikely to join them.

Negri was anxious to move on following his club’s relegation and was introduced at a news conference yesterday evening which Rangers manager Walter Smith hosted.

Negri revealed he had turned down offers from other Italian clubs and Spanish giants Athletic Madrid to come to Glasgow


DUBLIN goalkeeping legend John O’Leary has decided to hang up his gloves.

O’Leary, arguably the greatest goalkeeper the game has ever produced, made the decision in the wake of Sunday’s Leinster Championship first round defeat by Meath.

It brings to an end an intercounty career spanning 17 years, two AllIreland titles, six All-Ireland finals and eight Leinster titles.

It was in the first of these Leinster finals in 1980 that O’Leary made his Dublin debut, coming in as a surprise late replacement for his side’s defeat against Offaly.

Since then the Balbriggan clubman has experienced many highs and lows between the sticks.

The ultimate high point came when he captained the Dubs to the All-Ireland title in 1995, culminating in a narrow Croke Park win against Tyrone.


THE last of the Down senior football quarter-finalists should be known tonight after the replay between Carryduff and Ballymartin in St Malachy’s Park, Castlewellan.

Carryduff, who were foiled by a last kick, long range pointed free by Gregory McCartan to draw their last encounter, will be hoping that county star Greg Blaney will be able to line out.

He missed the drawn game through injury sustained in the Tyrone and Down Ulster championship drawn game.

But last Friday night he came on as a substitute in the league game against Warrenpoint and felt no ill effects afterwards.

His experience and influence are invaluable to Carryduff.


BALLYMENA boxer Dermot Hamill and athlete Gareth Turnbull were among five sportspeople who received Ulster Sports Trust School Leaver Awards.

The financial awards are intended to help the recipients move from junior to adult sport.

St Patrick’s College Ballymena student Hamill is currently ranked at number one in both Ireland and the UK in his age-group.

Yesterday’s full list of winners were: Jonathan Davis, rugby/athletics (Belfast High School); Dermot Hamill, boxing (St Patrick’s College Ballymena); Gareth Turnbull, athletics (St Malachy’s College Belfast); Andrea Glover, table tennis (Down High School); Emma Robinson, swimming (Coleraine High School).

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