Andy Goram reveals Rangers hero John Brown saved his life after helping him quit booze


Cancer-hit Andy Goram has told how Rangers teammate John Brown stopped him drinking himself to death.

The Ibrox hero hit rock bottom after getting so blitzed he couldn’t remember anything about a weekend he’d spent in Scotland’s most northerly town.

The Goalie had drunk with punters in Thurso bars for three days before sobering up with no recollection of what had happened.

Goram – considered by many fans to be Rangers’ greatest goalkeeper – then made a desperate phone call to Brown and begged for his help.

Within hours Brown – nicknamed Bomber – was driving Goram to his first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at Wishaw General in Lanarkshire.



Ibrox star Andy Goram said he could never turn down wine

Former defender Brown – who quit booze almost 30 years ago – then made sure his pal got to more than 20 AA meetings in under a month.

Brown played at the heart of the Rangers defense with Richard Gough during Goram’s glittering seven-year spell at Ibrox.

Goram, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer last month, added: “It was around 10 years ago. I was in Thurso from Friday to Monday, came back down the road and I couldn’t remember a thing about the weekend.

“So I rang John Brown and said, ‘Bomber you need to give me a hand here, I need your help’.

“The very next day he took me to Wishaw General for an AA meeting.

“He took me to 20 meetings in 28 days. Bomber saved my life, there’s no doubt about that.”

Goram’s drinking habits forced him to quit his job as goalkeeping coach at Clyde in 2008.

Brown was manager at the time and had hired his close friend a few months earlier.

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It caused a rift between the pair and they didn’t speak for almost a year but patched up their friendship before Brown’s life-saving intervention in 2012.

However Goram – who doctors have told has around six months to live – revealed how tragic ex-Rangers captain Fernando Ricksen convinced him he should get “a glass of wine and enjoy it”.

Ricksen had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease when he gave him a dramatic pep talk.

Have you got memories of seeing Andy Goram play? Join the conversation in the comments.



Andy Goram has been given six months to live following a cancer diagnosis
Andy Goram has been given six months to live following a cancer diagnosis

Goram, who has oesophageal cancer, said: “Fernando was really struggling but still able to communicate.

“He asked if I was still off the booze and I said I was.

“I had been for about two-and-a-half years.

“He then asked if I missed my red wine.

“I told him I did but couldn’t face going down the path I’d been before.

“Fernando then said, ‘You should get a glass of wine and enjoy it. What’s happened to me could happen to you tomorrow.

“’Have a glass of wine and just make sure you don’t go down that crazy road again.”

Ricksen had come through his own alcohol-related problems before being diagnosed with MND. He lost his battle with the illness in 2019.

Goram, who has refused chemotherapy, added: “Fernando was right.

“But I can barely drink now with all the pills I need to take.”

Former teammate Brian Laudrup discovered how much Goram loved red wine after inviting The Goalie to his home in Denmark.

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The former hellraiser found the wine cellar and polished off six bottles worth around £800 each after being left alone in the house while everyone was at Legoland.

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The Light Blues legend said alcoholism “caught up” with him.

He said: “My mum and dad ran clubs and pubs for years and I was always around that environment. I was brought up in it.

“Drinking builds up over a period of time.

“It got to the point where I’d sit in a bar and someone would put a glass of red wine in front of me and say, ‘that’s for you, thanks’.

“I just kept saying thanks back, I never said, ‘no thanks’.”



Andy Goram and Fernando Ricksen both battled alcohol issues
Andy Goram and Fernando Ricksen both battled alcohol issues

Walter Smith signed Goram for Rangers in 1991 for £1 million from Hibs. He went on to win six league titles and five cups.

He left in 1998 when Dick Advocaat took over and decided to rebuild the squad.

Nine-in-a-row heroes including Goram, Brown and Ally McCoist all left the club at the same time.

Goram continued to play for five more years and had spells at Motherwell and Manchester United.

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He eventually retired aged 39 but admits he wasn’t mentally prepared to hang up his gloves. Goram also said that by that time, he was already drinking too much.

He went on: “When I finished playing I suppose I wasn’t ready for it.

“The drinking was probably the same but there was no training to get the booze out of my system and that’s the downward spiral starting.

“I don’t think I was the only player who suffered this.”

Goram became a regular after-dinner speaker and would also host Q&A nights with fans. He said he would turn up hours early and start drinking before going on stage.



Andy Goram has refused chemotherapy to treat his cancer
Andy Goram has refused chemotherapy to treat his cancer

The goalkeeper, who has 43 caps for his country, said: “I was never an independent drinker. I wouldn’t wake up and have a drink in the morning.

“But when it was lunchtime, I’d like to go out and meet people. I was a greedy b****** though.

“If I had a gig and was on at 7pm, I’d arrive at 4pm and go to the bar. I liked talking to punters, people with normal jobs who loved
football.

“I enjoyed telling them stories and listening to what they had to say.”

Goram said he had planned on visiting clubs to share his lifestyle problems with other players.

He added: “I was thinking about going around Scotland and doing sessions with guys about to finish their career and maybe help.

“I’d do the same with younger players to help show them what happens when you take the wrong path.

“I’m the perfect example.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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