Rangers fans will have two opportunities to meet legend Marco Negri as he signs copies of his new autobiography Moody Blue at branches of WHSmith and Waterstones this weekend.
The Italian goal-getter will also be joined by former Rangers teammate Michael Mols at WHSmith in Argyle Street between 1pm and 2pm on Saturday, 11th April.
On Sunday, 12th April, he will be at Waterstones in Braehead from 12.30pm. His co-author Jeff Holmes will also be in attendance at both events.
Negri was born to score goals – though little did he know that 13 years after cutting his teeth with Serie A side Udinese, he would become a cult hero in Scotland. The road to Glasgow Rangers saw him strike prolifically for Cosenza and Perugia, alerting all the Italian super powers.
However, an opportunity with Lazio – when he was invited along on the day they unveiled Paul Gascoigne – passed him by. But when Walter Smith shelled out £3.5million for the 27-year-old, Rangers fans were in for a mighty shock.
Negri smashed in 33 goals in his first 29 games, breaking goalscoring records galore, reunited with Gazza and in tandem with Brian Laudrup. A match made in heaven? Perhaps not, as an eye injury was soon to halt this goal-grabbing juggernaut.
Frustrating injuries, reports of unrest and loan deals ruled the remainder of his time at Ibrox. Nevertheless, Marco Negri’s name was already written in Rangers history, his cult status as inevitable as fans’ tantalising tales of what might have been.
For the first time, here is the astonishing story of one of football’s most enigmatic characters. Goals are guaranteed to put a smile on the faces of supporters, and throughout a remarkable career, Marco Negri did just that – but he also earned the respect of his fellow pros. Here, some of the top names in the game deliver their verdict on the Moody Blue:
“Marco was up there with the great finishers and had a real eye for a goal. He was a joy to play with.” – Paul Gascoigne, former superstar of Rangers, Tottenham and Lazio.
“I spent a lot of time with Marco at Rangers and we became true friends. He scored lots of goals for the club but seemed genuinely happier for me when I scored – which wasn’t too often!” – Rino Gattuso, a 2006 World Cup winner with Italy, who remains friends with Marco to this day.
“We were team-mates then and I was a bit down, but Marco publicly dedicated one of his goals to me and it gave me such a lift. He always had a big heart.” – Marco Materazzi won five Serie A titles with Inter Milan, but recalls the days when a Marco Negri goal at Perugia helped cheer him up.
“Whenever I talk about strikers, I cannot fail to mention Marco Negri. Had it not been for injury, he would surely have played at the top level.” – Alberto Zaccheroni managed Juventus, AC Milan and Lazio, and coached Negri at Cosenza.
Negri's co-author Jeff Holmes is the author of the Davie Meiklejohn biography,The Greatest Ranger Ever?, Blue Thunder: The Jock Wallace Story, and recently collaborated with Alex Totten on From the Kop to the Kelpies.
After working for 25 years in television, Jeff switched careers and joined the Paisley Daily Express. He’s now part of the team at Media Scotland, covering football matches for the Daily Record and Sunday Mail.
Click here to read the first chapter of Moody Blue and for more information.