WITH the revamp of Rangers continuing behind the scenes, yet another appointment has been made as the club strides to build closer ties with the local community.
Already the coach of the club’s ladies first-team, Kevin Murphy’s role has now been extended meaning he looks after all aspects of the ladies and girls academy and is involved in the club’s community programmes for both boys and girls.
Murphy explained: “It’s quite a big role, but it is one I’m enjoying. I’m the first team manager for the ladies team, so I oversee all of that, and I am also now responsible for the girls’ academy which again, is an enjoyable part of the job.
“I also oversee the community programmes, which include the holiday programmes at summer and Easter etc.
“I was asked to do a presentation to Stewart [Robertson], Andrew [Dickson] and Craig [Mulholland] about girls and women’s football in the club and where we see it going.
“I then got a phone call out of the blue just to say a post had been created within the club and they would like myself to take the post.
“Once that opportunity was presented I had to take it, and it’s been a fantastic journey so far.
“From the community side of things, we want to go and grow the programme. It’s a really good programme just now with fantastic coaches who do great work, but we want to expand that capacity.
“Rangers is a huge club, and we want that to be reflected in the way we run.
“For the women’s first team, we want to make sure we grow that as well and to make sure we are competing for the league and cups, as well as being in European competition – and a club like Rangers should always be doing that.
“We also want our girl’s academy to be the best in Scotland and one of the best in Europe. It’s a big job but it’s one I’m relishing.”
Women’s football perhaps doesn’t get the exposure it perhaps deserves at times given its popularity – and that popularity is something Murphy sees everyday here in Scotland.
He continued: “It’s growing year-on-year. I have been involved in women’s football now for 11 years, and when you compare then to now, the difference is unbelievable, and not just in Scotland.
“You see the success they have had down in England but in Europe too, and it is the fastest growing sport in the world, as indeed it has been for some time now.
“The club’s commitment now with this post and likewise other clubs who have created similar posts shows just how much it is growing.”
Murphy is now into his third season as Ladies’ manager at Rangers, and he admits there have been mixed fortunes for him in his spell in charge so far.
He added: “It’s been up and down. When I first came in we finished second, which was a fantastic achievement. Last season was disappointing as after a good start we tailed off and finished sixth. This season has presented new challenges for us – we are currently sitting in second place and things are going well for us.
“When you oversee the girls academy and you see all of them coming through the doors at Auchenowie and they are training on the same pitches as the men’s first team, then that’s great.
“The opportunities for the young girls and the first team are huge, and European football becomes a possibility in Scotland now as a result of Glasgow City’s recent European success, meaning we have two Champions League places.
“Hibs and City will represent Scotland this year, but again, this is something this club should have ambitions to do.”