Rangers will make their first appearance at the Dale Farm Milk Cup in more than two decades when they compete in a high quality Junior competition on the north coast this summer.
The Ibrox representatives, who in the past drew hundreds of supporters to games, will join defending champions Everton plus Liverpool and Brazilian club Corinthians in the chase for glory at the Northern Ireland international youth tournament.
It is 21 years since the Glasgow club and Jim Sinclair, Rangers Academy Director says its an exciting opportunity for Rangers’ up and coming talent.
“We are delighted to be renewing Rangers’ long association with the Milk Cup having won the event during the 80’s and 90’s and we’re hopeful that our group will enjoy the experience again this year.
“The Milk Cup has over many years developed a fantastic reputation for providing a strong tournament with competitive clubs from all over the world and the quality of opposition will prove a great test for our young team.
“We always look forward to taking teams to Northern Ireland where the club has a large supporter base and we know we will participate in an event which has a reputation for first class organisation.”
Rangers players and Northern Ireland internationals Andy Little, Dean Shiels and Scot Whiteside have all competed at the Dale Farm Milk Cup and recall their involvement with great affection.
Maghera man Shiels says: “My greatest memory was playing for Northern Ireland against Brazil and scoring the two goals in a 2-1 victory at Coleraine Showgrounds. It was something very special.”
Little, from County Fermanagh, insists he is a Milk Cup record breaker.
“I believe I may be the player to have appeared most often at Milk Cup tournaments over the years because I’ve participated no less than six times.”
Garvagh teenager Whiteside, who is an Under-17 Northern Ireland international, recalled a fifth place finish on the last occasion he played for County Londonderry and says: “Rangers going back to the Milk Cup will be a great occasion and I am certain a large number of Rangers fans will turn out to see the team.”
Rangers were inaugural Junior Milk Cup winners back in 1985 when John Spencer’s squad defeated Ulster side Craigavon in the final at Coleraine Showgrounds, a game watched by thousands of fans.
The club’s two other successes came in the Premier section with victory over holders Motherwell in 1984 and in the 10th anniversary tournament in 1992 when Charlie Miller scored twice in decider against Nottingham Forest.
The Dale Farm Milk Cup begins with the traditional parade of competing teams through Coleraine on Sunday, July 27, concluding with finals night at Ballymena Showgrounds on Friday, August 1.
The Draw for Dale Farm Milk Cup 2014 will take place towards the end of May.
In addition to title sponsors Dale Farm, Northern Ireland’s largest dairy company, the Dale Farm Milk Cup is supported by the four Councils of Coleraine, Ballymena, Ballymoney and Limavady, with BBC Sport NI as broadcast partners.
Note for editors:
Dale Farm is part of the United Dairy Farmers Group, a UK dairy farmer co-operative owned by over 1,600 dairy farmers who supply it with fresh milk. Dale Farm has operations throughout the UK and Ireland producing and distributing a wide range of dairy products which it sells across the UK and Ireland as well as exporting to over 45 countries worldwide.