Richie Porter’s journey as a Glasgow Rangers fan has covered everything from cheap ferry trips to a seat in the Ibrox Stadium directors’ box - not to mention thousands of miles around countless country roads.
His role in developing the County Armagh Glasgow Rangers Supporters’ Clubs organisation into one of the most respected supporters’ groups affiliated with the Scottish football giants was recently recognised with a tribute evening in Richie’s honour at the Head O’ The Road pub. Messages of goodwill came in from fellow fans around the world alongside various gifts.
Glasgow Rangers Football Club also acknowledged his commitment by inviting Richie to attend the 3-2 win over Arbroath as guest of the directors.
“It was a brilliant night in the bar and a great surprise to see so many old friends, plus hear from people in places like Canada and Australia,” he said. “Of course, the invitation to attend the Arbroath match as a guest was also excellent.
“But I have enjoyed every minute as chairman of the County Armagh group and want to thank those who have been so supportive, in terms of the fans and parent club.
“A great friend of mine from Bangor, Ben Harrison, often talks about how being part of the Glasgow Rangers family means you make friends not acquaintances.
“Every fortnight I talk on the telephone with Bobby Smith in Canada and regularly exchange e-mails with fans around the world.
“At times, P&O have held back the ferry home to help us and Rangers have arranged so many special trips for fans around Ibrox and Murray Park.”
Richie initially travelled over with friends in the mid-1980s under the banner of Corcrain Glasgow Rangers Supporters’ Club, before an increase in numbers left an amalgamation of groups the sensible option.
“We would demand high standards of our members in terms of behaviour and that allows us to create a real family atmosphere as the young fans are supporters of tomorrow and should be encouraged,” he said. “We used to go over on the ferry with five of us in a car for £75 in the 1980s and that increased to two busloads at times.”