SHADI ALI moved to Scotland from Lebanon four years ago, just before his 13th birthday, and he has already discovered a great love for Rangers.
Now aged 17, Shadi – who was born in Damascus, Syria and now lives just outside Inverness - attended his first Rangers game in 2017 when the Light Blues beat Ross County 3-1 in Dingwall and he has been an avid follower ever since.
Recently he undertook a personal challenge to run 100km in 7 days to raise funds for Show Racism The Red Card’s education charity and his story should act as an inspiration for all.
A selfless young man, who has settled in Scotland having left the difficulties of his homeland, Shadi now speaks perfect English, is thriving in this country and is a huge supporter of our Everyone Anyone diversity and inclusion initiative.
Now in its second year, Everyone Anyone continues to grow and evolve and we are delighted to welcome supporters like Shadi to the Rangers Family.
He currently studies at Invergordon Academy in the Highlands and the club has extended an invitation to Shadi and his family to join us for a game at Ibrox later this season – when supporters can be safely permitted back into the stadium.
Speaking about his incredible journey, Shadi told us: “I left my country, Syria, to go to Lebanon and from there I moved to Scotland.
“I didn’t speak any English before I moved to Scotland but speaking to local people really helped me and I learned properly when I started school at Invergordon Academy.
“I live in Alness just near Inverness. My mum, dad, sister and three brothers are with me and we are all happy and settled. At the start it was difficult to adjust but I am settled in now.
“I really like living in Scotland – but the weather was difficult to get used to as you can sometimes get four seasons in one day!
“I love football and I went to Ross County v Rangers in 2017 for my first game and I have been a Rangers supporter ever since.
“Rangers won 3-1 (Alfredo Morelos scored a double and Eduardo Herrera was also on target) and I really enjoyed the game.
“I knew a bit about football before I moved here but now I know all about Rangers. We are the most successful club in the world.
“I love playing football and I play on the right or left wing for my team.
“I like watching players like Ryan Kent. He always looks to attack as soon as he gets the ball. He has been doing really this season and hopefully he can keep it up.
“Ianis Hagi is my favourite player right now. Hopefully Rangers can win the league this year.
“I think Steven Gerrard can definitely take us to 55. He was one of the best midfielders ever and it has been a really good start to the season so hopefully that can continue.
“Lockdown has been really difficult for everyone but I hope to get down to Ibrox one day. The club has already invited me, it might not be this year due to the pandemic but it will be great to go and see a game once fans can get back into the stadium again.
“Tolerance and togetherness and inclusion is very important and I have been reading about the club’s Everyone Anyone campaign.
“I’ve experienced some silly comments from little kids and also from guys who are the same age as me in the past because they see me as different but it is much better now and I am settled.
“I was doing some charity fundraising with the school recently and I chose Show Racism the Red Card as the charity to benefit.
“During lockdown I set myself the challenge of running 100km in seven days to raise money for them and I ended up doing it in six days.
“I would get up in the morning and run 15 km for the first few days then built it up from there.
“I picked Show Racism the Red Card as they are involved in football and go round Scotland teaching young people and adults why racism really shouldn’t exist.
“Ex-Rangers player Derek Ferguson works with Show Racism the Red Card and he sent me a video message congratulating me so I was over the moon with that.
“I’m looking to do more challenges in the future – maybe the 48 miles in 48 hours one next.”
Everyone at the club looks forward to welcoming Shadi to Ibrox for his first ever game in Glasgow as soon as it is safe to do so.
CLICK HERE to read more about our Everyone Anyone initiative.