Driving into Murray Park was an amazing feeling. He became an instant favourite with the Ibrox faithful in the summer of 2004 when he famously rejected overtures from arch-rivals Celtic and signed for Rangers. I had returned for pre-season with Dundee and knew that, given the financial problems at Dens Park, they would let me go if the money was right. He always wants to play more than I have picked him and I always appreciate that and that it can affect him a bit. Every day, my knee will be f——. There are a number of players in the modern game who imply their affinity to a certain club when there is clearly no depth of feeling. That meant a lot to me.
With these kinds of facilities, everything was there for a player to train in top conditions and be well looked after. He scores fantastic goals, he goes on fantastic runs, but on other occasions he can do something completely frustrating! I got pictured going in the front door of the stadium with Jorge and I listened on the radio as the sports bulletins said that Celtic were about to steal me from right under the noses of Rangers, who had been chasing me for about three weeks at this stage. He had always been a good man, but as far as I was concerned he was the guy blocking my dream move to Rangers. He became an instant favourite with the Ibrox faithful in the summer of 2004 when he famously rejected overtures from arch-rivals Celtic and signed for Rangers. He walked over to me and I stood up. I was very nervous on the way down from Dundee. Summary Nacho Novo is the most revered foreign player Rangers have had since iconic figures like Brian Laudrup and Jorg Albertz.
Mingarro had visited Scotland and had bought a Rangers top a few years before. The office door opened and Peter came out followed by Jorge. I am pleased to say I have experienced more of the latter than the former. Now, after one final argument, I was on my way. We were going at it and voices began to get raised.
There was a lot of talking going on and I knew it had to come to a head. To my sister Arantxa; to Donna, Dylan, Ross and Javier — you all mean the world to me. Novo charts his journey from his upbringing in Spain to the streets of Kirkcaldy and Dundee as he made his name in Scottish football. I had just heard what I wanted. It was such a big move for me and I just wanted to get there and get things done. In my mind, they should have taken the money from Rangers and let me go.
Mingarro told me they were a famous team in Scotland and from there the name just stuck in my mind. One minute he can be infuriatingly erratic and the next he will produce something quite extraordinary. He is very much one of their favourites and that adulation is only reserved for those who earn it. He had to put the interests of Dundee first. Now, as he closes in on six years at Rangers, I Said No Thanks tells Nacho Novo's story in an explosive and controversial book that pulls no punches. We sat by the phone every day after training waiting for news as Rangers and Dundee haggled over a fee.
I knew Celtic were a huge club. It will be too sore for me to train and play. Novo charts his journey from his upbringing in Spain to the streets of Kirkcaldy and Dundee as he made his name in Scottish football. When I moved to Huesca in the summer of 2000, I shared a flat with the captain of the team, Guillermo Mingarro. My late mother, Isabel, was staying with me in Scotland on holiday when the news hit the press that Rangers were interested in me. I had clung on for weeks to my dream of leaving Dundee for Glasgow — but to sign for Rangers, not their arch-rivals.
Of course, I was not happy with Dundee about this situation. We sat in the office at Dens Park, me directly across from Peter with Jorge sitting on a chair over against the wall. Where was this situation going now? He reveals the real reasons he said 'No Thanks' to Celtic - a decision that defined his life. I knew the stage was set for him. I met all my new teammates and saw some of the quality players I would be sharing a dressing room with every day.
He needed players in, the season was not far away from starting, and he could have looked elsewhere. It was a very stressful time as my whole future was on the line. He is what he is and you are never going to change him or want to change him. He was a really good guy who liked to travel around Europe on holiday in the close season. Now, as he closes in on six years at Rangers, I Said No Thanks tells Nacho Novo's story in an explosive and controversial book that pulls no punches. My head was spinning at the thought but I never heard anything concrete from the club about trying to sign me, although I had heard that their manager, Alex McLeish, liked me as a player.
It was 6 July, one week after I had travelled the same road for my talks with Celtic. He had just finished an amazing season at Celtic, scoring well over forty goals. But he had stayed on my trail. I was very subdued and I think that was the reason they later said they would not be pursuing the deal, as I had not shown any enthusiasm. I had no direct contact with anyone at Rangers and just left any conversations that were going on between all the parties to Jorge. Jorge spoke more with Peter Lawwell.
There was some interest from other clubs in England and a couple in Spain, but Peter knew that it was Rangers or nothing. I Said No Thanks is a no-holds-barred insight into life as an Old Firm star. I used to think he was erratic in what he did, but now I just appreciate that he has his own style. It showed faith in me right away. I could hardly take in what I was hearing. We had a signing conference and I was unveiled to the press. They did not have the money of the past and every penny had to be accounted for now.