The Manager Hunt

It’s fair to say that exactly four weeks on from the departure of Pedro Caixinha, most supporters would have expected a replacement by now, if not expected certainly hoped for. Perhaps the most troubling part is that Pedro’s departure wasn’t a surprise, results and performances weren’t up to a consistent standard necessary, thus leading me to have hoped that the board would have pre-planned for such an outcome. The fact that four weeks has elapsed and we are still without a new manager, makes me believe that no such planning was done. Perhaps that’s all a little bit too simplistic but what is for sure is Saturdays dismal home defeat to Hamilton has done the board no favours in terms of the mood amongst the Rangers support.

So where exactly are we in the search for a new manager? Well the club’s latest attempt to appease the fans came in the form of a Friday night statement, which read more as a condescending two fingers to the press than an actual update, it basically read that we are still taking applications and no one has been spoken to or approached so all your speculation is just that. It’s all well and good inviting applications for a job in Rangers retail, catering or even Auchenhowie but surely the board should have been in a position to identify a shortlist of candidates and certainly preferred options from the very get go? As I said earlier Pedro’s departure wasn’t a surprise so what exactly have they been doing the last few months?

Now what I should make clear from the beginning is, this is not attempt to criticise or dig at our board, far from it. I am more than grateful to the job they have done and in fact they have done a magnificent job since they came in. They have ousted those that attempted to only hurt us and recent victories for our commercial department against the Mike Ashleys of this world, have shown how good they are for our club. The fact that our Chairman has underwritten our costs and further pledged funds for the future is most certainly not lost on me and that good will should always remain in my humble opinion. But what we shouldn’t do is allow that to mean we aren’t entitled to ask questions of them.

But it is also fair to say that they are now on their fourth managerial appointment in a short space of time and this isn’t favourable reading. Mark Warburton was a great forward thinking appointment and the fact that it went sour is not something I blame the board for, Without rehashing old coals the fact Warburton was too stubborn on the pitch meant that this job had only one outcome. The problem I have is how Pedro Caixinha managed to get our job with a CV no better than most jobbers in managerial terms. Pedro has proven to be an expensive gamble and not only has he spent a lot, we don’t seem to be as far forward as we somewhat should be. That Pedro was allowed to spend as much on such risky signings such as Carlos Pena and Eduardo Herrera who had never ventured out the Mexican league, has proven to be an absolute disaster. This is where the board certainly carry the can for me, it’s not like the warning signs weren’t there with the Portuguese manager. Alistair Johnston recently said the board weren’t ‘Deaf or Blind’ when it comes to matters on the pitch, surely then having a plan isn’t too much to ask?

So with all that said it’s difficult to actually comment on where we actually are with the managers hunt. Names at the forefront, if speculation is believed, include Derek McInnes, Alex McLeish, Steve McLaren, latterly David Moyes and Chris Coleman who are both now in employment. Other names such as Frank De Boer, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst and Michel Preud’homme have certainly caught the imagination but it is unclear just how viable those appointments would be. Of course our DOF Mark Allen will play a huge part in this process and it is certainly only correct he should do so, this appointment most certainly must be in tune with his thinking and our club strategy going forward.

But with everything that has been reported all we are left to do is speculate on the ‘ifs and buts’ of any appointment. Whilst for obvious reasons the club can’t carry out their every day business in public, it is certainly hard for supporters or certainly myself, to remain patient. I can’t help but feel the natural successor is already here in Scotland in the form of Derek McInnes, personal preference is that Derek gets the job and I feel having served his time at Aberdeen, he is prime candidate to take the managerial hot seat. The pro’s being that he is well versed in the club and our traditions, he knows we must win and has quite literally been there and bought the T-Shirt as part of the legendary Nine in a row winning side. He also is well aware of the SPL, potential targets and those that could make an instant impact in our side.

But as ever there is the con’s to that, substantial compensation would be needed to free him from Aberdeen and the obvious argument that Derek has not been able to get close to winning the title in our absence when they had glaring opportunities to do so. Even if the latter isn’t a realistic viewpoint it is one that is certainly at the forefront of most fans during the recent weeks as speculation mounts. There has been heavy speculation over the weekend that Alex McLeish could return. There is no doubt Alex is a legend at Ibrox, a treble winning Rangers manager after all and has undoubtedly given the support some of it’s best times. But that was ten years ago and obvious doubts are that he is not able to reproduce those times, after all this isn’t a squad blessed with De Boer, Ferguson and the Amoruso’s of this world. But what Alex also possesses is the ability to get the best out of his squad, the knowledge and expectation of what the job entails. Whilst I am not talking up his appointment, it’s natural the boardroom may be discussing him.

More ‘attractive’ options for the support include Michel Prued’homme and Frank De Boer but it is questionable if either are even interested. Both have a pedigree with arguably MPH having the brightest CV available to all candidates, the obvious connection with De Boer means he is fondly thought of but after two disastrous spells at Inter and Crystal Palace, would the board consider this too big a risk? What we also have to consider is the preferred candidate may not even have been mentioned, after all Caixinha’s appointment was extremely left field and out of the blue, it is possible the board could surprise us all again, however having been burned before I would be extremely surprised if that happened again.

What is for sure is speculation will continue in the coming weeks and as the club head into difficult fixtures at Dundee and then the Aberdeen double header, not to mention the clubs AGM, it is vital Rangers respond both on the pitch and off it. I have a feeling that any appointment may start to come to light towards the end of next week as we approach our game in Aberdeen. I would love for Graeme Murty to head back to his job in the youth and continue his outstanding work there with nine points collected.

This is a vital appointment for the board and it is crucial they get it right, they will be hoping results come and buy them some more time as we head towards a critical time in our clubs season.


Steven Clifford

(@Stevietrueblue & @4ladhadadream)



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