There’s a oft-used phrase that is ironically erroneous – “everyone is entitled to their opinion”.
Have a think about that. I’ve got about as much knowledge of biology and medicine as I have about next week’s lottery numbers, so the notion that I should be allowed to hold an opinion on how a heart surgeon should do his job is utter nonsense. I might get lucky and say something that’s useful, but I’d spout a huge amount of rubbish as well.
And that seems to be the approach of football pundits in this country as they try to justify overly-dramatic comments about Rangers. The latest was put up in the column by Kris Boyd, or the one his name is attributed to at least. In said column, Boyd has accused Rangers of being the “one club” who try to unsettle players with low bids. He’s said that Rangers should just pay the going rate for a player like Jordan Jones and stop trying to “bully” Kilmarnock. He’s likened it to the situation with Jamie Walker and claimed that there’s a list of players we’ve done this with.
And this is an opinion I don’t believe can be backed up with facts, and should be ignored.
Let me begin by saying that I’m under no illusion as to the fact that Kris Boyd knows football far better than me. That’s not up for debate. That doesn’t mean what he’s said in this instance is of greater value, though. I also believe that the reported bid we made for Jones wasn’t a high enough valuation, but don’t think Rangers should pay as much as Kilmarnock allegedly want. That happens a lot in football, and debates around that are another article entirely.
But Kris Boyd has to back up what he’s said about Rangers with far more than just vague comments and unfounded criticism. The wording attributed to him is that “there’s one club unsettling everybody”. By bringing up the Jamie Walker situation, he’s claiming that there’s a consistent theme in the business Rangers are doing. His opinion, which he believes is backed up by facts, is that Rangers look to bid low, let everyone know about said bid, get in touch with the player and hope to unsettle said target so that they force a move and Rangers benefit from a cheaper deal.
The biggest issue with this in the first place is that Rangers have said nothing about a bid for Jones. The news that it was rejected came from Kilmarnock, and they are the only ones still talking about it. There’s only one club unsettling the player now, and it’s not Rangers.
That’s exactly what happened with Jamie Walker as well. Rangers said very little about moves for him, but Hearts were extremely vocal. They stuck to their proposed price, and had every right to do so. What is fair to ask is just how well that worked out for them, as Walker didn’t play to his best for various reasons and scored only two league goals before moving to Wigan for a fair bit less than Rangers offered.
Where Rangers and their fans can be rightly concerned is the language being used. Both Boyd and his manager have insinuated that Rangers are the only club acting this way. In reality, we’ve made an offer we think is fair (again, an opinion that both clubs are allowed to debate) during the transfer window for someone we’d like to sign. We didn’t do this days before a game against Kilmarnock, or outside of the window. Whilst I have no doubt the player or his agent will have had some contact with Rangers, as that’s how it works really, the notion that we’re the only club acting in some unprofessional manner and the only one who look to unsettle players through our actions is utter nonsense.
When Rangers received bids for Josh Windass, the only response made was through media channels to say they had been rejected. No suggestions of disrespect due to the low nature of the bid, and no accusations of clubs in a rich league trying to bully a team that has had recent financial difficulties. Just a simple statement – we think Windass is worth more than that, so the bid is rejected. There will be a number of enquiries and bids for players that clubs reject during the January transfer window. I’ll be willing to bet very few are followed up with this level of drama and vitriol aimed at the bidding team. If Kilmarnock had simply said “Rangers made a bid, it didn’t meet our valuation, so we rejected it”, that would be absolutely fine. The accusations afterwards have been akin to the sort of drama reality TV shows try to fabricate.
As Rangers fans, we can be overly harsh on our own. As I said, I think Jones is worth more than we reportedly offered, but that’s the nature of a negotiation. Many Rangers fans will say “we’re just annoying them with such low bids” and worry that we’re making clubs turn against us in our dealings. I think it’s fair to say, given the way Kilmarnock have dealt with this, that it wouldn’t matter if we done things differently. The contempt is going to be there regardless, because Rangers are an easy target in that respect.
Kris Boyd has taken an opinion, and tried to pass it off as fact. He’s done so with no justification or serious evidence to back up his claim. This is a situation where the fans have every right to ignore him. What will be interesting is just how Jordan Jones feels about it all…