Written by – John McIntosh
I expect ire from doubters to this post – just on the basis of the headline alone. Let’s be honest Dundee United are a small club with a bit of an attitude among their fans who are impassioned in their hate for Rangers. Plus, their owner is a complete embarrassment – so for a Rangers fan to say we should follow their lead may sound pretty wide of the mark.
In the news overthe past few days it has emerged that Dundee United have sold their talented teenager Ryan Gauld for about £3 million to Sporting Lisbon – Lisbon instantly inserted a £48 million release clause in his six year contract. Given that it would seem they believe he could continue to progress and one day the “big clubs” may be in for him hence the high release clause.
Gauld made his debut for the Tannadice side at just 16 years old and now at 18 has made 42 first team appearances. Quite impressive stuff, if you compare the first team experience he has to Charlie Telfer – who managed just 25 minutes at the same age. That is simply criminal.
Charlie Telfer had this to say upon his signing with Dundee United:
I have watched how the younger players at United are allowed to develop in the first team and that has been a big reason in my decision to join the club.
That quote there is as much praising his new club as it is a dig at the club he loves and I can’t help but feel he has made the correct footballing decision which breaks my heart.
It’s really a simple business model, they play attractive football whilst allowing their youngsters from their youth sides to be promoted and gain valuable first team action. They develop their biggest young talents and can make millions off them. They are also on the look out for cheap young talents like Andrew Robertson who they got for next to nothing from Queen’s Park and are now rejecting £1.5 million offers for him from the English Premiership.
It might be a surprise to some of you to know we were offered Robertson but said – no thanks, we want Stevie Smith. Smith is 28 & not as old as some of the other players we are looking at but the choice between a young talented Robertson or Stevie Smith should have been very simple. Sell on value falls in favour of the younger Robertson and the wages would have been cheaper.
So can Rangers implement this model and go for honours year in, year out? Absolutely! This is a great way of increasing profits and in the Scottish leagues where there is very little money to be gained, the model of promoting from youth sides and buying in cheap through a great scouting network is certainly the route we should take.
Charlie Telfer has just left for Dundee United and ironically could challenge for Gauld’s space that has been freed, the worry is with our management taking such a disinterest with bringing through our talented youth, nevermind putting in place a scouting infrastructure at all, we are going to be left years behind by the time we get back to the top flight.
For example, only two players from our very talented U20 side got any first team experience last season – with Calum Gallagher gaining 220 minutes and Charlie Telfer getting 23 minutes. That is utterly shambolic as the league was basically won by Christmas. Yet we persisted in playing players that were half-fit like Jon Daly & Lee Wallace – which actually caused Wallace to miss the biggest game of our season & may have contributed to Daly’s current injury concerns.
Are Luca Gasparotto, Andy Murdoch, Calum Gallagher, & Danny Stoney going to want to stay just to get more U20 games or are they going to be pushed away like Telfer?
Are Ismael Bouzid, Marius Zaliukus & Kenny Miller going to be the players in 2-3 seasons that will light up the top flight when we must challenge Celtic? No, I didn’t think so & bringing them in painfully short sighted.
There is also a case for “sell on fees” when looking at signing players. There should be a thought that a 18-25 year old can be bought, developed,then if playing well – sold on for 2-5 times the fee you paid in the first place. Profits like that can not be recouped when buying a 28-35 year old player.
Just a wee example – even when you are going for free transfers or are tight for money that you can still long term plan: Do we sign Don Cowie (31 years old) or Scott Allan (22 years old)? Do we sign Marius Zaliukus (30 years old) or simply promote Craig Halkett &/or Luca Gasporotto (19 year old) both of whom have been getting great reviews?
Just today in the papers Ally McCoist said, “At the same time we are not in a position to plan longer term.”
Sorry, but managers should always be planning with the future in mind. The fact he point blank refuses to do so sadly says a lot for his lack of managerial ability.
I will leave you with 3 words – Ajax and Porto….
You can follow John McIntosh on Twitter @JohnMcIntosh19 & hear him on the upcoming Rangers Report podcast – set to debut this month.