By now you’ve heard the rumours that Rangers have accepted a bid from Brighton & Hove Albion to purchase the rights to Lee Wallace. The numbers being floated about for a fee range from £600,000 – £800,000. This is coming off the heels of the less tangible talk that Fulham were targeting Wallace back in the beginnings of summer.
It’s deja vu all over again, as Rangers reportedly fielded offers from Hull City & Nottingham Forest back in January for Wallace. Back then the transfer fee was suspected to be closer to £1 million. So none of this is new…
This is transfer season & whenever reports like this gain traction, it can spark a great deal of worry among supporters. Especially, when the talk is about the club’s marquee player – a player that has stayed on the fringe of the national team despite facing part-time players the last few years, a player who has been touted by many to be Rangers’ next captain, a player who stayed with the club during its darkest hours – even while everyone else left seeking salvation elsewhere.
Simply put, Lee Wallace is the most beloved player at Ibrox & his leaving, for half the price he was brought in for, would be demoralizing for an already overwrought fan base.
Of course, it is important to stay level-headed until anything is official. We’ve been down this road before.
Multiple people have cited sources close to Wallace proclaiming two vastly different truths.
Some claim sources have confirmed the bid being accepted by Rangers & that Wallace is preparing to leave. Hence, the trial of Simon Lappin.
Others rebutted by saying that their sources close to Wallace downplay the talk & stress that he’s going nowhere.
In the past, people have cited his desire to stay locally with his family & that he is quite the homebody, who is hesitant to uproot his family to go elsewhere. Also, if he didn’t leave in 2012 – why would he now? It is frightening to think about the ominous reality that his departure would say about state of the club.
If Wallace left now, on the verge of returning to the top flight of Scottish football, it is a damning sign that there may be an unsettled atmosphere in Rangers dressing room. Every team, in any sport, has cliques – it is human nature. That’s why it is incumbent for the leadership group among the players to set the appropriate focus & tone in conjunction with the manager to bring the team together as a whole when it matters – on the pitch. Cliques get damaging to morale if players start taking sides when it pertains to management.
Could this be happening right now at Ibrox? Is the squad split? Have some players tuned out McCoist? Is this just my paranoid reaction to speculation (pretty likely).
Ally McCoist has the unique abilty to light up a room with his charms & make everyone around him leave with a smile. He has the natural charm of even the most gifted politician. But, he is also known to clearly let the team know when he is unhappy with their efforts. He doesn’t often criticize players in the press but he isn’t afraid to let the collective group hear his displeasure behind closed doors. Every manager does to a certain extent. But if enough players have tuned out the manager, it can backfire.
Is this a reality? It is impossible to truly know. But the dispirited demeanor during its last four matches that truly meant something for Rangers is indeed unsettling.
The team’s performance in the Ramsdens Cup final against Raith Rovers was alarmingly tepid. Rangers’ efforts after that against Dundee United seemed to signal that there should be signs of hope, as Rangers more then held their own – albeit in a 3-1 loss. But that hope was short-lived, as the club finished the season with continued uninspiring performances on their way to a strangely bittersweet league championship.
Then you had these past two matches to start the season. Rangers held on to sneak away with a win against HIbs – but Nicky Law’s assertion that Hibs did a better job of implementing their system was a red flag that something may be amiss. Then, Kenny Miller publicly called out his teammates, in a calculated statement that seemed to be his attempt to gain a foothold as a leader of this group. Of course, he likely exclaimed the same in the dressing room – plus much more I’m sure – but for a veteran player who can do these rote post-match interviews in his sleep – it is telling that he chose to be so blunt in the media.
Lee Wallace does not seem like the type of person who wants anything to do with any kind of bickering or conflict. He is a individual who appears to be very private – he puts his head down, does his job, puts in 100% effort every week & then goes home to the comfort of his family. He is probably very adverse to change & disorder…it’s a personality trait that many of us can relate to.
That is why if he does decide to sign with Brighton, or any other club, it won’t be to play in a more competitive league, or to earn more wages, or to pursue the chance to make it to the EPL – he’s already passed on those chances. His actions in the past have shown that he has different priorities as a professional.
If he does leave Rangers it would signal that he no longer wants to deal with whatever drove him away from a club he has repeatedly committed himself to. He would likely never go public & voice the reasons – but he wouldn’t have to…the decision would speak loudly enough. We shall see what happens.
I, for one, truly hope that this is another example of speculation gone wild – like it almost always does this time of year. The transfer window will close & we’ll have four months of peace of mind – until January where the cycle will be repeated…
If it ends up being true & Wallace does leave….well, an awful lot of soul-searching will have to be done by every individual involved with the club – that’s for sure.