There are so many aspects involved in running a football club, over which management has little control, that I would caution saying “never again”. That said, it is certainly not rocket science. If you consistently spend more than you bring in, you’re going to get into trouble. Whilst I’m in charge, we will not over-spend.
I feel ten years is too long a timeframe to discuss seriously. I prefer to work to a 3-5 year rolling time-frame. Over this period we will see a lot of changes in all aspects of the club. We will continue to focus on youth development.
One of our aims is to have the best academy in Scotland.
We plan to keep re-investing in youth. Our aim is to sell academy players at the right price and the right time and then to reinvest money back into the academy. We have set a plan in place for the academy, increasing our number of scouts to twenty-four, eighteen of which will be focused on recruiting for the academy. We are also planning to have four regional centres around Scotland and kids will start training with us from the age of seven. Our Director of Football will be among those who will implement these changes.
Ann Budge – November 4, 2014 at a Q&A session with Hearts supporters
This is not rocket science, it’s common sense. Sadly, under the leadership of Ally McCoist, there has been no plan for Rangers beyond winning the next match. Success in the bottom leagues of Scottish football has not been a daunting task, even though at times it has felt like it.
The case has been made numerous times on this site – Ally McCoist must be forced out of his role as manager.
I no longer feel the need to lay out the fact that he is held in the highest regard – he is. My biggest thrill in this venture was interviewing him this summer. But nobody is bigger than my affection for this club.
Ally must go now.
There is no need to go through the case again – the lack of player development, the poor eye for talent, the horrible tactical management of the team, the excuses, forcing young players to look elsewhere to get playing time while the likes of Steven Smith, Nicky Law & Bilel Mohsni clog the lineup, the wasteful spending (Dean Shiels still collects a pay cheque every week – let that one sink in), & so much more. But this is only rehashing the obvious that we have gone over before.
McCoist has missed an opportunity to build the club from the ground up. To lay the foundation for a cost effective, yet successful club. Instead he prioritizes going undefeated in a league of part-timers while players like Luca Gasparotto, Calum Gallagher, Barrie McKay, & Charlie Telfer are left to watch from a far.
Nearly every big match is met with mind numbing decisions by the manager. He actually brought on Richard Foster for Kenny Miller! When Rangers were down to ten men. He leaves on the slowest forward known to man & brings Foster in ostensibly as a midfielder – when the likes of Dean Shiels, Fraser Aird, David “Super Sub” Templeton – you know “actual midfielders” – sat on the bench. Granted Foster seemed to flow from a midfield role to defence – because clearly a fifth defender was needed in a game Rangers were already losing.
Then there was the insulting manner in which the club’s best player was handled in this match. Lewis Macleod played a poor game against Hearts, there is no doubt. However, he has been set up to fail by a manager who can now be accused of stifling the youngster’s talent. Macleod is a central midfielder who also plays quite well on the left. When on the left he brings out the best in Lee Wallace. But instead Steven Smith plays in that role lately & Macleod is shifted in to a position,out on the right, where he has shown no comfort in playing.
A manager’s job should be to create the best situations for his players to experience success in order to cultivate confidence. The hope is that this confidence becomes collective among the team & real momentum develops. When your best player is put in a situation in which he feels awkward & unsure of himself – well, you get what you deserve.
The stark contrast in teams on Saturday was embarrassing for Rangers fans. Hearts, missing a few key players of their own, struggled for most of the first half – even with the extra man. But once the halftime whistle blew you had to shudder at the thought of what was going to happen next. Adjustments were going to be made by both managers. Robbie Neilson clearly had the advantage of an extra player but he also had the upper hand in the sense that he can clearly develop a plan & get his team to implement it. Once that reality sank in – it was obvious that it would be Hearts match to win.
Neilson told Hearts Media, “The game hinged on the red card, because at that point Rangers had the upper hand. It was hard to match their physicality & they were playing with more intensity.”
“Once they went down to ten men, the game opened up & we had more areas to play in. We just had to bide our time until the chance came.”
In their four matches against Hibs & Rangers – Hearts have won three & drawn one with a +4 goal differential. Ally McCoist has not faired as well. Rangers have lost all three league games against the Edinburgh clubs, being outscored 7-2 – with Nicky Law getting both goals.
Prior to the match, Barry Anderson of the Edinburgh Evening News spoke to Rangers Report about the set-up that has been established to manage the league leaders.
“Craig Levein seems to be very much overseeing things, from youth level through to first team. He has Roger Arnott as academy manager & Robbie Neilson as first-team manager. Levein’s obviously there to offer advice & guidance to both. He seems to prefer staying in the background at the moment & the system he has put in place appears to be working well.”
Neilson still has a great deal of control over the direction of the club, even with Levein functioning as the Director of Football.
Anderson explained, “I don’t see a great deal of difference between Neilson’s role & that of a traditional football manager, to be honest.”
“Robbie was doing most of the negotiating when it came to signing players during the summer. He picks the team and is in charge of training so it seems he is the manager, just with the added support of a director of football should he need it.”
The contrast between 34-year old Neilson & McCoist provides a model of the direction Rangers need to go in. Roddy Elliot, who covers Hearts for The Scotsman’s Fanzone, shared the keys to Neilson’s early success.
“He started by clearing out old guard so no dissenting voices then implemented hard work ethic. Players like Jamie Hamill & Ryan Stevenson would certainly have objected.”
“That new culture is up to three sessions a day. It’s not all fitness – there is some analysis, tactics & individual time with every player. The key to it all is hard work.”
“Neilson wants his players to be full time professionals – ten til four at work & then at home.”
“The squad have bought into it too. There is a strong spirit built on that hard work & now success. Most importantly there is a mutual trust & respect between the players & coach.”
Couple this with the whispers of discontent in Rangers dressing room. This is a veteran team who is more likely to question the leadership of the club, given their years of experience with other managers. Sidenote – the average age of the starting lineup on Saturday was 29. For Hearts, it was 24. Neilson does not hesitate to trust young players in crucial situations.
Derek Llambias is clearly assuming leadership of Rangers & his next move has to begin with finding a new manager. Who he chooses is crucial & it cannot be more of the same. Stuart McCall or Terry Butcher should not be considered. The club needs to be meticulous in its search for a new boss. Put in place a caretaker manager, someone like Gordon Durie, & take the time to do a thorough search for a replacement. Rangers are not in danger of losing a play-off spot, so there is time to get this right.
Learn from Hearts – find a manager who will embrace the development of youth & will embrace progressive methods to find talent. Among these methods should be to utilize advanced stats/analytics to find players who are affordable but are more valuable then their ticket price. A source told Rangers Report, “Scottish football is at least ten years behind when it comes to infrastructures & analytics, when people within the Scottish game realise this it will start to evolve and improve.”
Have Hearts embraced advanced stats in order to create a competitive advantage. Barry Anderson thinks so.
“I’m sure they do because Neilson & Levein are very meticulous in everything they do but I’m afraid I couldn’t say for certain what systems or methods they employ for this.”
Embracing analytics can even the playing field for a team that needs to be smart with its spending. A rebuild will be needed for this team & luckily there are a large number of players who will see their contracts expire at the end of the season. Regardless of whether the team is fortunate enough to earn promotion or not – the majority of those players (mostly signed by McCoist) must go.
Steve Simonsen, Darren McGregor, Kyle Hutton, Kenny Miller, Kris Boyd, Steven Smith, Sebastien Faure, Lee McCulloch, Richard Foster, Luca Gasparotto, Kyle McAusland, & Jon Daly are all out of contract. The message should be that they have the rest of the season to prove their value & worth to the team going forward. In reality only McGregor & Gasparotto should be automatic re-signings, with Faure & Boyd being given serious considerations as well.
If Mike Ashley wants to see supporters investing their faith & their money into Rangers – it begins by making the change in management.
Ally McCoist will be forgiven by fans in time but the time for change has come.