Mark your calendars – it is becoming more & more apparent that if a decision about Ally McCoist’s future will be made – that December 27th may ultimately be that day. (Spoiler: Scot Van Den Akker of the Heart & Hand podcast also shared this same speculation on their latest podcast).
Rangers last match of 2014 is on that date & it is a visit to Easter Road to face Hibernian. If McCoist can not lead the team to victory that day it would mark four winless matches for Rangers against Hibs & Hearts.
In between now & then, there are three league matches & two cup ties (this Sunday v. Kilmarnock & Wednesday against an Alloa Athletic side that Rangers have failed to beat in two chances this season).
Hypothetically, if Rangers failed to beat Hibs & both Rangers & Hearts follow their current form leading up to the 27th, Hearts could open up a 14 point lead on Rangers going into the New Year.
Of course, the distressing financial figures just released are the x-factor that may become a roadblock to any immediate change. If Ally McCoist is indeed forced out, he will need to be compensated the remainder of his contract. That could obviously get complicated given that he reportedly slashed it in half to about £400,000, but is due to see it go back to its premium salary of £800,000+ if/when Rangers return to the Premiership.
Mike Ashley, like many before him, is looking to Rangers as a way to increase his own personal fortune. Ostensibly, he is looking to invest a relatively modest amount of money to gain control of a team that could be regularly competing for a Champions League spot in the next five years. If Rangers could get back to that place – he could stand to make a killing. Obviously so much has to happen with the bookkeeping at Ibrox in between now & then. The club is barely staying afloat & operating costs continue to be inflated while fat cats in the board are padding their pockets.
Rangers has become a bit of a pandora’s box for Ashley but ultimately he needs the team to be successful in order to maximize his profits. The team cannot afford to play in front of empty houses, as more & more people are finding other things to do with their time than watch poor football on a weekly basis. Many have stayed away to protest the actions of the board – but a good number of fans simply have given up hope that they will be entertained by the product put on the pitch.
You would have to assume that Ashley & Derek Llambias are fully aware of this & are plotting their next steps. If they are smart, & if they are willing to pony up the money, they are already working behind the scenes – evaluating options for a new manager.
The news that they may be considering Mark Wotte as a Director of Football is a sign that this may actually be occurring. Is McCoist that steadfast in his foothold on the managerial position that he would kowtow to Wotte? He was quite lukewarm to the idea of the prospects of the fancy dancy role of a “director of football” coming to Rangers when Christian Nerlinger was linked to that position.
It should be said, that the players are not blameless in what has transpired this season. As you peruse our Player of the Year standings – it is a reminder that so very few players are actually having good seasons.
You could proclaim that only Lewis Macleod, Darren McGregor & Nicky Clark have had ‘good seasons.’ Of course Macleod is usually deployed out of his natural role in the center of midfield & McGregor didn’t get to play his customary center-back position until Bilel Mohsni was suspended. Clark has been demoted to the bench since Kenny Miller returned from injury & McCoist has shown no inkling of giving Clark another run in the starting eleven.
Veterans like Kenny Miller, Lee McCulloch, & Lee Wallace haven’t necessarily been bad – but they haven’t been all that great either.
Nicky Law has scored some timely goals but has had little impact on the team’s success beyond that. Regarding Ian Black, I have been accused of being too harsh on him – but I simply don’t rate him as a player that should be in the engine room of Rangers midfield. Can he clog up the game defensively? Sure – Kyle Hutton or Arnold Peralta, or even Nicky Law could probably do the same. But who truly knows? Black is an automatic insertion in the lineup on a weekly basis. How does that old saying go? Death, taxes, Nicky Law & Ian Black in the starting eleven.
Others have been either quite poor (Foster, Templeton, Mohsni, & Smith), MIA (Zaliukas, Shiels, Peralta, Faure) a monumental disappointment (Boyd) or inconsistent at best (Aird).
Regardless, few would deny that a great extent of the poor showings from the playing squad falls at the feet of McCoist. Players who had success before Rangers (Templeton, Shiels, Black, Law, Boyd) have regressed – either because they can’t handle the pressures that accompany playing at Ibrox or the management team has stunted their development. Others were questionable signings from the get-go. Zaliukas was an abject failure for Leeds United, Miller was struggling with Vancouver & Steven Smith couldn’t get in the lineup for a poor Portland Timbers side.
But I digress….anything could happen with the new leadership of Ashley & Llambias & it may be pointless to speculate what they plan to do, or if they actually can make the necessary moves given the financial malaise.
However, if Rangers do sit 10, 12, or even 14 points behind Hearts when 2015 rolls around – something will have to give.