Away with The Away Goal Rule?

Most football fans know what the offside rule is but only a few can really explain it in only a few words to a non fan without the use of some props to represent the play. We have all seen it in bars, pubs and dinner tables across the world as the salt shaker becomes the central striker with the ketchup and pepper as the last line of defence. Regardless of how clear they are, rules like the offside rule are there to make the game fair and to create stability to a game that is often temperamental and lacking clarity. But some rules, like the away goal rule still confuse many in the game, both on the pitch and off it. The away goal rule was first introduced by FIFA back in 1965 in an effort to decide the outcome of closely fought double-headed knockout competitions. In essence, the rule is as such, the team that has scored more goals away from home in an otherwise tied game wins. For instance if team A draws 1-1 with team B away from home, then ties the home leg 0-0, they progress because of the away goal. Ridiculous.

The offside rule as explained by many (Image from FourFourTwo)

The offside rule as explained by many
(Image from FourFourTwo)

The rule was brought into effect by FIFA to encourage the away team to attack but what it in fact has done has encouraged the home team to defend and defend in numbers. Jose Mourinho once called it “parking the bus” after his then Chelsea side were unable to break down Tottenham’s defence in a 2004 Premiership match and left angry and empty-handed. Deemed unattractive to watch by fans and opposition managers, it can be vital for progression in a tournament to keep a clean sheet. Having stopped the opposition from scoring in the first leg at home, the balance of the tie is then dramatically swung in their favour as they know that the now home team will need to be extra careful to not concede or they face the uphill task of scoring twice to win the tie.

Parking the Bus (Image from Tumblr)

Parking the Bus
(Image from Tumblr)

There is no better example of this than Glasgow Rangers 2007 UEFA cup run when they managed to reach the final of the competition only to fall at the last hurdle to an impressive Zenit St Petersburg. What made their run incredible was that on route to the final they scored only five goals in five games (they dropped into the competition at the last 32 after an unsuccessful Champions League campaign). But it was the way they protected home advantage and “parked the bus” that helped Walter Smith guide his team to the final. Clever tactics by a very smart coach, despite the objections from his opposite numbers in the Panathinaikos, Sporting and Fiorentina dugouts. Smith’s squad lacked the star names of yester year and employed 38-year-old David Weir at centre back and on one occasion with 34-year-old Christian Dailly for company. What he lacked in flair, they made up for it grit and determination and worked out a strategy to frustrate and then punish teams along the way.

Rangers on their 2007 UEFA Cup run (Image from Tumblr)

Rangers on their 2007 UEFA Cup run
(Image from Tumblr)

In the first game against  Panathinaikos kept the clean sheet at home before snatching a late goal in the return leg to tie the game but progress on the away goal rule. The next game against Werder Bremen, Rangers broke from their strategy as they were gifted two clear chances which they converted to seal a 2-0 first leg lead. The match in Germany would be tighter but this time Smith decided to hold what they had and managed to escape after conceding only a single goal despite numerous chances by Bremen. Sporting Lisbon were up next and a return to their trusted formula, holding the Portuguese club to a 0-0 draw at Ibrox. As the second leg started as the first had ended, Sporting began to lose their patience, which let Rangers French striker Jean-Claude Darcheville snatch a valuable away goal. Now chasing the game, Sporting had to score twice so pushed forward in numbers only to leave too much space at the back, which let Steven Whitaker score a late second and send Rangers into the semi finals to play Italian side Fiorentina. Rangers once again defended in numbers but this time in both legs against a very skillful and talented Fiorentina side. Eventually the game went to penalties and Rangers snuck away with the win, disgusting head coach Cesare Prandelli, who was quoted after the game as saying that Rangers killed the beautiful game with the way they played. Smith didn’t care as he plotted one final victory that would lift them the cup but their luck ran out in Manchester as Rangers were beaten 2-0 by an Andrey Arshavin inspired Zenit team.

Darcheville escapes his defender to score (Image from Getty)

Darcheville escapes his defender to score
(Image from Getty)

Without the away goal rule and its tactical implications, its doubtful Rangers would have progressed as far as they did. Granted the tactics employed worked to their advantage and they took their chances when needed, but if they were out to attack from the first kick of the first leg, then the story may have been very different. We have seen examples  in the UEFA cup and the Champions League where great teams like Inter Milan and Arsenal knocked out on the away goal rule which in modern-day football seems harsh. Critics will argue that they didn’t do enough in the first leg to merit going through but like most jobs, occasionally teams have off days. In 2013, Tottenham thrashed Inter 3-0 at home but struggled to beat them in Italy, losing 4-1 after extra time with only an Adebeyor goal in the second leg enough to put them through. Yes they lacked the explosive Gareth Bale on the wing but Inter looked like a different team than the one that lost so convincingly only two weeks prior. In the Champions league, Arsenal did what was needed by winning 2-0 in Germany against Bayern Munich. But the 3-1 score line in the Emirates stadium meant that their efforts were in vain, despite the scores being level after 180 minutes of wonderful football.

Heartbreak for Arsenal against Bayern (Image from Guardian.co.uk)

Heartbreak for Arsenal against Bayern
(Image from Guardian.co.uk)

To suggest there is any real advantage or disadvantage of playing at home vs. away, especially in modern football is somewhat archaic. But what must be looked at is the reasoning behind keeping such a strange rule as the away goal rule. Nobody really feels that it is of benefit and most would rather that if a match is indeed tied after 180 minutes then the game should go into extra time in an effort to resolve it. Better still don’t play it over two legs and instead choose an independent ground for the teams to play in and contest the match. If this isn’t feasible then the extra time and penalties will have to do. After all, no one has a problem with a team being eliminated by penalties right?

Share your thoughts and follow us now on Facebook: BackOfTheNetBlog, on Twitter: @BOTN_soccer & Instagram: @backofthenet_soccer

Rangers Rebuild Begins with New Managerial Appointment

Rangers have appointed Mark Warburton as their new manager (Image from Getty)After the dust had settled on a disappointing season that saw Rangers failing to get out of the Championship at the first attempt, focus has swiftly turned towards next season and with it comes the news of a new managerial team hand picked to bring glory back to the troubled Ibrox outfit. Former Brentford boss Mark Warburton and his trusty assistant David Weir will be trooped out in front of the waiting media today as Rangers new board takes its first steps towards rebuilding the club. Warburton arrives to a mixed reaction from the Rangers faithful who were still largely enamored by stand in boss and former player Stuart McCall.

Despite his best efforts, Stuart McCall failure in getting Rangers promotion cost him the job  (Image from Getty)

Despite his best efforts, Stuart McCall failure in getting Rangers promotion cost him the job
(Image from Getty)

However after being parachuted in by the board to steady the ship and seal promotion, McCall only managed to get this sinking ship over the line, falling at the last hurdle to Motherwell in a rather pointless relegation/promotion showdown double episode. That defeat convinced many at Ibrox that major surgery was needed on both the playing staff and the coaching setup with perhaps for the first time in the clubs history a need to distance itself from its past tendencies to appoint former legends like McCall to save the day. He will have known at the time that defeat in the playoffs against his former side Motherwell would seal his fate however in typical McCall style he came out fighting and made a valid pitch for the job full time. That pitch was convincing and will have likely sparked debate at the boardroom level. But the sentiment towards McCall as a player for the club may have been his downfall with a fresh approach much needed. In Warburton, Rangers can get that freshness whilst maintaining a link to the clubs past through his assistant, David Weir. Like McCall, Weir is an Ibrox legend, a captain fantastic who surprised many in Scottish and world football by playing well into his forties with the same tenacity and spirit that he possessed as a kid some twenty years before. At Rangers Weir was the most respected man on and off the pitch at the club for a long time and many tout him as a future manager but for now they will settle for him as the assistant to Warburton. The new manager will need Weir’s insider knowledge of both Rangers and Scottish football if he is to settle in quickly and have the best chance of success.

David Weir will be an important part of the new backroom team  (image from Steve Parkin)

David Weir will be an important part of the new backroom team
(image from Steve Parkin)

However the challenge that awaits Warburton and Weir is nothing less than daunting. They inherit a skeleton  playing staff that lacks both in numbers and quality. Many of the faces from last years disaster campaign have gone – Boyd, Moshni, Foster, Daly and McCulloch with a few others eyeing the exit door with enthusiasm. There will be cash available to invest in players but it won’t be the amount that Rangers fans are used to seeing. The days of frivolous spending that saw Rangers wasted vast sums of money on the likes of Tore Andre Flo and Michael Ball are long gone. The focus will be on building for the future, investing in players who can not only compete in the Championship but also in the Scottish Premiership in the foreseeable future. Youth players will play a pivotal role in the clubs forward success especially given Warburton’s background in nurturing talent. Unfortunately for him that talent will not be coming out of the clubs youth system at Murray Park for a while as that well has all but dried up by now. The last prodigal son to come through that system was Lewis McLeod who ironically was sold to Brentford just as he began to stamp his authority on the Ibrox turf. Others have emerged since then like Tom Walsh and Ryan Hardie but have yet to really establish themselves as indispensable components of the Rangers machine. Warburton will have to look beyond Murray Park in search of young talent and again unfortunately will hit a snag. With no scouting network in operation at Rangers, the work will fall on Warburton, Weir and his coaching staff initially until a chief scout can be identified and brought in to help.

The days of overspending on players like Flo are over for Rangers  (Image from AP)

The days of overspending on players like Flo are over for Rangers
(Image from AP)

Building a squad capable of challenging is one thing but building one that can do so in under four weeks is another. Rangers pre-season training kicks off in earnest in early July with their first Championship match due on August 8th. Warburton will start the rebuild immediately but it will be time that will be his biggest opponent as he battles to get Rangers ready for the new season. The pressure on Warburton and Weir will be immense but the duo who led Brentford to the English Championship play offs only 18 months after taking charge should be able to handle it. Only time will tell whether Warburton can steer Rangers back to the Scottish Premiership and back challenging for the top Scottish honours once more.

If you liked this post, please repost or retweet. Share your thoughts now on Facebook:https://facebook.com/BackOfTheNetBlog  or on Twitter:https://twitter.com/BOTNBlog

 

McCulloch’s Passion Drives Rangers Forward

Passion and Drive from McCulloch (Image from PA)Despite the continued problems in the boardroom, Glasgow Rangers are flying high in Scotland, unbeaten in the league and scoring for fun. Boss Ally McCoist has successfully sheltered his squad from the rollercoaster journey the club has been on over the past six months and has allowed them to focus on the job in hand. Leading his team on the pitch is the commanding figure of captain Lee McCulloch who has been a constant force for Rangers over the past few years. As a utility player, McCulloch has played in almost every position for club and country, winning praise along the way for his determination and passion. McCulloch is a proud Scot who represented his country on nineteen occasions but it’s his love for Rangers that drives him and his loyalty to the club that makes his blood pump.

McCulloch won 19 caps for Scotland, including 1 B cap  (Image from Getty)

McCulloch won 19 caps for Scotland, including 1 B cap
(Image from Getty)

Rangers have been through some dark days in the past few years including insolvency and subsequent relegation which led to the breakup of the old Rangers squad that was full of international players from across the world. When others were jumping ship, McCulloch decided to stand firm and stay loyal to the club, despite the risks associated with doing so. At the time, several newspapers stated that McCulloch had little choice but to stay as at the age of 32, new opportunities would be limited. But the truth is that the player had options including Scottish Premier League and English Championship teams who saw McCulloch’s drive and versatility as a huge advantage. The decision to stay was an easy one for the player, who couldn’t leave the team he followed as a boy in their time of need. He was rewarded with the captaincy by head coach McCoist, taking over from the departing Carlos Bocanegra. It was a masterstroke move from Rangers boss who realized that the team needed a captain who bled blue and in McCulloch they had that. He now joins a list of Rangers captains including John Gregg, Richard Gough, Lorenzo Amoruso and Barry Ferguson and loves every minute of it.

McCoist and McCulloch talk tactics  (Image from AFP)

McCoist and McCulloch talk tactics
(Image from AFP)

Having led the line for Rangers last season in the Scottish Third Division, alongside Andy Little, McCulloch has now been reverted back to centre back to partner Tunisia Bilel Mohsni in a new look Rangers defense. The move hasn’t stopped McCulloch from scoring and incredibly already has ten goals to his name including two hat tricks (vs. Arbroath and East Fife). At 35, McCulloch shows no signs of slowing down and wants to lead Rangers as captain back into the Premiership. Given former Rangers and Scotland legendary defender David Weir played into his forties, there is no reason why McCulloch can’t do the same. If he can stay in shape and keep the fire in his eyes burning, McCulloch should be leading Rangers out on opening day as they make their return to Scotland’s top division.

New partnership - McCulloch and Mohsni  (Image from DailyRecord)

New partnership – McCulloch and Mohsni
(Image from DailyRecord)

Before that can happen, McCulloch and Rangers need to secure back to back promotions, which at the current run rate looks achievable. Thirteen games in, Rangers sit top of the division with full points and look good for the title. Having scored 50 goals to date and conceded only six, Rangers are on a roll but McCulloch knows the team cannot rest on its morals. He is leading by example in every game and is demanding full focus and total commitment from each player that takes the field in a Rangers shirt. McCulloch is proud of what the team have done so far, in particular the nine clean sheets they have managed in the league and their progress in the cup competitions that Rangers are still involved in. It will be a long hard season for the aging utility player but one that he is relishing with every kick of the ball. Rangers, with McCulloch at the wheel look unstoppable and back on the right path towards reclaiming their position as one of the dominant forces in Scottish football.

Share your thoughts with us now on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BackOfTheNetBlog or on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BOTNBlog

Away with The Away Goal Rule?

Spurs through at Inter's expense (Image from PA)Most football fans know what the offside rule is but only a few can really explain it in only a few words to a non fan without the use of some props to represent the play. We have all seen it in bars, pubs and dinner tables across the world as the salt shaker becomes the central striker with the ketchup and pepper as the last line of defence. Regardless of how clear they are, rules like the offside rule are there to make the game fair and to create stability to a game that is often temperamental and lacking clarity. But some rules, like the Away goal rule still confuse many in the game, both on the pitch and off it. The Away goal rule was first introduced by FIFA back in 1965 in an effort to decide the outcome of closely fought double-headed knockout competitions. In essence, the rule is as such, the team that has scored more goals away from home in an otherwise tied game wins. For instance if team A draws 1-1 with team B away from home, then ties the home leg 0-0, they progress because of the away goal. Ridiculous.

The offside rule as explained by many (Image from FourFourTwo)

The offside rule as explained by many
(Image from FourFourTwo)

The rule was brought into effect by FIFA to encourage the away team to attack but what it in fact has done has encouraged the home team to defend and defend in numbers. Jose Mourinho once called it “parking the bus” after his then Chelsea side were unable to break down Tottenham’s defence in a 2004 Premiership match and left angry and empty-handed. Deemed unattractive to watch by fans and opposition managers, it can be vital for progression in a tournament to keep a clean sheet. Having stopped the opposition from scoring in the first leg at home, the balance of the tie is then dramatically swung in their favour as they know that the now home team will need to be extra careful to not concede or they face the uphill task of scoring twice to win the tie.

Parking the Bus (Image from PA)

Parking the Bus
(Image from PA)

There is no better example of this than Glasgow Rangers 2007 UEFA cup run when they managed to reach the final of the competition only to fall at the last hurdle to an impressive Zenit St Petersburg. What made their run incredible was that on route to the final they scored only five goals in five games (they dropped into the competition at the last 32 after an unsuccessful Champions League campaign). But it was the way they protected home advantage and “parked the bus” that helped Walter Smith guide his team to the final. Clever tactics by a very smart coach, despite the objections from his opposite numbers in the Panathinaikos, Sporting and Fiorentina dugouts. Smith’s squad lacked the star names of yester year and employed 38-year-old David Weir at centre back and on one occasion with 34-year-old Christian Dailly for company. What he lacked in flair, they made up for it grit and determination and worked out a strategy to frustrate and then punish teams along the way.

Rangers on their 2007 UEFA Cup run (Image from Getty)

Rangers on their 2007 UEFA Cup run
(Image from Getty)

In the first game against  Panathinaikos kept the clean sheet at home before snatching a late goal in the return leg to tie the game but progress on the away goal rule. The next game against Werder Bremen, Rangers broke from their strategy as they were gifted two clear chances which they converted to seal a 2-0 first leg lead. The match in Germany would be tighter but this time Smith decided to hold what they had and managed to escape after conceding only a single goal despite numerous chances by Bremen. Sporting Lisbon were up next and a return to their trusted formula, holding the Portuguese club to a 0-0 draw at Ibrox. As the second leg started as the first had ended, Sporting began to lose their patience, which let Rangers French striker Jean-Claude Darcheville snatch a valuable away goal. Now chasing the game, Sporting had to score twice so pushed forward in numbers only to leave too much space at the back, which let Steven Whitaker score a late second and send Rangers into the semi finals to play Italian side Fiorentina. Rangers once again defended in numbers but this time in both legs against a very skillful and talented Fiorentina side. Eventually the game went to penalties and Rangers snuck away with the win, disgusting head coach Cesare Prandelli, who was quoted after the game as saying that Rangers killed the beautiful game with the way they played. Smith didn’t care as he plotted one final victory that would lift them the cup but their luck ran out in Manchester as Rangers were beaten 2-0 by an Andrey Arshavin inspired Zenit team.

Darcheville escapes his defender to score (Image from Getty)

Darcheville escapes his defender to score
(Image from Getty)

Without the away goal rule and its tactical implications, its doubtful Rangers would have progressed as far as they did. Granted the tactics employed worked to their advantage and they took their chances when needed, but if they were out to attack from the first kick of the first leg, then the story may have been very different. We have seen this week in the UEFA cup and the Champions league, great teams like Inter Milan and Arsenal knocked out on the away goal rule which in modern-day football seems harsh. Critics will argue that they didn’t do enough in the first leg to merit going through but like most jobs, occasionally teams have off days. Tottenham thrashed Inter 3-0 at home but struggled to beat them in Italy, losing 4-1 after extra time with only an Adebeyor goal in the second leg enough to put them through. Yes they lacked the explosive Gareth Bale on the wing but Inter looked like a different team than the one that lost so convincingly only two weeks prior. In the Champions league, Arsenal did what was needed by winning 2-0 in Germany against Pep Guardiola’s next pet project, Bayern Munich. But the 3-1 score line in the Emirates stadium meant that their efforts were in vain, despite the scores being level after 180 minutes of wonderful football.

Heartbreak for Arsenal against Bayern (Image from Guardian.co.uk)

Heartbreak for Arsenal against Bayern
(Image from Guardian.co.uk)

To suggest there is any real advantage or disadvantage of playing at home vs. away, especially in modern football is somewhat archaic. But what must be looked at is the reasoning behind keeping such a strange rule as the away goal rule. Nobody really feels that it is of benefit and most would rather that if a match is indeed tied after 180 minutes then the game should go into extra time in an effort to resolve it. Better still don’t play it over two legs and instead choose an independent ground for the teams to play in and contest the match. If this isn’t feasible then the extra time and penalties will have to do. After all, no one has a problem with a team being eliminated by penalties right?

No Football July? We Don’t Think So

Moutinho and Rodriguez start revolution (Image from CP)In a year of no World cup or European championship action, most football fans will be wondering what to do this coming July in place of watching the beautiful game. Wife’s and partners are rejoicing as they plan a summer of activities for their other half’s such as gardening, painting the fence or fixing those broken stairs that have stood that way for the past nine months. However don’t despair there is still football on offer in the shape of the MLS, Champions league qualifiers and meaningless pre-season friendlies. If that’s not enough, BOTN will be there as always reporting on the stories that matter in football and some that don’t. In June alone we covered a variety of topics such as the controversial appointment of Joe Kinnear as Newcastle new Director of Football. In a hastily organised interview (arranged by Kinnear without the clubs knowledge), Kinnear proceeded to not only talk himself up as god’s gift to the game but also managed to annoy the clubs top stars by embarrassingly mispronouncing their names. Alan Pardew never felt as safe in his job as he does now. Also making waves last month were French side Monaco who proved that cheating in Football Manager by spending millions in one transfer window, buying the world’s biggest names in an effort to build a winning team, makes a lot of sense. Arriving players like Colombian duo James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao as well as Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho, will surely make life extremely difficult for PSG and their new head coach, Laurent Blanc to win back to back titles.

Guess who's back - Kinnear checks in at Newcastle again  (Image from The Times.co.uk)

Guess who’s back – Kinnear checks in at Newcastle again
(Image from The Times.co.uk)

In Scotland, the football landscape is finally changing with the joining of the SPL and the SFL to make one new governing body, ironically named the SPFL. In a move which only took a decade to do, Scottish fans rejoiced with the complete restructuring of the domestic game, except with hardly anything actually changing. The only major change is the reallocation of monies throughout the four leagues, something that really should have happened say a decade ago when there was money in the Scottish domestic game. One player who knows all about Scotland’s woes is former international defender David Weir, who took his first steps into management with his appointment at Sheffield United. Weir was classified as a shock choice but given that several of Everton’s first team coaches from last year are leaving following the departure of David Moyes, it’s actually not that surprising. Weir is now spending the summer looking for new players to sign to strength his squad, something that fellow Scot Paul Lambert has not hesitated in doing myself. The Villa manager has signed six players so far with one, Nicklas Helenius the stand out player to everyone here at BOTN. The young Dane has a promising career ahead of him and will likely be one of the signings of the summer in the Premiership.

Villa bound - Helenius  (Image from AFP)

Villa bound – Helenius
(Image from AFP)

It wasn’t all good news in June as the footballing world paused to remember Marc Vivien Foe on the 10th anniversary of his untimely death. Foe, who suffered a fatal heart attack on the pitch during Cameroons semi-final appearance against Colombia in the 2003 Confederations Cup, will not be forgotten easily with players and fans alike reminiscing on social media and on football talk shows about what a great player he was. Also making the news was the shocking story of Bosnian goalkeeper Dusko Krtalica who was shot in the head during a match. Remarkably he wasn’t killed and was actually unaware that he had been hit, playing on till the end of the match before friends had to take him to hospital following severe headaches and pains in his arm. It’s a story we couldn’t make up which is also what we were all wishing was true when we discovered that kids in Quebec, Canada were prevented from playing football as they were wearing turbans. The kids and their parents turned to the Quebec Soccer Federation to stop the nonsense but were amazed when they supported the decision, despite FIFA clarifying that wearing a turban is allowed. Calamity followed with the Canadian Soccer Association banning the QSF, who then faced the wrath of Quebec Premier Pauline Marios who defended the QSFs honour and right to do so despite not actually understanding the point of the whole issue. FIFA eventually had to step in and tell everyone to settle down and behave before the ruling was overturned and the kids could return to the pitch. Farcical is not the word.

Premier Marois is regretting getting involved  (Image from CP)

Premier Marois is regretting getting involved
(Image from CP)

June was action packed as July will be with the opening of the transfer window and the madness that brings to look forward to. So to all wives and partners out there who are hoping to steal some time back with their loved ones, I am afraid you will be bitterly disappointed as football never stops, it merely pauses to let the fans catch their collective breaths before a whole new season begins again.

Check out all these stories and more in the archives section on the right hand side of the page!

Weir Steps Into The Management Fold At Sheffield United

New Job? David Weir (Image from Getty)It was only a matter of time before former Everton, Rangers and Scotland legend David Weir took his first steps into management. Having had a distinguished career that saw him play at the highest level all the way up to his 39th birthday, Weir hung up his boots only a few years ago and rejoined Everton as Reserve team coach. During that time, he impressed the clubs hierarchy with his professionalism and strict approach to coaching, so much so that following the departure of David Moyes to Manchester United; Weir was one of the front runners interviewed to replace him. That job eventually went to former Wigan boss, Roberto Martinez but made Weir ponder his future and think more about taking that step into management.

Weir played for Rangers until he was 39  (Image from Getty)

Weir played for Rangers until he was 39
(Image from Getty)

When the vacancy at Sheffield United became an distinct possibility, Weir  knew that this may be his first opportunity to take the hot seat. The League One club has been in a slide for the past decade and see Weir as the man to turn things around. The Blades had been without a manager for eight weeks after sacking Danny Wilson who failed to get the club out of the division and have interviewed several candidates such as Stuart McCall, Gareth Southgate and Karl Robinson, but the trio all turned down the job. Weir by no regards was the last chance saloon for the club with other potential candidates mentioned, but they decided that they didn’t need to continue their search and instead gave Weir the nod by handed him a three year deal.

Weir learned from the best in Smith  (Image from AFP)

Weir learned from the best in Smith
(Image from AFP)

His appointment won’t come as a surprise to many who have tipped Weir as a future manager for some time now. Having learned from two of the best managers in the game; Walter Smith and David Moyes, Weir has soaked up their knowledge like a sponge. The 43 year old former captain possesses a deep knowledge of the game from tactics to player motivation tools to fitness and nutrition, which helped him to prolong his career at Rangers. Sheffield United will be hoping he can use all of his acquired skills to turn around the troubled club, kick them into shape and send them on a path towards promotion back to the Championship.

Like this post? Like us on Facebook now: www.facebook.com/BackOfTheNetBlog or on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BOTNBlog