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.

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Wanted – One New Owner To Instill Pride Back Into Fallen Giant

Wanted - New Owenr (Image from Google)

Wanted – One football mad billionaire to invest in well established and popular club with significant history of success. Glasgow Rangers is looking for a buyer who can end the non football related turmoil at the club and restore it to its former glory. Must be able to handle boardroom drama, petty bickering and fat cats lining their pockets with cash. New owner will be expected to clear house (and the board), restore pride and invest in the future. Millionaires will be considered unless they are Craig Whyte and/or wanted by the authorities for any illegal activities.

Defining moment - Former owner David Murray signs the club over to Craig Whyte  (Image from AFP)

Defining moment – Former owner David Murray signs the club over to Craig Whyte
(Image from AFP)

It seems like this is the only option left to Glasgow Rangers now who continue to be in disarray due to boardroom squabbles and dodgy book keeping. Posting an ad in the wanted section of a newspaper appears to be the only remaining way of finding someone who genuinely wants to help the fallen giants of Scottish football instead of helping themselves. The fans are disillusioned over what has happened, former players are dumbfounded and the football world shocked by what appears to be a group of devious businessmen pretending to care about the future of the Glasgow club whilst secretly raiding the coffers for every last penny. How this club, who went into administration in 2012 a year after being bought by corrupt businessman Craig Whyte before appearing to be rising back up like a phoenix from the flames, is once again in financial peril is anyone’s guess. Despite relegation to Scotland’s third division in 2012 following administration, Rangers have rallied and the revenue continues to flow in. Significant money has been generated through yearly ticket sales, merchandising and sponsorships, yet the Rangers board continues to complain about a lack of funds that are available and that the club is living dangerously close to the edge of yet another administration. The truth is that the men placed with responsibility for running Rangers are not doing so with its best interest at heart. How a chief executive and his staff can take full bonuses when a club is close to another financial meltdown or why a club would sell the naming rights to an investor for pittance behind the fans back is unknown but what is known is that the fans have had enough.

Rangers fat cat Board have plunged the club towards another administration (Image from PA)

Rangers fat cat Board have plunged the club towards another administration (Image from PA)

The Rangers fans have stayed loyal to the club despite its problems, turning out in force to support them despite their fall from grace. Where else in the world will you see 50,000 people turn out for a third division match against Berwick Rangers or any other team for that matter? But enough is enough from their prospective. As yet another wealthy investor with criminal connections is touted at being interested in plunging money into the club, the fans are wondering at what cost does this investment come? Maybe their training ground, Murray Park which is one of the best in the country will be used as a bargaining chip to secure it or perhaps the stadium itself, that is if it hasn’t been flogged already. The fans have been waiting for some time for someone to rescue the club from the board that currently residing at 150 Edmiston Drive. The Blue Knights led by Paul Murray have long but disappeared over the horizon whilst South African based businessman Dave King continues to wait with his rumoured £30million investment with the fans unsure why he is not making more aggressive moves to seize control. Now Newcastle owner Mike Ashley appears to be taking up a dominant position in exchange for very little in.

A packed Ibrox Stadium during a Champions League game  (Image from Getty)

A packed Ibrox Stadium during a Champions League game
(Image from Getty)

What is needed is a single owner of power and stature to come in and make sweeping changes. He or she must clear the board of its corruption and instill hardworking honest people who want to build the club back into a force both domestically and in Europe. Secondly they will need to balance the books and clear the mess that has been created by the current and past owners. And finally they must return pride and faith back to the fans by showing them that they are serious about the club and passionate about its future. Reinstalling former Rangers legends like John Greig, Walter Smith, John Brown, Arthur Numan and Brian Laudrup into key roles at the club and its board will help this process and give the new owner a sense of history about what this club used to be like. Memories of special title wins like 9 in a row will spark discussions whilst talk of European adventures including champions league upsets, UEFA cup runs and Cup Winners Cup glory will reignite the passion.

Legend John Greig brings the Cup Winners Cup back to Scotland  (Image from Getty)

Legend John Greig brings the Cup Winners Cup back to Scotland
(Image from Getty)

Many will argue that Scottish football doesn’t make economical sense but the draw of Europe and its potential windfalls do. A smart business person will be able to operate the club within its means, learning from past mistakes and using the clubs global footprint to identify and maximize other revenue opportunities. There is also still the potential for Rangers to join the English Premiership or a much talked about Atlantic League, neither of which has been ruled out fully. The history of the club alone is enough to pull on someone’s heart strings and invest for the love of the game. For a club that has won more league titles than any other team in the world, has a fan base that stretches far beyond its Scottish borders and has seen a host of great players like Greig, Baxter, Cooper, McCoist and Gascoigne to name a few who have pull on its famous blue shirt, it is a shame that it has fallen on such hard times. But that doesn’t need to be the case. Rangers can be saved, it can be reborn and it can rise again to once again become a force in world football.

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