Warburton AWOL As Sevco Starts Cutting

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Today Matt Lindsay wrote one of his most hysterical, sycophantic articles ever when he heaped praise on the Sevco boss Mark Warburton, in spite of a pretty poor first season in Scotland where he won a second tier league title but failed in the two big competitions, the League Cup and the Scottish Cup.

The article was notable for a number of things, but one of them was a big fat lie; that Martin Waghorn’s injury could have been costly to the Englishman because “he had insisted on a lean squad.”

Anyone who knows anything knows this is ridiculous.

Lindsay has written a sentimental PR piece here, pouring honey in the managers ear.

Why? Because someone at Ibrox or at a Glasgow based PR firm told him to? What was the line here? That’s an easy one. It’s “Make sure Warburton knows he’s getting all the credit for success.”

Warburton isn’t daft.

He knows what the flip side of that coin looks like.

He’ll also have no alibi when it comes to accepting the blame for failure, and in Lindsay’s suggestion that the paucity of resources at his disposal is a matter of his personal choice the groundwork is being laid for a right double whammy; Warburton will get little money for signings and that will be spun as a personal decision on his part, doubtless as “keeping the faith with the current squad.”

All this, of course, is predicated on the idea that Warburton is staying at Ibrox in the first place, of course. He’s still missing and has been since the cup final, where he refused to talk to the media and in the interim has watched as manufactured garbage about every one of his players being assaulted and about a “traumatised dressing room” have found their way into the media, and upped the stakes in an ugly atmosphere that now surrounds his club.

The toxic Victim Myth has been put on steroids whilst he’s been away, and if he’s watching from a distance, this guy who didn’t grow up in this and has no earthly interest in any of it, it must be dawning on him that he doesn’t need any of it in his life.

The club itself has let him down in terms of the promises he was made.

If he doesn’t return no-one will be surprised.

Indeed, many of us in the blogosphere have heard stories to that effect, and it’s now fairly common knowledge that his decision to select just five substitutes in the last two rounds of the Scottish Cup were a coded message to his bosses that he didn’t have enough to work with.

It appears to have fallen on deaf ears; whilst he was away his playing squad has been slashed and a member of his back-room team has departed.

Through all of this, he’s been conspicuous by two things; his absence and his silence. He couldn’t even muster up the enthusiasm to comment on the Joey Barton signing, which some in the press allege is a great display of “ambition”. Also linked with the club today is a striker from Walsall.

Is this the calibre he and the fans were told to expect?

Warburton’s unhappiness has many facets to it; one of them might even be financial. There are rumours that he wasn’t paid his end of year bonus, and that King is withholding it in case he decides not to return. There is talk that he’s angry at the way his transfer budget was cut on the full time whistle at Hampden.

According to one source I’ve spoken to he was given a number he found reasonable but no-one inside Ibrox bothered to tell him it was conditional on winning the Scottish Cup and playing in Europe.

No-one thought to bother. In their arrogance, the idea that they might not win the trophy simply didn’t dawn on any of them.

Imagine that if you will? Sitting in the dressing room after witnessing your own fans fighting with rival supporters on the pitch, you cup final dream in shreds, and then someone comes and tells you that the budget for next season was just sliced and diced?

You might start considering your options there and then, if you weren’t already.

There are things I like about Warburton. He isn’t a foaming mouthed halfwit like his chairman or the managing director. He’s not a blow hard like Paul Murray. He isn’t a sly, underhanded chancer like McCoist who used his media chums as a human shield to deflect from his own disastrous management. Warburton has a level head on his shoulders and a healthy self regard which doesn’t veer into outright arrogance.

That self regard is why he can’t be a particularly happy man at the moment. If you step back and look at the big picture surrounding Sevco there’s chaos looming in every direction.

They aren’t exactly loaded down with wealth, the directors and chairman give off the impression of being half mad, a hard core of the support is mired in 17th century attitudes and sectarianism and any notion of dressing room harmony has been undermined by the signing of a Billy Big Time who thinks his opinions on everything are so important he just has to blurt them out.

Across the city, Celtic will be playing in front of packed houses with a dynamic young manager who could have gone most anywhere in Europe and who’s appointment has unified a club that seemed to be drifting into difficult and unfriendly waters. The contrast couldn’t be greater.

If you accept that he’s not going to catch us – as he will have already done; he’s a former market analyst, he knows what oscillators and indicators are and who he’d bet on – then what’s left to fight for? Second spot? Third? Qualifying for Europe? Another cup final?

He thought he would be the man who got to lead the club into a bold new dawn … but second, far less third, in a “two horse race”, as they see it down south, is nowhere. He has a career to think about, and if Neil Lennon couldn’t do better than Bolton after winning league titles and beating Barcelona … what chance does he have? If he allows himself to be tainted by the paranoid, dangerous rubbish that club is immersing itself in … well that would be suicidal to anyone’s future job prospects and he won’t allow it.

The media’s silence on this is deafening of course. They would rather not ask questions about this matter, content, instead, to have motor-mouth Barton to fill their back pages. Anything to avoid looking at a story that might make their core readership uncomfortable.

But whether they ignore it or not, the facts won’t change.

There is trouble at Ibrox, and Warburton might well not come back.

In the event he doesn’t I predict that we’ll see a hasty rewriting of history, with David Weir anointed as the brains behind the operation and him sworn in as the next Sevco boss.

You could write this stuff for these people.

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