It’s amazing how quickly the Sevco fans are prepared to forgive, and forget.
I knew the minute King came out and criticised our board in the aftermath of the announcement on the Big Tax Case verdict that their supporters would be over the moon about it and so forget what had taken place just a day or two earlier; their utter humiliation against the minnows from Luxembourg.
That game was catastrophic for the whole Dave King plan, and inside Ibrox and across in South Africa there is now a growing sense of acute panic as the full ramifications of this disaster begin to properly sink in. King bought himself freedom from scrutiny for a time, and united some of the fans in a common cause against title stripping, but that was never the club’s biggest worry.
He sits in the dugout.
His name is Pedro Caixinha.
Support for him has already all-but collapsed in the stands. Rumours suggest he lost the Warburton half of the dressing room. He’s in real trouble already. That result last week was the worst a Scottish team has ever suffered in Europe and the most awful of the five year history of Sevco.
Looking at Ibrox from the outside, everyone can see where this is going. Sevco’s media sycophants are already all-but conceding that there’ll be no challenge for the title. Over at The Record, where high hopes can take flight and blossom into full-on fantasy, even they have seen the direction of travel only too well. They aren’t even prepared to tip Sevco for second in the coming campaign, and one look at Aberdeen should be enough to know why.
The reaction to last week’s result is one of profound shell-shock.
These people still have the ringing in their ears.
Once that clears and the full measure of what that result means starts to sink in a serious debate will need to be had about when the moment to take decisive action comes. Warburton was willing to jump before he was pushed; he was clearly interested in talking to Forest, and Sevco used that to try to ditch him without compensation but the interesting question, the one we never got to answer, is when would the breaking point have come?
How bad did things have to get over there before they wielded the axe, and financial considerations be damned? Would he have finished the season? Would he still be there now? We’ll never know and it leaves us with a similar question hanging in the air about this guy.
When will the problems he causes become so acute the choice in front of them virtually makes itself?
And this is worse, of course, far worse than the situation with Warburton was.
Someone, somewhere, some genius, gave this guy a long term deal.
Sacking him will be costly bordering on catastrophic.
That would appear to make him fireproof, but no manager was ever that.
Sooner or later the moment arrives when there’s just no other option.
Warburton’s time was up at Tynecastle. That he survived beyond that point was simple proof of the dreadful position the club had put itself in. He was a bust from that moment onwards. The idea of his team rolling into Celtic Park had those at Ibrox petrified and so they manufactured grounds for his dismissal that have them in serious peril when the case gets to court. It’s a one-time move. There’s no repeating it.
When Caixinha goes they are going to have to pay this guy a small fortune to get him out the door.
To any observer that looks like a self-destruct option.
The alternative is worse.
There is no good time to sack a manager, and there never has been.
But there are bad times to sack one.
The question of timing is important.
A sacking throws a team into turmoil but it’s necessary if another guy is to come in and turn things around. But how long do you leave it? The earlier the better. If something is going wrong you make it worse by hoping it will get better.
Failure to act cuts through the whole club. It builds anger in the stands, it alienates players, it makes sponsors flee.
Chris Jack, the Evening Times village idiot, wrote about how “the banter years” were over just a few weeks ago; it might be one of the stupidest columns ever penned by a so-called professional journalist. How he must have regretted it when the full time whistle went last Tuesday. How daft must he have felt?
As long as King is in the director’s box and Caixinha is in the dugout the fun will never stop, and the club seems completely incapable of making good decisions.
The insanity of this appointment was profound. Everyone who wants to can see that it is a calamitous mistake, one that could set them back years. The team he has put together was not cheap. His failure to clear out more than just a handful of the squad Warburton built will haunt the club if this window closes and things are as they are just now. It is hard to overstate just how dangerous it is for their club at this time.
King’s board got lucky in that Warburton opened talks with Forest and gave them a chance to cashier him, otherwise they might never have been able to make the move. Caixinha’s sacking will be far more expensive than the Englishman’s would have been and his team will be even tougher to dismantle. If it turns out to be as poor as it looks they are stuck with these guys and all the problems they will bring – and the money on wages – far into the future.
That means the next manager is stuck with them too.
This spiralling shambles only ends with King gone and Caixinha’s sacking. These things have to happen. This season is already shaping up to be a nightmare. Bin him halfway through it and they might not have money to finish the campaign. Bin him at the end and who knows what damage he’ll have caused? Keep him into the summer … no season tickets.
The state the club is in by the end of Caixinha’s time will decide whether we move into a new round of hilarity or whether they’ve fallen so far they’ve stopped even trying to keep up. But the gift that keeps on giving isn’t nearly done with the surprises yet.
This is the “banter decade” if they are lucky.
We’re five years into the Death of A Thousand Cuts.
When does it end for them?
Who says it ends?