The other day, two stories crept out of Sevco simultaneously.
They were related, but not. The press didn’t join the dots, but the dots were there. The Sevco fans … well, dot-to-dot and paint-by-numbers are certainly more or less on their intellectual level, but of course most of them didn’t manage to do it either.
In the first story, their Director of Football announced that the new manager would have to work as part of an overall “club strategy.”
This doesn’t sound revolutionary … Brendan said much the same on TalkSport yesterday about how he and the board were as one when it came to the overarching plan being followed … but in a minute I’ll tell you why it’s important.
The second announcement was about changes to the scouting system, and the hiring of their first major appointment in that area; it was, of course, John Brown. As the scouting system will form part of the overall strategy I found that appointment intriguing.
Brown’s comments on Sevco’s signings in the last couple of years leave a lot to be desired. He praised the signing of Bruno Alves for bringing experience to the club, which he reckons is a must, but then suggested that “foreigners” would freeze in big matches, especially against Celtic.
Now, just for a moment try to tie that in with his new job.
What’s his template? British based over 30’s players for “the experience” who can also rough-house the opposition. Fortunately for him there are plenty of those guys out there, in the lower leagues of England, big lumps without a football IQ point between them.
The problem is – haha one of the problems is – that I get the feeling that’s not the kind of strategy Mark Allen is talking about. If he’s got an ounce of sense he’s talking about buying them young and training them up and then selling them on; a sort of Celtic-Lite strategy, and one that Warburton was alleged to be trying to put in place.
If that’s the case then already the Director of Football is at cross-purposes with the guy who he’s just appointed. And the thing is, if Brown is “on board” with that strategy then it’s a full scale reversal of his own oft-stated views. Which to me is a recipe for disaster.
And this all ties in, of course, to the search for a manager; this is where the whole idea starts to unravel big time. If you believe the club’s own “criteria” they want a UK based boss who knows the game up here; that’s the CV of a Real Rangers Man if ever there was one.
They are getting ready to appoint “one of their own” and that’s fair enough … but that demographic is the least likely to get behind a long term strategy like Allen’s and far more inclined towards the “if it moves kick it, if it doesn’t move kick it until it does” philosophy of someone like Brown. Experienced “pros” who can dish out a bit of punishment … that’s the Walter Smith School of Football Management we’re talking about, big spending and high wages.
On top of all that, their search for a boss is clearly being conducted from the cheap seats. Today’s article in The Scotsman, about how one of their backup options is Stuart McCall gave me my first serious taste of the giggles since Caixinha’s last press conference.
It seems clear that if Aberdeen holds firm that McInnes is out of reach. Would they go with St Johnstone’s boss Tommy Wright after that? Not exactly grand and sweeping ambition, right? If not him then who? The Alan Pardew story was laughable; if that’s their version of a Brendan Rodgers style appointment then I doubt their fans will be amused. The talk about Sam Allardyce is just magnificent; he and Bomber would get along great. Ibrox would definitely be the over 30’s club under the “management” of that pair.
Sevco fans are holding out for a hero. They will get someone with whom they can empathise, but who will not move their club forward one millimetre. Caixinha was easy to sell to them, because he was different, cut from new cloth, someone they could only have said “wait and see” about. This time the board will take no chances. It’ll be someone “tried and tested” even if that’s ended in abject failure and is doomed to do the same.
They won’t pay big money for a new boss – they still owe enough of it to the last two – and they are already preparing their fans for the concept of giving the new man a chance to see what he can mould out of the dreck already there rather than giving him money to spend. Hard times are coming. When I wrote my article earlier in the month about the “… then what?” question that hovers over Ibrox I had no idea they’d be looking for an answer so soon.
It’s going to be amazing fun to watch all this come unglued. And it’s started already, with the hiring of a guy so unsuited to looking forward that you feel for Mark Allen, a guy who’s either been bounced into it or been sold a real bill of goods.