Date: 21st November 2017 at 11:43am
Written by:

Matthew Lindsay has featured in this blog a couple of times in recent weeks, and there’s a good reason why. He writes utter nonsense. Today’s helping, on why Derek McInnes is the right man for the Ibrox hot-seat is another sterling example of it.

There is so much wrong with the piece that it helps to go through it bit by bit to point out the obvious flaws. There are so many of them.

Let’s take the opening paragraph, for starters:

“There has been no shortage of potential candidates touted for the managerial vacancy at Rangers since Pedro Caixinha was sacked at the end of last month; Henning Berg, Frank de Boer, Alex McLeish, Derek McInnes, Steve McLaren, Davie Moyes, Michael O’Neill, Alan Pardew, Gus Poyet, Michel Preud’homme, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Tommy Wright have all been linked with the job at Ibrox …”

Linked with. For most of these names there is not an ounce of credible, supporting evidence that it was even remotely likely they would be asked or appointed. The media can invent stories all it likes but they don’t become fact. Some of it – like the Van Bronckhorst story – was pure wishful thinking. Other stories were agents trying to drum up interest from elsewhere. Some of it was simply fanciful nonsense; David Moyes? Really?

“Only McInnes, though, has received the emphatic endorsement of club legends, his ex-players, fellow managers and media pundits alike since Caixinha departed. With very good reason.”

Said good reason being that he’s one of the only people on that list who’s candidacy was even remotely realistic. There are actually names on that list who would do a vastly better job than McInnes, but they would never have gone near the gig.

McInnes on the other hand has a cultivated his media contacts here very well. Lindsay is being disingenuous to separate “club legends, ex players … and media pundits”; so many people tick all three boxes such is the plethora of Real Rangers Men currently working on newspaper, radio and TV company payrolls at the moment … and yes, many of them are pushing the same tired clapped out line about McInnes. That doesn’t make them right.

“The Aberdeen manager is the man best placed to resurrect footballing fortunes at his former club and remains so despite the disappointing result his side suffered on their return to action at Pittodrie against Motherwell on Saturday.”

Best placed? Really? So he’s better than guys who’ve won league titles and would bring heft and gravitas to any management job they encountered? One or two on Sevco’s wish list tick those boxes. McInnes is better than them? As for calling it a “disappointing result” at the weekend … it was a shocking result, coming on the heels of one before the international break as well as the cup semi final defeat. McInnes is floundering.

“The fact that Premier League club West Brom are now being strongly linked with him following the departure of Tony Pulis from The Hawthorns yesterday further underlines that.”

Alleged interest from West Brom – and that’s all this is; alleged – proves he’s a top boss? Really? When did they become the barometer by which we judge top managers? If that’s true why isn’t Pulis himself on the Ibrox short-list?

Here’s where the nonsense really starts to hit high gear.

“That Rangers have not made a move for the 46-year-old in recent weeks, despite the public endorsement of his credentials by so many, has led to a growing number of supporters starting to question his suitability for the role. There are many fans who are uneasy about his side’s failure to beat Celtic in the past season or to challenge them for silverware. However, it is completely unrealistic to expect Aberdeen to challenge their Glasgow rivals for the Betfred Cup and William Hill Scottish Cup never mind the Ladbrokes Premiership title given the vast gulf there is in spending power between the clubs.”

Man oh man … let’s see.

In 2009, Dundee Utd won the Scottish Cup. Since then, Celtic has won it three times. In the same period, Hearts, Hibs, St Johnstone and Inverness have won the trophy. All of those clubs lagged behind Celtic in spending power. Yet they’ve all done what Derek McInnes and Aberdeen have singularly failed to do, and which Lindsay appears to think is beyond that club.

McInnes did win a League Cup there in 2014. But since 2011, Kilmarnock, St Mirren and Ross Coutny have all done the same. They, too, presumably suffered from the spending gap.

And if the spending gap is the be all and end all, the pursuit of McInnes is a waste of time anyway, because whether he’s at Pittodrie or Ibrox whoever is manager at Celtic will be able to outspend him by a factor of at least 3-1 regardless.

“As McInnes pointed out after his charges had been narrowly beaten by Brendan Rodgers’s men to the Scottish Cup in a thrilling final at Hampden back in May, Scott Sinclair is paid as much a week as his entire squad earns. You do the math.”

And what of it? Bruno Alves’ weekly earnings probably trump the entire Aberdeen first team squad and I wonder if he would even get in their team.

“The former Scotland midfielder ticks more boxes than any other contender for the position.”

Probably true, if we consider that no-one credible will come near the post.

“Having spent five years at the club he grew up supporting as a boy back in the 1990s, he certainly understands the traditions of Rangers and the appreciates the demands for success which there would be on him if he took over.”

The traditions of Rangers. Jesus wept. The demands for success. There, in a nutshell, is why he would be an absolute mug to leave his soft seat at Pittodrie to plant his backside in the Ibrox electric chair. The club Lindsay refers to is dead and gone, and that’s true whether or not you subscribe to the Survival Lie. They don’t have the money to sign top players any longer … as a result, their “demands” are the delusional screaming of a lunatic ward.

“He is, for a top level manager at least, still relatively young and is ambitious. He has an impressive track record in the transfer market. He has signed very few, if any, failures.”

Derek McInnes is not a “top level manager” by any stretch of the imagination. He is strictly second rate, if that. His impressive record in the transfer market saw his team play much of last season with Jayden Stockley up front, a guy who racked up more bookings than goals and brought not one ounce of football quality to the side. A thug, basically, with not a scintilla of talent. He was bought from the English lower leagues and went right back there.

“The way he successfully rebuilt this summer after losing half of his first team players was remarkable. He has also shown a willingness to bring through youngsters. He is well-connected and universally liked in both the Scottish and English games.”

I agree with much of that. He did an impressive job in the summer. Guys like Stevie May are excellent signings, as anyone could have predicted. But his side is no better off for them. He got to the League Cup final last year; this time they went out at the semi-final stage. They are a mere three points better off in the league. It’s not exactly a miracle.

“The failure of Rangers to make their move for McInnes could be down to their directors making absolutely certain they get their next appointment right after Mark Warburton’s reign ended acrimoniously after less than two seasons and Caixinha’s dire tenure lasting just seven months.But the financial situation the Ibrox club is in – they announced they had made a loss of £6.7 million at the start of the month – could be the reason for the lack of activity.”

And here we’re starting to arrive at the point; the club is in dire straits financially and could not afford to go out and bring in any kind of big name.

“Caixinha was given in the region of £8 million to spend on players in the summer despite presiding over some inept performances and some humiliating defeats after taking over towards the end of last season. He has left behind players who are pocketing large salaries and in some cases failing to justify them.”

So the new manager will have to make do with what he’s got there too.

“Perhaps, then, the compensation which will need to be paid to secure McInnes’s services is the stumbling block. McLeish, who has replaced him as the bookmakers’ favourite this weekend, is available for free.”

Basically, yes it is. £750,000. Out of Sevco’s financial reach. At Celtic Park there’s probably more in the petty cash box. This is the club the writer thinks is well placed to give the Aberdeen manager the tools he’ll require to overhaul us at the top. You could not make this up.

“But can Rangers, despite the fact they are continuing to rely on soft loans from wealthy benefactors in order to remain afloat, really afford to economise? They must, despite their off-field issues, speculate to accumulate. Buying cheap could cost them dear.”

Can they afford to economise? Is this guy for real? It’s the first time I’ve ever heard someone ask a question about whether a debt ridden company can really afford to stop spending money. It’s like you took reality here and turned it upside down. Speculate to accumulate … dear God. Do these people actually believe nonsense like this, or what?

He finishes up with this gem.

“McInnes turned down the opportunity to move to Sunderland in the summer. But it was only a matter of time before he was linked with another high-profile job down south. Rangers must act swiftly before West Brom or another leading English club beats them to him.”

If Sevco loses its alleged first choice manager to West Brom, perhaps that will clarify their current standing in the game.

And I guess by acting swiftly Lindsay is overlooking that it’s already been nearly a month and they’ve not even picked up the phone yet to ask to talk to the guy.

That club isn’t capable of doing anything swiftly.

The whole premise of this article is that they should go to Aberdeen and put down the money.

To avoid going “cheap” they should bring to their club Scottish football’s leading underachiever, a guy who’s elevated being second best to an art form. A guy who will work with a tight budget. A guy who won’t cost too much – although it is apparently is too much for them – and won’t make big demands.

This is a sterling example of expectation management.

The appointment of McInnes would not be “avoiding the cheap option”; Derek McInnes, by virtue of his track record and his limited skill-set, is the cheap option. His real claim to fame is that he’s an ex player and the least worst option their fans will accept.