Keith Jackson. Oh man. Why is it always his paper I have to write about? Chris Jack is a stain on The Evening Times, he and Derek Johnstone, but at least Johnstone has been around the block and played the game. Those two aside that paper isn’t bad. But The Record produces crap writers and they in turn produce dreadful swill day after day.
And so on to today’s particular story, Keith Jackson on Derek McInnes, and the sheer weight of presumption in it. The central plank of it has nothing to do with McInnes at all though; the story is built around how he will find Ibrox impossible to resist if Sevco acts now.
I sit here and wonder; why should that be the case? And why does Jackson continue to believe it? Why does his paper, and its editors?
It’s because they have never accepted that everything has changed. That Sevco is not Rangers and that Rangers itself was a phantom construct built out of debts and tax fraud.
It’s bad enough to base your entire view of this Ibrox club based on the exploits of the last one, but when the last one wasn’t even real you are doing more than chasing ghosts. You are chasing fairytales. That never ends well.
Read the following lines, which open this article;
“The assumption is that sooner or later Rangers will be forced to confront the obvious. That at some point in the next few days they will finally pick up the phone to Pittodrie and ask for the handset to be passed to Derek McInnes. And that, whenever that call is eventually made, a grateful McInnes will bound out of the door and speed down the A90 as quickly as the average speed cameras will allow him.”
A grateful McInnes. For what? For a job offer only marginally better, if it is better, than the one he has right now? You think McInnes is sitting, waiting, for that call? You think he’s in a hurry to dump his low-expectation number to go to a club where the pressure is relentless and the expectations wildly overblown? A club in serious peril?
For just a moment, he seems ready to confront this;
“But, the longer they wait to turn assumptions into reality, the more time they are allowing McInnes to consider about what is really waiting there for him at the end of the road. The more reason he might find to think twice about accepting the charges …”
And yet this isn’t an admission that Sevco is a basket-case club; it’s a mild musing on whether or not McInnes will “feel wanted.”
Let me tell you, manager’s don’t make decisions like based on the warm feeling they get inside when they pick up the phone and hear how loved they are. They base them on hard-nosed facts, on cold analysis, and McInnes will certainly not be in any rush.
The other assumptions in the article are equally specious.
“Sound logic and basic arithmetic will tell him he can get much closer to Rodgers and Celtic with a budget of circa £15m to spend on building a team as opposed to the relatively paltry wage bill he’s been afforded at Pittodrie.”
So that’s how it works, is it? Sound logic and basic arithmetic? Imagine, Keith Jackson having the brass ones to write that sentence as if he understands logic or arithmetic. He clearly doesn’t know what “£16 million in debt” means. He thought Craig Whyte was a billionaire. He believes that Celtic and the Ibrox club are separated by the simplest equation of “we can spend a tenner for every fiver they do.” And it couldn’t be further from the truth.
In transfer terms, the media says they outspent us in the summer; maybe they did. But where does Jackson think all the money at Celtic Park goes? Our wage bill isn’t twice what theirs is; it’s three times bigger, a gap they will find impossible to bridge.
Here’s how the “sound logic and basic arithmetic” shakes us for Jackson though.
“The sums alone would make him more than five times more likely to put up a genuine title challenge.”
This guy can’t possibly be for real.
And check this out for utter drivel;
“Also, McInnes cannot go on for ever bumping his head off a glass ceiling. The work he has done in transforming Aberdeen has been truly remarkable but he may well believe his best chance of winning trophies with them came and went with Ronny Deila. The game has changed to such an extent since the arrival of Rodgers at Parkhead that only Rangers can finance his own managerial ambitions And, assuming if the board there are prepared to spend as much money on his squad as they were on Pedro Caxininha’s it stands to reason that McInnes will use it far more wisely. He doesn’t need to blow fortunes in attempting to make Rangers better than Celtic. He only needs to give them their money’s worth by making them better than the rest.”
So, McInnes is bumping his head off a glass ceiling at Aberdeen. But even in the event that he gets the kind of money Crazy Pedro did, he only has to make Sevco better than everyone else bar us … tell me how that’s different from what he’s doing now? Tell me how making them better than everyone else equates to catching us?
Here’s the crux of it.
“When McInnes concentrates on scenarios like this, he will begin to convince himself that Rangers is the right job at the right time rather than the poisoned chalice which Caixinha created. He will back his own judgement too and believe that he can sift through the deadwood and rubble which the previous two managers have left behind. So long as the board and the Rangers supporters are prepared to back him on a long term basis – and over a number of transfer windows – McInnes will be able to build something far more reliable and trustworthy.”
The mention of the “long term basis” and this assumption that the board and the fans will back him over the stretch. Sevco fans know he’s a second rater before he even gets in the door. They know the best they can expect from him is to steady the ship; hiring McInnes will be an admission of defeat, of failure, before the ink is even dry on the deal.
Celtic is heading for seven in a row. Jackson and his “basic arithmetic” should be able to do simple sums. Next up is eight. After that it’s nine.
The closer Celtic is to that number and the next one the more desperate people over there will become. I think we’ll have seen at least two more Sevco bosses before our ten in a row; beyond that the pressure might be less but I wouldn’t count on it.
The “deadwood and rubble” the last two managers have left behind can be summarised in the simple image of an empty cupboard. McInnes won’t have the chance to “sift through” it; this is the squad he’ll be working with until he can get rid of some of them, and I wouldn’t count on that being easy with guys like Herrera and Pena and Alves.
There is no huge transfer kitty. Only loans from a convicted tax cheat who’s facing court sanction and possible banishment. The club has to sell before it can buy which means finding people willing to take dreck off their hands for actual money. Even Morelos, the £10 million superstar, has gone something like eight games without a goal … this is a mess.
And Jackson is oblivious to all of it. The name “Rangers”, even if it’s not the name of the club playing at Ibrox right now, not the real name anyway, is all he sees.
Any good manager would look beyond that name … and that’s why Graeme Murty is still favourite to land the job, and why Sevco fans should be prepared for it.