Once upon a time, the media considered Ibrox one of the most sought after managerial destinations in world football, and back when Murray was able to cow them and much of the game here and spend money like he had a permanent supply of it, maybe it was.
Maybe Ibrox was viewed by the top bosses as somewhere to build a career.
But it all came tumbling down.
When the club said farewell to Paul Le Guen the bubble was burst. He had taken the job on a timeline that had included Graeme Souness and Dick Advocaat. He was a big name which didn’t work out. The aftermath did something to the club. It wrecked their reputation as a place where big names went to work.
Their fans will cry foul on that, but look at the list of names who have wound up at Ibrox since Le Guen left.
Not exactly a list of top tier talent, right? A who’s who of who cares more like. To some degree this poverty of talent was about necessity; they don’t have the cash to go out and bring in that calibre anymore. Since Sevco, they don’t have the profile.
There is a still a certain level of arrogance at the club. Managers in the middle tier are still said to see a job at Ibrox as a draw, but they weren’t exactly queueing up when McCoist went and they’re not exactly queuing up now. Still, the media labours under a certain degree of delusion when it comes to them. The idea that they could appoint someone high calibre is raised over and over again. But look at recent coverage and you’ll see how phoney it all is.
The media doesn’t really believe Sevco is a big club. If they did they would not have spent months touting Derek McInnes. And they would not be touting Steve Clarke now.
I like Steve Clarke. He has done an amazing job as Kilmarnock boss. He is a good guy too, a genuine person in a profession of big heads and greed. He has been a superb appointment and has been a breath of fresh air for the game here. His team plays without fear, and that’s one of the reasons he gets results. That and good organisational ability.
But Steve Clarke is almost ten years older than Brendan Rodgers and has never won a major honour. He has been assistant at various clubs. Kilmarnock is his third managerial role, in his 54 years. He is a year younger than Ally McCoist, who at least has lower league titles to his name. I am not saying that he is not a good manager, but he hasn’t proved himself as one. He’s been in charge at Rugby Park for 25 games only. That is not a suitable period for rushing to judgement.
Yet the media is almost unified in touting him as Murty’s “obvious” replacement.
Sevco fan forums buzz with the view that he is the “only” option. And I read some of this and I wonder just what the Hell they are talking about. Is that all it takes now? Some modest success and a mid-table position in the SPL? Why don’t they just stick with Murty if that’s what they’re after? Do they really believe Clarke is that much better an options? And if he is, what does that tell you about the people who are running their club right now?
On top of that, I think it’s a huge leap to suggest that Clarke would want the Sevco job. He’s been in place long enough to have seen the unfolding shambles over there. He will know how they treat their managers, the intolerable pressure they put them under. Even if he was not loyal to his current employers – and all I know about him suggests he would be – he’s smart enough to look at the chaos that surrounds Sevco and know he doesn’t want it in his life.
The media’s behaviour here is appalling, as it was when McInnes was the Promised One. Aberdeen waited too long to nip the speculation in the bud; Killie have moved much more quickly and told the Ibrox club to keep their hands off. That people believe Clarke would just drop his current commitments and walk to Ibrox reeks of their egotism. Kilmarnock are raging over it and rightly so.
But that the manager of Kilmarnock, a 54-year-old who has managed less than 130 career games, is even being talked about as the answer to the myriad issues facing Sevco is even more telling. This is expectation management at its very finest.
Any Sevco fan who was hoping for a huge name in the event Murty goes should take a reality check.
Le Guen was a huge coup for Rangers. Sevco will never appoint a manager of that calibre, and they are no longer even trying to. They will never have a Brendan Rodgers. It’s the likes of McInnes and Clarke and Warburton from here on in.
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