A team that has just been promoted to the SPL has replaced a battle-tested manager with a “box office” name who has, nevertheless, never managed a football team in his life. Even accounting for a summer where an under 18 coach has been appointed as boss a club which thinks of itself as a title contender, and who’s last “manager” was a promoted under 20 coach who they then had to sack, what the new boys have done here is extraordinarily reckless.
There are proven bosses out there who could have come in with a single remit; keep us in the league. It could be done too. Dundee looked like relegation fodder to me last season and St Mirren have just come up. Hamilton look staggeringly vulnerable, always, and could find themselves in real trouble early, without a strong start.
Livingston punched above their weight last season. No harm to them, but most people realise that. Perhaps they never expected to do this well or get this far, but now that they are here I feel they owed their fans a chance, at least.
Kenny Miller is an astonishing appointment, and one I cannot fathom. There is nothing to credit it at all, even the idea that he’ll be a player/manager. Every chance the media gets they’ll ask him how he thinks things are going at Ibrox, and so his focus won’t even fully be on the job he’s doing but on the one he doesn’t even pretend not to covet.
Livingston have given him a two-year deal, which is also wildly optimistic.
Either he’ll crash and burn long before then or he’ll be exceeding expectations just at the moment the Gerrard bubble bursts and then the campaign to have him sat on the throne will begin for real. I don’t anticipate that outcome, because the next manager of Sevco is already at Sevco; Gary McAllister will be in Gerrard’s chair the moment it becomes too hot for him.
But nor do I see Miller lasting the two years at Livingston. His new club has taken a punt and if Gerrard wasn’t at Ibrox and half the country’s media wasn’t half mad with the idea that a rookie can grab the SPL title from Brendan Rodgers’ hands I don’t believe Livingston’s board would have made such a ludicrous appointment; they are trying to grab onto a passing bandwagon and in doing so have jeopardised their SPL survival hopes.
I cannot understand their thinking. For a while, at least, it might fill seats … but it won’t even take very long for the consequences of it to become clear. They have a League Cup campaign getting underway in the not-too-distant future and their first league game is, of course, at Celtic Park. Without a solid start hard questions will already be getting asked of Miller and the appointment itself. It already looks certain to end in tears.
Some of the media will say this is crazy-brave … a move that shows intent.
It does not. It is not brave, it’s just crazy. It is a needless gamble, and since I don’t expect Miller to have come cheap, or be willing to work with their current squad, it’ll probably be an expensive one too, and at a club that has already flirted with financial oblivion.