One of the strangest articles to make the papers in the last few days was the one, by Keith Jackson, about how Michael Beale would not be arriving to bunting and fanfare and trumpets playing as befits the hero riding into town when he turned up at the Ibrox club’s training ground today. No other media outlet has bothered to comment on it.
It would be easy to dismiss this article, because it’s generally easy to dismiss whatever Keith Jackson writes. Yet in this case it would be a mistake. He knows a lot of the players at Ibrox, and he knows their representatives too. When he says that Beale was not exactly missed when he left along with Gerrard you can bet that Jackson knows what he’s talking about.
A lot of the players who would have been enthusiastic about his departure are probably not overly thrilled about his arrival. One of the players who many assumed would be happy to see the back of Van Bronckhorst is our old friend Fred The Ned; did you see the picture of him in the papers today, turning up for training? He looked like a guy who has just got off a plane from a luxury holiday in the sun to resume his life putting labels on tins of peas again.
He may well get some temporary support from Beale as he tries to restore confidence in a dressing room where it has been shattered, but the impression you get from him is that of a guy who has checked out mentally, and why should he not?
Morelos, Kent, Davis, Arfield, McGregor, Helander, Jack and others are entering the last six months of their contracts. Some of these guys have one last deal in them. Others thought their careers would have taken off by now and know that this might be their last chance to get the sort of move they were hoping for. They aren’t running through walls for anybody, knowing that a serious injury will see them out in the street with nothing.
Are some of these guys amongst those Jackson referred to when he said that some of Ibrox’s players had been glad to see Beale go? Gerrard had some gravitas due to an exceptional playing career; that undoubtedly helped to hold the dressing room together. Beale has less than a year as a manager and has shown that he will walk out of clubs at the drop of a hat.
How can he even hope to command respect?
Furthermore, the media might well be happy to accept the utter fantasy that any sort of search was conducted and that Beale was only approached once Van Bronckhorst was out the door, but inside that club everyone knows better and some of them liked the Dutchman and know full well that Beale was working behind his back.
There are big problems at that club which this hiring is not going to fix. I’m going to go over them a little later on. For now, think on Jackson’s assertion that Beale will not inherit a united club but one where his own presence might make things worse.
Behind all the talk of “emotional returns”, this is clearly a mistake of enormous proportions and I am glad that they’ve done this, glad they’ve reached for this solution and glad that our club is in pole position and with the will and desire to exploit it to the fullest.