There are a lot of people who think that the bloggers are a curse on our social media landscape, and that we don’t produce anything of real quality. But I urge them, every once in a while, to look over the fence at what the opposition is doing, and by that I mean the mainstream media. Because they publish stuff – as I wrote yesterday about the use of the website Transfermarkt.com – which dredges the barrel in ways the blogs never, ever would.
And one of those articles is up today; Barry Ferguson’s column, in The Record, about how the return of the “brown brogues” can give the Ibrox club an edge in the title race. I am not joking. He actually said that and a national newspaper actually printed it.
For the second time this week I’m going to go over an article paragraph by paragraph because, God almighty, this has truly found bottom in the media’s quest to find some crumb of comfort for the Ibrox support before the football starts for real again.
I could have copied and pasted this, stuck Keith Jackass’ name on the top and some regular readers might not have known the difference. That’s how bad this is; that it actually reads like a parody.
Here goes with the headline, and brace yourselves;
Michael Beale bringing back Rangers tradition of brown brogues will see them a shoo-in for success – Barry Ferguson
And we open with two shit puns for the price of one. Shoo-in and brown brogues? Oh my sides are splitting here! But it’s not half as funny as the idea of them having success because of the players coming to matches dressed in their Sunday best. Here’s the sub-heading.
Barry is adamant that standards are important at Rangers and that includes how the players dress in order to set the tone.
I would suggest that Ferguson is both right and wrong here. He’s right that standards are important and that how people dress reflects their standards, but he’s absolutely wrong to suggest that the notorious edict about players wearing suits sets any. It doesn’t set any tone except to annoy people and present the club as thinking it’s something special. Now let’s dig into the article itself, and it opens with this beauty of a line, just begging to be mocked.
Michael Beale might be a thoroughly modern manager but he has made an old-school decision that had me beaming with pride when he announced it.
Why were you beaming with pride Bazza? Did you invent this tradition? They really do fill people’s heads with one load of guff over there, don’t they?
You might think this is daft, but Beale ordering the Rangers squad to turn up suited and booted for home games from now on, is massive in my eyes. Wearing a suit, collar and tie and, of course, the brown brogues isn’t going to score you a goal when the match starts but this is a statement about standards.
We might think it’s daft? Whatever gave you that idea, Bazza? I am glad that there’s some realisation, at least, here that it won’t make players score goals … but really? If you have naff footballers how exactly is putting them in suits going to raise standards? Has he ever watched Still Game? A junkie in a suit is still a junkie and James Tavernier isn’t an England international whether he’s in a pair of brogues or a pair of slippers.
It would appear the manager gets what the club is all about and he is trying to install the values that, to me, were part of being a Rangers player from the minute I first walked through those famous front doors on Edmiston Drive as a 15-year-old apprentice. On match days, I would be the hamper boy and cleaning up after the games and all that kind of thing, but I used to see the likes of Richard Gough striding through those doors wearing that suit with obvious pride and a look that said “we mean business today”.
Incredible paragraph, saying so much in an unintentional way. The manager “gets what the club is all about.” Absolutely he does. Pretentious, arrogant, up its own arse, feeling that’s somehow a cut above the rest. He gets it alright. And Gough was a very good footballer and would have been a very good footballer whether he wore a suit or not. A football ground is just like any other workplace, and when you cut right through it being a player is just another job. When I think of footballers showing up for business I think of them wearing the strip. You know, the actual business uniform, the only one that actually matters, the one that says “right we’re here, all the superfluous bollocks is over with, let’s get down to winning the game.”
I loved it. And it’s right up my street that Beale has brought back the tradition because it’s all about standards and it’s what I wore on matchdays at Ibrox throughout my entire playing career at the club, working under Walter Smith, Dick Advocaat, Alex McLeish and then Walter again.
See, this is the thing with these cretins; this is all part of the forelock tugging, “aye sir no sir” that these Peepul seem to crave so much. Infantilise them, but in a way that makes them think they are being treated like grown-ups instead. It’s preposterous. You’ll notice again that he uses the word “standards” as though we would have missed it in the subheading and the opening. Any time I see one of these barmy dress codes forced on footballers I don’t think about standards; I think about Homer Simpson and the kids coming home from church and getting out of their “scratchy church pants” as fast as they can and not understanding why they need to wear them in the first place.
I’m not sure when the players were allowed to wear tracksuits instead of club suits – and I totally understand that when they are playing away from home and travelling is involved – but for me, it’s great that the new manager has reintroduced it at Ibrox.
A tracksuit says “I’m a professional athlete here to do my job.” A suit says “I’m a strutting preening poster boy who thinks he’s a cut above everyone else.” This, in many ways, is like McCoist telling a stunned press box that although the NewCo had no European income and limited TV money that they’d still be going everywhere first class because that was the “standard” they wanted at the club. Nonsense like this, instead of a common sense approach.
Having said that, obviously it’s more important the team does the business when the suit comes off and the kit goes on and I can’t wait to see how they get on against Hibs tomorrow night. I watched some of the new boss’ first game against Leverkusen at the weekend and although you have to take friendlies with a pinch of salt, there were obvious signs Beale’s influence is already working on the team.
Amazing that he’s figured out that the kit is the only uniform that matters and that only what you do in that puts points on the board. You can tell he mentally struggled with that one. He’s not the only one getting excited over a friendly against a Leverkusen B team either. This is another “tradition” over there; they were peeing their pants over beating a Real Madrid C team in pre-season not that long ago. That one had a happy ending, didn’t it?
The full backs, James Tavernier and young Adam Devine were pushed much higher than they’d been under Gio van Bronckhorst, while the three attacking players supporting the striker were much closer to Antonio Colak, then Alfredo Morelos. One of them, of course, was Malik Tillman and it was good to see him getting two goals.
James Tavernier is a bad enough defender when he’s in his natural position. If they play him that far up the park against us that’s not going to be a game, that’s going to be a ritual slaughter and one that leaves The Mooch hanging by a thread.
I can fully understand while Beale made an immediate point of expressing his desire to sign the young American on a permanent deal because he has the potential to be everything you’d want in an attacking midfield player. The ability is there, without doubt. Great technique, physical presence and he’s good in the air as well. Yet there have been times when I’ve looked at him and thought: ‘C’mon, you’ve got more to give.’
I would be concerned if I heard a Celtic manager talk in such glowing terms about making a player’s loan deal permanent after watching him in a friendly, especially when he’d already had plenty of time to convince people in actual games that matter. Ferguson is sort of saying that he hasn’t been terribly impressive in some of them … he should just say it straight up instead of trying to dance around what everyone knows is true.
If Michael Beale can unlock Tillman’s full potential, Rangers have got a hell of a player on their hands. I was interested to hear the manager say that fitness levels will have to improve and Tillman is one who seemed to fade out of games after an hour or so. I’m sure there will be a lot of work done on the training ground to try to make him a 90-minute asset.
A midfielder who is manifestly unfit, this deep into a season. Beale thinks he can crack this on the training field? There’s a reason managers put in such a lot of work in pre-season; this isn’t something you can accomplish in the middle of the campaign. As to the club having a “hell of a player”, that’ll be true if they can afford the fee to make him permanent. I guess they plan on shaking that magic money tree again, eah?
And talking of training ground, what a boost it must have been for Beale to see Connor Goldson coming back a lot quicker than he would have anticipated when he returned to Ibrox. I know Goldson has his critics, but he’s one of the cornerstones of the team and it was a massive blow to Gio when he went out injured.
Is it just me who has noticed that we’re no longer talking about players in suits and how that’s going to make some massive difference? I did smile reading this paragraph though because they’re rushing Goldson back way earlier than they should. His critics, by the way, include the vast majority of the Ibrox fans who think he’s caused some of the problems they’ve had this season.
The big fella is a leader, a real presence and a moaner on the pitch. Sometimes you hear him and wish he’d shut up, but then again, I was exactly the same so I can’t complain about that! Even if the Hibs game comes too early for him, he’ll be back sooner rather than later and that’s brilliant news for everyone at the club.
Throwing a player just back from a long-term injury straight into the team again. What could possibly go wrong with that?
The early signs are encouraging. I’ve looked at the training sessions under Beale and his staff that have been posted on the club website and YouTube. There’s a real intensity about it and I’ve always believed that you have to train the way you would play.
Are those the training videos that make Ryan Kent look like a world beater because he took the ball past a few of his pals? I’m still open-mouthed in amazement at all the hype and the hysteria that surrounded that particular clip.
Tomorrow night we’ll find out if that’s the case. It’s a vital 90 minutes, make no mistake. Beale will want to lay down a marker and will be demanding that his team gets right after Hibs from the front whistle.
Manager Wants To Get Off To A Good Start: An Exclusive By Keith Jackass. What a shocker, eah?
We started this by talking about tradition. Another one we had was pinning up things in the dressing room that the opposition had said negatively about us.
Oh and here we go! Back to the brainless prattling on about “tradition” and one of the hoariest old football clichés there is; this one about a team being motivated by comments from their opponents. And what negative thing was said that has so offended Bazza that he thinks the team needs it “pinned up in the dressing room?”
Lee Johnson’s comments about Celtic being a much better team than Rangers would have been on the pinboard back in my time. Maybe it will be tomorrow night as well.
Maybe it’s just me who wonders why the Hibs manager acknowledging the reality of the league table should be “on the pinboard” to inspire the team tomorrow? Is it controversial suddenly to suggest that the current champions, who in this campaign have a nine-point lead and who’ve already beaten this team like a piñata are a better side? Is the Hibs manager not entitled to express that view? And how is beating them going to disprove it? Surely if they want to react to that claim the best way would be to try to beat us? Well, nobody said Bazza was a genius.
I know if I was in that dressing room, taking off my suit, shirt, tie and brogues and pulling that blue shirt over my head, I’d be using that as a motivation to prove the Hibs wrong. Sometimes you have to look to the past to help you move forward.
If you’re trying to win a title race and are so far behind, and starting a home game in front of an expectant crowd, and playing for the first time in a competitive fixture under a new manager, and you need something that someone said which did no more than acknowledge reality in order to get you up for the match … then you might as well not bother going on onto the pitch. If I ran a dressing room which needed “motivation” such as that I’d chuck it.
And if was an editor who had to consider publishing something like I’d be sorely tempted to do the same. Brown brogues and newspaper cuttings up on the wall … this is up there with Nacho Novo’s “give them all a book or a DVID to learn what this club is all about” suggestion.
This is how they’re going to close the gap and take our title? God almighty, that club is in a very bad place right now, isn’t it?