Two events happened this week, on the same day, that might have been unrelated but which I found strange nonetheless. The Ibrox club announced its new head of PR and Media, a former Labour MSP who the press was at great pains to tell us was an “arch unionist” and had already helped the club out in its battles against the SNP.
The other was that Andy Halliday made the papers, briefly, when he said that he had spoken to people at Ibrox who had revealed to him that Michael Beale had “gone mental” in the Ibrox dressing room in the aftermath of the game on Monday.
What connects these two stories? Perhaps nothing, but the Halliday story was barely up online but it was taken down again. It vanished, completely, from the Daily Record website and that of its sister publication Football Scotland.
So did the Ibrox PR guy have a busy first day, or did someone at the paper decide, on their own, that the story served no purpose?
I know this; we were not supposed to know that little bit of information and neither are the club’s fans because they might be concerned if they did. That was a story that was never meant to get out, which is why it so swiftly disappeared.
If The Mooch is already going tonto at his players, then he’s fraying already. If he’s winning manager of the month awards and losing his nut like this, then can you imagine what their players will have to listen to when they are in a bad patch?
I cannot believe that there are still some people in football who think that this old-school “scream at them until they break” stuff still works in the modern game.
People zone out to that nonsense after a while and it breeds resentment in the dressing room. It does not inspire people to work harder or do more on the pitch. Players feel like they are being blamed for bad tactical decisions and the manager’s own faults.
Players have no faith in guys who feel like they have to act that way to get their point across and win over a dressing room.
Rule by fear is probably the bluntest instrument in the managerial toolbox and it’s a fairly ineffective one, and it comes as no surprise to learn that this is how he goes about his business.
In his early hatchet-piece, when speculation was rife but before The Mooch was appointed, Keith Jackson said that certain people in the dressing room had been pleased to see the back of him and were by no means looking forward to his return.
If he’s already resorting to this then you know how limited his thinking is. If he’s resorting to this he’s already bailing out his sinking ship and eventually all the buckets in the world aren’t going to get the job done. Remember what I wrote before he was appointed; very often with this stuff, the end is in the beginning. So it will be here.