Keith Jackson’s piece this morning, on the Ibrox managerial hunt, is instructive for many reasons, not least of which is the notion he’s pushing that Walter Smith would have known what to do.
It is sheer nonsense, of course, because Walter Smith was involved in picking an Ibrox boss once upon a time, and the guy he gave the job to was so bad at it he never managed another club; I refer, of course, to McCoist, who was as disastrous in the role as it was possible to be.
But the mentioning of Walter Smith is no accident, and it forms a part of what he’s trying to say in the article. If he’s been briefed by those inside the club then we have a hint of their thinking, and what Jackson is telling us is that Derek McInnes is a lot higher up the list of candidates than people at Ibrox would have their fans believe.
Of equal interest is the spin being put on the Lampard story.
Now, it’s already been pointed out that sources in England say it was Lampard himself who pulled the plug on talks, and decided that the job wasn’t for him. Jackson, in playing the role of the useful idiot has been pushing the line that the club were the ones who pulled out … because of unhappiness in the stands.
Yet Jackson knows that this is rank madness and the thrust of his piece is that had Smith been involved in the process that he would have ignored what the mood in the stands was and simply appointed the best person he could, regardless of whether the fans backed the move or not. Because when you think about it, all the club has done in putting out their own version of the Lampard story, is make the job even more unattractive to outsiders.
If they are willing to ditch a high-profile candidate who they judged to be good enough just because the fans don’t like the idea, then that club is a basket case organisation where the lunatics are running the asylum.
Those of us with close proximity to Ibrox know that this is the case anyway, but you don’t, if you work there, want that freely advertised to the rest of the world in quite this fashion. The truth about why Lampard withdrew must be really bad if the club would rather paint a picture as dysfunctional as that.
But overall, Jackson’s piece is trying to sell the idea of Derek McInnes, and what I found intriguing is that he’s offered an alibi to the Kilmarnock boss which can only have come from someone close to the action here; that it was Smith himself who told McInnes not to take the job when it was offered to him in 2017. Jackson adds the further detail that McInnes didn’t trust Dave King after the South African tax crook changed the terms of the contract offer at the last minute.
Now, why hasn’t that story been in the public domain all these years? And why is Jackson writing it now with the caveat that McInnes was right not to trust Mr Glib and Shameless?
Jackson has been a King cheerleader as far back as a I can remember.
What this represents now is Jackson’s break with the previous board and his attempt to ingratiate himself with the current one. So, is he acting, here, on their behalf and trying to do spin prior to the appointment of McInnes, or is this him just flying a kite and putting in a little dig at King, just to show whose side he’s on? With this guy it could be anything.
But I’ll give Jackson credit where it’s due; he was dead-set against the appointment of The Mooch and said so right from the start. Whilst a lot of other journalists were banging that drum loud he not only didn’t like the idea but predicted that there were people inside Ibrox, including in the dressing room, who wouldn’t like the idea any more than he did.
Jackson does have some sources inside the Ibrox camp, and whilst I wonder if he’s ever going to really be on friendly terms with their board, especially after some of what he’s previously written about Bisgrove, he has put up the white flag and is doing his bit to get back in with their leadership as a whole. And maybe this is part of that.
But when the club is leaking to the media like this in an effort to head off a fan rebellion then it’s still being bullied by the loudest voices in the forums and in the stands, and as this blog has written several times that is the road to ruin for them.
They know they look utterly ridiculous in having sacked so many managers in so short a time, and that they can’t continue that. They know that they should be doing a long process to identify the correct candidate and they should even consider hiring the director of football first, allowing Davis and Rae to mind the team whilst they get this decision right … but the support won’t stand for that and made that perfectly clear in Paisley.
Three points does not change the mess that club is in, pulled hither, thither and yon by its most troublesome elements. The next manager will be on borrowed time from his first day in the job, and what has come across loud and clear over these past few years is that when – not if but when – he runs into trouble, he cannot rely on his bosses to have his back.