Ibrox Hired John Park To Replicate Celtic’s Transfer Strategy. It Has Failed Utterly.

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Ibrox is always looking for shortcuts to greatness. Its latest contender sits in the dugout right now, with the hype machine already in full swing.

I thought they would go for Muscat because he represented the quickest route to the top, if you were looking at things, the way they usually do. He was, after all, the man walking in the footsteps of Ange.

I think they’d have gone for Muscat had he not wanted to delay his arrival.

I think he probably was the one they wanted, but his loyalty to his current club meant that they would not be able to bring him in on time and by then their season would have been in ruins.

They actually backed off from the guy they thought could do the best job because they needed a quicker appointment than that. Hiring Clement isn’t the short-cut they wanted … indeed, they’re now stuck with a guy who they know sees this as a process, a marathon not a sprint.

But they need the sprinter, not the marathon runner. What a mess.

I wrote yesterday about how Clement has never signed his own players. Without the guys to tell him who to go for he’s nowhere.

Muscat could have “done an Ange” and suggested players he knew from Asia and perhaps even found the odd bargain although I suspect that the Maeda’s and Kyogo’s of this world were already snapped up.

That’s certainly what they were relying on.

Clement will have to rely on those at Ibrox now.

Those who have failed already.

One guy’s failure stands out above all others: that of John Park.

He is the ultimate example of how they tried to take a shortcut based on what they saw us do. They hired him because of his success at Celtic. They thought that getting the man would automatically replicate that. It speaks volumes for how completely they misunderstand what it is that we do.

Park was the front-man for an entire department.

Not only that, but Ibrox’s bizarre misconception that we somehow operated on the cheap is what skewed their view most.

Park’s record at Celtic was nowhere near as great as it was made out; for every success story he signed two or three failures and some of them were abject, awful failures … but we could easily afford it because we were, and are, a well-run club.

That’s how we survived the Pukki’s and Balde’s and all the rest of the dross that he and his department foisted on us over the years.

We absorbed those hits because we were able to afford it. And because the success stories were so successful that they paid for these failures twice over.

On top of that, the successes were often not cheap to buy.

Take Virgil Van Dijk for example; he cost us £2.6 million. You’d struggle to find many of those players who went on to leave for big money who didn’t cost us at least that and maybe even more.

Of the failures, though, few cost us as much as Dessers and Lammers have cost Ibrox between them.

These are colossally bad signings, and they hang around Park’s neck.

Ibrox just assumed that he would bring with him all the knowledge they needed to build an exact replica of our model. That was madness.

Hiring Park was sheer laziness, an attempt to short-circuit the system using our blueprint and it was never going to succeed in doing so.

Because Park’s department was vast and well financed and they could not afford to build one like it. They wanted the architect, but the blueprint … not so much.

At Ibrox he’s now being told to make drastic cuts and to rely on data.

But the cuts are to the human side of the business, the very part of it which can spot talent better than any machine can. Data has its place; it absolutely does. But only to fill in the gaps. Finding top players still requires knowledge from scouts and from face-to-face meetings and due diligence.

They aren’t moving forward here.

They see Park as some kind of guru instead of as just another cog in a bigger machine.

In a sense, this is still them looking for shortcuts.

Park’s decision to go there was mystifying although I hear that Ibrox is his preferred location, and I’d heard that even he was working at Celtic.

I have no idea if it’s true, because I never cared as long as he was producing the goods. But he had to know that they had nothing like Celtic’s system, and if he believed he was going to get the tools to build it he was a mug.

Now he and that club are stuck with each other.

He’s their failed experiment but they can’t ditch him until he’s cleaned up the mess of last summer, and he can’t go anywhere unless he’s made that right because that has ruined his reputation as resoundingly as it ruined The Mooch.

Who the Hell would trust John Park to “spot talent” for them when he’s got the last couple of Ibrox transfer windows hanging around his neck?

It is tough to see a single out-and-out success story from him. It’s absolutely obvious that whatever magic they expected him to weave was all used up ages ago. It may just be that Park is a dinosaur in a business that is evolving too fast for him to keep up.

Whatever Ibrox thought it was getting, what they got instead was the proof that Celtic’s success lies in the underlying structure, not in any individual.

This is what they’ve failed to grasp. As long as we had brought in someone semi-competent at the helm of our club this summer, we’d have stood a good chance of winning the title. But in going for a top boss, we virtually guaranteed it before a ball was kicked because that guy inherited a vast machine.

We may disagree with the strategy at times, but the strategy itself is built within the structure that underpins it, and they have nothing even remotely like that.

They genuinely did believe, I think, that John Park carried an encyclopaedic knowledge of football in his head, and could roll off lists of guys they should go out and sign.

He has talents, for sure, but I suspect that a lot of them are in analysing data that other people have put together … and the rest is about just going out and watching people in the flesh. But he’s not a miracle worker and never was.

His failure over the summer was vast, but it wasn’t his failure alone.

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a transfer window where so many people got so much so completely wrong.

The Mooch gets blamed for it, but what was he saying months before? They did their initial work identifying those guys way before the window opened.

These were the targets Park and others at the club signed off on, and it doesn’t matter that some of those people were gone before the season kicked off … as far as I’m concerned that lends weight to the impression that these were guys jumping off what they were all too aware was a floundering ship.

Nobody at Ibrox has clean hands here.

Park has somehow survived that, although I wonder if a new director of football will want him hanging around like a bad smell.

His decision to go to Ibrox to work has been a catastrophic failure for them and for him.

But it’s their decision to hire him in the first place that looks worse, by far.

It was laziness. It was an attempt to find a way to replicate our success story without the necessary structure, and that they didn’t know it was the structure, and not the man, is why they cannot get any of this stuff right.

It’s why their new manager is doomed before he even starts work.

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  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Tbh, wish ah shared your confidence this guys gonnae fail. Right now, absolutely nothins guaranteed one way or the other where his success is concerned. Imo, would be more prudent tae wait and see what he does first.

  • Jimmy R says:

    “The Mooch is getting the blame for it all.” Perhaps (almost certainly) because he tried to take the credit for it all with his, “I looked them in the eyes” nonsense. Someone should tell him to try looking at their footballing ability next time round. (If any club is gullible enough to give him a gig.) The dangers of a “data based approach” have just been brought home to me as I have suffered a session with a website chatbot which was meant to answer my simple query. 10 frustrating minutes later I was diverted to a human being who did solve query. AI & data are only as good as the people analysing them. Duff analysis leads to duff outcomes. Can they afford to hire a top class analyst?
    Have they got the gumption to hire a top class analyst? Or will they assume that the data is the answer to the question?

  • Roonsa says:

    Bobe Balde was dross? Are you sure about that? Seriously?

    • James Forrest says:

      Amido. Bet you forgot about him, didn’t you? Most people did!

      • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

        Adios Amido – After he took plenty money outta Celtic of course…

        Another Fuckin disastrous ‘project’ –

        Makes me wanna ‘project’tile vomit thinking about him and Borregtor and others !

      • Roonsa says:

        Thanks for clearing that up James. I thought you had gone mad for a while there!!!!

  • Johnno says:

    Absolutely spot on James.
    A transfer policy has to also suit the structure within the club also.
    The whole policy the scum have in place is trying to catch ourselves financially along with domestic success, and all without any type of long term plan in place either.
    A quick fix solution is never going to work unless you get extremely lucky, get it totally wrong and a solution to the problem remains years away, without the yearly income TV brings to many leagues.
    Even ourselves haven’t got things totally right either, with remaining as a club so reliant upon certain players within a squad.
    Still applies somewhat even now, even though I still believe there has been steps taken during the summer to improve matters, even if not completed as such yet.
    The big reason as to why?
    When you look at the amount of changes we have made over the past number of seasons within our European squads, there has been a serious lack of sustainability within in, yet we still have been looking for the quick fix solution that the scum are looking for within Scottish football currently.
    That’s how far the difference is currently between ourselves and the scum.
    We are looking to develop at a CL level with a squad, while the scum struggle at SPFL level.
    The game is very much a squad game these days, especially with the 5 sub rule, medical science with player rotation, injuries, loss of form, etc etc.
    So many other factors have to be taken into consideration also, and keeping the unity within the club intact also between playing squad and supporters alike.
    The 8 homegrown player rule for European matches is always going to be a massive problem to overcome, weather we will be ever able to do so, to a satisfactory level remains to be seen yet?
    See ourselves currently operating where the requirements have to be able to make a big impact at SPFL level, before a guarantee of getting a place within a CL squad?
    The balance might not remain right due to the 8 homegrown rule in play, but hopefully keeping the squad more sustainable helps combat the amount of movement we have had within it over the past number of seasons.
    We still haven’t had a conveyor belt of potential talent in place for the higher level required for European football somewhat, but still believe it has been addressed somewhat during the summer, if not completed as such yet.
    We have a core of players here for the longer term hopefully, that has been improved upon, than the reliant upon individual players approach.
    Just look how long it has taken ourselves to get to this position and not even completed still?
    And the scum still thinking it’s possible with the introduction of Pepe le poo and the turd polishing required with a massive heap of shite within that shit hole?
    Yeah right lol

  • John S says:

    I’m not sure any other scout could have fared better, their transfer strategy was based on players unwanted at other clubs.

  • SSMPM says:

    Imo I think your cognitive ability’s been corrupted under the influence of those SW of Scotland huns Kevan. HH

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