FEW can make head or tail of the current situation at Rangers, where Ally McCoist remains in position as manager after tending his resignation last week.
Those who may be considered in McCoist’s circle, as former team-mates and friends, are becoming more reluctant to comment on the managerial conundrum at Ibrox for fear of being misrepresented.
Jimmy Nicholl, current manager at Cowdenbeath who featured in the Rangers teams of the 1980s, said: “If you talk about the situation and express sympathy you are decried as being Coisty’s mate springing to his defence and not being critical.”
Nicholl was keen to stress yesterday that he does not know the “truth or otherwise” of “what’s been in the papers” about the developments over McCoist’s position at Rangers. A meeting between the Ibrox club’s board and their manager on Wednesday delivered no resolution to an impasse that cannot continue indefinitely.
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It has been reported that the Ibrox powerbrokers want to keep McCoist in place for the club’s AGM next Monday, which is expected to be an intemperate affair. This makes sense.
If there are questions to field about why Rangers are ailing on the field, and why McCoist chose to exercise his right to serve his 12-month notice eight days ago, better for directors despised by supporters that they are not forced to be directly implicated for one more tawdry episode not entirely of their making.
McCoist is well within his right to expect a pay-off if the club want his departure immediately. Equally, the board are within their rights to hold him to his notice period for however long is in their interests.
Rustling up £400,000 for a severance package can hardly be considered in the interests of a club that needs an immediate £8m cash injection to remain solvent. It isn’t as if McCoist hanging on could negatively impact on results.
These are already awful, with only two wins in the six games leading up to Livingston’s visit tomorrow.
McCoist is believed to have resigned because of his dismay that long-standing members of staff had been made redundant.
Nicholl makes it plain he has no knowledge of the ins and outs of what has gone on at Ibrox. But he can recall, from his days managing Raith while the club struggled to keep the doors open, how draining managing a football team against such a backdrop can be. He said: “I was in from nine in the morning till half ten at night and all I ever seemed to do was talk to administrators.
“I would be told ‘If you don’t sell a player and get £30,000 by the weekend we will have to make job losses’.
“Alex Smith was my assistant and he ended up telling me ‘You are not yourself and the players are all talking about it’. I thought I was hiding what was happening behind the scenes but I wasn’t the same on the training pitch and it showed.
“People tell you football is all about results, and that results and what happens on the pitch is all that selfish football people care about, but it’s not.
“If you are at a club with all these hard-working, loyal office staff and the jobs they have carried out for decades come under threat, that can get to you. Ally would be affected if that is what has happened at Rangers, of course he would.”
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