It has been whirlwind 24 hours at Ibrox. Mark Warburton and his management team have left. Or have they? Yes, they definitely have. It turned into quite the fiasco. Dave King released a lengthy statement trying to clarify the last few days. Joel Sked analysed six interesting takeaways from the Rangers chairman’s views.
1) “£18 million of the originally estimated £30 million investment has already been made.”
Really? REALLY? Has £18 million really been invested? In that? That is concerning considering the gulf, which is only increasing, between Celtic and Rangers. No wonder Dave King and the board had misgivings about Mark Warburton’s recruitment.
In his statement the Rangers chairman outlined the club’s somewhat overly simplistic plan of investment and aim to challenge for the title and progress in Europe by season three which is next season. Understandably, they may have not foreseen what would transpire at Celtic. Safe to say there has been a lot of wastage and the club are looking to get back on the path they set out on. Although they will have to reevaluate their targets.
King believes that investment will be more than the £30 million originally estimated. However, it will need to be used a lot more efficiently and effectively than it has been.
2) “There were rumours that the management team (presumably their agent) was negotiating with English clubs and, in one instance, I was informally approached to ask if the club would waive compensation if the management team was to leave. I was therefore not surprised when the management team’s agent approached the club’s Managing Director Stewart Robertson to request a meeting which was held in Glasgow on Monday this week.”
If King had his doubts, which he all but confirmed by admitting he was “not surprised” about the management team’s request to resign, then surely he should have acted sooner, rather than let this turn into another fiasco.
The reaction in the press and on social media told you everything you need to know about how the whole situation transpired. It was laughable. An embarrassment for the club while giving the media, Chris Sutton and fans of other teams plenty of material for their amusement.
As soon as a chairman suspects their management team are looking to move on it should make their position untenable. It is a clear indication that they no longer see their future at the club. As chairman of the club the present and future of the club is your responsibility, getting a team in place to progress the club in the short, medium and long-term is imperative.
King and Rangers acted too late to stop this becoming a farce.
3)“Your board’s routine questioning of management was leaked to the media and conveyed as being a negative reflection of the board’s attitude to the manager and the recruitment department. It was confirmed to me that the leak did not come from a board member. Irrespective of who leaked confidential information.”
Leaked information may not be the biggest worry at the club right now, but it is a product of a dysfunctional environment. When members of the club become paranoid or unsure who they can and cannot trust it leads to a tense working atmosphere.
When managing Valencia, Gary Neville spoke of walking the corridors of the club only for employees to quieten down on seeing him. It had been that way for a while at the Spanish giant who are languishing down the bottom of the league. It summed up a club which had, and still has, a rotten element to it.
The Ibrox conditions may not be quite as severe but Valencia can be an example of what could happen unless issues are sorted and everyone at the club is moving in the same direction.
4) “It is clear from subsequent media comments that the manager did not respond well to the board reviewing his recruitment activity. This is a strange position to adopt and, in my personal experience, is not a position that a more experienced manager would adopt. No manager in the world can reasonably expect to be beyond scrutiny.”
While the above only relates to matters between the board and manager, it could easily be expanded out to include scrutiny from outwith the club as well.
On Sportscene John Hughes said that Warburton knew how to make his team play football. He did. But in many other facets of management he failed. Having moved from Brentford to Rangers was a massive step considering the pressure at Ibrox.
It is now obvious that he struggled to deal with the pressure and the intensity that the management role at Rangers brings with it. He came across as gentleman in his press conferences but there was always a slight edge to his dealings with the media. On occasions he accused journalists of misquoting him despite them having evidence of what he said on recording.
He gave mixed messages and contradicted himself. Again, he may get away with that in certain jobs in the Championships. Not at Rangers. Everything is memorised.
He simply didn’t have the thick skin needed to succeed in one of the biggest jobs in Scottish football.
5) “We are now in the process of reviewing the best interim and long-term solution for ensuring that a modern and robust footballing structure is put in place that will continue with and entrench the footballing philosophy that we have in place. We also must protect and support the marvellous work that has been achieved by the academy over the last two years.”
That was how the statement finished. As soon as the full-stop was typed King should have switched his attention to ‘what’s next’. Forget about Warburton, he is now in the past. King now has a blank canvas to get it right.
As has been mentioned many times, King is an absent chairman, spending the vast majority of his time in South Africa. What he needs to do is implement a robust structure, appoint someone he can trust, that he can communicate with to make the operation more efficient and holistic.
Rangers need to look to the capital and see the set-up at Heart of Midlothian. A sporting director or director of football, or whatever the title may be, should be appointed by King to be the conduit between him and the board and a head coach, who is chosen once the director of football is in place.
Going by King’s statement, the board put a lot of trust in Warburton and Frank McParland. That hasn’t worked. Now King and the board are left with a mediocre squad, a lot of wasted money and much work to do.
6) “While we were dealing with the admin and press releases relating to the resignation the agent again contacted us and asked to defer the resignation until the management had secured a new club. I assume that the new deal had somehow collapsed at the last minute. The board met to consider this request but resolved to hold them to the original agreement.”
You can only admire the chutzpah of the management team. They want to leave, but not just yet, but soon, but they want to be in a job before they leave, which they hope will be soon. Again, the gall!
Why did the Rangers board even consider it? It has not left Rangers in an ideal situation but the way the situation has unfolded Rangers really needed to save face.
What. A. Mess.