STUART McCall, Terry Butcher and Billy Davies have emerged as front-runners for the position of Rangers manager should Ally McCoist depart the club.
There is confusion over the situation at present, with McCoist offering his resignation but remaining in the dugout for tonight’s match against Queen of the South.
Early reports are even suggesting the resignation offer will be rejected by the board. However, that hasn’t stopped speculation over who would take over as next permanent manager, with bookmakers around the country offering specials for willing punters. Here is a look at the top five contenders.
The former Motherwell manager is joint-favourite and would certainly appeal to the Ibrox faithful. He spent seven years at Rangers where he won 11 domestic honours and was eventually inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame. He’d also be a popular choice because of the sterling job he did at Motherwell. Despite losing his best players on an almost yearly basis, McCall managed to guide the Lanarkshire club into three successive ‘best of the rest’ finishes in Scotland’s top flight, an unprecedented achievement since the Old Firm tightened its stranglehold over Scottish football in the mid-90s.
Best odds: 3/1 (Ladbrokes)
Butcher spent four seasons marshalling the Rangers back four in the late 1980s, and is fondly remembered by the Ibrox faithful. He’s currently joint favourite with McCall at a number of bookmakers.
The club may be more hesitant to hire Butcher over McCall, if both are willing, after the former captain blotted his copybook with a disastrous spell at Hibs. Prior to overseeing the Hibernian nose-dive into relegation, Butcher rebuilt his reputation with a very successful spell at Inverness CT. Taking over a side bottom of the SPL, he gained promotion back to the top flight in his first full season and left the side when they were in the top six.
Best odds: 3/1 (Ladbrokes)
Davies started his playing career in Govan as a fresh faced midfielder in the early 1980s. In management he struggled in his first role at Motherwell but has achieved relative success with Preston, Derby and Nottingham Forest.
He has a confrontational style, which has often earned him criticism from supporters and members of the media, may clash with the veteran players in the Ibrox dressing room. There will be those who wonder whether he could cope with the intensity which comes with managing one of the Old Firm. Like McCall and Butcher, his availability may make him an attractive option since the cash strapped Rangers board won’t have to pay out any compensation.
Best odds: 6/1 (SkyBet)
Wise is heavily linked because of his relationship with Mike Ashley after the pair worked together at Newcastle United. The former Chelsea captain’s time on Tyneside was dominated by controversy. His initial hiring as executive director of football reportedly displeased manager Kevin Keegan, who later left after stating that Wise had tried to force him to sign a player based on YouTube clips. This unsavoury part of his career aside, Wise actually performed pretty well as a manager during spells with Millwall (who he led to the FA Cup Final), Swindon and Leeds, although he hasn’t had a job in management in almost seven years.
Best odds: 6/1 (Ladbrokes)
Seeing a club legend return to Ibrox would certainly cheer up some Rangers fans. The problem is that Laudrup hasn’t managed any professional club since retiring from football in 2000. He currently manages a youth football academy. Other left-field shouts are Richard Gough (25/1), Gianfranco Zola (33/1), Lee McCulloch (between 12/1 and 40/1), Dick Advocaat (between 10/1 and 50/1) and Chris Sutton (150/1).
Best odds (Laudrup): 20/1 (William Hill)
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