Showing posts with label Graeme Souness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Graeme Souness. Show all posts

Friday, 3 November 2017

Rangers legend rules out returning

Despite generous odds of 40/1, Graeme Souness remains adamant he is not interested in taking the reins back over at Ibrox, or indeed in any management position.

The 64-year football legend, who broke Rangers supporters’ hearts in ’91 when he left Govan for Anfield, has admitted while it was a mistake to do so, nothing could persuade him to return to football management, citing that ‘player power’, the ‘modern game’ and his ‘personality’ all factor in his refusal to take a role in that capacity again.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Why Rangers are not for a novice

Article by Richard Fillingham

In 1986 Rangers took a huge gamble with Graeme Souness to manage a Rangers side that was second best to Celtic. Souness was a current Scottish international and earned his wages in Italy playing with Sampdoria. He was told that he would have a very healthy transfer budget at his disposal and that he was wanted as the new player-manager to bring the ‘Gers back to where they belonged – No 1 in Scotland – and boy did he deliver! But such a first-time success at a club the magnitude of Rangers is rare; Ally struggled, and Warburton too is finding SPL Rangers a whole new animal compared to the Championship.

For the good of Rangers in the short and long term,

I hope Mark Warburton enjoys possibly his last months at a major British club. He simply doesn’t currently have it as a top manager for any of the big boys. Perhaps a mid-table English Championship team would be his best shot to see if he could eventually become a better manager with some more experience under his belt.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Feature: a history of Rangers managers '86-present. Part One - Graeme Souness

 Article by Richard Fillingham

Graeme Souness was Rangers’ first player-manager from April 1986 to 16 April 1991; he signed from Italian side Sampdoria for a fee of £300,000 and effectively succeeded Jock Wallace. Financed initially by the Club's then-owner, Lawrence Marlborough, chairman David Holmes embarked upon a bold strategy of reclaiming the footballing ascendancy that Rangers had been desperately seeking in Scotland after years in the wilderness due to the dominance of arch-rivals Celtic, and the emergence of the ‘New Firm’ of Aberdeen and Dundee United.

Souness' appointment as Rangers' manager attracted most attention, but his arrival as a player was also of team-changing significance. Graeme arrived at Ibrox with a reputation as one of Europe's leading midfielders – due to his immense success at Liverpool. His signings were unusual in that Rangers had never been able to sign any top-quality English international players before or even since his days in charge.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Mark Warburton: the man who brought the sunshine back

The Magician oversees training
By Kenny Reid

Difficult to know where to begin with the magic man & quantify just what he has given us in these short months. In terms of parallels it is hard not to draw a comparison with the arrival of Souness almost 30 years ago (how old does that make me feel?). A rudderless club moving aimlessly forward is suddenly grabbed by the bootlaces & literally dragged up by the charismatic new Gaffer. This new dawn sees small but significant changes implemented as an air of professionalism & pride permeate the Club at every level. Even protagonists of the quite frankly shambolic previous regime are given a new lease of life under a professional manager.

A reversal of the transfer trend that had seen the best talent at the Club going down south for scandalously low fees now sees players coming UP the road instead of down it. Asked why they chose this career path, almost to a man they replied that they either came here because of the manager or because of the size of the club. Those that provide both staple answers create even more excitement.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Is There a Media Bias Against Rangers in Scotland?

If administration confirmed one inalienable truth above all others, it was the clear agenda football authorities in Scotland have against Rangers. Once the club ended up in the hands of Duff & Phelps, it gave the likes of the SPL and SFA carte blanche to carry out a witchhunt on the Ibrox men, handing out punishment after punishment. The SFA even went so far as to ignore a court ruling in order to inflict 'justice' on Rangers, while Doncaster's men monitored the situation malevolently threatening to strip the Govan club of a significant number of league titles.

To ensure fairness within this blog, while the above has nevertheless taken place, recently the SFA did not take action over Rangers' intended boycott at Tannadice - quite what action they could have taken is something of a mystery, given the boycott breaks no rules, but nevertheless for an organisation priding itself on unfairness and vindictive punishment, their lack of action here came as a breath of fresh air.

However, one small moment of leeway does not quite compensate for around 10 months of ridiculous sanctions and threats, so it seems pretty clear to most neutral observers that the club has been the subject of an unfair level of treatment from the authorities in the game.

Going further back in time, though, and Rangers supporters have always felt a bias against their club from elsewhere; specifically the media. For the purposes of this entry, only the broadcast media will be focused on. The printed press is a law unto itself and would require more resources than I have at my disposal. But the broadcast media has been especially pertinent in its relationship with Rangers this past 14 months or so, beginning of course with the BBC's exposé of Craig Whyte. In the interests of fairness, Pacific Quay and Mark Daly called this one correct. He was indeed a crook, a charlatan, and a liar. His intentions were not benevolent, and Whyte near-killed the club.

Daly then produced a follow-up targeting Whyte again, this time making accusations relating to a supposed incident in court involving Whyte. Daly was possibly correct again, but sadly based his 'factual' documentary on pure conjecture, with the main fulcrum of his programme being that Whyte 'may have lied in court'. May. Not did. But 'may'. A rather tabloid approach which was nothing more than a character assassination of the man. Possibly accurate, yes. Broadcast journalism? Absolutely not.

But Daly then took his increasingly scurrilous approach further and produced the famous 'The Men Who Sold the Jerseys'. This was a piece based on, quite simply, lies. Daly's head had become too big after the success of his previous work and now he wanted to 'prove' (without doing so) that Rangers' use of EBT schemes had been illegal. With the club having won the big tax case, the proof was there now that nothing untoward had taken place. Daly won a Scottish BAFTA for this nonsense and is yet to return it.

So, as I hinted at, is there a media bias against Rangers in the Scottish sector? An industry insider told me the following:

            "By the BBC I do, especially their online stuff. That's probably due to the high number of Aberdeen and Celtic fans working there. STV? No. Sky? No."

The BBC, and especially Pacific Quay, quite feasibly due to the orientation of the allegiances of their employees, quite clearly have an anti-Rangers bias. Their repeated lies and constant references to a 'new club' when referring to Rangers is a blatant indictment of their true colours. It does not matter how outsiders try to dress the situation up to suit their own motives, while there is indisputably a new company running the club, the club itself remains the same one. Other clubs have had new companies take over the running of them, but they remain the same club. Same stadium, mostly the same employees - same fans. And yet, the BBC quite simply ignore these facts.

What about other broadcasters? As my source suggested, there is no anti-Rangers agenda at either Sky or STV.

Issues supporters have with Sky mainly focus on the appalling Charlie Nicholas and the ever-'popular' Andy Walker. Charles Paterson and David Tanner are not wholly favoured either. However, the number of Rangers-oriented employees at Sky is numerous and often forgotten. Ray Wilkins, Trevor Francis, Neil McCann, Graeme Souness, and (until recently) Andy Gray. Davie Provan, while a former Celt, is an incredibly fair pundit and has garnered praise from all angles for his very objective and accurate commentary. And when one focuses on the pro-Rangers employees there, if anything there is a fair balance between Celtic and Rangers-oriented pundits and commentators.

What about STV? Well, Raman Bharwaj's allegiances have been a talking point for years. Regarded by many as a Rangers fan, his conduct on Twitter where he made an appalling generalisation about his 'fellow' supporters in relation to John Terry certainly sullied his reputation. His colleagues' allegiances are even less clear; Keith Downie, Caroline Henderson and others do not appear to have any major leanings one way or the other and the sport as presented on this channel lacks any major obvious bias one way or the other.

My source also referred to the Press Association and Radio Clyde:

            "I think PA have a few issues too and that's possibly due to the leanings of their head man. It doesn't pay for papers to be biased as it cuts their circulation in two. Radio Clyde's Jim Delahunt is questionable."

Making a very valid point about printed press, why would the printed media have a bias when, in Scotland, that would alienate half their circulation? However, they do raise the subject of Radio Clyde, a station with a quite awful reputation. I have never had the displeasure of listening to the drivel on this channel, but my understanding is indeed that the likes of Delahunt and Keevins are anything but fair and impartial. SuperScoreBoard's phone-in is legendary for being full of Celtic supporters, the joke being they do little but discuss Rangers. Evening Times and Herald journalist Darrell King is known to be partial to the blue, red and white of the city, and he also appears on this station, so there is a hint of evening up the balance there.

Lastly there is ESPN - presented by Ray Stubbs who has no bias one way or the other, with Hateley and Burley as pundits, ESPN, while not always the flavour of the month, generally appears reasonably neutral. The likes of Derek Rae (Scotland) and Jon Champion (England) do a very decent job of reporting what happens on the pitch without too many personal values getting in the way. Far from perfect, particularly with Burley's rather arrogant commentary, ESPN have done a fairly good job of broadcasting in the UK without any major obvious leanings in any particular direction.

So, let us get back to the nub of the situation; is there a bias in Scotland regarding the media?

Regarding the BBC, quite simply, yes. There is no debate here. Sky? Unlikely - a reasonable array of pundits and presenters (let us not forget Jim White is widely regarded as a Rangers supporter too)  from different clubs evens the balance. STV? Probably not. Clyde? Quite possibly. ESPN. Unlikely.

Obviously this is far from scientific but it does use evidence alongside the conjecture to arrive at the conclusion that while one organisation hoists its colours high up to the mast, and another may have distinct leanings against Rangers, at least 3 or more clearly have little bias against the club.

Rangers' problems lie with the football authorities in Scotland, far less the broadcast media. Sadly, the BBC are a hugely prominent organisation.

Thankfully they do not make the rules.

Monday, 14 May 2012

A Marriage of Green and Blue?

This administration debacle has lasted exactly 4 months and has seen divisions erupt, friendships formed, personal vendettas put to one side, and extreme disagreements about what is best for the club. During this time supporters have experienced the best and worst about what it is to be a football fan, and have particularly suffered from 'speculation', including new potential owners (like Bill Miller) pulling out after initially looking solid.

On Sunday 13th May Rangers became Green.

When news broke in the preceding days of Charles Green's interest in securing Rangers, reaction was of the overwhelming negative variety. His apparent business history did not comfort many, most of whom pointed at his spell at Sheffield United as evidence of his unsuitability for controlling Rangers. In fact, very few supporters had a positive word to say about Green. From the trivial matter of his name, to journalists like Matthew Lindsay quoting supposed former (unnamed, of course) business associates of Green who suggested Green was a danger to football and Rangers, to fans still reeling from the rejection of The Blue Knights' consortium's bid - it is no understatement to observe that opinion regarding Green was nigh-on exclusively negative. 

The future's Green?
In fairness to said opinion, the evidence was hardly favourable on the surface. Sheffield United supporters will remember his 2 year tenure as Chief Executive of the Blades, recalling with horror how he sold key strikers, and how by the end of his time he was being described as the 'Axeman'. How he sacked Dave Bassett as manager and was subsequently labelled a 'backstabber'. By the time he moved on from his role as CE he required a police escort to safely exit the club in the midst of furious supporters. Almost as bad as Aberdeen's Steve Paterson choosing the transport option of the boot of a car after his disastrous tenure.

Recognise him? Well he's not in a car boot so probably not.
So, superficially fans were right to fear Green's tenure. He is not even just 'preferred bidder', it is, as David Whitehouse has stated, the stage above that of 'legally binding contract'. This basically means that Green's bid has exclusivity and assuming the paperwork matches the offer, Green will take control. Or actually, he will not. Not strictly, anyway.

The one concept deliberately omitted until now from this piece is that Green is not on his own. Indeed, as he revealed during Sunday's press conference, he is merely the 'organiser' of a large consortium of at least 20 parties, none of whom will own any more than 15% of the club. There will be no majority shareholder, and the investors come from global arenas such as the Middle East, Asia, the Far East and closer to home in England. Who they are has not yet been revealed, but Green's purpose is purely to organise this consortium - from my understanding he will have absolutely no financial control given he does not appear himself to be an investor. But his consortium will have the financial muscle to help stabilise the club, something he will help obtain by steering the ship. What Green's exact role will be is unclear, be it Chief Executive, Director, Chairman or mere board member; but he will play an important role. And that is key - Rangers have been financially mismanaged for such a long period of time by people who should have known better, that having a clinical, objective businessman who can help rebalance the club and put it on an even keel is critical. Having a fan solely owning the club is not a good idea.

Green has also spoken at length with Graeme Souness regarding this deal, given his close links with the former Rangers manager when he sold him Brian Deane when Souness was Benfica manager in 1998. Whether or not Souness is part of the consortium, naturally, Green refused to confirm. He has also spoken with the current manager Ally McCoist so he has certainly gained insight from those closely tied to the club.

Does this man have a role to play at Ibrox again?
It is also pertinent to point out Green does not see himself as a long-term solution to the club - he has stated that his time at the club will see the financial and business model vastly improved, debts gone, and sensible levels of investment. He is a mere process in the recovery of this great club, leading a consortium who can hopefully help get the club back on its feet. Once this has been achieved and turnover is healthy with maybe a little profit, presumably Green will hand over to someone with a long-term vision and ambition for the club.

Of course, even the man himself does admit a lot of his consortium's plans depend on a CVA being agreed, and the subsequent avoidance of the cliched 'newco' scenario, plus the hopeful success of the appeal against the transfer embargo. But he did appear to suggest a plan b has been drawn up should these outcomes go against the club.

Charles Green and his unnamed group of investors have a lot of work ahead of them, assuming their bid is fully accepted and they achieve control. His time at Sheffield, press-wise at least was slammed, but the man himself defended it vigorously stating that by the time he left, Sheffield United were the only club in England who were debt free. Quite a grandiose claim, and one he invited the watching press to disprove.

No one is 100% convinced by Green and his consortium, only time will tell if it is the right option for Rangers, but in the absence of any other credible bid, it appears to be the only option.

Green spoke well, and projected a sense of honesty and willingness to be transparent (despite his refusal to name the consortium members), but the proof is in the pudding and we will see if his tenure can match up to the bravado.

We will find out if Green and blue can really work together.