Ally McCoist, Charles Green and the Dreaded ‘Vote of Confidence’

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When Charles Green recently gave
Ally McCoist the dreaded ‘vote of confidence’ it was the first time the CEO has
publicly sent a message out to his manager at Ibrox, and it was worrying as
such.
Historically, when the chairman,
CEO, CE or otherwise bigwig of a football club publicly backs his team manager
following a rough patch on the pitch, the coach usually finds his days to be
numbered. The past is littered with example-upon-example of a significant board
official supporting the manager during times of trouble before said manager is
given his P45 and asked to vacate his seat.
As recently as May this year, Bolton’s Phil Gartside was quoted as saying:
            “I want Owen to stay and I’m certain he
will stay. We’ve formed a good working relationship and I respect the way he
works.”
The ‘Owen’ was of course Coyle
and that quote followed relegation to the Championship. Coyle was sacked on the
9th October with the side from the Reebok struggling in England’s
second tier.
Slightly earlier this year in
April Kenny Dalglish’s superior at Liverpool Tom Werner issued a similarly
positive statement on the Anfield legend when he said:
            “We’ve got great confidence in Kenny.
We feel the team is going to make strides in the future and he enjoys our full
support.”
One month later the Scot was out
of a job.
Unfortunately, there is little
reason to believe Rangers will be any different. Votes of confidence are quite
categorically public threats from the powers-that-be at football clubs that if
results do not improve in a swift manner, the manager is gone. It is incredibly
difficult to fathom any example where a vote of confidence followed by poor
results was a sincere and literal gesture.
In Charles Green’s case his
statement went slightly further than Gartside and Werner’s:
           
            “There is no chance of
Ally being sacked, yes, Saturday’s
defeat was an embarrassment.
But no one more than Ally knows what happened
at Stirling was unacceptable. We’ve got to get
a lot of things sorted at the club and we’ve never said it was going to be
easy. We are certainly not going to solve anything by dismissing the
manager. Remember, the manager wasn’t on the field on Saturday, was he? Ally
has absolutely my 100% backing. We’ve got a fortnight now until our next game
and that gives us all time to take stock, reflect and plan ahead.”
The section in bold is the most
worrying threat of all. With McCoist stating “I’m not embarrassed” Green is quite deliberately taking the Rangers
manager to task by nigh-on publicly scolding him for the result and his
comments about not being embarrassed.
I should clarify, however, that I
am not taking sides on this – nor am I advocating
McCoist’s dismissal in the slightest. I am merely showing evidence,
worrying evidence, that a vote of confidence, however it is worded, is quite
literally the opposite.
The final score at Forthbank
Stadium was indeed an incredibly dark day in the history of the Ibrox club on
the pitch. It was quite feasibly the worst result Rangers have ever suffered,
humbled as they were by the poorest league side in the SFL and continuing the
rot of the side’s inability to travel in this division. I will not re-tread
depressing ground on why the side is
unable to secure victories on the road yet manages at Ibrox, but a truly
scarring final score such as this was sadly on the cards.
And it prompted Green to make a
threat to his manager. The message to McCoist is as clear as it is with any
other example of a vote of confidence: if the results away from home (in this
case) do not improve fairly quickly, McCoist will be relieved of his position.
Whether he moves ‘upstairs’ or whether he finds himself excluded from the club
entirely, Ally McCoist is now under more pressure than he has ever been to find
a winning formula away from Govan. If the Dalglish example is anything to go
by, he has around 4 weeks to turn it around.
The ramifications and fan opinion
of such action should he fail are concepts this blog entry will not venture
near, they are for another debate; the point of this one is to rationalise the
dreaded vote of confidence and its worrying implications.
We can only hope the threat to
his job somehow ‘inspires’ McCoist to fix the bleeding and find that elusive 3
points on the road.