Just what IS Mark Warburton’s recruitment plan?

Just what IS Mark Warburton’s recruitment plan?

Trying to sift one’s way through the myriad of confusion that is Rangers’ squad these days really is quite a challenge. Indeed, it is hard to know where to begin when summing up the recruitment policy, the squad structuring vision and the departures’ lounge.

When Mark Warburton took charge in the summer of 2015, he really did a fantastic job over overhauling a truly shambolic squad left over by the embers of the failed McCoist regime. 11 departures that summer meant Warburton was effectively able to rebuild Rangers’ squad from scratch – with a modest budget he compiled a clutch of players who took to the Scottish Championship like a duck to water, and there is no denying the free-flowing Barcelona-esque football vision he had for Rangers was having a positive impact.

This appeared to be the medium-term plan, but it became clear the squad was a bit soft-centred and lacked any kind of reliable defence, so fans fully expected summer 2016 to see defence and defensive midfield sorted. And yes, on paper the acquisitions of Joey Barton, Jordan Rossiter, Matt Crooks and the possible retention of Tottenham’s Dominic Ball appeared to shore up those deficiencies.

But it is evident the plan Warburton had for Rangers has not flowed in the way he would have wanted in the SPL, with a fairly unimpressive return to the top flight on show despite the quality he signed last year.

The damning statistic is that of all the 15 players Warburton signed in calendar year 2016, barely two worked out. Harry Forrester, Maciej Gostomski, Billy King and Michael O’Halloran followed by Matt Gilks, Clint Hill, Lee Hodson, Philippe Senderos, Josh Windass, Matt Crooks, Joe Garner, Joe Dodoo, Niko Kranjcar, Jordan Rossiter and of course Joey Barton have been a truly shocking return for a manager who once preached:

“There’s always risk. There is as much risk with a £50m player as there is with a £5,000 player. It’s about your recruitment, your due diligence, your knowledge and your eye. But you have to live and die by your decision. If you get seven out of 10 right you’re in a good place.”

By his own words, Mark Warburton’s Rangers are not in a good place.
The only successes of that list are Hill and Forrester, and even those are hardly to be applauded. The failures, for whatever reason, be it injury, did not fit in, were not fancied are absolutely abominable and there is simply no defence.

Many point to how impressive Dodoo and Hodson have been when making their fleeting appearances, and that is true – I rate both highly. But neither are Warburton pals and neither get selected consistently. So they have to be marked as fails – any player signed as a first team pick but who barely gets more than about three starts and some sub appearances is not a success even if they are evidently a good player.

In terms of transfers, Mark Warburton is the worst manager in Rangers’ history. To be worse than PLG (and Ally under trying circumstances) takes some doing, but how can anyone suggest more than two or three if generous of players signed last year were anything other than failures? The average team this season uses mostly players from last.

So now, after a long rambling mess we finally get to the current ‘policy’ – one which sees Matt Crooks go out on loan after Warburton fought tooth and nail to get him on a pre-contract for months. Not unlike his colleague Michael O’Halloran who is similarly looking at a loan out, possibly back to St Johnstone, following a three-month super-hyped transfer saga to nab him. Gilks also appears to be headed south with Wigan interested, and three more youth players were released in the form of Walsh, Sinnamon, and Roberts.

Meanwhile Jordan Thompson, who has barely been on the fringes of the first team squad when not out on loan…has had his deal inexplicably extended and chucked back out on loan while Rangers sign another couple of attacking midfielders. On loan, obviously. Because all the loan deals under Warburton have been a raging success thus far… (!)

Last but not least instead of just freeing the poor sod, Rangers fling Fraser Aird out on loan for the 18th time in his young career.

Anyone else just lost? I see no coherent pattern beyond random acts and signing flair midfield players, which is the one position Rangers are abundantly stocked.

There is no strategy, no obvious way forward right now – no defenders or plausible strikers linked, no defensive midfielder at all on the books, other than ironically enough, Jordan Thompson.

But it is all about the pathways, right?

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  1. Warburton is a spin doctor, forever in denial about the state of his side, but the team he created is an undeniably poor one. All problems are exasperated by the contrast with Celtic on and off the pitch but by the same token that should not be a reason not to be critical.

    • Warburton is not and never will be a Rangers man and the most worrying thing is that he thinks we are just another fitba team and doesn't have the intelligence to understand that Rangers are much much more than this to us (and THEM ironically?) somebody at Ibrox, be it the tea wummin,chef, anyone!! need to pin this impostor against the wall and explain the historical principles, values and the demand, year in year out, over last 144 years to be number 1 in Scotland and contribute positively on the European front. the sad truth is that under this bell end from here on in we are only going to go backwards as a blind man can see that he is way out his depth, although at the same time arrogant in his approach to the point of insults, and appears to be content in providing mediocre (at best) disorganised performances which will ultimately turn our proud club into another Leeds United
      The repeated points on this forum re- the East Enders being far superior and minted is, in my opinion, vastly over rated as I concede that relative to Rangers they have a few bob to spare at the moment but I can assure you I have seen many tims teams over last 50 years that were easily superior to their current mob, its not the case that they have raised the bar its more that due to our recent (& current) problems the bar has dropped like a stone because we were not in a position to carry Scottish football like we did over the majority of the preceding 100+ years. Bottom line is that if we got Tommy Wright in tomorrow and gave him a provy cheque he would do a far superior job than current chancers, Sooner the better

  2. Only thing I would disagree with is hill and
    Gilks. Sadly hill has been one of our best players which sums the team up. And gilks when he has played in the cups has been great. And I believe he's the one behind Foderinghams revelation this season. Last season he was hopeless. Now there's some saying he could be a possible for England. No doubt having a good keeper is pushing him forward. But warburtons transfers are shocking, lets loan out all our own youngesters but bring in youngesters from the clubs he is used to watching. He obviously have some talented young players waiting to be used but warburton obviously believes that young players from the EPL are better than what we have here. Hopefully he's out the door soon since he has no idea where he is still and thinks we're the Scottish Brentford no doubt

  3. A wee bit harsh perhaps.
    The finances aren't there for MW to make telling signings. He has done as well as can be expected trying to unearth a gem from a dwindling pool of resources. lets see how things pan out at the end of the sesson.

  4. Warburton coming out after the defeat saying we must aspire to be at lepzeips level, how is going to manage that taking players in on loan to develope for another other clubs future? Temporary fixes, it doesn't look like a building job to me either, I'm not saying toral and hyndman aren't gonna do a job for us but as soon as they've gone back to their parent clubs we'll be back at square one again. Ultimately it boils down to us needing investment in the playing squad or its gonna be a vicious circle year in year out. If only we had put trust in our youth in the lower divisions instead of being in yer Ian blacks and sandazas maybe we'd be in a better place right now.

  5. just a game to Warburton where he is experimenting being a football manager, not got or does he realise the passion of a Rangers supporter. Encouragement shown to the players he has signed is certainly not obvious as he doesn't show them respect by offering them any kind of run in the team after gushing about their potential when signing. The man is a knob and his side kick DW does not appear to contribute much to the show.

    • brian i agree with your assessment of warburton…but i would add that he doesnt get scottish football and is trying so hard to replicate the way that the english leagues go about playing…We should go down on our knees and beg stuart mcall (a very clever and proven football tactician)to return to the club he really wants to manage…if mr. mcall would leave his second love Bradford city f.c. then imho Rangers would progress big time!!!

  6. Whilst Warburtons actual man management are becoming ever more suspect (see Joey Barton doing more in one Burnley game than in his entire SPL career) I don't actually believe he can be blamed for this poor signing policy. There is one, and only one man doing the digging for players and it will not surprise me if he's the one making all the moves.

    As for fans that are screaming blue murder for King to spend his millions, it's not going to happen. There's no doubts he has them but you'll probably find their ring fenced in South Africa as part of his deal with their equivalent of the HMRC.

    In short, Rangers don't need money, they just need an actual scouting network that doesn't consist of one guy that seems to pick whoever is available.

  7. He's not the man for the job, it's obvious the guy is blinkered, he reminds me of ronnie deila,i could not believe my eye's when i saw that team yesterday,the two players who are leaking goals wilson/tavernier straight in the team again waghorn on the bench again,put that guy in the box and he will score goals,it must be glaringly obvious to anybody that knows anything about the game that tavernier cannot defend.

  8. Frightening when you see the stats agree with you in every aspect the spine of our team should have been the priority center backs holding center midfield and center forward tavernier is poor as a full back so he puts him in midfield where he is totally lost warburton has an obsession with midfield players and continues to play his favourites week in week out

  9. Abundantly stocked for creative centre midfielders? Only one I can think of is windass and you slated him yesterday. Warburton is getting pelters on here every day who would you like to see instead? Warbs knew we needed a new midfield as Holt and Halliday were fine last year but not in the spl. Kranjaer and Barton were high profile signings but it didn't work out and rossiter has been unfortunately injured the whole time
    2nd was the target this year and that's where we'll be. Warbs is having to work in the Bosman and loan markets so I think hes doing alright considering where we were 18 months ago, has also shown he is willing to change formation from 433.
    We have a very well respected young manager who is still learning. we were never going to challenge with the budget we have this season. Warburton deserves a bit more respect on here I think, I'm a season ticket holder and we are improving as the season goes on.

  10. How many midfielders do we need ? This turning into a farce, its staring everyone in the face (except) Warburton that we need a decent centre half and what do we get 2 more midfielders SHOCKING

  11. Lets be brutally honest, we need a new manager and a team fit to play for Rangers, no shit no excuses, plain and simple. To many people making excuses for this management team, they aren't good enough.

    • "There is no point in playing meaningless friendlies against sub-standard opposition – we have to go and challenge ourselves and you have to learn every time you play those games.' MW…and yet a 7 nil win v Linfield over in Belfast was hailed as a warm up for Celtic?? And how many times will we see , read or hear the sentiment about 'learning' 'improving' etc

  12. Let's hope the standard of the Scottish Premiership does not improve after the winter break or we are in real trouble. How the hell players like Halliday, Holt, Tavernier and Forrester, to name but a few, get a game is beyond me. They are Championship standard at best. Halliday has shown that his best position is on his arse. Holt can not play on a windy day in case he gets blown off the ball. Tavernier loves to go walk about while Forrester runs around like a headless chicken most of the time. Warburton has tried to bring in a style of football which is easy on the eye but what he has failed to recognise is that skillful players with a decent football brain are required to make it a success. I fear for the future of our glorious Rangers.

    • Fear for the future, is a telling remark, choices at the moment are watch Celtic expand , grow and improve as they rack up the trophies domestically and the money , internationally, and via transfers. Celtics scouting like it or not has consistently turned up players they can make massive profits on and then replace adequately , again via decent scouting. Even Van Djike could yet net the as much as another 6m from a sell on. They have pulled in million from friendlies ffs, playing Barca, Inter, Liverpool, Leicester etc in recent years in highly lucrative deals. Thrir sponsorship and shirt deals are way ahead of Rangers. And most concern of all should be the access to the CL. Even if in the next 3 years they managed to make the CL once or twice then their bank balance will see them dominate indefinitely. So its a self fulfilling cycle.
      The other choice is to go into debt, I should say further into debt as Rangers are losing money as it is, in order to compete, and that is a massive risk in itself.
      There will be a long payback for all the years of success under Murray and the financial problems that led to, not to mention the role of White, and Green.
      King was the only show in town last time out, it seems, despite lack of real investment, he remains so.
      Clubs credit rating is zero so borrowing money seems an impossibility.
      Rangers need a takeover to thrive, for now even staying steady is a big ask.
      Your fear is well founded Raynger

    • you nailed it on the head getagrip, Rangers are skint but we re all hearing old same stuff about 'catching' Celtic and 'spending' big. this sounds like inferiority complex, we have not learnt the lessons from Murray terrible years, but we still want to reproduce it in some way. Warburton is poor but who could do better with these pish players? King is hiding, no transparency, no transfer vision, Wabrs moaning and Weir talking about emulating "Walter years". We are on to some disaster and financial collapse with how things aregoing at the mo

  13. There are only 2 ways to stop Celtic dominating Scotland for years to come…

    1. Spend lots of money on quality players.

    2. Spend money on an extensive worldwide scouting network to uncover young players who can develop in the first team and then be sold on for a profit. This can include homegrown guys like some of the quality youngsters Falkirk and Hamilton have produced recently.

    Whichever option is chosen, the manager also needs to blood youngsters to rear our our talent for resale.

    I'm not seeing any evidence that the management team and directors are following either plan and it looks like we are going "season to season" with no forward plan to stopping Celtic

    • there are only 2 ways to stop celtic dominating scotland for years. 1. get rid of w and w. they are hopeless they spin same old story .2. get players in who want to play for the most decorated team in the world . take the best players in scottish premier cost pennies mixed couple good foreigners plenty fight plenty heart thats what wee need . how many players is warburton going to go through before he finds a good one

    • stevie, true but, option 1, impossible there is not lots of money option 2 perhaps viable, but hardly enough to stop Celtic, imo.

    • I agree with you. But the couple of good foreigners need to be scouted. And Frank the Super Scout only seems to be able to find ex-Brentford players or players who play in North West England.

      Following on from your point, I'd have Ryan Jack, Mark Reynolds, Callum Patterson (before knee injury) Ali Crawford, Craig Sibbald and Matthew Know brought in for a start. Probably cost less than it cost for Joe Garner for that lot.

    • Highly doubtful when you consider most of those players will be courted by championship and league one sides, and the fact you're not going to sell a player to your competitors on the cheap. Aberdeen, Hearts and Hamilton are all in a good financial state of affairs.

    • Those teams have sold players to Old Firm for over 100 years so don't see why they wouldn't now for right price. Plus most of those on the list are out of contract in summer

    • Because they no longer need to. In the here and now a lot of teams no longer need revenue from Celtic or Rangers, so there's no point clinging to the past. Are the likes of Ryan Jack and Ali Crawford going to leave teams were they are starters or have a good chance of playing to join a Rangers squad that has an incredible surplus of midfielders? Pattersons the only viable one on there but he's got ligaments like cheese strings.
      It's telling when you'd rather lump money on the likes of Garner but squabble over the value of Jason Cummings.

  14. His plan? He clearly has no longer term strategic plan, I'm dismayed by the fans trying to claim otherwise.

    Worse than no plan, there is no progress. I would even suggest that our team last season Would beat our team of this season if they were somehow able to play each other.

    There has been a lack of investment but we still have a large playing budget, which Warburton has wasted on a squad of mediocrity. For those that doubt this insatiable this:

    The AVERAGE salary at ibrox is according to the public accounts 300k. Now how many players has Warburton signed in last year, let's round it down to ten- that's 3million in salary alone, ignoring agent fees and signature costs (player fee, legal etc). Add these and we are close if not exceeding 3.5million. I now suggest that none of these players has really made any tangible difference, hence this money has been wasted. However the reality is he has signed more than ten players and wasted even more money.

    • warburton has let better players leave for nothing .mgregor our player of the year shields law clark these guys played celtic of the park last year .look at the rubbish we've got now they are no better than the players we had last year one guy in particular gregor he ran a mock against us in cup final while we had kiernan you could not make this up .stubbs walked all over warbs the carry on with allen his let the boy go to celtic what did we do warbs gives them our best defender and they pump us in the cup final i think warbs is on lawell payroll rangers should have took there best striker cummings and that would have pissed big stubbs off .lets face it anybody is better than garner doodoo mr warburton is to nice he won't do for rangers he's had a fair crack think we will be lucky to finish second

  15. Remember Fergie,de boer, gazza,the hammer?never out the opponents box.when did hyou last see halliday in the opponents box.

  16. Another thing i seen in the celtic game and never seen it before in my life,a right back (tavernier)taking a corner from the left wing wtf?.if the ball is cleared up their left wing how is he supposed to get back to cover?schoolboy stuff.

    • Marty / Getagrip, i disagree with you both…my reason? Tavernier was not playing at right back, that was poor fuckin Kiernan, our right back and right side Defender….we played 3 across the back ffs. It's beyond a joke now guys, Warnurton n Weir, GET TAE FUCK NOW

  17. Again I repeat the real tragedy is that the way Warburton utilises the loan system does nothing to build Rangers in the long or even medium term. What is the point of developing young players for other teams – better to blood our own youngsters in the first team. If we are to go down the loan route then we need some good experienced (not past their prime) 0professionals who will give us some dig and make us hard to beat. Most of these young players from England we're signing might be technically good but they are used to playing tippy tappy non contact stuff in the development league. They are just not strong enough for Scottish football.

  18. I've Jst read that warburton has came out n said waggy n ohalloran cud have done Better in the latter stages of the match with they're final ball to name these two players which he never does suggest to me he's trying to sickening them to get them out the door cos for all everyone goes on about McKay his free kicks, corners any ball he put into the last third never bet the first defender very very poor so to actually select the two subs is beyond an insult, I've been thinking for a while now that sumfin doesn't seem ryt way the relationship between warbs n waggy n then ohalloran his whipping boy does get a sniff. Sumfins Jst not right cos tav Halliday kiernan holt cud go on have not kicked their own arse has he ever named or blamed them for anything. NO!!!

  19. It's time for all you "people"on this site to wake up…fair enough you gave warburton his chance HE HAS F–KED UP…its time to get a real fitba manager back…get wee mcall back!!!!a man that really loves our magnificent club and who deserves a chance to make us great again…lets not feck about anymore…WATP

  20. DAVE KING CANNOT ALLOW Celtic to win 10 in a Row without a MASSIVE FIGHT/ CHALLENGE from RANGERS… The only way to do that is to OFFLOAD MW and DW IMMEDIATELY….. FIND and Bring in a New Manager to SPEND our/his MONEY on QUALITY PLAYERS who are willing to COMMIT and FIGHT for the club… We only have McKay and Wallace, the rest are not of GLASGOW RANGERS standard.