“Real Rangers Men”
“Real Rangers Man”
Over the past few weeks, these phrases have reappeared in Rangers’ fans’ lexicons, to describe the hope that the new manager would be a Bluenose himself, someone who already knew Rangers inside out and knew what managing the team truly meant.
When that did not happen, and instead we received an untried and relative newcomer to British football in Pedro Caixinha, the Portuguese manager himself vaunted the serious notion of bringing in his own ‘local assistant’ as he called it; A Rangers man, effectively, an ex-player or manager who could guide him through the nuances and idiosyncrasies of being Rangers, and what it meant.
In effect, less of a coach and more of a consigliere. An advisor, if you like.
It had looked like John Brown was in pole position to seal the role over the past 48 hours, only for the past 24 to throw Barry Ferguson up as the hot favourite.
But what of this ‘Rangers Man’ stuff. Is it truly relevant? Does it really matter if a Rangers manager or player is himself a Rangers man in the first place? The debate has raised some key issues and it is worth looking at the value of being a bluenose when it comes to doing a good job at Ibrox.
The most salient point is to look at the last few managers. Whether they were Rangers men has had mixed results – for successes such as Walter Smith and Alex McLeish (overall, he was, despite how his time ended) who are both dyed-in-the-wool Bears, there were Ally McCoists and John Greigs. All four arguably legends of the Club (to varying degrees) and few could deny all are Rangers men, but success was far from guaranteed.
Then we look at the non-Bears. Paul Le Guen was a disaster, as was Loaf Boy when it came to the SPL, but while Dick Advocaat was ultimately successful, he did it with £72M and Celtic had John Barnes then Joseph Venglos. And unlike Alex McLeish on a much lower budget, he was unable to make the last 16 of the Champions League.
So being a Rangers man does moderately help, but you need ability too.
The names being thrown around to take the managerial helm were often of a Rangers persuasion; Alex McLeish, Billy Davies, Derek McInnes to name three. But the counter argument is surely ability alone is enough and it does not matter ‘where you come from’.
As a result many fans canvassed for something fresh when it came to replacing Stuart McCall and ultimately were delighted to get Brentford’s cast-off. That experiment’s outcome, like that of PLG, did lend heavy weight to the idea that a new manager should usually have some idea of either the SPL, or Rangers, and preferably both.
This is why our current manager, who prior to the role had neither, has had such wisdom in endeavouring to bring in someone who has both, as a third man. Whether it is indeed Barry Ferguson, or John Brown, or Neil McCann as some outlets suggest, Pedro Caixinha’s humility in wanting someone to relate to him the ethics of the Club and the league is possibly a huge area where both PLG and Bread Man failed, in their respective arrogance that they knew best.
So, the final outcome; should it be all about Rangers Men, or does that matter? The answer? The right blend of everything is vital, and an intelligent manager will embrace that.