The Ibrox Paradox


If one thing has stuck out over the past six years since Ibrox Noise started, it is the evolution and change in our club during the same time.

Our very first entry all those years ago was espousing the virtues of Steven Naismith following his injury, and how he was essentially three players in one which Ally McCoist had to figure a solution to losing. That was November 2011 and an incredible amount has happened since then and Ibrox Noise has been with you through all of it.

The present day dichotomy we are seeing more and more is a painful and irreconcilable paradox between three unalienable and entirely opposing concepts, all of which combined have made Rangers and its support a frankly strange place to be.

Do not mistake this as negativity – we still love our club, and we still support our club, but what Rangers are is now a bit more of a debate than it once was.

When an announcement earlier this summer confirmed a trip to Hillsborough to face Sheffield Wednesday, the reaction from fans of our upcoming opponents was something previously unheard of from English fans about Rangers – borderline derision.

Once, where Rangers were a massive draw for any English club, including the best that country has to offer, we have been reduced in their eyes to Scotland’s third (or worse) best team, and I will tell you, that is hard to stomach.

And it all stems from that earlier paradox Rangers are currently embroiled in:

Where Rangers are.

Where Rangers should be.

Resignation to the former but expectation of the latter.

Right now, quite simply, where we are; Rangers are a hopeless team with a weird manager and we are some way off third place in Scotland. That is the brutal, cold, hard reality right now of what this team and manager is. By the absolute pure logic, Ibrox is too big, our support too enthusiastic and expectant, and the scale of merchandise does not reflect the fact the club simply is not where it used to be. Leeds remain the classic comparative example – still with a massive stadium of over 37,000 but only 15,000 season tickets sold at the time of writing. Less than half, because their team just is not good enough and they have fallen a mile from where they used to be nearly two decades ago and fans have gotten used to it. Meanwhile Rangers have sold 40,000+, an incredible number because…well, our fans have not gotten used to where we are.

The second part is where we should be. Rangers fans still expect Rangers to be Rangers – to be the best team in Scotland or at least fighting tooth and nail with Celtic for the honour. Rangers are steeped in Scottish and Glaswegian culture as one half of the Old Firm coin, a coin which dominates Scottish football. Rangers should be signing the best players in Scotland and even a few of the best from England and cherry picks from overseas. We should be building a team completely jam-packed with excellent internationals; our last team before 2012’s exodus did not feature a single player who was not a multiple cap for their country. Now finding players who do have caps in Rangers’ average XI has become a challenge.

And the third part is the real worry – the painful and imbalanced relationship between expecting Rangers to be best, and accepting they are not, and in fact are miles off it.

Back in the day Rangers had the great Gary Stevens, Alan Hutton at RB, or even Paolo Vanoli. Now some of us actually try to justify a Wigan failure as being good enough to play for the Famous. Back in the day Richard Gough and Terry Butcher marshalled the back line, these days we try to see the best in Portuguese guys we have never heard of or worse; Rob Kiernan.

There is an impossible irreconcilable barrier which causes us to expect rubbish players to be good enough to play for our club – an attempt at bigging up mince like the now-departed Waghorn, Tavernier, Holt and on-loan Halliday. All of these guys are decent fellas and they are honest pros, but at one time or another a significant portion of fans have attributed ability to them they simply do not have. Ibrox Noise is as guilty as anyone, such as expecting Jason Holt to be good enough for the SPL for heavens’ sake.

And this causes the new-found ‘Let it Gel’ or ‘Give it Time’ brigade whereby we seem to think a manager or player needs a full season to prove their worth. Guys, Bayern, with a manager of the calibre of Carlo Ancelotti, have ditched Renato Sanches because he was poor after a few months and ended up having a garbage season – do you really think we need a full year to know how good certain players or managers are?

It is reasonable to afford new blood a month or two to bed in, but after that we are just making excuses for substandard fare.

And all these things added together cause Rangers to be in a very surreal place right now. It is one I cannot quite get my head around – I cannot get my head around some fans justifying rubbish, and I cannot get my head around fans who have resigned themselves to Rangers being poor. And yet, I equally understand and grasp why they do all of these.

Because football is an impossible emotion and there is simply no accounting for the logic any of us have in it.


  1. 1) be fair. Myles Beerman is a fully capped international.

    2) the current state of affairs can be traced straight back to the current and previous boards. Since 2011, there has been no clear strategy of how to return to the summit except winning, and winning now. The problem is that winning isn't a strategy; it's the result of a successfully executed strategy. Pedro needs to go because he's clueless, but the board is the real problem here. What exactly is the strategy or roadmap to overtake Celtic, and how do the hirings of Warbuton or Pedro fit into that strategy? Are they trying to bring in a manager that can develop players into better players? Maybe they want someone who can get the best from the current squad? Maybe they want someone with gravitas who can simply recruit better players with international pedigrees? At the moment it looks like 'none of the above' and they're throwing money at the problem thinking that if we spend enough money ipso facto we'll be better, which is borderline lunacy if you ask me.

    Until the board comes up with a cohearant and credible plan for how to get from here to where we want to be, we're going to be stuck spinning our wheels. Hiring a new manager and giving him a transfer budget is not enough if there's no underlying plan. Because the minute there's a setback in results and the manager is fired, the new manager will come in and rip up all the plans and squad that the last manager put together, even if there was progress that was made. That's what we're seeing right now with Pedro, and he's doing significant damage to the club in the process.

  2. you are right pedro has to go sooner rather than later .my opinion its all down to manager .look at aberdeen ,man utd, without alex ferguson .the board have got it badly wrong not once but twice .murty is a better shout than pedro were are all these great player sitting on there arse .lets face it season is all ready over thats why we just accept it . disgrace.

  3. What an excellent but sad reflection on our present day Rangers.The weekly dilemma of expectancy over reality.
    The committee's decision to employ Mr. Caixinha had many scratching their head on his selection. He simply is not fit for purpose and that becomes more evident on a weekly basis.
    The last two Rangers managers have been blow bags who never in a million years were fit to lead our team and millions of our worldwide supporters.
    Hell, we took 250,000 to Manchester just a few years ago.
    We are one of the BEST SUPPORTED TEAMS IN THE WORLD and should have a manager who thrives on that energy.
    But where is the energy from the selection committee. They are the ones who got it wrong not once but twice and must fall on their swords.
    They are the ones who do not see the greatness of our club, for if they did Warburton or Caixinha would not have been invited to Ibrox.
    We are Rangers.

    • Look beyond 2day n 2morrow… U need 2 plan the future if u wnt 2 b up with Celtic… 2o years n more in the making… Not 5 min. Get rid of the crims that have blighted your clubs over the last decades and instead start building a team and a club that stands for and plays football and not the history bgots (including the green brigade 4 us) who can only look behind their own ass holes to the past. Success lies in the future… No where else!!!!!

  4. Have to agree that we need a plan and it would seem to me that since we cant buy the caliber of players we need we need to find players with the talent and develop them. Like young Morelos, in the box with service he will be outstanding and can improve greatly from where he is with the proper nurturing. Play young Hardy more see if he has what it takes, let more of these youngsters have game time and see what it does for them. Perhaps had we let Gilmour have some game time he may have been a little more hesitant to leave. I don't care how young they are, if they have the talent at least give them a shot at it

  5. Act now & accept pedro was a mistake & we can at least try to build for better days. To carry on because he brought most of the players in or has a 3 year contract is only delaying the inevitable.

    • it is indeed robert, but how do rangers pay him off? and really virtually an entire team has been pourchased in the last two months by pedro, many of whom may not be picks fod a new man, a shambles of the highest order, a few big weeks on the horizon and more points will be dropped before Celtic arrive on the 23rd, though perhaps theyll be tired after a midweek CL game

    • How do they NOT pay him off. It'll be far cheaper in the long run if they keep him on while the season goes down the drain. At this point, the board needs to be concerned about reputational damage he's doing to the club.

      And as to the squad, they need to make the DOF responsible for transfers, or there's no point in creating the position in the first place. That he's 3 months into the job and still trying to figure out what the 'DNA' is of Rangers players is more than a little concerning as it's obvious he's not involved at all with the summer transfers. If he takes responsibility for the transfers, the squad doesn't need to be replaced every time we get a new manager.

  6. Pedro should go now like Warburton before him he is incapable of understanding how to attack teams. It's the same old obsession with possession. The only plus I can give Pedro is that the quality of player he has brought in is better than we had last year.

  7. When a near 38-year-old is relied on (again) to be your leading striker then that sums it up. Love Kenny. Legend. But he should now be at Dundee or similar and players such as Hardie should be getting their chance. It's still early doors. New players are still having to learn that playing at Ibrox is not the home advantage that they are used to and most teams will come to Rangers playing defence first. Even going back to Souness days this was an issue. The real test is going to be playing away. Will teams attacking more give us the opportunities we don't get at Ibrox and allow us to get the goals, that gets the points, that gives us the confidence for when we come back to Ibrox? If not. And nothing changes for the better, we can only hope that iPedro will see the light and do the right thing and simply resign and not cause us any financial headaches.

  8. Firstly, I agree with much of the article, in that we are not where we want to be and not accepting if where we are.

    We are Rangers, we will never accept second best.

    It is unlikely we will ever again get the quantity and quality internationals we once had, the money in England may now preclude that.

    We do have Beerman, Wallace, Alves, Dorrans, Miller, Herrera and Pena. Not world beaters, but 7 internationals. So it's a start.

    If Ped leaves, he will at least leave a better squad than he inherited. Don't think anyone would disagree with that.

    So while seeing things are not great, I do think they could be worse. We move forwards, as always, until we reach the Promised Land.

    • Can not disagree with squad on paper it is a lot better than the one we had but they must now stand up and play football like men play for the club play for the shirt/badge/for yourself but most of all play for the fans who love you if none them can not do that then move them out,Pedro will get another 6 weeks from the board i think that i just hope he can turn it around or we are going be so far behind we may not get even second place.

  9. Just can't see our current board bagging him, they will all have to dig deep to pay him off and get a new manager in, also it means they are admitting they have got it wrong yet again.
    Would like to see Walter Mazzarri as new boss, he's got plenty to offer.
    Just don't see it happening were stuck with Ped like it or lump it!!

  10. Think the board needs to take a risk here before we re 10 points behind before the old firm game I would suggest getting in tried tested players on who have played or playing in Scotland so for me creating chances n scoring goals is the problem so go out n get Naismith or caddis along with moult n walker and RB David gray from hibs a solid RB who just wants to defend. So that wud b four players in total. Cos if we don't I see us really struggling. Before people start saying Naismith will cost £2-3m only go for him if it suit us wages and fee wise.

  11. We are calling for the managers head because of a dream defeat to hibs and our months old squad not being able to break down a hearts team that's basically sat with 11 men behind the ball for 90 mins.

    Maybe we are in this position because we've never came to accept that this is going to take time and as soon as we don't win for a bit we go calling for the managers head. Stability is what we need, are we just going to keep changing managers until we find someone that can win us the league.

    I don't always agree with everything Pedro does but I can't remember the last time I ever agreed with everything our previous managers did.

    It's not going to happen over night, I only pray it happens within the next 3 seasons.

    • It's not going to happen in the next 20 years, that's the problem. There is no way out – can't outspend Celtic, smaller stadium and sponsorship deals, can't produce better youth. So no way of changing it.

  12. Early days yes. But currently Sheep signings such as Stewart & May are looking a lot better than likes of Herrera & Candeias..on far less wages? So something far wrong with our recruitment

  13. Pedro is a salesman, he talks a good game and has sold the journey to our board. Otherwise why would they go so left field when looking for the most important employee for any club. However I cannot understand why it has not become glaringly obvious he does not have the tactical nouse to compete at this level. He continuously gives ammunition to those who take pleasure in deriding our great institution, claiming to have the best squad, banning green boots, we are the people in dressing room and don't panic it will come right to name a few. I wish I could believe the latter but some of the tactics I see are so bizarre that I have no faith this man will compete against Rodgers. Three subs at half time last season, when going down to 10 men last week he kept Miller on playing him in midfield where we were clearly losing the grip of the game, putting Herrera on with Morelis and taking off the only paceman we have in the team. This weekend taking Dorans off and putting Kenny back into midfield again. Admittedly Dorans was not having a great game but Miller is not a midfielder, his tactics seem to be to try the bizzare so if it works everyone lauds his genius much like Van Gal did in the last World Cup changing goalies before the penalty shot out. These have shown him to be in the same mounld as Cathro, spreadsheets and sound bites are all well and good but we require a good solid man manager to get the best out of the players. Pedro nice guy but enough is enough we must get someone else in this week. Is Sam Allardyce still out of a job?? King please sort your mistake out quickly and Mr director of football there must be some great talent we can get on loan that we cannot afford to buy surely..

  14. We are where we are for numerous reasons namely; fraudulent activity at ownership of the club, turbulent division in the boardroom and between various ownership, terrible managerial appointments, mismanaged playing staff and coaching, lack of proper scouting set up. Do I need to say more?
    Whether we keep Pedro or not, we have many years to ever get back to where we were, if ever. Until we set the club up where we should have been during the McCoist mismanagement era we will achieve mediocre progress.
    Ally was left hamstrung at the start, few players to pick from, a deserted ship, but we struggled through the 4th tier to promotion. The next season is where it all went wrong. He went for experienced players far above what was required to win the 3rd tier without losing a league game that season, we may well think of that as progress, but we should have set up at the end of the 4th tier a proper structured scouting mechanism, scouring the U.K. and Europe for promising youth/ young plsyers like Celtic have done for years. With the experience we had I am sure we would have won promotion. The next year, repeat the process, building a team of some of Europes fine talents along with home grown players, the best in the leagues, as we would have been able to afford them.
    By going slowly, eventually adding the odd experienced professional would we now be in a better or worse position? I cannot answer that, but our club would be better structured, more like it had been before, working within a better budget structure and with the immense support we have, maybe, just maybe some light in a very long dark tunnel for us to look with some positivity for the future instead of the turmoil we have to endure at the moment.

  15. Great article and absolutely correct that the Rangers Board need a clearly articulated 5 year plan to restore Rangers back to the force we once were, challenging for the league and regularly playing in Europe.
    The first step is to admit their mistake and get rid of Caixhina now. Whatever it costs to terminate his contract – it will cost us far more in the long term to keep him.
    Second step – to appoint a tried and tested top manager with experience of Scottish football. Walter Smith or Alex McLiesh would be a short term answer to stabilize the ship.
    Third – in terms of player recruitment add quality not quantity. We need to be bringing in 2/3 £3 million players each year. Sometimes you need to go back to go forward – and there are players out there such as McGregor and Naismith that would come back at an affordable price that would instantly raise our level.
    This year has seen us waste £3 million on Pena and replace a raft of bang average players such as Waghorn, Forrester, Kiernan with a new batch no better – Herrera, Dalcio etc. We need to rebuild the team around Alves, Jack, Dorrans – add Walker, Naismith, and McGregor before the window closes and we will secure that second place this season, and look to kick on and add more quality next year.
    The alternative is persevere with Pedro and become a laughing stock with his ridiculous and verbose statements. 8 wins from 16 games in charge is Pedro's personal best as a manager – and a sobering thought – he has a worse record at Rangers than le Guen!

  16. Good realistic article. Every team in the SPFL have Rangers sussed on the park. They know how to play us by their favorite formation 1-10, then counter attack when we fall asleep. Apart from Shellic, this is how the opposition play against us and they are doing it well.
    It's all man for man marking whilst not giving Rangers players an inch. And when we lose the ball, we give the opposition acres of space to make the pass or shot at goal, we dont close down quick enough!
    Every corner or free kick, its aimed at Alves, the opposition know this, therefore take him out as a threat.
    We don't have any element of surprise and play into teams tactics of defending and counter.
    Need skilful players to take players on and open space. Need a creative midfielder to make the killer pass, Kranchar only plays when he wants to and the pace of the game just passes him by. I'm hoping Pena is the man, but need to get him on the park.
    All in all, Pedro and his staff need to come up with something to combat the "respectful" defending by the opposition. Respect doesn't earn us points, someone should tell Pedro this!!

  17. I get where you're coming from, but still argue (as someone did in reply to a previous article) that the system/tactics are at fault as much as the players. Jason Holt is easily an SPL player; Waghorn, Garner, McKay, MOH- they all are. If they were used properly.
    So they don't fit with Pedro's system; fine, he moves them on and brings in players he feels will fit.

    Trouble is, no-one seems to fit because no-one seems to understand what he wants.
    Say what you like about Jason Holt- two years ago he scored a number of goals from midfield with his bursts into the box- we have no-one doing that now. Arguably our best chance on Saturday was a lovely pass from Dorrans to Windass who had ghosted into the box. The Hearts centre-backs had a storming game, to be fair, but we were too one-dimensional.
    Kranjcar never got a millisecond on the ball and had three around him as soon as he took possession. Why? Because Daly identified him and used tactics to snuff out his technical ability by denying him time.
    Candeias crossed and crossed and crossed. I can't remember him hitting anyone in the box.

    Whatever MOH is, he is unpredictable- we need that kind of drive at the defence that Holt and MOH provide. It's why Windass looks good at the moment, though he took two heavy knocks on Saturday that put his gas at a peep until he was subbed.

    I genuinely think we have players good enough to do something and we were only one or two short of it last year.

    Until someone is in place who can utilise them properly, we will continue to be frustrated.

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