One of the biggest debating points when a team appoints a new manager, or is on the verge of doing so, is how long to give the new man before forming genuine opinions about their chances of success.
When Rangers appointed Mark Warburton, we were all extremely happy and appeared justified in that with his first two months in charge. It was not till he got tactically out-thought by both Dumbarton then destroyed by St Johnstone inside four days that the doubts crept in.
When his successor was named as Pedro Caixinha, many fans knew it was the wrong man from the start. And while his debut v Hamilton went well enough, it became apparent even during his second match (that dismal draw at home to then-bottom feeding Motherwell) that those doubts were well-founded.
Now we have a new man coming in again, but the rules may be changing on this occasion. It appears it will be Aberdeen’s Derek McInnes, albeit that is not 100% sorted yet, but regardless, it is extremely likely to be someone familiar with the SPL, and familiar with the Ibrox expectations pre-2012, and similarly with those of the new era in Govan. McInnes does tick those boxes, but we will see if he is indeed appointed.
However, for the first time, Ibrox Noise would like to propose a genuine ‘free pass’ for the new manager – in short, he will be inheriting a pretty fragmented empire, with a glut of unsuited players, a glut of out of form ones, and very few who seem good enough for the direction Rangers want to go.
He will also have two months with these guys, and, free agents aside, unable to change any of the personnel. Hence, we feel it appropriate not to form substantial opinions until March at the earliest.
While we all want success yesterday, we have wasted so much time with half a decade of incorrect managers that a few more months to give (hopefully) the right one a real chance to take proper stock of the situation and formulate a plan to get us going in the right direction seems a rational approach.
If he has a patchy start, naturally as fans we will be disappointed, but we will give the man breathing room till he has a few of his own men after January. He will then, in the weeks that follow, deserve some judgement.
We will still be gutted at a draw, and a bad performance, and we will still call that, but we will support the ideas and the philosophies up till the guy has his own soldiers.
Now, there is a caveat here – it really must be the right or most sensible appointment. The likes of McInnes, Wright, O’Neill etc fall into that category. And it must be obvious that time is needed. If we appoint another left field manager then it is curtains for this board.
But the right man, and we sure as hell hope the board have identified him, will deserve our support, and will get it.
But once he has impressed his ideas and players and it is not working at that point? Sure, we will start to judge.
It may be the new guy manages to get more out the squad and manages to get results and performances we never knew were there. That would be great and would justify everything. We hope this is the case. We would love an overnight fix.
But if not, that ‘free pass’ comes into play – and until we are deep into Spring, and he has brought in a few of his own players, we will not make judgements about the man’s suitability for the role.
Many might ask ‘why did Pedro not get this’. The reason is we knew he was the wrong man, most fans did. And he did nothing through his caravans, Vegas and barking dogs to persuade us we were wrong.
Hopefully the new man is the right man and we can all move forward at last.