As we revealed last night on Ibrox Noise, Rangers are working on bringing in Southampton’s Ross Wilson as the club’s new Director of Football to replace Mark Allen, and it’s safe to say this is an appointment, two years in the making, that has the potential to take Rangers to a new level both domestically and in Europe.
There is no denying Mark Allen’s tenure at Ibrox divided fans – what was a former youth coach doing as Director of Football, and was his role any more than a glorified scout. But the club is on a better footing over the past two years, and that is in many ways thanks to him as well as Steven Gerrard.
Gerrard was of course exclusively Allen’s man, and it’s worked out better so far than previous incumbents post-2012 did.
But Allen was not Rangers’ first choice, and Rangers’ solid if slightly modest progress may be substantially down to not getting the preferred DoF the board desired.
Secure Ross Wilson, who comes with a fine reputation and who has done a stellar job at Southampton, and it is a massive statement of intent at Ibrox.
A statement of intent that Gerrard’s budget may well increase, a statement of intent that the club is ready to make the final step to overtaking Celtic that it’s been threatening to do for over a year now, but not quite been able to manifest.
Wilson was the first choice when King took over, and once the board had indeed decided to go the DoF route, he was the man they wanted, but were unable to bring due to his decision to remain at St Mary’s.
But with Allen gone now Rangers could well get their man, if he now believes the time is right, and Rangers would be looking at a long-term appointment with a man intending to come home to his native Scotland.
He was in place at Falkirk when Arfield was there, which certainly helps Rangers’ cause – such a prominent player and unofficial captain will have a big influence in Wilson’s decision, but it’s the impact on Scottish football such an appointment could have.
Gerrard has been slightly hamstrung by limited budget. While Celtic went after megamillions signings (They’ve signed two £7M+ players in the past two seasons) Rangers had to keep the spending a little more frugal, even if Gerrard was still well-supported.
But with Wilson, the first choice as DoF, there is a nagging feeling it’s a major sea change with Rangers now getting the man they wanted in the first place.
We’re not making knee jerk assumptions that Wilson will lead to glory laden years once again, but Rangers are setting the foundations for it – time will tell if the cash follows.
But it looks good.