Friday, 14 February 2020

"Back the manager"


Ibrox Noise would like to think that as well as giving you the latest news about Rangers, some exclusives, a few scoops, some analysis and all the rest of it, we can also do something a little different now and then.

And in this entry, we have one of those for your perusal:

The tribalism within Rangers fans over the manager: who EVER the manager happens to be.

Ever since Mark Warburton became boss, Rangers fans, in large chunks, have backed their manager unquestioningly.

Ally McCoist did not get the level of backing Warburton did, and the Bread Man became an instant cult, with supporters by and large devoted to his conduct and methods.

Indeed, at least one legend of the club, who will remain nameless, was appalled with this, appalled with Warburton, and wanted him gone as soon as possible. Ibrox Noise spoke to this individual many times and his opinion never wavered. But had we publicly produced his name, his popularity would have deteriorated so we didn’t.

Because the fans at large loved Warby – backed his persistence with Rob Kiernan, backed his signing of absolute lumps like Garner and Zelalem – because he was the manager.

And the thing is, it ended up exactly the same with the Staunch Loyal who considered Pedro beyond reproach too.

It didn’t even need a blind man to see the Portuguese was the wrong man at the wrong time, totally out of his depth and an appalling appointment – but he got 100% support from big swathes of the support who backed him unquestioningly.

And yes, this happened under Graeme Murty too – staggeringly, a youth coach was now 100% trustworthy with the seniors, and fans, in the majority, backed him too and were delighted the club had appointed him permanently.

You might all read this and think ‘well ah wiznae wan o’ them, ah hated all of those’, and maybe you weren’t and you did, but you didn’t make yourself too heard at the time.

Because we were deeply critical in places of all three of them and we didn’t get much backing.

And guess what – it’s happening all over again with Stevie.

This is not us judging him, that’s for another time and place, but instead we’re observing that once again fans are blindly, recklessly, and adamantly putting their faith in the manager, and when things go wrong, it’s the players’ fault.

Rangers fans, these days, by and large, support the Rangers manager more than they do the players.

When Ibrox Noise highlights players we particularly like, often the response is that we have obsession with the individual players, and ‘back the manager’ especially if said player is not a favourite of his.

There’s a trust, a faith put in the manager whoever he is that he’s the right man – that he is absolutely the 100% correct choice and must be backed whatever happens on the pitch.

This tribalism is not exactly constructive, nor is it helpful.

Steven Gerrard is just as accountable as every player he’s ever selected, just as accountable as the management team behind him such as Tom Culshaw, Michael Beale and the rest.

There’s no more importance about the manager, beyond one thing – they make the final call and so they take more credit for success and more pelters for defeat.

But when the dust settles after one of these kinds of results, the patterns of before resume, and the manager gets defended till death as the right man and the man to trust, where the players get slaughtered.

We believe there’s a simple reason for this – once the players go out there, it’s down to them – the manager, beyond screaming at them, cannot kick the ball for them. So even if he’s sent them out in an ill-fitting formation or gave a rotten pre-match talk, they’re the ones we see lose on the pitch and not him.

This is not us defending or criticising this, we’re just analysing and observing it.

And with Stevie, it’s clearly the case again.

This wasn’t the case under Walter, and it wasn’t the case under Ally – we remember Walter getting pelters after appalling results like Steaua and Grasshoppers and losing 10IAR. Or when there was a bad form dip during 3IAR. And Ally barely stood a chance from the start because most fans didn’t want him.

But Warburton was where this blind faith originated – all the songs about magic hats and the like – and since him, backing the manager seems to have become the most important thing about Rangers for a lot of the fans.

If tweedled-dee was the boss, the same principle would apply.

We’re not sure what other clubs are like on the whole, but we don’t believe we’ve seen this level of cult-hero’ism over the manager with other clubs like happens at Ibrox.

But hey, what do we know.

In Stevie We Trust.

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