Geez, can we all just get a grip?
It seems like everyone is asking for Gio, the backroom staff and every single player in our team to be shown the door.
Yes, we need some boots kicking some well-deserved backsides, but what is needed is a wee bit of clarity, before we can work out who is to blame, and let’s be clear someone does have to take the blame for this stinking mess.
First the facts…And we start with the one that has been obvious to everyone for months.
The ones in charge of hiring and firing players (and this includes Gio) deliberately destroyed our chances of doing well in the Europe this year. There is no other explanation. We were all saying that it was crazy to get rid of all our backup CBs, yet they let all our cover go.
After four years of punching above our weight, and slowly getting better, the ones who should know better thought they could gut our back line, and get rid of Katic the human cannon ball, and sell Bassey, and Aribo with no world class replacements who could do the same job.
Let’s be real here. Aribo’s loss in midfield has just been huge, and with no Bassey, our back line is the worst it has been since we came back up to the SPL.
Now we at IN have been talking about rotating Goldson in and out of the team for years. And we have been roundly criticized for it. But did anyone in the Rangers team listen?
No, they and some fans began to think Goldson was indestructible, and they all waited until he got injured against Liverpool, to then suddenly find out that we had no replacement.
That is why you need to rotate players in and out of the team. We older heads know this. We have been around for a few years. Players get injured. It always happens, and injuries to key players cost us games.
That’s why every team needs to rotate their best players (not every week though). You have to allow your backup players enough time on the park, in real competitive games, so that they can get to know both their position and those around them, and then you bring in another player to learn the same position.
Honestly, does anyone in the Ranger hierarchy really believe that Katic could not have held the line against Liverpool?
And that has been Rangers’ problem. After reaching the final of the Europa league, rather than giving our team quality challengers for every single position, or allowing our youth some game time with the full team, the management decided that politics was more important, they wanted Katic out, and thought we could do the Champions League on a shoestring.
But that is only part of the problem. There is something far more important.
I think Gio has now lost the team.
Aribo left. So did Bassey. Kamara has shown no interest in playing for Rangers for months, and Kent also now looks like he wants out.
Honestly, after a team just got to the finals of a major European Cup, wouldn’t you think most players will be thrilled to continue playing at the same team, and would love to learn more under a good/great manager.
So, why are all our best players no longer motivated, and no one is signing new contracts?
Well I think the reason is that over the summer Gio changed our tactics. First, he threw out all that remained of the previous managerial reigns.
Over the summer break he introduced a zonal defensive line, which we all know did not work. After about a month of trying to force it to work he then relented, and he began to allow the defensive line to return to the shape we used last year.
But very quietly, and this not observed by many, Gio also made the decision to restrict the movement of the midfield.
In fact, this Rangers team now looks very much like a boring mid-league Dutch team, with the same boring predictable tactics, tactics that Rangers ourselves swept aside last year.
What is so [word deleted] annoying is this is mostly the same Rangers team that beat all the top Dutch teams, and also went head to head with top German teams, and beat them. So why did Gio decided that he needed to change things?
Well, I think he wanted to make Rangers more “professional”, and predictable, and boring? In the Netherlands the game is about statistics, and being in the correct logical position. It is all about ball control, and the speed of the player, and computers decide who should play.
Not only has the intensity now entirely gone from our team, but his own tactics has shown he is just tactically naive, and we can no longer call upon that in-built unpredictability that made Rangers so dangerous last year.
Remember Kent used to be unpredictable? Well, not now…thanks to Roy Makaay tricks are for the circus.
So, when the best players are told they cannot improvise, because Roy Makaay does not like it, and standard dribbles don’t go anywhere, the best players lose their motivation.
It’s human nature. Take away the thing that makes football fun, and players will react. Kent loved playing for Michael Beale, because Beale gave him the freedom to do anything wanted, and he got the team to rotate around to support any player that wanted to move forward.
It made Rangers Rangers.
A team with no fixed formation, which caused opponents to second guess their attacks, and it was fun to be part of.
And because of that freedom, these players, or at least the bulk of them, worked their socks of last year, and they got us to a final.
They totally outplayed some of the best teams in Germany, and using those same tactics we were one goal up against Liverpool.
And then the wheel fell off.
Gio now says he is at a loss to understand what is happening.
Well, for me it is no mystery. As soon as that one goal went in against Liverpool we immediately went back to the Gio and Roy Makaay playbook.
We were no longer aggressive up front, and we became defensive, and then Goldson had to go off injured, and Gio decided to again put on Davis with Lundstram. A move that immediately sealed the game.
For me, it almost seems like Gio and Roy Makaay have turned us into a mid-league Dutch team and now they seem to think that the only way they can manage a team is if they can work with the same transfer budget as Liverpool.
In contrast, Michael Beale realised that you need to coach a team, and by carefully managing your players you can beat the top teams, but Beale was limited in his tactics.
Gio and Roy now need to seriously think things over. They need to allow players to be able to cycle out of position, and to let other cover them, because with the way they are heading we are looking at another two 5-0 defeats by Napoli and Ajax, and I for one do not want to see that.
That means accepting that the Dutch style is not always the best way to play football. Gio and Roy have to trust their team.
The sad thing is, it didn’t have to be like this, but it really does seem that Gio was lucky. He came in last year and did not have time to change how Rangers played.
This year this is his Rangers team, and it his management style that has cost us so many goals.
If he cannot turn it around, Gio will very soon be out the rear door, just a few short months since being in a Europa Final.
All we can do now is hope that Gio can change and work some wonders.