Paul Mitchell linked with Rangers’ Sporting Director vacancy

Paul Mitchell linked with Rangers’ Sporting Director vacancy
AS Monaco's Sports Director Paul Mitchell attends a press conference at the Centre de Performance in La Turbie, near Monaco, on August 11, 2022. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP) (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

With a lot of speculation over Rangers bringing in Paul Mitchell as a new Sporting Director (with the Monaco links re: Philippe Clement a driving factor) does Ibrox Noise favour that slot being taken up?

We’ll be honest, we don’t like suits interfering with the manager. We are not fond of some ‘boss’ looking over the manager’s shoulder approving or disapproving of his choices – if we appoint a manager, he should have complete control of the football side, unless, that is, he absolutely doesn’t want full control.

We look at the two most recent examples:

Giovanni van Bronckhorst:

Undermined at every step by ex-Sporting Director Ross Wilson, who signed basically all the players Rangers got last summer year, and Gio, while having a say, ultimately didn’t bring in any players he personally would have wanted.

Wilson took complete control of the signing side of things, and the scouting team, Gio included, offered their input, but it was Wilson who made the deals and the decisions. Unless, that is, you think Gio expressly wanted Ben Davies?

He even confirms he had no say in the exit of Calvin Bassey, stating:

“He played in his power. That’s why the player was sold. I was not happy that he left, but I understood the club.”

And then there’s Michael Beale:

He didn’t have a sporting director above him and was given carte blanche and his own irresponsible game of FM 2024 to play – and could sign any players he wanted. He was completely out of his depth and signed £15M+ worth of absolute rubbish that didn’t suit the club at all.

So, neither situation was ideal.

How do we sum this up? Well, Gio was a full football manager but reduced at Rangers to head coach and having to accept that the board/Wilson took charge of transfers. Meanwhile Beale was the other way around: a coach expanded to manager and getting to play with his own trainset.

Had they been the other way around, Gio would have had a lot more joy. Beale should never have been given that freedom.

So what does this mean?

It means that the manager’s wishes should be listened to, but only if the boss is someone the board trusts. Beale wasn’t, and the ‘new’ board had little choice but to honour the old one’s bad decision on him.

If Philippe Clement or Kevin Muscat WANT a Sporting Director, be it Paul Mitchell or anyone else, they should be given one. They are both experienced managers who have the wisdom to be trusted on that call. If they do not want one, they should not have one forced upon them.

We don’t mind a Sporting Director as long as the manager is happy with the SD’s role – and while the SD can do the deals, the manager should ALWAYS get to choose and endorse the players those deals are for, to ensure they fit into his football ideology. Unless, of course, he actually doesn’t want to.

In short, if you appoint a manager, you got to get it right, and trust their judgement on a number of things, including the appointment of an SD. Beale was a huge farce and mistake, and an expensive one, and hopefully the club have learned from that.

Whoever becomes manager of Muscat or Clement (or anyone else) must be the right call, and get to decide a number of things.

Sporting Director is one of those things.

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