A nine-point deficit at the top of the league will be theRangers support’s biggest worry today, closely followed perhaps by the dawning realisation, that even after the club’s most successful season to date, the huge wage bill Steven Gerrard left behind at Ibrox swallowed up -almost entirely – the biggest income generating season Scotland’s youngest top flight club have ever earned, and has left the coffers somewhat light when it comes to attracting January transfer conscripts to the Ibrox cause.
Yet perhaps that understanding has now come to pass. Perhaps, thanks to the determination of a resolute group of Celtic shareholders down to the last man standing, the club’s representatives at UEFA meetings had enough evidence to show the workings to European football’s governing body as to how a now defunct Scottish club managed to manoeuvre themselves – with the alleged assistance of the bowling club brethren at Hampden – around the now replaced Financial Fair Play model.
And in its place lies the real reasons why theRangers boardroom may feel the need to feed compliantly placed stories of expensively targeted players, while apparently signing Championship bench dwellers for £125k spread over four transfer windows, and promising jam tomorrow.
Yet if all of that isn’t enough to force some of theRangers support’s brighter bulbs into a darkened room to reflect, it appears the man in the hotseat, who appeared to pinpoint a lack of club suits and brown brogues at the most concerning issue in the new manager’s in-tray, is already looking as much of a problem than he ever is as a solution.
Mick Beale is, if you’re a bluenose of course, a worryingly inexperienced managerial appointment with little or no main man familiarity, indeed he only had some 23 games as a boss in his own right before getting to climb the marble staircase and sit in the Ibrox manager’s chair.
You only have to look to Celtic’s history with the likes of Liam Brady and John Barnes, or indeed cheeky chappie Ally McCoist at Ibrox, to see that Micky Rookie’s lack of managerial experience may well end with green ribbons on another League Trophy. If not, then the habit of letting his mouth run away with him may well play also it’s part.
The man who contends he will refuse to name names in post-match interviews – as reporters cunningly attempt to draw out the identities of Ibrox multi-million transfer targets – before instantly naming three players by moniker, and then highlighting his intuitive judgement as to their playing careers to come – from his time coaching Liverpool Under 15’s or such like – is a sign of what should be theRangers’ support’s most acute concern. Namely their manager’s obvious naivety.
As a former US president proclaimed it is ‘better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt’.
Firstly, it was a case of smartening up the players appearance in the belief it would corelate directly with improved performances on the park. Then it was claims he inherited a nine-point deficit in the title race in an attempt to deflect responsibility – conveniently ignoring the minor issue that he had it in his own hands to eat into said deficit by winning against Celtic at Ibrox at New Year. That is, before bottling it when 2-1 up by making substitutions designed to hold on to a one-goal lead.
And then came his ‘lucky man’ observations of a Celtic manager, which conveniently appeared to discount the number of players Celtic had to sell – or indeed the ground zero predicament Postecoglou faced when he arrived in Scotland.
You wonder if Beale talks into the mirror mouthing ‘less is more’ over and over until a microphone is put in front of his face and Scottish football’s version of Tourette’s syndrome takes over. Because so far, he’s opened his mouth on several occasions, let his belly rumble, and merely added to the forests of trees that have been cut down to print the never to materialise transfer target and other associated misinformation fed to the hordes of theRangers support into newspapers across the country. What a waste of trees!
Mick Beale is possibly a decent bloke; he may think he’s got a handle on this gig and feels he’s expertly skilled as to how to control the narrative of his support’s discourse. He may even have spoken to the press regarding Postecoglou’s transfer budget as a way to highlight the lack of funds and snail-paced recruitment coming out of Ibrox.
However, once again that guilelessness shines through. After all, expecting the Scottish mainstream press to highlight anything that may be construed as negative at Ibrox – never mind actually questioning where all the money has gone – is another example of Mick Beale’s naivety.
And it is likely that such ignorance – just as much as a far more experienced and resourceful rival across the city – will ultimately see a lack of experience and nous, overshadowed by an abundance of both in Ange Postecoglou.