04 July 2013

Traynor/McCoist: A nagging doubt

by Garry Carmody | Contributor

From a period of deafening silence over the past few weeks, Rangers finally pulled the curtains back and allowed the fans to have a look inside. Yesterday, our Director of Communications, James Traynor, sat down with manager, Ally McCoist, in as close to a "no holds barred interview" as we are likely to find.

A whole range of subjects related to McCoist's tenure were discussed. From centre backs to dealing with constant slander and venom being aimed at the club, most fans appeared satisfied as to what was asked, and what was revealed. I would include myself in this in the most part, it was something the fans had been crying out for, and Rangers answered the requests well.

The one part I was particularly looking forward to was the discussion of McCoist's football philosophy and his hopes and aspirations for his future as Rangers manager. The question was needed, but did the response really answer the question?

In response to Traynor’s question, McCoist initially answered that he wanted to give fans the "Rangers they have known for 140 years". He followed that up by saying he wanted the Rangers "that were winning things... reaching the Champions League and UEFA Cup Finals". He then went on to discuss how the five year plan includes getting Rangers back to the pinnacle of Scottish football, and that the backing of the fans was needed for that.

Now, without wanting to be too cynical or too critical, but was any football philosophy or ideas really revealed? Yes, Rangers want to get back to winning leagues... yes, Rangers want to be back in Europe – the eventual goals write themselves. However, where is the plan for the transitional period? The very simple fact is that Rangers don't suddenly go from a club in the third tier of Scottish football, to one that is topping the premier tier without a great deal of thought. Of course, the Rangers situation is extremely unique, and it is a club that has a great deal more financial clout than those around us, which makes the process easier, but are we, the fans, supposed to believe that this is simply a given right?

In reality, the fans that have invested £5 million of hard cash into the club are crying out to see what the plan is. On top of that, there are around 30,000 fans that have recently renewed their season tickets that want fresher football-ing ideas. Title wins and European football is fine rhetoric, but the reality is at the present moment, we couldn’t be much further away from that level. The end of the five year plan sounds excellent, but how is it Rangers are going to get there? Does McCoist want to help implement a more effective and wide-spreading scouting programme? What about the youth system? How key an issue will it be in the return to the top?

The big question I did take from the interview is that does Ally McCoist believe that the answer lies in numbers? At the present moment, the squad number lies at around 30 players – possibly even more. Last season the gaffer brought in a number of players to help build the second highest wage bill in Scotland – this summer McCoist has simply added to those numbers. Is it really necessary? With hand on heart, could Ally truly say that the players that he has signed are necessary? Or is it simply a case of a kid being left with a free run in a sweet shop? Is topping up the wage bill really part of the solution, or is it more part of the problem? Echoes of bygone days surround some of the transfer business, and the club have to question if there is room for it.

In many parts of his interview with Traynor, McCoist did well to defend both his job, and the job of his team. From the point of view of the fans, we can tend to be far too fickle, and at times, far too quick to demand things go "our" way, even though we barely have a qualification between us. However, when McCoist can be sat down for an "all areas access" interview, and can leave it with giving the fans a very vague, patchy description of how he plans to lead this club back to the top whilst protecting the long term interests, it most certainly means that questions remain.

I await McCoist and his coaching teams being able to prove me wrong, but at the moment, it remains quite a large nagging doubt.


  1. I think we need a Director of Football with a remit to develop/structure the future direction of the Club, with an almost exclusive emphasis on youth development. An academic-standard report should be made concerning what RFC currently does well and what clubs like Ajax and Barcelona do, ultimately providing a basis for a rolling action-plan which would always project 5 years into the future.

    Excellent article on an excellent site. Thank you both, Garry and Shane!

  2. Tom, would a Scottish culture or mentality embrace or reject the Ajax/Barcelona approach. It works in Spain and Holland because the approach is adopted nationally. In Scotland if only Rangers adopted a continental approach there would be very limited success. There has to be a collective approach which goes beyond individual clubs.

  3. Rangers have to find the system that works for them. As Levi pointed out, it'd have to vary from a Barcelona or an Ajax, and it won't simply be a carbon copy of anyone else's, but I think we can all agree that we are crying out for a better structure.

    Cheers for the feedback.

  4. Absolutely, I mentioned those teams as they're synonyms for clubs who invest in long-term development; I'm suggesting that we take the good from what we do now and expand from there. Thanks for the discussion, lads! :)

  5. The fact we have a large squad has ignited a pretty one sided debate in my eyes. From a financial point of view, yes, we have too large a squad given our current circumstances. However, people need to realise, the modern day footballer views the game as a pay cheque and I feel that was obvious with the attitude and performance of most of the squad (bar a few) last year.

    My view is that as we had a relatively small squad last year, the players knew they were going to get a game at some point so they didnt really have to try. They were happy to sit and do minimal training picking up their money with half arsed performances. With a bigger squad, this may alleviate some of this problem as some of the players will no longer be 'stick-ons' for the team and may give them the impetus to give us a little more to justify they exorbitant money they are on.

    Then again, I may be wrong if the modern day footballer seems to be driven by money only.


Keep it civil, lads.