Andy McGowan breaks down the big moments of today's interview from RTV: Traynor v McCoist.
In the past few years we’ve seen the Ally McCoist we all know and love become a more sombre and certainly more serious figure. This was never more apparent than when he was dealing with the media during the administration and beyond.
Now that the majority of our off field issues are behind us we finally heard from the Gaffer in the Traynor interview speaking on a range of subjects, many of which were complaints from bloggers and fans alike from last season.
When quizzed on last season by Traynor, McCoist appeared to be a little defensive but more willing to compromise on the issues that bothered the majority of fans. McCoist still believes that we were short on players last season although I think a better way to word it would have been we were short on the right players or quality players, and he reiterated the need to strengthen the squad further as he feels Rangers fans deserve the best players we can possibly afford.
When discussing the apparent lack of fitness that plagued the squad last season McCoist tells us he disagrees that notion. He feels our preseason wasn’t ideal and that we perhaps underestimate how hard clubs in the SFL work in preseason and during training throughout the year. With a reshuffle of our fitness coaching seeing Jim Henry coming in and full preseason in the fold the players can and certainly should be fitter for the coming campaign, and Ally says of course that he wants as high a level of fitness as possible.
As well as the lack of preseason and the assumption that SFL clubs don’t work as hard in training as our full time team, Ally said another reason for the number of poor performances was down to every club treating games with us like a cup final, hinting at the increased adrenaline these players would have coming up against a club as big as Rangers.
He’s right about that although surely over not only the course of 90 minute matches but over an entire season those players would suffer a rather large adrenaline dump and simply fade away which didn’t really happen in the majority of games, even those coming down the stretch.
He reiterated that this is another reason why we need to sign players: “We are a completely different club to other clubs in Scotland.” Teams try harder against us ergo we need better quality players to deal with it. Again, not something a great many fans would buy into but a good insight into how our manager thinks and that we should expect players to be rotated often to deal with these games that Ally perceives as high intensity matches. Despite this, he does accept there has to be a higher level of consistency this season.
By a long way the stand out comment of the interview is that Ally feels he is never in a position to plan long term or indeed more than a few weeks ahead. He feels that as fans we demand the best and we demand it now, but has Ally underestimated our patience?
Far and away the fans biggest problem last season was the wages to performances ratio. Although he feels that it is a simplistic view to have of the situation it remains a fact that we were paying the biggest wage bill in Scotland, Celtic apart, and not getting our money’s worth on the park to say the least.
It was plain to see that almost all of the frustration was aimed at the more senior players in the squad and not the group of youngsters playing alongside them, so can we assume that if Ally wanted to take a more long term approach, say sign 10-12 players who were between 17-23 and plan for the future, the fans would buy into his vision? Absolutely, because the fans still buy into him. The fans still buy into Ally McCoist the man and if he gambled on a sustainable long term plan I think they would buy into Ally McCoist the manager.
Despite not planning long term on the park we have a five-year plan off it which is to return to the Champions League. Ally talks about becoming a club similar to Ajax or Porto—buying the best young players and selling them on as they develop, although he feels we can’t really put this into practise at the moment as good young players won’t come to us in division 2, which doesn’t say much for the young players such as Faure who he signed last season, or explain why we haven’t signed the best Scottish U17’s who would bite your hand off to play for us even in our current state.
What we should expect based on the interview is to see Jon Daly playing as a striker and not a defender, which is good news. The bad news is that Ally still doesn’t believe Andy Little is at his best upfront so we should get used to seeing him out of position on the right side.
On the fans frustration on playing one up last season Ally reiterates that he doesn’t feel he had a second striker for large chunks of last season and says that, “I would like to play strikers. I like to score goals. I want our team to score goals.” So we can be hopeful of a return to a more traditional two up next season and most likely in a four-four-two. He wants to play entertaining football and be a club with style but feels at the end of the day it’s not as important as winning and he’s right. We all want to be entertained but what’s more entertaining than winning football matches? Style when we can; substance when we need it.
Ally now feels he has the players to maybe not win a cup but certainly to go on a lengthy cup run. If we can challenge for a cup he would be satisfied and is hopeful we could even maybe win one. That feels about right for the players we have—hope rather than expectation going into the cups.
The real takeaway from the interview is that although he appears to be a more guarded Ally McCoist he is certainly a more relaxed one, a seemingly happier one and one who can hopefully get back to enjoying life with Rangers again. He wants to see times to come when the club gets justice from those who have continually kicked us, to handle ourselves with dignity as we have done for 140 years (minus a few iffy moments over the past two years as he points out himself), but can’t resist a cheeky little dig at Traynor for his part in the kicking.
We all criticise from time to time, me perhaps more than others, but as we go into the new season it’s important we back the manager 100 percent, even if he was a little defensive there is an acceptance of what the problems were and a plan in place to fix them.
He never fails to praise us; to him we are ‘outrageous’ in our unbreakable backing of the club and it is more important now than ever going into what could to be his most important season as Rangers manager we back the manager as best we can.
Be one equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. Or in other words, when times are hard we don’t do walking away.
With a hint of the old Ally McCoist magic on its way back let’s make sure we stay true to the promise our manager made: Let’s not walk away from him.