15 November 2012

Taking the Lead

by Peter Ewart | CRO Contributor

Which one of these is not like the other?
The phony war is over and league reconstruction is very much back on the agenda of Scottish football. First to break cover was the SFL who have proposed a 16-10-16 structure which they discussed on Wednesday in addition to also revamping the League Cup format. 

Less than 24 hours after news of the SFL plans, the SPL appeared with proposals of their own. And just when you thought the Football League proposals look lopsided, the SPL excelled itself with something ridiculously complicated.

I'm not going to discuss the merits of the proposals in full detail here, for there simply isn’t the time, but suffice to say that the promise of all sides working together on reconstruction proposals seems to have fallen by the wayside. There certainly seems to be a bit of a power struggle developing.

What is however very clear to me is that Rangers Football Club has to be at the centre of any reconstruction development. That immediately presents its own challenges and difficulties but those have to be overcome as these changes will be crucial and we need to shape it not simply react to it.

I hope this is clear to Charles Green and the Club but I'm not exactly convinced about that at the minute. Green was apparently not at the SFL meeting at Hampden. He was in London on IPO business with the club secretary representing Rangers at the reconstruction meeting instead. I'd like to know how much input, if any, we had into those proposals announced by SFL. Our voice should certainly be heard.

Of course first and foremost we need to get the Club back functioning properly but it would be foolish not to commit resources to the reconstruction of the Scottish game too. Afterall, these proposals will undoubtedly impact upon Rangers in one way or another.

Kenny McDowall was quoted earlier in the week as saying:
To be honest, after everything we’ve been through we’ve had a lot to take on and we’re still only just accepting where we are.  
"Our main aim at the moment is to win the Third Division and that’s all we can do. Whatever happens after that happens. 
"It’s outwith our control and we’ll obviously take it but there’s no point in us looking any further than where we are at the moment. 
"It’s all talk at present. We’ve been put in the Third Division and we’re expecting to have to work our way back up the leagues. 
"We’re not looking any further than that and we’re not worrying about anything else just now.”
Quite frankly, I couldn’t agree less. I can understand that from the football side that yes McDowall, McCoist and Durrant's focus should be on winning the Division Three and Ally has more than done his bit on the non-football side this year. But the Club should certainly be interested in it.  It could be vital to our future.

It is going to be a delicate negotiating job. Our relationship with the SPL is pretty well documented. It is absolutely dire and their dealings with our club are unlikely to be friendly. In addition, there will certainly be a job in finding allies in the SFL. 

There is a heavy irony in Rangers’ apparent support for reconstruction. It was far from being on the agenda when we were in the SPL and I'm sure that some will not let us forget that. Whatever happens, I do think there should be a fairer distribution of finances within our game. In some respects I suppose that our presence in the SFL has started that process already.

The question though is what is best for Rangers Football Club and I don't think anyone is close to answering that just yet which is exactly why I suggest we need member on the board focussing on almost solely on league reconstruction.
Charles Green is not the man for the job given the negotiations involved and he already has a full-time job as Chief Executive and his involvement in the upcoming IPO. Sir Walter though could certainly provide invaluable input in terms of long-term vision for both the Club and for Scottish football. As a non-exec director he is not full-time but can suitably advise someone in a more prominent role.

So let’s appoint a ‘director of structures and development’ (or whatever fancy title you want to give it) and let’s do it with some urgency. We must ensure that whatever is decided for the future for Scottish football suits Rangers as best as possible. It is after all our support and our money that the authorities and clubs will be after. It is time to grasp the nettle. Let’s take the lead on this one.

Peter is a regular contributor to the CRO. He can be found on Twitter at @Seasider06 and via email: pewart@thecoplandroad.org