07 October 2014

A Club Missing a Footballing Philosophy

by John McIntosh | Guest Contributor

The Rangers Football Club of today is a club who plan as far ahead as the next game. Ally McCoist has told us many times there are reasons he doesn’t feel he can plan ahead for the future but nothing should be halting the much needed development of our once great club.

Ally said in an interview that he wishes us to follow Ajax or Porto’s model, which I agree with, I just don’t believe he ever believed what he was saying as his actions in his tenure prove he doesn’t trust youth enough whilst we have no scouts - which is a disgrace.

In the backwaters of Scottish football we simply can’t compete with the extravagant spending that happens at the top clubs in Europe’s top leagues due to TV rights and prize money.

Ajax, Porto and Benfica have all realised the need to be “smart” to have any chance of being successful domestically while posing a threat in the premier European competition due to the league they are in and the lack of money.

These clubs either; concentrate on implementing the most innovative training routines in some of the best facilities in football, alongside quality coaches who nurture their youth sides with seamless transitions to their first team - or they have some of the best scouts available in every continent scouring the world for the next exciting young talent.

The philosophy is buy low, sell high. Very simple, but something we very rarely do. It’s simple business sense.

Meanwhile these clubs never rest, they know they can’t keep hold of their best players. They accept they are now a selling club to Europe’s giants but they are already nurturing the next big thing from their academy or extensively scouting the player who will be next to feature for them usually for very small fees.

Since 2003, Porto have won 18 trophies and have cashed over £550m in player sales. Yes, you read that right.

This is no pipe dream. Can Rangers adopt and implement one of these models? Absolutely. The whole attitude at our football club needs changed and quick but we can implement one of these models definitely.

Perhaps you think setting up a scouting network would cost too much? It wouldn’t, we are paying mediocre past it players £6k a week and more in some cases. Don’t sign 30-year-old+ past it players and instead adopt a youth development or worldwide scouting model. I know which one fans want.

Promotion of our many talented u20 youngsters costs us nothing while hiring scouts and implementing an impressive scouting network may cost a small amount, but if we get rid of a few duds on extravagant wages you easily have money to bring in the next big thing through top quality extensive scouting.

Ironically being in a poor financial state means implementing one of these models and planning years ahead is of major importance, massive money can be made on a yearly basis through high player sales within the Ajax model (youth development) or Porto/Benfica model (world class scouting networks).

Another thing that I am a massive fan of is the Barcelona model that every single team from first team to their youngest age group all play the same formation and tactics, thus enabling seamless transition as youngsters move up each year and I fully feel we need to do this.

Our u20 manager Gordon Durie at the end of last season said: “We look to only be losing one young lad for next season which is great.” This attitude stinks. Durie’s job is to have players playing well and to develop them with his success being that several of his young lads make it as first team picks through seamless integration to the first team.

No longer should we, as David Murray famously said, “spend £10 for every £5 Celtic spend”. We should be innovative and look to the models of Porto, Benfica and Ajax raking in massive profits from player sales.

As for McCoist it’s well known none of these models will be used while he is in charge, removing and replacing him is for another time but might I make a very ambitious possible replacement in a restructuring job – Ian Cathro working as head coach with a Director of Football overseeing all football matters.

Would he come? Debatable. He has stated an ambition to manage but he is working at a very high level currently.

We desperately need a footballing philosophy and a young hungry manager to take us back where we belong.