GLF 58:Andy P shares some thoughts on our ex manager
McLeish Ruins Team Shock!
Will he still be there by the time you buy this copy of GLF?Will he be there by the time I’ve finished this article ?!?!?!I’m talking about good old Ginger Minge of course and what seems like his almost inevitable departure from Ibrox.As I write there are plenty of‘Well fans taking a fair amount of pleasure from Alex’s current trials and tribulations and more than a few cries of “Told you so” will be aired if and when the axe falls.
Big Eck’s departure from Motherwell still rankles with a few but I think what gets up people’s noses most isn’t the way he left, or anything he said about us since leaving.It's the way he was almost universally considered by those outside MFC of having done a sterling job with us.No debate,no argument. McLeish was the bees knees and 'Well were bloody lucky to have him.End of.
The fact that he’d taken the team from Premier League Runners-up and European football to within a whisker of First Division and Challenge Cup football while emptying John Chapman’s wallet at the same time just didn’t seem to matter as again and again the line about Scotland’s most promising young manager was trotted out by the media.
While his teams have been up and down throughout his managerial career,the one constant McLeish has been able to rely on is a more than generous press. Even now that still that remains true as journalists and columnists have lined up to back him in his hour of need.Granted there is now the added factor that as manager of one of the Old Firm he will be spared a serious going over for fear that the journalist concerned might suddenly find his access to those all important Ibrox press conferences that little bit more difficult.But the fact remains through good or bad, McLeish gets a real easy ride of it in the media.
Just look at his record this season with something like only 2 wins in 11 games as I write.That sort of run would have supporters of lesser teams getting seriously edgy with their manager,yet stinging criticism of McLeish in the media remains curiously difficult to find.McLeish has been through all this talk of his imminent departure before of course,but he’s never appeared to be in quite so much bother as he is now.
I really think it's amazing how quickly Rangers have nosedived this season and McLeish must shoulder the responsibility. They came into the season on the back of one of the most amazing title wins possible,had money to spend while Celtic in comparison were in disarray having lost their management team, a handful of players and had started the season poorly. If memory serves me right,as we went to Tynecastle in August Rangers were already a couple of wins clear of Celtic.To then be something like 12 points behind them by November is incredible.
Not for the first time,and it's perhaps his biggest failing,Big Eck often struggles in the transfer market.He got away with it two seasons ago because of the often mentioned financial problems that Rangers had but these are different times and after his latest round of wheeling and dealing with his title winning side,Rangers look much the poorer for his efforts.McLeish hasn’t been helped either by the short-lived but refreshing reign of George Burley at Hearts which has only highlighted just how little value for money he’s got in comparison.In ten days and at a fraction of the cost Burley and Hearts managed to transform their squad into genuine title contenders in the same time Rangers have been transformed into Top Six challengers !
The downside to Rangers' struggles,and sadly yes there is one,is that all and sundry have Terry Butcher on standby to be measured up for his new Rangers manager’s blazer.What realistically are the chances ?At the risk of being made to look foolish, I just can’t see it myself.While we might not be the biggest club in the world, I do think that Terry has come to love working at Motherwell in the same way that most of us love having him work for us.
For that bond to be broken, I think it would take something special to tempt him away and while I think he’ll go to a team in blue and white one day,I’m guessing it won’t be Rangers.I’d be far more worried if Ipswich were struggling and Joe Royle’s position was under threat than Alex McLeish at Rangers.I think Terry has laid the foundations for a great future at FirPark and unless that call from Portman Road came I think he’d regret not seeing that come to fruition.
We’ve seen Faddy and Pearo come and go,perhaps through necessity.Already a new era is emerging with youngsters like Skippy,Hammell,Barra, Buzz, Coach and Clarky bedding themselves into the team and with big things expected of the guys behind them like Darren Smith,Adam Coakley and Ryan Russell etc. Butcher has a great deal to look forward to in the future at FirPark.Then there’s the small matter of a League Cup Semi coming up.How much of a bearing will that unfinished business have in his thoughts ?Plenty I would think.
I think some folk think if they say Terry will go Rangers often enough it’ll eventually happen.The fact he left under a cloud and has been surprisingly critical in his condemnation of the Ibrox fans stance on sectarianism doesn’t seem to matter.It’s a bit like the thing with McLeish being great at FirPark. It’s been said so much its assumed to be correct.
But as a wise man once said,The Future’s Bright-the Future’s Claret & Amber !!And I’m sure Terry Butcher’s only too well aware of it.
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