Tag Archives: Neil Lennon

The McInnes Merry-Go-Round. 

30 Oct

As everyman and his dog seems to have an opinion then maybe I should put the collar on and join in.  Derek McInnes is not only the Main Candidate for Rangers Manager he is the only Man for the Job.

IMG_20170409_145607

The Pedro Caixinha experiment has failed Rangers need a sure steady and as close to sure-fire Stalwart as possible and Derek McInnes is the prime candidate.

It is by no coincidence that in Old Firm terms the only Managers remembered as a success have been from three Countries; Scotland, Northern Ireland and The Netherlands.  From Struth to Stein, Waddell to McNeil, O’Neil, Lennon and the two Dutch Lads Advocaat and Jansen.  Paul Le Guen, John Barnes, Tony Mowbray and now Pedro Caixinha all confined in the forgotten failure files.  Managing the Old Firm is not just another Football Job it involves a quick understanding of the Pressures of winning.  The Men who have done well have either been brought up within the Environment or have very quickly got the picture.  Le Guen and Barnes for example looked at Managing in Glasgow’s pressure cooker as purely Soccer exercises and spectacularly failed.  Even Kenny Dalglish schooled in Glasgow forged as a player at Celtic, Shinning like a guiding star at Liverpool, Tempered Mentally by witnessing three Football disasters struggled to come to Terms with Managing the Old Firm.  So even when all the ingredients look to be there sometimes they never seem to be in right qualities.

McInnes has taken The Dons from Bottom Six looking over their shoulder at Relegation to top two looking over their shoulders at the rest of Scottish Football bar Celtic.  All done to a strict Budget and Wage Cap.  League Cup victory and succession of Semi Finals and Finals have brought the feel good Factor back to the North East.

Using smart signings and Loans McInnes has worked miracles and gained Cult Hero Status among the Dandies.   For three years now Derek could walk from Footdee to Torry across the harbour and not get wet.

There lies the dilemma for Derek, can he given the limited resources at Pittodrie take The Dons any further? No victories against Invincible Celtic in last seven games, not even a draw.  Rangers, Saint Johnstone, Dundee, the relegated Inverness Caledonian Thistle and most recently Kilmarnock have all arguably sneaked a Draw from Brendan Rodgers’ Men yet Aberdeen have not. Given the resources available to McInnes can anyone see any kind of increased ability for Aberdeen to mount a sustained bid for silverware.

That is not to say the Pittodrie Board are not doing everything they can to finance an increased Push for success.

Hampered by a solid steady fan base seems an unusual confinement but it is exactly what Aberdeen are.  Despite success on the field and publicly advertising for an increase in Home attendances, the Pittodrie average home crowd year in year out does not break sixteen thousand.  With “Debt Free” rules in place the options for Stewart Milne to back his Manager are severely limited if not bordering on impossible.
Aware of this Derek McInnes must consider at least that he has taken The Good Red Ship as far as possible.  A glass wall of achievement may not have been hit but it’s certainly on the Horizon and with little chance of being smashed.

Sunderland’s Summer interest was respectfully met with a polite “No Thanks” given the Basket Case Board Room on Wearside and the promise of New Stadium, Training Facilities and retention of Kenny McLean in Scottish North East then you can’t fault Derek’s logic.  Sadly for Dons fans a week is a long time in Politics and a quarter Season is a lifetime of changes in Football.

Kingsford Stadium Planning Submission stalled mysteriously and Kenny McLean indicating like Nial McGinn and Johnny Hayes last year his desire to seek higher wages elsewhere.  Joining a list of top players McInnes has lost for no sale value on Bosman’s.  That is a double blow, to lose a top player but to lose an Asset and not receive any funds to identify a replacement is Treading water of the highest standard.  Nor can you blame Players on AFC maximum wage seeking a wage rise after delivering success.  In any work if you as an employee work hard and bring accolades to your employer then of course you would expect an increase in your top line.  In addition to Loan Players at mercy of recall (Danny Ward & James Maddison) from parent Club or ineligible for over 10% of your League Games (Ryan Christie).

So on to Rangers.  Well the Ibrox Club have not their Troubles to seek.  From a standing start having been ripped apart Rangers have at least formed a resemblance to a Top Flight Football Club.  Make no mistake Dave King’s Chairmanship is staked on this appointment,  the loyalty and gratitude of the Ibrox Loyal will not last another failed Manager.  The stakes are high for King, get this right be a Hero get it wrong and Craig Whyte will have a Cell Mate in the eyes of the Coploan Road.

When McInnes was last mentioned in regards the Office atop the Marble Staircase, Edminson Drive was shrouded in the Fog of Merchandise deals, Court Cases and Board Room bedlam.  The Simmering Sports Direct Standoff was resolved in the Summer immediately prompting an Income Boost for Rangers and Puma Factories all over the world to look out Rangers merchandise Patterns.

Is there money at Ibrox for a new Manager to spend? I believe there is.  The War-chest promised to Caixinha in Summer still has a few Million Pounds in it only because of the Queues outside the Rangers Megastore.  That income was not budgeted for when Pedro Caixinha took over or even in the begining of the last Transfer Window.  That cash is still floating and that along with additional funds will be earmarked for Squad development in January.

Derek McInnes must consider moving back into his Family Home full-time.  Having a fully built Stadium attracting crowds of forty-seven thousand, world-class training Facilities all within thirty minutes drive of your Family simply must be a tempting offer.  Rangers rarely ask twice and for first time ever are asking the same question in less than a year.  It’s now or never for McInnes.

If and it’s still an If McInnes heads down the M90, M9 and M8 then his ideal replacement should pass Him coming North.  With Craig Brown in Non Executive Role at Pittodrie then Jack Ross is the ideal replacement to continue the stability of the Dons while enjoying working with an increased Wage Cap , Better Players, similar ethos and sea views.  He might even bring the Hot Young Prospect of Stevie Mallon with him.  It would pay even the most dissapointed Don’s Fan to remember the last Manager they took from Paisley worked out rather well for them.

wpid-2014-11-17-21-26-31-968298353.jpeg

Advertisements

Ladbrokes Championship Predictions 2016-17

31 Jul

wpid-2015-08-07-20-24-11-1178224015.jpeg

Continuing on from the Ladbrokes Premiership Predictions its probably a good time to step into the mire that is the Ladbrokes Championship.  Mire is a apt word as this league is by far the hardest to predict and Clubs finding themselves dropped into this league have found it easier to fall out the bottom of the League than gain Promotion to the Premiership.  In last three years only Hamilton Accies have moved up via the perilous route of the Playoffs.  Relegating Hibernian who have repeatedly failed to get out of the league.  Falkirk failed at the last Hurdle last year and Rangers the year before.  Don’t think for a second that remaining a in the Championship is easy too Alloa were last years whipping Boys and they successfully Beat or Drew with Teams chasing Promotion and Playoff Places.  Even before Ross Jack took some green paint to narrow the pitch.  The remaining teams will be delighted that their fixtures don’t include two trips to the dodgy carpet at The Innodrill.   

1 Falkirk
2 Saint Mirren
3 Hibernian
4 Raith Rovers
5 Dundee United
6 Dunfermline Athletic
7 Queen of South
8 Greenock Morton
9 Ayr United
10 Dumbarton
Falkirk Stad

Copyright thescottishfootballpartnership.com

 In a League spoiled by Title Contenders I have plumped for Falkirk to gain automatic Promotion.  Peter Houston’s late goal kings simply have something money can’t buy they don’t give up which is good because the lack of any real investment in the Squad and relying on Loan’s and Youth to freshen up the Squad is the only real reason the perennial Bridesmaid cant walk down the aisle to the Premiership.

 

Alex Rae’s Saint Mirren in second is again, some will say a surprising choice.  It’s the former Rangers stars first real Season in Charge and he took Ian Murray’s Duds at Christmas and turned them into a team with something that the Paisley Buddies hardly recognised.  A Team that would play well at The Paisley 2021 Stadium not  just playing well a team that actually won at Home.  Rae has stamped his personality on the Squad,  determined, skilful, thoughtful and playing with a smile.  New Owners with Fan involvement should ensure smiles all round Greenfield Road this season.  Maybe not automatic promotion but a good chance in the playoffs.

wpid-2015-10-16-15-07-48-587870822.jpeg

Scottish Cup winners Hibernian in Third.  Neil Lennon replaces Leith Hero Alan Stubbs but there is something worrying in Easter Road.  After beating the Cup Jinx can Hibs beat the League Jinx.  With tricky trips to unfamiliar surroundings and with a slightly lower standard of Referees will former Celtic Boss Lennon remain in the dug out long enough to exert influence.  The European failure gave the impression that the Hibs team has a feel of after the Lord Mayors Show.  No amount of exuberance can hide Hibernians terrible record in the Playoffs,  so with all this in mind my thoughts is another season of under achieving in the league.

If it wasn’t for Bad Luck Gary Locke would have no Luck at all.  Head Coach at troubled Hearts then being Sacked by new Board to move to take over at equally troubled Kilmarnock to be sacked mid Season.  Locke is a good Coach, one to watch and maybe the stability of Kirkcaldy will suit him so a nice easy Fourth and a playoff place.  No One would grudge Hearts Legend Locke that. From the good foundations laid by Ray McKinnon I suspect that Raith Rovers will cock a snoop at their previous Manager.

in Bottom half of the league.  Its by the talents of the former Raith Boss that I place United in fifth.Dundee United have that look of British Home Stores.  Faded glory,  if you look past the neglect and mismanagement you can see hints of gold leaf but you have to look through layers of dust. The Days of Jim McLean and Ivan Golak have been tarnished by Stephen Thompson’s colossal mismanaging his inheritance.  Board Room Family Squabbles, Managers on commission on sales of players,  Finger Pointing and generally blaming anyone but himself in conjunction with being a loud voice in matters not directly involving Tannadice.  If I have missed something out in that description its only because they are so many rocks a Arab can throw at The Tannadice Board Room and Pantomime villain Chairman Moan Thompson.  Ray McKinnon former player in the good old days has gambled his stock with the Tangerine Fans.  Ray has a top heavy demoralised squad with a mighty wage bill to service and a Shop Keepers Idiot son as His Boss.  If it wasn’t for sheer respect for McKinnon I would once again like last year place Dundee United

Dunfermline Athletic in sixth as the Pars recover from near financial meltdown.  If any club could have the tag too big to be… then surely its the East End Park Club. Allan Johnston has slowly filled a playing roster with youth and players on last chance to great effect.  A year to cement away days in Dunfermline as the development continues with a creditable Sixth place.

When Previous Managers flew north to Ross County James Fowler faced up with the expectations of the Dumfries fans and didn’t quiet reach the mark. Selling good players on or losing them to others didn’t help and I suspect Fowler is still learning at Queen Of The South. I suspect the influx of Teams with Premiership Experience has made Queen Of The South’s task of Challenging difficult.  It would be a Leicester City style shock of Biblical proportions for Queen Of The South to be in top half of the table but I don’t see them troubling the Playoff or relegation places either.

Jim Duffy what can you say about a man who is so enthusiastic and a Football Man.  Strip controversy apart their is a hard core loyal fan base to please in Greenock and on the whole Duffy’s Morton do just that.  Tight Budget constraints mean that Morton for me will shock sometimes awe but mainly settle for a nice Eighth.

Ayr United in ninth,  Ian McColl worked wonders bringing the Somerset Park Club up last term and with similar Budget to Jim Duffy along the coast at Greenock I think Ayr United will miss the experience of Morton and fail to overtake them in League.  I do think in the final shakedown a trip to the Beach will be on the fixture list next year.

 Dumbarton in automatic relegation place as the Championship waves goodbye to the Rock.  Stephen Aitken is a good coach but there are only ten teams in this league and some one has to finish last and its difficult to argue against Dumbarton not filling that slot. 

 

 

Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word

1 Aug

Sorry is indeed the hardest word and in this litigeous world sorry seems to be a legal admission of liability.

This simple modern truth could well be the reason for the lack of appologies sent to Rangers Football Club.   The posse that found Rangers Guilty in their Kangaroo Courts in 2012 have been remarkably silent in the weeks since the UTTT found no real wrongdoing in Rangers FC use of Employment Benefit trusts. 

The real reasons for lack of words from Scottish Football are simple.  Rangers 1898 Ltd the former owners of Rangers Football Club are now debt free thanks to Ticketus, the RFFF and the soon to be defrosted accounts.  The money in the currently frozen accounts will pay the PAYE bill left by discredited Craig Whyte.  In fact I was recently told that Rangers 1898 Ltd will be one of the few companies that could emerge from liquidation proceedings and will simply be wound up similar to Celtic oldco (kelly’s and Whytes), Aberdeen oldco ( Donald Family), Dundee United oldco (Jim Mclean), Hibernian oldco (Tom Farmer) and St Mirren Oldco (Paton family).

You see the treatment of Rangers has raised so many questions that it would take a thousand articles to cover.  Saldly what’s done can not be undone but for the shareholders of Rangers 1898 Ltd compensation is surely justified. 

I still expect a raft of court cases.  From fraud to defamation via malicious prosecution. Remember Rabgers 1898 shareholders own no football asset, they sold it to the current owners of Rangers. So without breaking the rules of association this group of victims of fraud and defamation have free reign to sue SFA, SPL(including the ten club members individually), supporters groups (including individual spokespersons), media groups (including individual ‘Journalists’), web sites (including social media) and of course any individual who at anytine has published a lie that has hurt the finiancial wellbeing of the Club (Including Phil Threenames, Angela Haggerty, Greame Speirs). The fact that some of the above names continue to speak in terms of hate and ignorance even AFTER the latest judgements means that by association Rangers Football Club current owners have a real watching brief and can argue that current statements filled with hate and lies directly hurts Rangers International and Rangers Football Club in the here and now. Members of the current Rangers Board have been quick to engage lawyers to seek recompense from fans groups spokesmen, so it would be interesting to see if the same happens to others from outwith the blue umbrella.

Craig Whyte will be chased to the gates of hell by many including Ticketus.  How this shyster was allowed onto the same building as stakeholders of any company is a crime. I have heard many reasons “Rangers were owned by a Crook (Murray) and sold to a Crook (Whyte)” seems to fit the common misguided view. Well that is only half true there is no doubt now that Rangers were sold to a crook. The landscape for this was in no small point due to HMRC demanding monies that now not one but TWO Independant tribunals have thrown out the inflated demands of the HMRC. As a small aside David Cameron and Gideon Osborn have recently forced through a change in the law. Now if HMRC demand money and you think it’s wrong the rules are now Pay up then appeal. How different things could of been had this rule been inforce. How the enforced sale to Mr Whyte occured is another thing.  Sir David Murray received one pound sterling so in spite of everything you could hardly say that the Metal Merchant made a killing.  So who did benefit? The Bank Loydds/TSB/HBOS walked away with £38 million for a loan paid in full via Craig Whyte and his mortgaging of season ticket sales to Ticketus.  So just how much pressure was placed on Sir David Murray by the Bank’s representative on what turned out to be the penultimate Rangers 1898 Ltd board. The same banking group had a reasonable working relationship with the SFA and now defunct SPL, was any pressure placed on these organisations to ignore any concerns regarding Craig Whyte being a fit and proper person to have his hand in the tiller of a Sporting Institution like Rangers Football Club. It seems either this or the SPL SFA failed in their duty of care to protect all of our Scottish Clubs from falling onto the hands of Drug Dealers Fraudsters Con men or general Shysters. So for sure without doubt the SFA SPL FAILED in any test. Do I hear sorry from Regan, Doncaster and co? No!

Lets now look at the “Screaming Masses”

Stephen Thompson, Stewart Milne, Rod Petrie, David Southern, Peter Lawell, Neil Lennon, Stewart Gilmour and other Board memebers of clubs MUST now be revisiting their published comments and hoping that no one reads them out in court.

Sorry is hard to say but lessons learned mean that actions speak louder than words. First chink in the sorry we did that but we learned is the postponment of St Mirren v Aberdeen because Aberdeen have a couple of qualifying rounds in Europa League. How Rangers would of appriciated such common sense in Manchester UEFA Cup FINAL! Not a sorry but the different action means admission of wrong by default.

You see that’s the point we all know we won’t get a Sorry from any of the shouting clans but we all know that they won’t repeat their “hardline” again. That’s as good as a sorry as we will get. What we will get though is enforced comments as Judges order smart mouths to pay up and say sorry.