Tag Archives: Newcastle United FC

Rangers Looking Forward

6 Apr

It’s a massive summer in the One Hundred and forty three year history of Rangers Football Club.  The journey back to the top Division of Scottish Football has been a long and arduous one.  Casualties have been taken a Rangers Legend has had his Reputation Tarnished and the Club lost a Legend to the evils of Liver Cancer.  Let’s not forget the fortitude of Ally McCoist and Sandy Jardine, when Rangers had no voice these Legends stood up.  When others ran for the hills Ally and Sandy went the took the path least travelled and stood firm.  Only one other Man has faced a dilemma of finding a squad similar to Ally that day the Journey began, Founding Father Moses McNeil. Let no one disagree that history may not reflect Ally’s managerial record in a a good light but in terms of the building a squad only Ally and Moses faced the same challenge.

Bill Stewth, Greame Souness, Willie Waddel and Walter Smith all built successful squads but they all at least could field a team at any given time. These guys may well of picked teams with players they considered not up to standard but not one looked at a player rosta that could fit into a Hackney taxi and would be struggle to fulfill a Tennents Sixes game.

Mark Warburton faces a Summer of challenges and given his track record the Ibrox Loyal are confident that the Londoner has the smarts to make the right decisions and bring in fresh players to bolster the Clubs push to their fifty fifth title.

The return of the Old Firm in the Scottish Cup Semi Final on April 17 give everyone concerned a chance to review and compare the Glasgow Giants. No matter the result its a win-win situation for Warburton. A victory and he knows his squad can take on Celtic and win. He also finds out where he would like to strengthen. A loss and he can identify the weaknesses and set about eradicating them. Either way The Rangers Gaffer will make a list of signing targets and provide recent evidence to aid Dave King and Company to open up their purse string and spend.

Make no bones about it if Leicester can win the English Premiership this year then Rangers can win the Scottish Premiership next year. More likely season 2016-17 season for Rangers is a top three place and possibly a Cup victory. That fits on the curve better than instant gratification. No matter what the Fans expectations have been raised by Team W (Warburton and Weir) the wizardry of a Magic hat and his Apprentice has brought Pride back to Ibrox.

Everyone has their views on what Rangers Need for my two pence Rangers need a snarling hod carrier in midfield someone like John Brown or Terry Hurlock or Harold Davis. A trusted tackler who is a master of the 20 yard pass to the play makers. If this player can also put his laces through a shot from 30 yards all the better. There is for all the skill no shock and awe in the line up presently. No Patrick Viera or Roy Keene type no one to fear physically. The squads weakness arw there to see but there is no psychological fear factor. No moment of realisation for Opponents in the Tunnel.

I am personally not convinced of the defence Rangers. On paper its full of good players well capable of defending in practice it seems to lack solidity and cohesion. Too many silly. Goals have been lost in the backwaters of the Innodrill and Tony Macaroni Stadiums. For every daft goal lost in the Championship it would be two in the Premiership.

Attacking wise Rangers are in OK shape maybe cover for Miller and Waghorn. No one is sure when Kenny will lose it all but under Warburton he shuttles back in the formation for every yard of pace he loses, no one could not predict Miller playing in front of the back four this time next year. When Talisman Striker Waghorn got injured his Midas touch was missed. He will have to return to plastic pitches at possibly Hamilton, Kilmarnock and even Falkirk next year so the chances of similar injuries are there so the squad has to be deepened in strength.

Off the field the Big Tax Case rumbles on this time it’s the Supreme Court sitting in judgement the current aggregate of two to one in judgements makes this one too close to call. Although the last judgement (the only one to go against Rangers) was based on ‘Common Sense’! It seemed to immediately lose its validity on this clause. Common Sense is intangible you can’t measure it and it’s certainly not included in either civil law balance of probabilities tests or criminal law behind reasonable doubt. Common Sense has no value it is neither Black or White or a varied shade of Grey. Common Sense being mentioned in a judgement just opens the door for the judgement to be thrown out. Common Sense is not Common Law it is not any Law.

The Criminal Cases will for most Rangers Fans and the media be akin to the the OJ Simpson trial. The Wee Tax Case and associated allegations and criminal charges won’t just be big news it will be the only news front and back page. Scottish Elections and Euro Referendum will fall by the way. The day of the Judgements from Court come be they Government Spin Doctors will release memos saying good day to release bad news.

Rangers fans just want the machinations of Whyte, Green, Ashley and co gone. These guys time connected with the club is one of shame and accusations. The second you have a Rangers fan considering not buying club merchandise on grounds of the retailer and distributer not on style you have problems. It does not matter if they decide to buy or not the fact they stopped to consider is enough. Playing wise the Dave King’s Blue Knights have to support Mark Warburton and Commercially they have to sort out the mire of hidden paperwork. The excuse of blaming the previous board is as tired as David Cameron blaming Gordon Brown six years ago. Dave King has had a Year in the big blue chair surely enough time to audit the contracts and accounts.

Salvation of sorts could come from an unlikely source. If Newcastle United fall out the trap door of the English Premiership then Mike Ashley/MASH/Sports Direct will be faced with a choice sell a recently relegated majority shareholding English Championship Club that has just missed out on the the biggest Premiership Moneyfest of all time. Or sell a minority shareholding in a Recently Promoted Business. As Newcastle’s value decreases the Rangers value increases. The opportunity to profit on your investment is greater in Clydeside than it is in Tyneside. Ashley will be forced to sell something simply by incredible strict and clear Football League rules. He will also be forced to sell quickly or face points deductions and sanctions. Ask yourself what has more likelihood of a quick sale, 9% of a business that the majority of your fellow shareholders want to buy off you or a whole football club in the slide?

This summer could easily define the next five years and edit the previous decade. Petrofac Cup and William Hill Scottish Cup runs aside this summer is the biggest in living memory for Rangers Fans. Thirty years on from the Sounds Revolution the Summer of 2016 is the Warburton Revolution.

Investment Direct?

29 Oct

image

Mike Ashley buys shares in Rangers and supplies a temporary loan.  He owns less than TEN PERCENT of shares but has control or ownership of certain assets.  Due to his loan he decides to appoint a few key memebers of staff and two board members.  There seems nothing that wild about the Owner of the very Sucessful Sports Direct doing this.  It seems to the casual observer that a Multi Millionaire investing and lending money to a business and ensuring he has representation to protect his shares, investments and loans.

image

Mike Ashley

Mike Ashley happens to have a rather sucessful resume.  Owner of a very profitable Sports retailer and owner of a English Premiership club.  The man’s money and assets are not on doubt.  Mike is not morgaging his mansions to finiance his interest in Rangers.  His credentials are public and accepted in principal by all.  The real debate is not if Mike Ashley has a million pounds but how many millions he actually does have.

So it’s with interest that the Scottish Football Association are asking for clarification on Mike Ashley’s influence at Ibrox.  It is well within The powers that be at Hampden to ask these questions and they even have a right to waive their rules and not wait until a shareholding exceeds ten percent.  What I find strange is Mike Ashley has an unimpeachable record as a Businessman and Club Owner yet he is subject to demands for clarity.  What exactly are the SFA concerned about? Mike Ashley does not want any public smear on his character or good name. He is at best ensuring his retail business has a series of assets of a big club and access to the hundreds of thousands of fans. His business needs to convert this fan base of a Fottball Club into a Consumer base for his Retail Group. At worse he is investing money into a company that is hemorrhaging money at a very alarming rate.

image
Craig Whyte

Was not that many years ago that a Conman talked his way into Scottish football and the institution that is Rangers with little more than a forked tongue and a barely hidden morgage of assets.  Yet I do not remember any SFA concern yet alone anything that led to an investigation. How many others slipped in under the guise of saviours allowed to work a “long con” as Regan, Doncaster and pals look the otherway.

From a casual observers point it could be seen as SFA interfering with a Positive investment after allowing a very negative one.

What concerns can they truly have Mike Ashley has clearly invested his money and loaned money to a club.  He has the funds to do so.  Yet SFA and SPFL seek to investigate this investment rather seek a League Title Sponsor to benefit the whole of Scottish football.  Seems Neil Doncaster has put his Crayons down just long enough to look at the prospect of Rangers being well financed and stable with envious green tinted spectacles.

image

The influence that Mr Ashley can impose at Murray Park and Ibrox is considerably less than he has at Newcastle United but slightly more than he has a numerous clubs and national associations. By the power of his retail empire he can if he choses to play hard ball regards the sale of replica strips and the like. The sheer size of Sports Direct means effectively in the United Kingdom Mike Ashley can hurt sales of every Clubs merchandise. He can also negotiate down the cost of wholesale items. Sports direct and Mike Ashley can effectively control a percentage of every club and nations income stream. So the prospect of the Scottish Football Association finding Mr Ashley as having undue power and influence at Rangers is indeed a moot point.

As for the motivation and reasons for this investigation I know the SFA like to be seen to be doing something at any time. A self justification of their position and salary. It is a two pronged public relations own goal though.

For Rangers Fans there is a case for suggesting why are the SFA concerned about Mike Ashley when they were not concerned about Craig Whyte, a man who took control of Rangers with genuine concerns about his background at the time and now proven almost daily in courts around Scotland. For Rangers fans it has a element of victimisation as the Ibrox club works it’s way back to the top league.

For fans of other clubs and the national team the question has to be. “why? When the game in Scotland is screaming out for investment. Are you so publicly making investing in the Scottish game such a impossibility”. It is little wonder that there is no league title sponsor two years after the Clydesdale Bank sponsorship ended and Irn Bru were dumped via the rushed reconstruction. Eighteen months on the SPFL have achieved nothing but creating a new logo!

image
Neil Doncaster                                                                    Stewart Regan

The Dynamic Duo of Regan and Doncaster (remember him) seem to of melted into the undergrowth. Maybe they were buried under the Commonwealth Games Running track who knows. What we do know though is that when the silence is only broken by the likes of this investigation then in the unlikely event any blue chip company wishes to invest in the Scottish game they will hold fire until The blockers and mis-management of Doncaster and Regan leave their posts.

English Premier League Predictions 2014-15

24 Aug

1.  Manchester City
2.  Chelsea
3.  Manchester United
4.  Liverpool
5.  Arsenal
6.  Tottenham Hotspur
7.  Everton
8.  Southampton
9.  Stoke City
10. Swansea City
11. Hull City
12. Aston Villa
13. West Bromwich Albion
14. Newcastle United
15. Sunderland
16.  West Ham United
17. Crystal Palace
18. Queens Park Rangers
19. Leicester City
20. Burnley

Manchester City Pellegrini could field two recognisable teams that could win this league. Certainly go top three and that’s the main reason why I am going for the Blues of Manchester to win. Their Squad has a solidity and consistency about it that makes me think while other teams shall need time to gel City will just be doing what they do, win. There is also the addition of the thought that no matter what money is always available for any new players. City Champions again for me JUST.

Chelsea Mourinho will hate this season. He wants the Trophy sitting in Stamford Bridge beside the Champions League big cup. He may well get one but not both and the trophy to fall be the way is the Premiership. I feel Frank Lampard’s influence on and off the field will certainly contribute in Chelsea not quiet reaching the mark. Diego Costa may well not be enough to win so a very very close second.

Manchester United Louis Van Gaal will add quality players and drive the bad memories of last season out of Old Trafford. Rebuilding invincibility at home and imposing the red devils away will be the Dutchmans big challenge. I need convinced Rooney is the right man for the Captaincy. Close in third but no cigar.

Liverpool Brendan Rodgers has spent well. Proving that Liverpool are a family club who no matter what stick up for players is a lovely welcome to any new signing. The loss of Suarez has not only gave Brendan money to burn but has lost a distraction. Sturrage is a big player this year but somehow it’s time to replace Steven Gerald. A regretting blowing it last season Fourth.

Arsenal There is no team that looks better in attack. As front fives go Wenger is spoilt by riches. Arsenal can embarrass any team with pace skill and guile going forward. The problem is the days they don’t click in attack or the games they come up against brick wall park the bus defending. It’s a big ask but in a league with some of the beat defenders in the world ply their trade it will be the dropped points by dodgy defending that The Gunners will rue. To beat Arsenal is a relatively easy task on paper. Park the bus deny the flair players space and then put in a couple of good balls into the arsenal defence smell the panic and score past what ever under pressure Keeper is between the sticks. Too many show ponies relying on history not enough shire horses doing todays hard work for this cart to get into Champions League.

Tottenham Hotspur I can never figure out what exactly is going on at White Hart Lane. And this is the problem all the ingredients for a cup run or top four sits within the squad but somehow they never really gel and this lack of consistency is the reason Spurs will always be capable of a result but won’t string five good results together. They could well run their north London rivals close but sixth is where I put them.

Everton Seventh the perennial brides maids of Merseyside. The definition of this second group of five in this league. Ran to budget never looking like being relegated but never contenders for championship. A good chance every year to get fourth but this year Manchester United will not be the easy turn they were last year. Good mix within not the biggest of squads so a safe seventh.

Southampton Ronald Koeman will manage like he played solid with skill and if you give him time and space his Saints will strike a shot past you from forty yards. Good solid signings Forster in goal is brilliant who after playing in some of Europe’s biggest stadia will not freeze in big games.

Stoke City Mark Hughes has introduced skill and flair to the Britiania almost unrecognisable from previous manager. Always a solid defence with a deceptively potent attack. No plates in danger in the Potteries a nice ninth.

Swansea sometimes it’s what team turns out at the Liberty and it’s even more inconsistent away from South Wales. They have too much stuborneas though to go down. Dependable in top half tenth.

Hull City The Tigers with Steve Bruce have too much quality to trouble the bottom four but not enough to worry the top six. Good cup runs beckeon and Europe will surprise the Humbersiders most more used to Rugby League but the playing in Europe will drain the squad so no top half. Comfortable in eleventh.

Aston Villa Paul Lambert is well respected but this season he simply does not have the tools to challange. With no real quality and strange rumblings in board room I put Villa in twelth. Not good enough for a second city team. Lambert already has look of man playing our time until a bigger offer comes along.

West Bromwich Albion David Moyes long term assistant Alan Irvine has emerged as his own man and took over at the Hawthorns. First target in the black country is survival. They emerged from the yoyo team tag and consolidating in this league with survival to build another year us what it’s all about unlucky for some (but not for W.B.A.) thirtieth.

Newcastle United As long as the mix of fans demanding a set style of play no matter if the team win, lose or draw, Mike Ashley, and a distrust between club (boardroom and staff) and the passion of the toon army then this club will not challange but do enough to survive. Only good news about being in fourteenth for the magpies is the team below them.

Sunderland Gus Poyet has a team that will win games but it’s weaknesses are there for all to see. The Black Cats deficiencies confine them to bottom half of table. It is a toss up who wins the hotbed derbies in north east it could go either way but I feel that the bragging rights won’t be on Weirside, fifteenth.

West Ham United The eastenders will always blow bubbles at the party they will often make big Sam smile but not enough to rise above sixteenth. The Hammers owners also own Ann Summers and like one of the retail chains catalogues when you look at Sam Allerdyce’s Squad list you often see key parts are exposed.

Crystal Palace Starting the season with no manager is not good that’s the type of thing that gets you relegated. I do feel there is just enough to keep this team up. Maybe the new manager bounce will keep this club up. Seventeenth.

Queens Park Rangers This club, squad, manager and whole package just feels like it’s in the yoyo area between Championship and Premiership. A year up, a year down that’s where this club sits. Relegated in eighteenth.

Leicester City Will enjoy the year take the money gather experience and drop down to Championship to join the yoyo squads. From where this club sat at doors of bankruptcy the passionate East Midlands fans won’t be too upset in nineteenth.

Burnley It’s not if this team go down it’s when. When the celestrial bodies line up and a surprise gets promoted then we all remember Derby County. This promotion keeps this club afloat for next few years. Finishing on twentieth and hopefully not the whipping boys but can’t see anything else.