Friday, November 3, 2017

McInnes should run a mile from Rangers

The Caixinha era was extremely costly for Rangers, both literally and metaphorically.

It would have been unrealistic to expect the Portuguese to turn the mediocre and unbalanced squad he inherited from the third best team in Scotland to title challengers in the seven and a half months he spent in charge.  But, given the amount of money spent signing the players he wanted in the summer, it is a catastrophe that they have not made any recognisable progress towards the level of Aberdeen, let alone Celtic.  Roughly £8million was paid out on the likes of Carlos Pena, Eduardo Herrera, Fabio Cardoso and others, and that isn't including signing on fees and wages.  Rangers also paid Caixinha's previous club, Al-Gharafa, £300,000 to procure him, and £500,000 to pay him off.  His successor will now inherit a squad built in Pedro's image with a number of players for whom "could they do it at Kilmarnock on a wet Tuesday night?" is less a borderline-racist cliche and more a genuine question.

If those in charge at Ibrox have any sense at all, they will do all they can to ensure that said successor is the man that has made Aberdeen so superior.  And Derek McInnes ticks the boxes: a successful, proven manager at this level, and he qualifies as a 'Rangers Man', the quality that Barry Ferguson has deemed so important to this appointment (possibly because poor Bazza wants a job there rather badly).  Admittedly, McInnes played only 53 games in four and a half years, and no-one remembers any of them except the times Dick Advocaat played him as a holding midfielder against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League - with great success - and in the next game against Valencia - with great failure.  But he pulled on the blue strip, and left the club on relatively good terms, so, yeah, Rangers Man.

And one can imagine McInnes being tempted.  Domestically, it feels like the only way is down for the Dons.  They've hit a glass ceiling that's about 30 points thick and there's no way they'll break through to Celtic.  He accomplished a minor miracle to overcome the loss of several important players this summer, but will have to face the same dilemma at the end of the season - Kenny McLean has already indicated his intention to leave - and probably every other year after that.  His stock can't really go any higher whilst he remains in the North-East.

And of course Rangers should have great potential with their enormous support and funding that dwarves Aberdeen's,  The right manager, with sufficient resources and adequate time, could in a few years turn them into title challengers again.

But whilst McInnes is certainly the right manager, the other two conditions do not look likely to be met.  For a start, telling the supporters that it'll take two or three seasons before they can at least give Celtic a half-decent challenge would go down like a Union Jack ban at the Loudon.  Ibrox has always become very toxic very quickly when there's no success on the immediate horizon.  Unless the new boss can turn water into wine - or, even more impressively, Fabio Cardoso into a competent defender - the required overnight turnaround will be impossible.

And as for resources...well, Deek took one look at Sunderland in the summer and said "naw".  One the basketcase scale, Sunderland are Bomber Brown (who, incidentally, got appointed to Rangers' scouting team this week; one hopes his reports are more eloquent than his speeches).  But on that scale, the Gers are probably Terry Hurlock.

As mentioned above, they bet the house on Caixinha.  Chairman Dave King wasn't kidding when he claimed that the season ticket money was being spent on new signings - it's quite possible that it all was.  And now what?  That's the main income stream for the entire season blown already.

The club's annual accounts are due imminently; in fact last year's were published by the end of October so these are a bit later than expected.  Is that reason for concern?  Well, its no secret the club were managing with soft loans from directors more than a year ago.  In those accounts they also felt the need to boast that the player wage bill for 2016/17 was projected to be £10.3million.  The current figure is unlikely to be any lower and in fact is likely to be higher.

Meanwhile no banks will touch them with a barge pole and their chairman is currently the first person to ever be taken to court by the Takeover Panel...where, in an attempt to get out of being forced to bid to buy the whole club (a bid worth 'only' £12million) his lawyer actually described him as being "penniless".

Aberdeen would demand at least £1million in compo for McInnes - which is what they would have got from Sunderland, and that was before he signed a new contract - which may or may not be tricky to raise.

McInnes showed with Sunderland that he's not for being set up to fail.  Taking over at Ibrox would surely be a similar scenario.

It wouldn't be at all surprising if the board are praying for Graeme Murty to be a success - and he should be given he has back-to-back home games against Partick Thistle and Hamilton coming up before the international break.  Whilst he clearly isn't a long-term solution, he'd be cheap, and could buy the powers-that-be sufficient time to come up with a better option for when he inevitably fails.

But if they do come calling for McInnes, he should run away.  Very quickly.

Lawrie Spence (LS) has ranted and spouted his ill-informed opinions on Narey's Toepoker since September 2007.  He has a life outside this blog.  Honestly.

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