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Go To Jail!


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Do not pass GO, do not collect £200

Almost everyone will be familiar with the famous board game, Monopoly. And I’m sure, at one time or another, you have landed on Chance and, having chosen your card, you find that you have got the dreaded card

‘GO TO JAIL! -Do not pass GO, do not collect £200’

Well, in footballing terms, that was the card we selected last night.

As you all know Jail is a punishment; a method of separating and isolating an offender from society. And that’s just what has happened to us!

We have been punished for playing naïve, disorganised and disjointed football and, as a result, we have been separated from the elite of European football and isolated from Europe’s prestigious club competitions…….and I fear it may be for some years to come.

Having failed to learn the lessons from the Kaunas ‘debacle’ in 2008, only a few short weeks ago we created Kaunas 2 when we failed dismally against Malmo and crashed out of the Champions League to a mediocre team, losing a potential 10 and 15 million pounds in the process.

However, as in 2008, we were given another chance for European football with a ‘shot’ at the Europa League, and a potential place in the group phase of that competition and, perhaps, a re-run of the successful campaign that seen us reach the UEFA Cup Final.

But that was not to be. Instead, we meekly, bowed out to another of Europe’s minnows in the form of NK Maribor.

A dismal performance and……….Kaunas 3!

It is difficult to over-estimate the financial damage of such an early (and ignominious) exit from these Euro competitions. Certainly, we would have been guaranteed around £10 million had we reached the Champions’ League group stage and, perhaps, between £3 and £5 million for a good ‘run’ in the Europa League.

That money is now a distant memory….and, indeed, may have been a forlorn hope all along. What is now abundantly clear, however, is the inescapable fact that that money is not now available for investment in players and/or the Club ‘infrastructure’.

But wasn’t this a disaster waiting to happen?

Our record in Europe is quite shocking, with one solitary win against Bursaspor in 24 euro games.

Merge that with the fact that we have won only 5 of the 14 games we have played thus far (including our pre-season games), and all the ingredients are there.

I know that some of you will disagree, but I firmly believe that our coaching must be deficient in some respects.

Now, I readily confess that I have no coaching badges and no real expertise in this area, but when I watch us play I can’t help but conclude that our opposition almost always appears to be better organised; to play to a system; to be ‘marshalled’ much better than us; to communicate better and to be more committed and more enthusiastic than we are.

Is there something fundamentally wrong with our coaches and our coaching methods? Why are we failing so badly in Europe against patently ‘lesser’ sides?

If it isn’t our coaching, then, surely, it must be our players.

There is no doubt in my mind that we have a number of players who are clearly not of Rangers ‘standard’, and we certainly have a number of players of dubious temperament.

When is say, ‘Rangers standard’, I mean players of undoubted quality and ability; players who are thoroughly professional on and off the park, and players who will always rise to the occasion……you know what I mean.

With the possible exception of three or four of our current squad, I really don’t believe we have players who demonstrate those qualities. Our indiscipline is evidence of this, as is our apparent lack of commitment and obvious lack of quality in several areas.

Whilst I am not advocating that we dwell on the Malmo and Maribor games, it would be foolish, negligent and unprofessional not to analyse what when wrong and, more importantly, to ensure that the deficiencies identified are put right.

Performance Appraisal and review is an integral part of employment for all of us, no matter what our profession, and football should be no different.

There is, undoubtedly, an unassailable case for a major performance appraisal here, both of the coaching staff, the playing staff and perhaps even the executive team.

How can we hope to improve, if we cannot (or will not) identify what is wrong and rectify it?

If we do not take the hard decisions that clearly need to be taken, then we will inevitably continue to lurch from one European crisis to the next…..to the continuing detriment of the team we all love.

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To continue your analogy, we're The Old Kent Road of European football thanks to Messrs. Whyte, McCoist and the rest of their over-hyped squad. Radical changes should have occurred not before the Maribor tie, not before the Malmo tie, but before pre-season even commenced.

It's been one calamity after another, both on and off the field and there has been very little displeasure shown by the Ibrox faithful, something which illustrates the great malaise which hangs over a support which has been conditioned for years to accept that any old dross will do, just as long as we can stay ahead of the tarriers by season end.

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