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The Modern Manager - Delegation Is Key


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There have been many moments in Rangers’ not too distant history that fans would like to erase from memory and today is not for bringing them back to the forefront, nor is it to consider how we could have avoided them; that has been done to death. Today is about the future of Rangers and looking at where we are situated today – the dissection of a New World plan; if you like.

Many a fan will say that Rangers had a fantastic opportunity to build from youth three years ago, when the club were forced on to the snake that led to a slippery path down to the bottom tier of football. That was the opportunity to build a squad full of passion, youth, skill and leadership. The opportunity to ensure that each small ladder climbed, built strength, built desire and built the quality that would lead this great club back to the European nights it so strongly deserves.

Many a fan will debate down the local on whether Alistair McCoist was the right man for the three year journey and we shall leave that debate for another day, month or year. Quite frankly, it is in the past and Ally has handed over the keys of the manager’s office to a young man from the dizzy heights of financial management nonetheless. Quite ironic, considering many fans did not give Ally a chance due to his lack of experience!

Rangers failed to qualify for the top flight at the first time of asking, last season, despite a late surge with, the temporary in charge, Stuart McCall. A campaign full of downs and only a few ups thrown in. It was almost inevitable to some that it was a bridge too far with the management we had, the players we had and the board we had.

So the new chapter begins, but what about the club; is it ready?

The new board have certainly got tongues moving with the appointment of Mark Warburton and David Weir, as manager and assistant respectively. Many fans seen that combination as almost a dream team, where others felt that there were more experienced candidates on the market or available at the right price.

So what about the new management team and in fact the new board? Well it was abundantly clear that the club were in dire need of leadership from the chair down. For too long had the club ran on the fumes of the ‘just get on with it’ tank. So have they got that leadership now?

Dave King has built a business from nothing. His days of kicking a ball about the streets of Castlemilk in the ‘60s are long gone but he knows what it’s like to live in Glasgow. He knows the expectations the fans put on the club and its players. His previous seat on the board confirms that, but it’s that seat that still worries some fans today and as much as I love a debate, let’s not go there!

King swooped in to power earlier this year and changed the clubs fortunes overnight. With almost immediate affect he had his two foes – Paul Murray and John Gilligan – take to the streets and search for the right man to lead Rangers to glory, having lost their edge in the league prior to the EGM. They almost done it too; all but Motherwell fell before them.

It’s not Dave King, Paul Murray or John Gilligan who will be in the fans thoughts come match day one of the new campaign, against St Mirren at Ibrox, though. It will be that management team of Warburton and Weir. It will be the team of eleven players that take to the field as the future of Rangers. Yes the board played a part in putting them there but that time will be the managers and the players.

Time will tell if the board have got it right but let’s look at what the club needed and what they have got.

Firstly the club wanted a director of football. This was highlighted by Paul Murray almost immediately after joining the board. It made sense at the time, as many clubs have this role in place, so the search was on and one name kept cropping up – Mark Wotte; former SFA performance director.

Secondly the club wanted a manager who could work within the financial constraints set by the board but still manage to develop a squad worthy of returning the club to European football. That manager had to be researched, interviewed and then recommended to the board, before any appointment was to be made and that was the first move in a very long time that was of note from the Ibrox board room. No more rushing. Time to get it right.

Finally the board wanted to invest in players that could add value to the club. Not necessarily for resale but it was very important to pay the salaries of men who could be sold if required, rather than paying excessive salaries to players who wanted a piece of the action.

Many candidates appeared on the bookmakers lists and some of them were feasible, with some being pipe dream material. Nonetheless, the debates started and my internet home for all things Rangers – Rangers Media – was no exception. The place was buzzing with chat on who brought what and would the board back them etc., but in the end Mark Warburton was introduced as the 15th manager of this fine club.

Interestingly though, through all of the managerial hunting, once the decision was made the board dropped the director of football interest. They claimed that the idea had been shelved but it is my opinion that one man allowed that to happen and that was Mark himself. Mark is an exceptional person on paper, when it comes to a football manager. One that intrigues as much as it does pleases. With Mark the club are getting someone who could almost change the way a club is run and his number two almost fits that bill too.

Mark Warburton potentially brings the football director ability with him. He has travelled Europe, learning from major clubs who welcomed him in to their stadia and showed him their standards, their ethos and their training methods. Those experiences are what make a DoF at clubs. Mark also brings with him a sound financial background from his trading days in London – a role he gave up to pursue his ambition to enter football. That will also stand him in good stead not only as a manager, but as a footballing director also.

So if Mark assumes certain senior responsibilities within the club, will the squad suffer? Interestingly, not if you look at Davie Weir. Marks’ assistant manager has brief experience as a manager, at Sheffield United, and great experience as an assistant manager. He also has an abundance of coaching experience with youth players and that seems to be a key element with this management team. Can Davie assume some of the manager’s responsibilities from Mark? I have no doubt in my mind that he will. The modern manager in any business must know what to delegate and when. Davie hinted as much in his interview with Rangers TV.

Whilst Mark has the financial knowledge, inner club knowledge of top teams and believes in himself and the youth of today, Davie brings to the table a wealth of knowledge from playing, mentoring, coaching and leading teams. Not only does he add that to the pot, he has done many of that at Rangers and that little ingredient is the key factor for me. Davie will bring stability, whilst Mark attempts to ring the changes.

Rangers require stability. They require leadership on and off the park, financial management from the pitch up, guidance on footballing matters, youth development and mentoring, but most of all they need all that with as little financial expense as possible. Does that not make it a no brainer then, to minimise your senior management expenses by role delegation? The only question left is – are there any experienced and wise players out there that can add value to the squad in other ways than money, by assuming some of the assistants' duties?

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