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Souness hits out at King


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In tomorrow's Gerald,  



I'm not paying for their pish so don't know what he's saying

GRAEME SOUNESS walks into a small room with all the presence and self-confidence of a man immortalised in song by Carly Simon.

Now 63, he looks ten years younger which is probably not all his own work, this one-time scariest man in football is a far calmer more thoughtful character these days. By the way, you still wouldn’t want to cross him; however, this is a guy more at ease with himself than perhaps at any time in his colourful life.

Souness warmly and sincerely greets the small band of Scottish football writers who made the trip to the Sky Sports studios in London to talk with him about all manner of things. He is polite, funny, charming and laidback. That is, except, when he's asked for his thoughts on the state of Rangers.

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The big interview: Graeme Souness on Rangers, Joey Barton and who his old club are light years behind Celtic


It is obvious the former manager, one of the top three most important figures in that club’s history, believes things would be different had he been able to get back into Ibrox before Charlies Green and subsequently the current chairman Dave King.

This would have been after the taxman came calling, EBT scandal, Souness was a recipient of one, and sale of the club by David Murray to Craig Whyte for a quid when a quick google search would have thrown up some doubts about the supposed billionaire who lived in Monaco.

That was then and this is now. Rangers is in better shape but things are not going as well as they could be. The team is bang-average at best, the manager seems lost and he is losing the supporters.

None of this has come as any sort of shock to Souness who made sure his strong feelings got across.

“I think it’s been predictable,” he said. “I think given where Rangers were shopping in the summer, Celtic were always going to be stronger. I don’t think the manager has had a lot to work with when you are buying players from Accrington Stanley.

“I’m buying players from top English clubs when I’m there, it’s a million miles away from the job I had to the one today. I’m buying the England captain and he’s buying a different level of player altogether.

“I don’t think there’s any surprises. Celtic bopping them at Parkhead early in the season, predictable. Rangers narrowly losing to them in the cup, predictable.

“Hopefully they can go one better on Hogmanay. Is it impossible? No. Is it likely? No. That’s reality for Rangers and their supporters. I don’t think the manager has been given any chance.

“They don’t have any money, that’s the bottom line. The lower leagues in England, if you are talking about the Championship, Rangers can’t afford players in that league. I’d suggest they’d struggle to pay what’s in League One. That’s where they are right now and that’s the handicap they have.”

It was always going to take years rather than months for Rangers to even get close to their friends from across Glasgow. It was John Brown, a Souness signing, who tellingly said his club would have to take a few dunts along the way.

Those dunts are starting to feel like Souness tackles and the great man himself can’t see anything improving any time soon.

“You can’t look into a crystal ball but what you can say is if money is put on the table and you get half your signings right then you are going to be better next time around,” he said.

“If there is no money put on the table and you are buying the same types of players, and that’s your market, then you won’t improve. There is no coach out there that could take that group and make them into Barcelona.”

He then added a comment which we have changed to “you can only urinate with the external male intromittent organ you’ve got.” Quite.

Rangers did this to themselves, of course. But even if everything hadn’t happened, English football’s financial muscle would have ensured that whoever was the manager, they weren’t going to be signing the best talent from the Premier League.

Souness said: “It saddens me. It might seem like a long time ago I was at Rangers. Thirty years ago may seem like that but it’s not a long time in the history of the game for a club who could outbid Manchester United and everyone else in England, pay the same wages as Arsenal to where they are today.

“It’s really unkind and not just to them. They’ve not managed to get into an English league for all the right reasons if you are a Norwich, Blackburn or Burnley.

“It’s just the way it has unfolded for them and I think our national game has suffered. Every team in Scotland has suffered. Is anyone shocked? I don’t think so, it’s just the way the game has evolved down here in England.”

This is all true but Rangers have hardly helped themselves by throwing money away. Mark Warburton defends his record in the transfer market but overall his signings haven’t been good enough.

“There’s no manager from Fergie down who gets them all right,” said Souness in the way of a defence. After all, he did play a man called Ali Dia for Southampton when he wasn’t actually a footballer.

“Unfortunately some have not worked out but that’s football. It can’t work for several different reasons. You got your judgment wrong, the player can’t deal with playing at a big club after taking them from a smaller club where they can pick and choose when to give it 100 per cent to a club where you have to be bang at it every game, as the sides you are playing against treat it as their biggest game of the season."

Okay, but what about Joey Barton? Surely that was a risk not worth taking by any football club, never mind one for which every penny is a prisoner?

“Yeah, it was a gamble but I was reassured,” said Souness. “I worked with him at the Euros. He was knowledgeable about his football, had done his homework on Glasgow Rangers and never stopped asking me questions the club. He was determined to do well. I was taken aback.

“I was expecting to meet this wildcard but he wasn’t, he was sensible, knowledgeable and desperate to do well at Rangers. Without probably knowing it, he quickly realised how big a club Rangers are and it’s not happened for him.

“I don’t know the circumstances, what was said or how it was said, so I can’t comment. But these things happen, not all signings work out.

“I’m sure Barton will regret it hasn’t worked out. I’ll guarantee that. The manager will also look back. I look back on many an occasion and wish I’d done something differently. Maybe Mark thinks that, you’d have to ask him."

Souness didn’t want to talk about Celtic. But he did say this; "What does 10 in a row matter?”

With all due respect to one of Scotland’s most iconic sporting heroes, it matters a great deal. As things stand, Celtic are four-and-a-half years away from achieving just that.

As Souness said himself, it's difficult to see what Rangers can do about it. His era at Ibrox seems several lifetimes ago.

Sky Sports will show the biggest head to heads over the festive season, including Manchester City v Chelsea this Saturday and the Old Firm derby on New Year’s Eve.

@AlCapone terribly lazy so you are :pipe: 

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He is absolutely spot on.

But 30 years is a lifetime for so many things including football clubs.

Nottingham Forest and Leeds are just two that spring to mind, Forest won the European cup two seasons in a row but now languish in the English championship and have had a number of years in the wilderness due to a lack of money.

We played Leeds in what was billed as the Battle of Britain in the 1992 Champions league, they were champions of England and had been a top ten side for some time. Again lack of finance has seen them in the lower English leagues for years.

Yes we are struggling in our first year back in the top league, we have only spent four years in the lower leagues, due to the incompetence of owners, charlatans and chancers who have bled us dry.

It all comes down to money, for the right players, the right management, money is needed to buy success and we need an owner who has the money and is willing to invest it.

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Oh he's such an impatient cunt....hold on while I come up with some reason to say he's a taig or some shite, he'll have the Govan Peoples Front at his door if he doesn't watch himself

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I think that was a spot-on insight in to our current predicament. I do have real empathy for MW and believe he thinks he is on to something which will have resounding success if allowed to continue. I still believe that jumping from a Scottish style of football to a European style cannot be done overnight, but HAS to be done overnight to satisfy not only ourselves but the whole of the viewing public. Perhaps if he could just take the humbling for a time and allow a supporting coach to come in and assist him in playing some hybrid style until we get a firm 2nd in the league for this season.

It was said many times on RM that we should batter teams with a 3-5-2 or a 4-4-2 then when comfortably ahead we could alternate styles. There are a few ways to change the style. Half-time changes then 60 min subs. We cannot keep on with the 4-3-3 with the players we have at our disposal and exchanging like for like as subs. The lads coming through the academy will be taught total football and can be dropped in every few months as they become skilled enough to handle the big game atmosphere.

If MW is forced to relinquish his head coach role for whatever reason then I do hope he stays on the books as head of development. Each new appointment that he makes at Auchenhowie is designed to remove the development responsibility directly from MW to allow him to concentrate on the first team. It's early days yet on the development side of things. I hope he succeeds and gets the results we need between now and the Winter break.

Slowly slowly catchy monkey

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7 hours ago, RFCRobertson said:

It was always going to take years rather than months for Rangers to even get close to their friends from across Glasgow

Like the way Souness says "friends" in an accusing kind of way.
As for him being in charge.
Well!!!! we'll never know which is a shame.

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