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Posts Tagged ‘Rangers FC

Rangers FC transfer merry go round – Boyd, Wilson and Quinn

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The dusty saloon doors remain motionless. There’s been no swinging doors from hombres swaggering in or out and we’re eleven days into the winter transfer window.

The Kris Boyd will he/won’t he, debate has rumbled on now for what seems like an age and with him picking up a little boo boo on his groin at the weekend, we might see some of the debate lessened especially in the media.

It’s all a big stooshy over something that supporters, supporters groups and the club can do nothing about. The ball is almost entirely in Kris Boyd’s court. He is the guy who can either accept our contract offer to stay, decide to continue to negotiate with us, negotiate with other clubs for the summer or if a decent level of offer to Rangers comes in (which it will), leave now.

The only thing the club can do is offer the contract that we can afford to him in the hope that he signs or refuse any money for him to leave in this transfer window. There will be a threshold of offer level for him decided by the club already that we will let him go now.

Even then, as with last winter, it is still Kris Boyd’s decision to make.

Of course all the papers will be dribbling over the prospect the new Ronald Koeman coming to Celtic to put the final nail in the coffin of McManus and ex-septic player of the year Caldwell. Both of whom have clearly been found out for the complete jokers that they are – give me Bert Konterman anyday of the week.

Danny Wilson seems to be having to endure the same rumours that John Fleck had to put up with when he broke into the team with the old “Alex Ferguson knows Walter Smith” routine. A story appeared in the People at the weekend with no quotes and intimated that Wilson had been recommended to Ferguson by his scouting son.

I’ve no doubt whatsoever that Manchester United know exactly who Danny Wilson is and what he could be potentially capable of achieving within football, but the liklihood of a bid coming in during this transfer window is ridiculously low. Spurs also seem like potential long-term suitors for the classy youngster yet any move will surely be looked at long term by the Premiership giants. I suppose one of the positive things is that he is being linked with clubs in the top tier in England and not dross like Burnley or Hull who seem to be interested in any player that becomes available for transfer anywhere.

Apparently Rangers are going to be taking American Andrew Quinn on trial at the end of the month. I was chatting to the American journalist that broke the story, Steve Goff, and he said that the player isn’t even on the radar of MLS clubs and he was totally bemused that he was known to Rangers.

Andrew is from the DC area and starred at a prestigious prep school, DeMatha. He then attended Notre Dame, where he shared the starting job for much of his career. Injuries sidelined him for several periods. Notre Dame is among the top college programs in the States and competes in the challenging Big East conference.

He is a big kid — 6 feet 4 inches I believe. Interestingly he grew up close to the pro game because his father Tony is a prominent sports photographer who has worked at the World Cup and other major events. Tony is originally from northeast England.

I don’t know if Andrew is a true prospect for Rangers, given his lack of upper level experience, but perhaps they’ll see something special

His dad (Quinn’s) is English and a sports photographer and the lad has agents in Chicago and one in England so it must be an agent led trial rather than our renowned international scouting network (oxymoron). If anything I’d say that the lad will be over for a while and end up at a lesser Scottish or English club. With his dad being English I’d assume that work permit wouldn’t be that much of a problem.

P.S Cassio Lincoln is not on trial with Rangers.


Written by therabbitt

January 11, 2010 at 1:12 pm

The 21 Best Rangers Related Websites

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This blog is a resource for online bears out there with a bunch of different types of webpages that will be of use to you all. If there’s a favourite website of yours that I’ve missed then please add it at the bottom of this blog as a comment. There’s plenty here that you’ve probably used before, but there might be one or two that you haven’t used before.

So bookmark this article and come back every now and then to click on the resources or to add a comment if you find a golden nugget that no one else has suggested before.


Originating in December 2005, RangersMedia has served supporters of Rangers on a multitude of levels. Most notably, the website is home to the very successful RangersMedia Forum which is home to over 15,000 members. It also sees a post count of 2.2 million on a number of subjects pertaining to Rangers F.C. RangersMedia is purely made by the fans for the fans and operates as a non-profit website.

Over the past few years, RangersMedia has steadily improved its service to Bears worldwide. The opening of a Rangers centered news service in 2007 was the first step in providing a multi-levelled service to fans. This has since seen our news articles picked up by Google, Newsnow and other online distributors as well as spots in the Number One Fanzine.

RangersMedia has also made itself more involved outside of the internet in recent years. Under the direction of Scott McMillan, the website has taken on a number of initiatives such as it’s first ever Charity Sportsmen’s Dinner this past spring that raised $4,000 for the Moni Malawi Charity. Special guests included Jeff Winter and Donald Findlay QC. Furthermore, individuals have shown their support for the club by assisting at Ibrox in various capacities as well as forming groups that attend important supporter events such as the NARSA convention in Niagara Fall, ON in 2009.

Rangerspedia is a new online resource for Rangers supporters throughout the world to access different aspects of the clubs history. There is articles about players, tournaments, competitions, managers and much, much, more.

The ambition of RangersFCHistory is to provide a detailed historical platform of all things related to Scotland’s greatest football club. The site includes details of every known game the Light Blues have played since 1872. Also included are the team line-ups, goal scorers and opposition details, where known.

Chic Sharps All Time Rangers Statistics is an Excel spreadsheet (also available in other formats) that contains a massive amount of information on all aspects of Rangers.

Gersnet is an independent, not-for-profit Rangers website and forum founded in the year 2000. Gersnet administrator Frankie says that “as we enter our tenth year of existence, we hope to cement our reputation as a quality source of information for all Rangers fans”. It’s a fantastic site that always has fantastic news articles and opinions worth reading.

Vanguard Bears is another brilliant fans forum and news site that caters Rangers fans. It is fiercely proud of the clubs heritage and the Rangers support at large. Some of the investigative journalism in their articles is amongst the best in the country. Dealing with important issues such as the media and sectarianism.

These are links to the main supporters groups, The Rangers Supporters Trust and The Rangers Supporters Assembly. Both may have different member lead mission statements, but the overarching theme of both is naturally for the better of the club.

The official Rangers website and it’s sister website for the Rangers Lottery.

Moving to a new area? If so then you’ll want to know where the nearest supporters club is so that you can organise your travel to Ibrox and where to watch the Rangers games. These clubs are especially crucial for supporters that don’t live in the West of Scotland. The amount of clubs available and the spread in their location is testiment to the massive size of the Rangers support. Bluenosebars is a fantastic website that groups Rangers friendly bars into different areas. Fantastic if you are going on holiday when there’s a big game on!

These are three WordPress blogs from independent writers that are updated regularly. Elfideldo’s youth blog is one of the best resources on the web for keeping abreast of the news and games of the Rangers under 19s. Davie Cooper Editors Blog is a new blog that is by a professional writer now exiled in Australia – it’s some of the best and most refreshing Rangers writing I’ve read in a while. Finally there is therabbitt’s blog – which is this place of course.

This site contains places to download all Rangers music in MP3 format. A fantastic resource and a perfect place to download songs for making a CD for before a big game or for taking onto your supporters bus.
A fantastic supporter collated collection of Rangers photographs.

The final links are places to keep yourself on top of all the latest Rangers news from professional news agencies.

Written by therabbitt

December 2, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Where have all the real men gone? A call for a Rino.

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Where have all the real men gone?

Hard working men that don’t care what they look like when they’re working at their job. They return home smelling of blood, sweat, dirt and sometimes with a nip of whisky on their breath. Men who toil, scrape and work their hands to the bone, fighting for their very lives every time they set off to earn a crust – no matter what it is that they do.

A certain brand of man. Cast from the sturdy mould of the hard working and dogged men of days gone by. Men that used to spend more time beneath the ground in dark, damp mines. Men that worked in the smokey ship yards of Govan and men who risked life and particularly limb to work in the industrial age factories across the West coast of Scotland and up and down this fine country of ours.

This same mindset was filtered into the men-only world of football stadiums, smokers nights and secret handshakes.

The football stadiums across Britian were places of sanctuary from hard working British men for an hour and a half every second Saturday. The pictures of thousands of men filtering patiently into the great stadiums across this land with their flat caps and trenchcoats on was a sight to behold. Spotting a woman in their midst would be like studying a Where’s Wally for that red and white striped jumpered moron. Whatever paltry wage they may have been earning was at least in part taken up for their ticket, pie and bovril at their stadium of choice.

On the pitch, the football when compared to today was agricultural in the large part – a large exponent of the ploughed field surfaces that the British climate brings. The men playing the beautiful game were much more robust; athleticism was not a the correct vernacular to describe the majority of players. These men were troopers on the football field. Each and every one of them proud to be representing the club crest that was emblazoned across their chest. It meant a different life than most.

These committed and determined men that would fight tooth and nail with their chest puffed out proudly, more often than not trudging on through the pain barrier, seem to have left modern football in the large part. They most certainly have at Rangers Football Club.

Taking a cursory look through the first team squad at Rangers as we reach the teenage years of the twenty first century, we see a bunch of primadonnas and players that put simply, just don’t look like they care.

Ask yourself, how many of our first team would sweat blood for our club crest?

They may say all the right things when it is time to give vox pops to their pals in the media. Yet when it comes time to step onto the plush grass that has been lapped with whitewash, they seem to wilt under pressure like Chris Burke in the Aberdeen sunlight. There’s no leader in the midst. Not one man will grab the players around them by the scruff of their collar, dust them down and carry them back into battle. These kind of men were last seen gracing the pitch at Ibrox in the times of the band of brothers in the 1990’s – but that is too long ago.

There’s no cutting edge at Rangers. There’s no one willing to be the bad guy for the good of the cause. The fact that the only player there is in our squad that stirs the green and grey hatred from across the city is a 30 year old substitute and impact player in Nacho Novo speaks for itself.

We need players that will get in the faces of our opponents and be willing to die for the men that are around them.

There is one man that I’d love to see back in a Rangers shirt who could stir the hatred in our enemies and the pride in all of us. A real man on the pitch that would fight till the death or at least until the jersey he had on his back had to be torn from his body – and he now lives in Milan.

Rattling around the San Siro on a weekly basis these days is the worlds smallest ton on bricks, Gennaro Ivan “Rino” Gattuso.

Gattuso is the man that crashes through the wry, self-seductive confidence that is apparent in the Gucci wearing, cologne dripped and tailored trousers of the AC Milan squad. The best description I’ve read of the man is that he “looks like a gardener and plays like a gardener’s shovel”.

Off the pitch, Gattuso looks like the epitomy of a modern cosmopolitan man. He dons the sheer cut and expensive suits, poses in the finest magazines and moves with the calm assurance that he is a man in possetion of a World Cup winners medal. Even his ragged beard is kept that way with much preening.

On the pitch, he is a completely different animal. He adopts the gait and defiance of a rabid, snarling pitbull that has been backed into a corner. He always leaves an early impression on the shinguards of whatever opponest he plays against, regardless of reputation, to let them know that the next ninety minutes are not going to be easy.

There’s a manic elegance to his football. He smiles like a cheshire cat as he involves himself in battles across the pitch – like someone that gains energy from confrontation and a test of wits and strength of character – a footballing succubus. Football purists might say that his best days are behind him and that the brand of football he plays is hard to love, but there is no doubt that he commands respect and can be a man to inspire and exactly the kind of man you would want by your side in a footballing war that simply had to be won.

Sometimes we are asked whilst in our locals with our aquaintances, that if we were Chairman of the club we love and given a blank cheque, who would we sign to rid the club from its current ails. Well I’d weigh in with a hefty support for the cultured man that has grown from the wide-eyed boy I remember being introduced onto the pitch in front of the fans with a compatriot when we won nine in a row.

It is a much debated thought and one that is more ‘pie in the sky’ than ‘aye’, but Rino Gattuso would be the perfect kick of paprika in our Pasta Piccante. Gattuso is not being played at Milan under Leonardo, perhaps as he is returning from injury, but it may also be that the distinguished Brazillian football gentleman just doesn’t see a battle hardened, Wolverine faced warrior as part of his plans.

Let me be straight. I am not suggesting for one second that I think Rino Gattuso will play for Rangers Football Club again. However, some of the veins that pump through his Roman arteries, servicing his adrenelane craving heart will forever be tied to the city of Glasgow and our club. We as supporters are forever tied to him too as he has once worn the royal blue of the mighty Rangers.

In a time where modern footballers are far too often concerned with Bentleys, broads, bank accounts, buffed up egos and bumper contracts, Rino Gattuso is a real man. I for one woul’d love it if he would once again become our man.

Written by therabbitt

December 1, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Setting The Standard – Are Player Contracts the Epitaph of Rangers?

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“Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains”
Life is good if you have the abilities to become a modern professional footballer. The Bentleys, the broads, the bank accounts, the buffed up egos and the bumper contracts.

Such short footballing careers are nowadays followed by long forays into the media circus, property, showbusiness, modelling or literally anything that takes their whim. They have the capital to do as they please. Gone are the days when players had to accentuate their meagre pay packets with second jobs and ‘retire’ only to start their lives again as a member of the workforce at large. Nowadays distinctly average players can retire to a better and more comfortable life than a large percentage of the population could ever dream of.

From the onset of professional football, the players gracing the hallowed turf across the land quickly realised that they were being paid more than the loyal fans who came to watch as their escape from the rigours of their weekly grind. With the rise of unionism (in the workforce) players began to seek employment rights and players’ associations were born. With these rights came contracts.

Stories of players now agreeing contracts readily with clubs without some form of barter, agent provocation or underhand tactics are tough to come by. This paucity is broken by some commendable examples including Paul Scholes, who notoriously turns up for contract talks with his dad and calmly thumbs through the pages in front of him before uttering the words, “that’ll do” and putting pen to paper or Lee Evans lookalike James Milner, representing himself with only some advice and representation from the English PFA. Perhaps the strangest story recently is that of England striker Jermaine Defoe, who ended up in a contract dispute as he was being represented by his mother who wasn’t a registered agent.

However, sadly the trend is much more obtuse, sometimes sinister and more money hungry than these three pro’s. Wranglings over player ownership, image rights, agent fees, relocation bonuses and sponsorship, are far more common than anything else – especially with a figure of around 90% of the UK’s professional players represented by some form of football agent. But I suppose that in these times of multi-million pound contracts, Arab sheiks, Israeli super agents and Willie McKay; that kind of contract pontificating is to be expected.

No one needs to be told about the recession that we find ourselves in, both individually and in this case, as a collective support and football team; but the issue of the football contract is a multi-faceted one. A football club’s financial stability is largely dictated by payment to the members of staff that it has on its wage bill, as it is one of its main expenditures year on year. All football clubs are facing uncertain times financially, even some of the richest clubs in the world are feeling the pinch relative to years gone by. It is simply untenable for them to maintain payment of large contracts and bonuses to large squads of players.

This is the quandary that Rangers have found themselves in of late and the topic for this discourse into ‘Setting The Standard’.

In actuality, it is a quandary that Rangers have been in for a while; too many players on the books with bloated wage packets that were never justified. It seems to run in cycles too. All too often have we seemed to have been lumbered with the contracts of a Capucho or a Lovenkrands or a Burke. As soon as we manage to trim one squad down, it is again swollen with players that do not deserve the wage packets they are on. Yes, getting players via the Bosman ruling is going to mean they are on slightly better wages than they would usually be, but the players we have signed using this method have not been of the required standard – perhaps with the exceptions of Boumsong and Prso. Does this lay the blame at the door of the manager, Martin Bain or is it the scouting system (or lack thereof)?

The situation regarding contracts in contemporary football is an interesting one. The playing field was changed for good when the European Court of Justice ruled in the favour of the then unknown Belgian player Jean-Marc Bosman and another sweeping change seems imminent as the case of Article 17 of FIFA’s transfer regulations (‘Webster Rule’) filters into the transfer system. The Bosman ruling means that players over 23 can move freely between employers once their contract runs its course and the Webster ruling means that players who sign contracts when aged under 28 are able to unilaterally break those contracts after three years. If the player is 28 or over, he can break his contract after two years. Compensation is payable, but crucially, a player’s destiny lies in his own hands. Still with me?

With that in mind, a key point of note is that the balance of power in terms of football contract negotiation has shifted in the favour of the player and not the club. Players now have the same rights as employees in every other sphere. Something that is not lost on Sepp Blatter at FIFA, who is still battling to convince the EU that football is an ‘exceptional’ industry in which ordinary labour laws should not apply. Nevertheless, the best employees (footballers) have full control over their own career and can move to whichever club offers them the best wage and they can demand a pay packet that they feel is befitting of their talent. This has several implications for football contracts.

Clubs are thus forced to sign players on longer contracts than they have previously in order to protect the investments that they have. A five year contract now, is the same as a 2/3 year deal some ten years ago. Clubs rarely think that a five year deal will run till its expiry. For example, a couple of seasons ago, when Charlie Adam and Allan McGregor first came to the fore at the club, they were instantly tied down to long lasting deals. This protects the clubs investment in them meaning that should a club wish to buy them, they have to consider the fact that they need to pay out for a player that is tied into a long term deal.

This is the only way that a club can combat ‘player power’ in the transfer market. However, this is where the problems we are currently faced with arise.

As the transfer window was creaking shut with a whimper across Scotland, Rangers were desperately clamouring for some transfers – but just in a completely different way than usual. We simply couldn’t give away our players. In the end we managed to get Charlie Adam, Jean Claude Darcheville, Chris Burke and Alan Gow off the wage bill. Whether this is/was enough to ease the mounting financial burden that was much lamented throughout the month of January remains to be seen, but what we can say is that we never got the £3 million that was much touted (desirable, not imperative, remember?).

One of the main issues seems to be that there was a severe lack of motivation from some of the players to leave. High earner Brahim Hemdani being the perfect example. Hemdani was scarcely used last season, instead being kept as a European secret weapon. But with there being no Europe this season (and injury to be fair), he has faded into insignificance. Only recently has he obtained an agent to try to find another club and was allegedly looking for a full pay off of his contract and the ability to leave for free to go now. Instead of us being able to offload a good midfielder (Supporters Player of the Year 2006/07) with bags of European experience for a fee, we have to pay up or see him rot, quite possibly from within a cafe with fellow African Francophile Bobo Balde, each laughing at either side of the Old Firm. This trend of us having to pay players to leave is a little more prevalent than some may think, as we had to pay Burke to leave for Cardiff also.

It doesn’t take a financial analyst or someone voiced in contract law (I don’t claim to be either) to tell you that this is not good for Rangers. We need to be selling our players. Not paying them for doing us the courtesy of leaving. Birmingham also wanted to take Burke, and had reportedly agreed a fee in the region of £150,000 for him, but it fell through. Why the disparity? How did we go from potentially receiving a decent fee for a player in the last year of his contract, to having to give him money to move to another club in the English Championship? A league which is widely expected to be named the third richest in the world soon if some reports are to be believed!

Now I am not one for pointing to the other side of the city on a regular basis as a point of comparison, but in this case, the questions really need to be asked. Evander Sno left Celtic for £1.25 million – is he a better player than Hemdani? Craig Beattie for £1.25 million compared to Daniel Cousin for £1.5 million? David Marshall for £1 million whilst Roy Carroll can leave for free? Now this is not me saying that Celtic are flawless in their transfer policy – we are lucky that they have been so inept in some of their buying of late – but it does seem to be a trend that they seem to get more money for the players when they move on. Who’s fault is that? Are we (Bain) at fault for not negotiating better? Are the players at fault for digging their heels in and not being willing to move?

There is no doubt though that Burke and Hemdani are/were on wages that do not reflect their squad status or contribution to the team. Lovenkrands is another fine example, he was a 6 month player. Always ready to step up his game when it became time to negotiate a new deal, just like Burke. Were management being fooled all too easily? We as supporters could see it happening, why couldn’t they?

A cursory look at the club accounts by forum member Bluedell, when the figures were released in September 2008, intimated some worrying factors relating to contracts and wages. Firstly and most importantly, within the last year, wages and salaries increased by 60%. Put in monetary terms, staff costs went up from £24 million to £34 million – an increase of £10 million. A year. To put that into context, Murray Park cost £14 million to build and we are still discussing the merits of its cash investment.

It’s also apparent that one of the most interesting contractual issues that Rangers have faced recently is, paradoxically, the run in Europe last year. Yes we made money from ticket sales for Ibrox, but such a run was probably never accounted for when players were negotiating bonuses in their contracts. Allegedly, in total, £7 million were/are to be paid to the players due to their run. That’s nothing to be sniffed at – it’s more than we paid for Pedro Mendes and Steve Davis! It’s unlikely that we will be paying out that kind of level of bonus in the foreseeable future. Was this bad management? Bad contract negotiation? Were these levels of bonus placed into the contracts just to make them appear beefier to the players that were signing them?

So to be clear, where has this left us as a club?

We have an squad creaking at the seams, filled with players on relatively high wages and longer contracts than we would like them to be on. Players that were once shining lights, such as Adam and Burke, were given long, bumper contracts too early and have failed to live up to their hype. These contracts have a level of bonus that we cannot sustain and whenever we do wish to sell the players on it usually leaves them having to accept a drop in the wage they currently receive, hence their reluctance to go.

What can be done? How could the club move forward? Any solution(s) would surely have to be all about internal club policy and willingness to stick to it.

Now it would be churlish of me to sit here and write down what Murray and Bain must do. I’m a research student that has about as much experience in the world of professional football as Andy Webster has in a Rangers back line. What I aim to do here in to perhaps scrape the surface at some ideas that could bear fruit. The feasibility of such I’m sure are open to condemnation, but they may well be worthy of some debate, something that is the crux of the ‘Setting The Standard’ series of articles.

Ideally, we need to choose a number of players for a squad and stick to it. Walter has been quoted recently saying that he wants the first team squad to be trimmed to around 20, with other spots being used by youth players. It is an old cliché now that it is best to have two players fighting for every position, but it is one that should ring true. After all, that would only give a first team squad of 22 players. The drop in wage bill from a squad of 28 to one of 22 would be considerable and seems to be a goal of the current management team. Of that 22, there is nothing to stop some of the competition for places coming from hungry youth team players. With many of our young kids out on loan at present (Gow and Adam excluded) gaining first team exposure, it is perfectly feasible that they could come back ready to push for a first team berth. Just ask Allan McGregor about taking that route.

Ironically, one of the first things that I would suggest was in fact partially implemented or discussed just a matter of a couple of years ago by the chairman: a carefully structured and rigorously adhered to wage policy. When we missed out on Scott Brown in 2007, David Murray was quick to weigh in with the ‘excuse’ that he couldn’t break the ceiling on an existing set of guidelines (be them formal or informal within the club) for players that are either signed or come up through the ranks. At the time of the transfer it was indicated that signing Brown, who is apparently on somewhere near £25,000 a week at Celtic, would have shattered this new system.

It is believed that the maximum wage that any Rangers player can be awarded with is £16,000 including bonuses. This structure extends to all of the “Scots boys” within the squad who can expect to earn £1/2,000 a week when they first break into the team, £5/6,000 if they become regulars and if they become assets they can achieve £10/12,000 without bonuses. This might explain the high wages of Burke et al as they would have once been thought of as highly saleable assets, so their values needed protecting in long, full contracts. This is all very good in theory, but is it adhered to? Do we have too many ‘assets’ that are clogging up the wage bill?

The important point to take from this is that this structure was intimated by Murray to supporters at an AGM in 2007. If the structure was there, why was it not adhered to? Why do we find ourselves needing to sell to make ends meet if the structure has been pre-planned for two years at least? Is it purely chance that the worldwide financial recession was met with a run in Europe that bled the club’s finance? Did the management maybe take too many risks that are coming back to haunt them now? Could they have predicted the financial down turn, and at the same time, surely no one at the club could have expected to have to pay overly inflated bonuses for getting to a European cup final?

Another valid point that needs addressing is that in terms of Glasgow Rangers, the financial downturn did not happen last year. It happened as Alex McLeish took over. That is when we started to downsize our operations. With correct leadership and business models we should have been one step ahead and more than capable of weathering the financial storm. In Italy, Juventus are the most financially sound club at present. Something which is purely based on the fact that they needed to weather their financial storm as they blew through the Calciopoli scandal and therefore had to put models in place to mitigate this. Yet we are not, somehow. Why not communicate with some of the clubs that have came through the other side of some tough financial hardship and see what they enforced to get themselves back on track?

Yet I digress once more. Fundamentally, we need to reassess the wage structure of the club and strictly enforce it. Surely it should be relative to turnover? Coincidentally, it has been proposed by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge at Bayern Munich that this is the way to sort out the disparity of wealth that is present in modern football. Something like that would be difficult to enforce on a club level as budgets and finances can change so quickly. Who would know if Manchester City would come in and whisk John Fleck to Eastlands for £50 million on a whim one year. However, the notion of salary capping is an interesting one and one which could make the SPL a better and more competitive environment. But that is another article for another day.

In my opinion, one of the key notions is that player performance statistics should be more closely scrutinised when they are discussing contract situations. ProZone statistics and technologies like that could (should) be fundamental to negotiation of a contract for a player. If, for example, a striker is pushing for a new deal and during negotiations it becomes apparent that his shots on target to off target ratio is decidedly poor, then does he have the right to be arguing for a raise in his salary? It’s like a joiner getting paid more for hitting nails less often. Furthermore, these kind of statistics could be used for bonuses and financial incentives within the season instead of traditional win bonus, goal bonus and clean sheet bonus. How then does the hard working defensive midfielder get awarded for his diligent tackling and ball retention? It may change the motivation of players if their basic salary was kept lower and they had a series of targets to meet to maintain the wage they were accustomed too. The technology is there to be used, why not set the standard in the way we pay our players?

Another possibility is to further encourage and nurture our youth. Why not make it club policy to not sell anyone under the age of 21, and ensure that they all receive at least one full season of formative learning on loan at another SPL club or further afield? This is the kind of financial strategy that should be explored in conjuction with the youth models discussed in previous ‘Setting the Standard’ debates.

It is also my personal view that each and every youth player should have two things inserted into their contracts when they sign professionally.

* A minimum fee release clause.
* A future fee sell on percentage clause.

We need to protect our investment in these youngsters and one way of doing so could be to scale the percentage based on the players regarded potential (5%, 10%, 25%). Also, do as the Spanish do, have a value in the contract of the player that is much more than could be aspired to just so as to use it as a bargaining tool.

It is my thoughts that if young talent knows there is a wage structure in place that rewards them for loyalty, ability and statistical improvement, then they are much more likely to want to stay loyal in years to come. This would also act as a stimulus for young talent to come to Glasgow from across the continent and further afield. This is another string that is sadly lacking at present from our bow, a continent wide scouting network (a topic to be considered soon).

With our youth investment protected, it might be a viable solution to also look to Arsene Wengers’ ideologies of only offering one year deals to players over the age of 30. Adherence to this kind of strategy would ensure that we are not left in a Brahim Hemdani style situation with a player simply burning our money or holding us to ransom for a cash payout to leave.

Nevertheless, one thing that can be said 100% for definite is that the way things are at the minute is not working. Sadly, in my opinion, the best way to address the situation was already implemented two years ago and has failed. Where does the blame lie? The manager pushing for more players? The supporters demanding reinforcements when the deadwood was still there? Or the decision-making hierarchy of the club – Bain and Murray?

The wage structure can be fixed. However it will need to be done slowly. We can’t afford a mass clear out of players as we cannot recruit ones to replace them. Never mind the points made earlier that we cannot sell our players or afford to pay them off. Perhaps the clearout began in January because Walter knows that he has a crop of youngsters that can add some depth to the squad already in place? Can the youth be the future? Or will it have to be?

The sphere of football contracts is one that will continue to evolve in the next 10 years. FIFA are motivated to bring us the ‘6 plus 5 rule’, the EU are determined to prevent it, the implications of the Webster case are yet to have been properly felt and I have the impression that the role of agents and third party player ownership will be of increasing importance. The important thing for a club like Rangers is to be in a sound financial state whereby they can be reactionary and pliable with future changes in both legislation and current trends.

The ship at Rangers might not be rudderless after all. It might just need its course realigned.

Written by therabbitt

February 10, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Setting The Standard: The Answer To The Gap Between Ideas And Action

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“This is my answer to the gap between ideas and action – I will write it out.”
Hortense Calisher

We have all now heard the grievances outlined last week for the “We Deserve Better” campaign of the Rangers Supporters Trust. Whilst it is difficult to disagree with the sentiment contained within the document released, there has as yet, not been any offer of solutions or possible affirmative action that could be undertaken to manage or mitigate these frailties of the club.

Internet Rangers website Gersnet, working in tandem with contributors from RangersMedia are looking to address this potential gap in thought. As the quote that this article began with hints at, we are looking to find the bridge between the outlined problems and actions that can begin to lessen some of the problems identified through a series of in-depth written analyses of some of the potential mitigative measures that could be adopted.

This kind of agenda is not to be considered a ‘distraction’ from supporting the team we all know and love; for clarity, no one is going to be pounding the streets outside Ibrox. The beauty of an internet agenda to find solutions for some of the problems we are faced with is that it can be undertaken silently.

Nothing changes. We all still support the team the way we always have and we will still come onto our respective online communities to discuss the games, players and all other aspects of the club. But the advantage of this kind of programme is that it allows us to focus some of that fruitful discussion towards finding possible solutions to the clubs current plight.

The sensitivity of our situation is very eloquently put within the first article of a series of many released yesterday named “Thinking the Unthinkable: Is the Time Right for Protest?”. It alludes to the notion that whilst we are three results away from disaster, we are also three results away from forgetting a lot of the ill feeling that has caused many to initially subscribe to the sentiments of the Trust’s 17 point statement and to consider the advantages of this proposed Setting The Standard” campaign.

The downturn in our clubs finances and our on the park performances recently have quite rightly forced many to ask some very important questions of our chairman, management and ourselves.

With knowledge of the sensitivity of the situation in mind, a constructive, carefully thought out series of articles or a collated document surmising the ideas and progressive thinking that many of the online fans are capable of is in RangersMedia’s opinion our best option or form of ‘protest’.

Firstly, it will show the chairman that as a ‘group of supporters’ and not a ‘supporters group’, we are collectively thinking about what is good for our club. It is far too easy for our chairman to castigate and diminish statements and plans released by individual supporters groups as they only claim to represent small numbers of fans. Opinion differs from group to group; a fact that is not lost on every fan.

A series of documents such as the one proposed in this initiative is not representing anything other than the collective interest of everyone who wants to get involved. If you are not happy with the way something is ran or is continuing to be done by the club, then it is much more constructive for all involved to not meekly complain about it, but to think rationally about it with the mindset of “what could be done?”.

Further, we think that a “protest” such as this, carried out by fans representing nothing but their own views in the form of a series of articles can do nothing but add credence to the fact that not all internet posters are wingers, whiners or knuckle-dragging bigots. This view of us all, held by our chairman and seemingly our manager also, is very much wide of the mark. For them to do so is a sweeping generalisation and in my opinion a wrong one. But that is another argument for another day.

The creation of the title for this drive is perfectly apt, “Setting The Standard”. As is hopefully clear from this article, we at RangersMedia see the advantages of protest in this manner as two fold.

Firstly, we as fans can voice the standard that we would love to have for our club and through out of the box thinking, rational thought and discussion, we can propose a set of ideas to meet that end. Secondly, we can set our own ‘standards’ as online posters that the club simply can no longer turn their noses up to and so easily dismiss.

By way of summary, RangersMedia would like to congratulate Gersnet for their foresight and for driving a project of this nature forward. We are 100% behind the idea and are hoping to work in tandem to ensure that we can cover as much breadth of discussion as possible.

This article began with a quotation describing our collective intent, it is apt now for it to end with one that will hopefully rouse many of you into joining us in this drive;

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead

– We Are The People –

Written by therabbitt

February 2, 2009 at 6:46 pm