With Dave King’s statement saying the next manager will be backed and must bring success, who gets the gig if Murty goes?
I’ve said previously that I think Graeme Murty should be given until the end of the season and then be judged. If Rangers go unbeaten during a period where they face their toughest opponents then I would be hard-pressed to not appreciate the work that Murty has done by him being rewarded with a longer deal.
But, there is little chance of this happening, I’m the eternal optimist but even I can’t see this happening.
As for potential replacements, I’ve seen Frank de Boer, Giovanni van Bronkhorst and Steve Clarke being mentioned and not much else. They are all decent managers in their own right, each of them has attributes that match the requirements of the club but they also have questions hanging over them.
Can Frank de Boer work with a lower quality of player in a league that is relatively unknown to him, would he be happy working under/with a Director of Football? Gio van Bronkhorst has had some success in his own country but is still relatively inexperienced, could he cope with the step up in pressure that comes with managing Rangers? Steve Clarke has worked miracles at Kilmarnock but in a very definite and structured game plan which wouldn’t be successful at Rangers. He would have to adapt and be more adventurous and has been found wanting a couple of times when he has tried to play more expansive football at previous clubs.
Why not aim a little bit higher? I would look at two managers in the English Premier League, Eddie Howe and Sean Dyche. Two contrasting styles but successful at what they do with the resources they have to work with. And why not? Celtic got Brendan Rodgers and Kilmarnock has shown what can be achieved if you secure a higher than average calibre of manager in Steve Clarke.
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Eddie Howe is one of the longest-serving managers around, moving into management at the club he finished playing for and staying there ever since (but for 18 months at Burnley in between mind). He has received (rightful) praise for the way he has kept Bournemouth in the Premier League, going against the norm by maintaining a desire to play football rather than making his team hard to beat. What I like most about Howe is his apparent ability to change the course of a game. On 17 occasions Bournemouth have secured points from losing positions, no mean feat and certainly not a fluke with this regularity.
Would he be able to secure European football or win a trophy at Bournemouth? I doubt it such is the level of disparity in resources of the established clubs in the top 8-10. Would any of these “top” clubs ever offer a chance to Howe? Again, probably not, Champions League (or would be Champions League) clubs always look for managers with this level of experience or success and Howe has neither. I think he would seriously consider the opportunity to have a crack at European football and the chance to win trophies. The head-to-head battle with Rodgers across the city could also be seen as a chance to pit his wits against a more experienced foe, knowing that coming out on top would enhance his reputation.
For Sean Dyche, there are a lot of similarities. He has reached a plateau. Likewise, I don’t think he will ever get an opportunity at a “big” club. The myth that his teams play an agricultural style is perpetuated regularly but he does offer a lot more than 10 men behind the ball football.
Last season Burnley survived purely on their home form but this year they have almost a 50/50 split with their points home and away. This has been as a result of changing shape/structure and being more flexible away from home, he frequently plays with two strikers but still with an emphasis on being structurally well drilled.
Howe and Dyche both know the markets that Rangers should be shopping in and have extensive experience of the Championship and Premier League. They could certainly help attract a better quality of player to the club in conjunction with Mark Allen.
Another trait that both the managers share is their popularity with the press and in the game in general. Both are excellent man-managers and well respected, honest club representatives. When it is needed though, Howe and Dyche have given strong opinions against referee performances and defended their respective clubs and players. Managers that stick up for their club.
Dealing with the pressures of the Premier League would be ideal preparation for life at Rangers. If we want to be a top club again, it has to start from the top, there is no point spending millions on players but not on a manager. You wouldn’t choose a bus driver to drive an F1 car, would you? The manager is the figurehead of the club and the focal point when things are going well and when the backs are against the wall, they must have the profile to cope with both situations.
Howe and Dyche could be successful managers at Rangers, will they ever be given the chance though?