Xtratime Community banner

McLeish's future

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,958 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
A section of the Rangers support wanted to see McLeish go at the end of last season after we finished empty handed. I was as disappointed as anyone but wasn't one of those calling for his head. My major annoyance was the so many first team regulars were allowed to leave and to add to that the quality of player coming in wasn't good enough. It left me with no hope as the season began and maybe went some way to cushioning the blow.

This season however I've been happy with his buys. For me he has redeemed himself in that department. When you think he has had no money to work with it's incredible how good a squad he has built. Domestically this season we have vastly improved and however the season finishes I'll be alot happier than I was last season. In the summer I will be looking forward to the next season under McLeish.

Tactically I'm stil not convinced. On a number of occassions this season I think he's got it wrong. More worrying though has been the motivation of the team for some of the big games where they have only looked moderately interested. These are the cons for me of having McLeish in charge but they are things that can change.

The major downside though has been our lack of progress in Europe. For a club of our size and with our history we should be doing better. The Champions League is where the top sides in Europe are judged and that's where the progress has to be. To be fair to him though he's only had to cracks at that. On his first attempt we qualified for the group stages but then lost our most inflential player and captain before it began. The team Barry Ferguson left behind was a shadow of the team that had lifted the treble months earlier. At his second attempt we lost out on the qualifier to a better team. CSKA Moscow were past the halfway point in their season while our newly built side had played only one competative game- it came too soon.

Champions League Record

2002/03 Had not qualifed under Advocaat.
2003/04 Rangers 1-1 Copenhagen
2003/04 Copenhagen 1-2 Rangers
2003/04 Rangers 2-1 VfB Stuttgart
2003/04 Panathinaikos 1-1 Rangers
2003/04 Rangers 0-1 Manchester United
2003/04 Manchester United 3-0 Rangers
2003/04 VfB Stuttgart 1-0 Rangers
2003/04 Rangers 1-3 Panathinaikos
2004/05 CSKA Moscow 2-1 Rangers
2004/05 Rangers 1-1 CSKA Moscow

There are positives though since McLeish arrived three and a half years ago. In that time he has put 5 trophies in the cabinet. It's likely more will follow this season. He achieved the domestic treble which his predecessor Dick Advocaat and rival manager Martin O'Neill managed only once too. His record is not as bad as people would like to make out on the domestic front.

Domestic Record

2001/02 Scottish Cup and League Cup.
2002/03 SPL title, Scottish Cup and League Cup.
2003/04 -
2004/05 SPL Title (?), League Cup (?)

This season's title race is tight, it could go either way. If Rangers list the title then McLeish will be hailed a hero but I know for a fact if he we lsot the title there will be a section of the Rangers fans calling for his head. Again I won't be one of those. If we'd had another season like last time then I would be but I see progress. Whether we win the league or not this year we will be in better shape next year for the league and for Europe.

Just want to get your views on whether this is a make or break season for McLeish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,867 Posts
I'm still pretty unsure about McLeish. On the one hand he's improved the team from the shambles of last season, his signings have generally been good (Even if we don't win the title this year we will hopefully be going into pre-season and be in better shape fornext season in stronger shape than in the previous couple of years - and having a continuity of key players is so important) and he's done well to get back in the title race after looking like it was almost over. On the other hand we've thrown away too many points this season through tactical errors and also the performances in Europe when it mattered have been poor. And more generally there have been times when the standard and style of football played has been awful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,978 Posts
Never mind the question of him leaving if we don't win the title, i've seen heated debates about whether he should go if we win the title. My own view is that he should go if we finish second again. Sure, we've improved since last year, but we couldn't have got any worse. Also, whilst we're a better team this season, I think Celtic have been pretty poor on the whole. Some of the tactical errors he's made (Auxerre) just should not happen at Rangers. Saying that, he's obviously worth another season if the championship returns to its rightful place.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,958 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Personally I think this season should not be his last whichever way the title goes. We're only a point ahead at the top of the league but we've only lost one game all season which for me is not a sacking offence no matter what the club is. Personally I'd like Murray to take McLeish aside and say to him that he was a season (2005/06) to prove himself at home and in Europe.

Last season was a disaster and he's been given the chance to rebuild the team again this season. Even this season we have had to deal with a major player departing halfway through the season. At the start of next season we'll have a neucleus of players who have played together 6 months, a year or longer. Hopefully one or two new faces to add to that mix too.

I think McLeish is making headway in terms of the playing staff and next season will be the big one as the bulk of the squad will have been bedded in. Tactics and motivation are something he is going to have to look at, or someone is going to have to highlight for him. For example before the next Old Firm game at Ibrox get Andy Watson tanked up and lock the team in a room with him for the 15 minutes before kick off- they won't come out half arsed after that.

McLeish though has now been warned that European progress next season is a must. I'm sure McLeish isn't stupid enough not to realise that a few weeks ago David Murray was outlining to him exactly what he must do next season if he wants to keep his job:

Murray said: "We - and, I presume, Celtic as well - need to be involved in European competition after the Christmas and New Year holidays. Rangers' overall revenue was down by almost £3m on the previous year after missing out of a place in the Champions League at the start of the season and being eliminated from the Uefa Cup in December.

It's a glib line for people to say we are out before the presents have been handed over, but it is a serious matter for us both financially and from a footballing perspective. The Ibrox shareholders are not looking for a financial return, but they are expecting us to be still involved at that level beyond Christmas.

We are trying very hard to build a team which will give us a fighting chance to take on the big spenders such as Chelsea and Barcelona. And, as every match in Europe brings in at least £1m and helps us finance even more quality signings, that is very important."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,958 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
McLeish has said today that he is surprised that Rangers are challenging for the SPL this season, don't know what Murray will think about that. It would appear that he has seen this as a season for rebuilding. With that in mind I think Murray has said to him that he can have this season to rebuild but next season he'll need to produce the goods.

I think the rebuilding process is going well. Next step for him is to get his own system and stick to it. He's been playing about with the system too often lately.

McLeish said: "I think we're ahead of schedule in what we've achieved this season. I thought it would have been more difficult to be so close.

I know we've not won anything yet, but to be up there challenging in the SPL and to be in our first cup final is tremendous. It's testament to the hard work the players have put in."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
946 Posts
Walter Smith won ten titles either as manager or assistant but he was pushed out by Murray after far too many European embarrassments. So even if Eck did win the league, he's still not invincible. I don't think Rangers will win the league to be honest but we've done alright this season. I thought that maybe last season would the beginning of a decline, similar to the one we had in the early '80's.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,958 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Murray definitely wants European progress. If there is non then the shareholders are not going to be happy due to the finance and prestige it brings to the club.

The league itself is a difficult one. Rangers and Celtic will always be battling it out and someone has to lose. If it's close and you lose out then I don't think it's a case for sacking the manager. If there is a massive gap like last season then there is just cause. In Europe though it's not a two horse race so there is more potential for progress so that's where McLeish will have to keep himself at Ibrox.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,958 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I thought this might be of interest to anyone who hasn't read it. It's Alex McLeish talking frankly about the last 18 months after our CIS Cup final win. It says alot about the pressure he has been under and the situation he has been in. Still doesn't make him a tactical genius but I have a little more respect for him after reading this from today's Herald, also appeared in the Evening Times too.

McLeish said after being asked whether he had ever thought of walking away from Rangers

"This isn't a day for airing my grievances, but of course I thought about it. I was always going to face problems after I'd won the treble [in 2002-03] when you looked at the players we lost and the finances the club was facing. Back then I could easily have said, 'I can see the writing on the wall here,' and chosen to walk away from all the criticism, but that's not my style. I decided to stay and take it on the chin.

I knew I'd get pelters. As is the wont of the press, that is the criticism which comes your way, often from people who should know better. I'd won the treble, but after a difficult start this season, when we lost to Celtic and drew away to Hearts and Aberdeen, all of a sudden I became a dud.

These are the idiosyncrasies of this business. If I hadn't won today, I know I'd have been savaged, because that's how it works. But because I've won today, that doesn't make me brilliant, either. Right now I feel delighted, and all I know is that, throughout this time, I've been confident in the backing I've had from David Murray and [Rangers chief executive] Martin Bain."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,958 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Marco Negri said:
He comes out with some clangers but it's nice to see him being honest. He seems fairly self-aware too.
True. I think when he said other managers may have walked away from the situation he was referring to Advocaat. Fair play to him. If O'Neill was told last season he'd have to let go half his first team and bring in replacements with no cash I wonder how he would have reacted and how Celtic would have faired.

McLeish is turning the ship around. Still got areas for improvement in his own management and the squad as a whole still needs some players to leave with new faces coming in. He's getting there though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,487 Posts
'Eck

There was quite an argument about him going on on FF. Trophiewise he did good the first 1,5 year I think. After the treble winning season a lot of great players left, so it wouldn't be fair to give him all the blame for the poor results from last season. Now we are top of the league again but doesn't mean much since its only one point. What are your thoughts about him? If he wins us the league but flops in Europe next season again, should we keep him? And if we don't win the league at all?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
461 Posts
Considering he has won as many trophies as MON in a shorter period of time, on a shoestring budget and is only now finally able to play a team which is 'his', then yes we should keep him for the forseeable future. Consistency comes with patience, and this is the first season in a long, long time Rangers have been consistent. Even if we play poor, we grind out the result somehow. He has spent fantastically well this year and has built a young team, full of promise which can play together for years to come.

The only criticism anyone can have with him, will be last seasons blip and his failure in europe. But once again, that will hopefully come with patience. MON didnt get Celtic to a UEFA Cup final on his first attempt and it would be naive to expect Eck to do the same. He will get the results in Europe I am sure, but whether anyone will be willing to wait that long, we don't know.

Win or lose the league this season, I want Eck to stay on. If he flops in europe again....


....we will cross that bridge if the time comes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,978 Posts
Just did a bit of merging there lads. The power may be going to my head at last...

It's difficult to argue with his trophy record, but there's always something that annoys me about him. I still think he can be tactically naive. Obviously hindsight is a wonderful thing, but look at the subs he made yesterday. Bringing Lovenkrands on for Vignal is fair enough I suppose, but Arveladze for Namouchi? Even when Fergie was still on the pitch, our midfield was weakened. Having said that, IF he brings us the title I don't think any of us can have any real complaints.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,487 Posts
Angle_eyes said:
Just did a bit of merging there lads. The power may be going to my head at last...

It's difficult to argue with his trophy record, but there's always something that annoys me about him. I still think he can be tactically naive. Obviously hindsight is a wonderful thing, but look at the subs he made yesterday. Bringing Lovenkrands on for Vignal is fair enough I suppose, but Arveladze for Namouchi? Even when Fergie was still on the pitch, our midfield was weakened. Having said that, IF he brings us the title I don't think any of us can have any real complaints.
:mute: Sorry should've seen the other thread on this matter. I heard that he should've taken Fergie off earlier to protect him against himself. I've read he made some tactical errors as well. Okay he didn't have much to spent, but the same applies to Celtic, and there is a chance they'll win the league again. I agree that progress has been made, but I wish to see the real progress in Europe next season. We should be able to compete with the likes of CSKA, Olympiakos and Dynamo Kyev etc. And anything less than entering CL the group stage and entering the Uefa Cup from there won't do for me. As I do like McLeish as a person I really hope he manages to do that, if not, then I'd like to see another manager brought in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,958 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
In Europe McLeish hasn't done too well. He actually had his best season with his worst team.

When he arrived in 2001 he was thrown in at the deep end with a 4th round UEFA Cup tie against Feyenoord for a place in the last 8. It was a little unfair for his first European game in charge of any club. We failed at home with the 1-1 draw but I thought he got it spot on away from home even although we lost 3-2. It was two free kicks that undone which is not something a manager can really do anything about. No shame in the exit though as Feyenoord then beat PSV, Inter and finally Dortmund to win the UEFA Cup that year.

The 2002/03 season was the real disaster in Europe. Advocaat has led Rangers to second in the league and Scotland only had one champions league spot so Rangers only had the UEFA Cup. We should have been disposing of the likes of Viktoria Zizkov but we didn't. That was a real low point. He did though make amends that season by getting Rangers a domestic treble.

The 2003/04 season was arguably his best as he got us through the Champions League qualifiers into the group stages. It was a great achievement because he'd had to let go the best of his team and the replacements were rubbish. When we faced Manchester United, Stuttgart and Panathinaikos we didn't really have a chance of qualifying. Ferguson, Canniggia, Amoruso, Newman, Konterman and McCann had all gone. Mols was just seeing out his contract and Ronald DeBoer was on the medical table throughout. He just didn't have a side capable of doing anything.

This season was bad luck in my view. A qualification game against CSKA Moscow looked good on paper but as we can now see they are a very good outfit. Looking back I don't think there is any shame in being knocked out by the Russian side. In the UEFA Cup it we had two good games and two bad ones to our cost after knocking out Maritimo. The two games we lost were down to McLeish's tactics rather than the players he had to pick from.

Next season will hopefully be better. We won't be starting off the campaign with a brand new team. The majority of the side will have been bedded in for at least 6 months playing together. We may even have some additions to add to it. Depending on how Rangers finish in the SPL this season they could have one or two Champions League qualifiers to reach the group stage. I think this is a must for McLeish and unfortunately for him no one will care who he is drawn against. He should either way be playing a third round qualifer as the opposition is not that great in the second round to be fair. These games cup up in July and then August. We could find out in just over 3 months or 4 months whether McLeish will keep his job- I hope so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,978 Posts
This is not a knee-jerk reaction to today. I just do not believe Alex McLeish is capable of improving this team to the extent we need. I've thought that for most of this season. I think most of us were preapred to forgive him for last season's shambles, but this is his team now, and they are still far short of the quality that a Rangers team should be.

The one thing i'll highlight here is Buffel. Not the fact that he didn't play from the start today, just everything surrounding his move. I genuinely feel sorry for the guy because it seems clear to me that McLeish didn't have a clue about where he would fit into our system, but bought him anyway. I know a few of us raised questions about where he would fit in before he even signed, so why does it appear that McLeish hasn't. That just says to me that he's not competent.

I know chivo will disagree with me at least. What about the rest of you?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,487 Posts
Angle_eyes said:
This is not a knee-jerk reaction to today. I just do not believe Alex McLeish is capable of improving this team to the extent we need. I've thought that for most of this season. I think most of us were preapred to forgive him for last season's shambles, but this is his team now, and they are still far short of the quality that a Rangers team should be.

The one thing i'll highlight here is Buffel. Not the fact that he didn't play from the start today, just everything surrounding his move. I genuinely feel sorry for the guy because it seems clear to me that McLeish didn't have a clue about where he would fit into our system, but bought him anyway. I know a few of us raised questions about where he would fit in before he even signed, so why does it appear that McLeish hasn't. That just says to me that he's not competent.

I know chivo will disagree with me at least. What about the rest of you?
I agree. In the end, a coach is as good as the results of his team. McLeish has had the chance, and he failed. A shame, I like him as a person, and Im sure he can go on to be a decent manager elsewhere. If he goes that is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
give him another year, it makes it so easy for us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,958 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
canadianbeast05 said:
give him another year, it makes it so easy for us.
You obviously follow the SPL very closely if you have come to the conclusion that it is "so easy for us".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
946 Posts
I don't know.

I wouldn't want to sack him unless we get a seriously good replacement a lá Guus Hiddink or someone. That's just a random name, I don't expect him to leave PSV for us.

We have to be careful though. When John Greig left, who did we replace him with? Jock Wallace, FFS. He just made us worse.

It all depends what Murray thinks though. He only got rid of Advocaat because of the debt problem. Murray seems to become genuinely matey with all his managers and he wouldn't sack McLeish unless there was no other option.

Or maybe he would, what the hell do I know?
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top