Another scoop today for Chris McLaughlin of BBC Scotland.
He has located a document said to have been drawn up by a major Rangers investor in the last couple of months. It laid out a blueprint for the development of the football team, looking at the whole structure from the grass roots up, and included a major shift to a Director of Football, together with a clear signing policy – only signing players of 25 and under, who will have a resale value.
The document also criticised the standard and quality of football being played and lays the blame for this on the present coaching regime – with the suggestion that help there would be needed.
The bottom line was that, to achieve success and keep the customers happy, the style of football needed to be changed – the players needed to be properly incentivised – wages need to be controlled – and there was a recognition that, whilst winning was vital, there was a necessity to win with attractive football.
The document seems remarkable in its terms – not because it is outlandish, despite the goal being stated on winning a major European trophy by 2020, but for its apparent sense.
There is also the combination of ambition, in mentioning people like De Boer and Cruyff as potential Directors of Football, and realism, in recognising that, at least for now, such eminent people might not come to Ibrox.
To be honest, if it had appeared and was said to be from a top German team, or La Liga or Serie A, or from Ajax or Feyenoord, no one would blink an eye. But being from such a “traditional” team as Rangers …
Ironically the article by Mr McLaughlin includes the comment which might, to some degree, explain the problems of Scottish football – he suggests that, in light of the departures of Mr Green and Mr Ahmad, the plan has been shelved.
So it looks like a trip back to running up and down the sand dunes, and punting it up the park to the big centre-forward, whilst signing former stars at inflated salaries …
So, no change there!
You can read the full document below, with thanks to BBC Scotland.
Posted by Paul McConville
Rangers: the way forward – in full
Rangers’ football philosophy
Rangers are in a unique position in British football in that we have a company that is debt free, and a very large faithful following even in the lowest league.
Being in the lowest league also provides the opportunity to create a new structure with less pressure to make mistakes, and give ourselves time to ‘test/try’ new systems.
If we were in the top league there would be a huge pressure to succeed, but with Division Two and Division One over the next couple of years we can afford to learn from mistakes, so that in three years time we have a successful system on and off the park.
Rangers would adapt the ‘total football’ philosophy (or ‘tiki-taka’ by Barcelona) across every team, from the youths up to the first team.
All players would be coached on this pro-active style of football, and we would only recruit players who are prepared to work hard at their game and play as part of the team.
This would require some major changes to current attitudes within the club, and would no doubt result in some casualties.
The current staff costs are high for the level of football we currently play, so if these were cut then there would not be a large financial investment required to invest in a new system.
Some success stories across Europe are Ajax, Dortmund, Porto and Swansea. There are many articles available on these clubs, and it would be useful to visit these clubs to study how they developed their strategy and made it happen.
…is to win a major European trophy by 2020. Every decision made by each person connected with Rangers would be made with our vision in mind.
Whether you are the CEO, or the person taking calls from fans, you have your part to play in making Rangers one of the most successful clubs in European football.
We would all embrace this vision and have total belief that we will get there.
If anyone is not prepared to believe this then they will be helped to find an alternative company to work for. We will only accept a positive ‘can-do’ attitude and welcome suggestions on how we can continuously improve.
The objective of the club would be to develop young talent and provide them opportunities in the first team. Another objective is to develop players with a view to selling them on to the rich clubs across Europe.
This money would then be reinvested into youth development, and be used to pay incentive bonuses to the coaching staff.
If we played in the English Premiership and earned large payouts then our policy could change regarding selling on players, however we would always stick to budgets and not overspend.
We would have a director of football who would be responsible for the overall ‘total football’ development and delivery. This person would recruit the coaches at all levels, and lead them in the philosophy that we have.
All coaches would be trained on the exact same methodology and ensure that their teams play this style.
Choosing the director of football would be a key decision. We would want to attract a top European ex-player with great pedigree and reputation.
They would of course need to share the philosophy of ‘total football’ and have experience in developing this. They would be a natural leader with clear objectives on what they want to achieve.
Ideal candidates. Unlikely to attract them but it gives an idea of the people who would be suitable:
• Frank de Boer – (current manager at Ajax and has won Dutch title in each of his two years). Ex-Rangers player for one season. Great reputation having had an excellent career and a big part of the Ajax family. Unsure if we would we be able to tempt him away. Marc Overmars is current Ajax Director of Football since 2012.
• Johan Cruyff – (currently manager of Catalonia football team [unofficial friendly team]). This will not be a full time role, and right now Cruyff is an influential advisor to Barcelona and Ajax.
• Frank Rijkaard – Left Saudi Arabia as coach on 16 Jan 2013 after they failed to reach the World Cup 2014 qualifiers. Successful player and comes from the coaching traditions of Rijkaard’s countrymen and forebears, Rinus Michels and Johan Cruyff.
• Someone close to Michel Platini, and other influential leaders of European football.
We would then have a head coach (manager) who would be responsible for the first team only, but with a very keen interest and involvement within all Rangers teams.
Ideally a young manager with good leadership qualities and who would demand respect. Preferably a Scottish manager who knows the challenges of the Scottish game.
He should have had coaching experience and have a ‘big picture’ attitude. He would of course need to believe in the philosophy of ‘total football’, and have an optimistic view on taking Rangers to the top of Europe.
He would encourage and develop his players, show clear tactical awareness, and be willing to try new methods of training and coaching.
Mental attitude and confidence is a key component of all successful sportsmen, and Rangers will adapt this positive approach.
We will recruit the very best in sports psychologists and ensure that all our players and staff embrace the power of positivity.
Practices such as NLP have proven to be majorly successful in sport – just look at the success of the British cycling team, or the World Cup-winning English rugby team.
From the playing staff, we will see:
• A consistent style of football that attacks the ball and every player will give 100% for the full game, even if we are 4-0 up.
• The team will work for each other and press the opponents when not in possession.
• Players will be disciplined and act mature on and off the park.
• We will be ‘smart’ by challenging refereeing decisions, and be vocal in a respectable way.
• All players will display confidence and also show respect to opposing teams.
• Most of all, players will come off the park knowing that they have done their best.
• Players will know that if they have not shown the dedication, commitment and attitude that is required of a Rangers player, then they will not be here. They will be motivated at all times.
• Players will happily commit time to charity events, fans events, media, and most importantly the youth development. They will be role models.
• Rangers will look after their players by providing life coaching, financial advice and other support that will help them in their personal life.
The director of football would have the final decision on which players we sign, and would need to work within the budgets and policy set by the CEO/Board. The first team coach would of course have a lot of involvement in who we wish to buy or sell, however the director of football would have ultimate control.
Some policies on signing:
• In most cases, only sign players aged 25 or under.
• Do not sign ‘troublesome stars’. Stick to team players who are level-headed.
• Bring in players with the potential to grow.
• Recruit players with the right attitude and hunger (you can give them the skills, but it’s difficult to change attitude).
• Strict wage structure with a basic salary and attractive bonuses.
• Bonuses could be based on number of performances, disciplinary, results, greater than three-goal victories.
• Tiered wage structure based on which league we play in.
• All players need to be incentivised to play well, behave themselves, and only be rewarded for their efforts (not by a large basic salary just for turning up).
• If players do not accept the policy then they are not fit to play for Rangers. It may mean we lose out on players, but we would benefit more by having a ‘fair’ system for all players.
• Stick to our policy on agency fees, and give the message that we are not prepared to pay over the odds. We need to lose the reputation that we are an institution that can afford high wages. Look what happened to the old regime who thought it was good to speculate on big transfers.
How we reward our people
Rather than pay high salaries to people, we will incentivise our people. If the club does well, our people will do well.
Players will be rewarded for winning trophies and maintaining the consistent style of football.
We could set targets in terms of the number of goals scored in a season, minimal goals conceded, and also the number of ‘assists’ or possession. The players should be incentivised to work as a team rather than try to make a name individually.
Coaches would be rewarded by winning trophies, but the largest reward would come in the form of a percentage of the profit made by selling star players.
This would then give the coaches a clear objective of player development knowing that they can benefit from a player who ‘makes it’.
It would also soften the blow of losing star players from the squad, but ultimately our system would allow for someone else to step into the team and take their place.
A comprehensive financial model shall be produced that shows the connection between the selling of players, and the bonuses available to staff.
This approach should also be introduced to all employees of Rangers.
If the club has a successful period and has the funds available, then bonuses would be paid to all staff.
All employees would be performance-managed and be set clear objectives. They would be made accountable for their respective roles, and be expected to work efficiently. We cannot carry people.
Again, we will not pay over-inflated salaries, but will offer rewards based on good performance. This keeps people incentivised and only rewards those who deserve it.
There will be an optimistic ‘buzz’ around the place, with people having clear objectives and knowing exactly what their role is, and how they are helping Rangers to achieve the goal. People will be rewarded.
New people will come in and some will move on, and we will have a pro-active team of people providing a cost effective solution in all areas. We will be good to our people.
With the events of 2012, the Rangers family are more bonded than ever. They have displayed overwhelming support and confidence in the club during the most difficult circumstances.
They are passionate in the redevelopment of their club, and they want nothing more than to see Rangers back at the very top and be able to look down with a wry smile at the people who tried so hard to hurt our club.
The Rangers fans will stick by the club and support us in their thousands, but only if they can see that there is progression.
Right now, many questions are being asked about what is really happening at the club, and the biggest concern seems to be the style of football and coaching theory.
With the fans on board, and a transparent policy of how their cash is being re-invested into player development, they will continue to pay.
Rangers have an amazing opportunity to use the huge fan base and ask them to spend on products and services that will ultimately benefit Rangers.
However, fans will only pay if they are happy with the on-field activities, and right now the majority of fans are not happy.
There is a big risk that if the current coaching regime remains, then fans will stop coming and we will see half of the season ticket sales we had this season.
Change is required………….and this starts with a big decision.
“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” Peter F. Drucker