There was a moment at Ibrox during the recent Old Firm which proved to be a small cameo of everything which is wrong at our club. Kyle Lafferty came on to replace Charlie Adam on the left side of midfield. In our most important game of the season, a centre forward came on to play out of position at left midfield. The fact that he was brought on to replace a player who has been told he does not have a future at our club simply underlines the shambles of it all.
Perhaps our second substitution which saw our right back being taken off, our right midfielder being moved to right back and Novo a player who prefers to be played through the middle moving to the right side of midfield...well perhaps that's just over labouring the point.
And its not just left midfield which is the problem. At left back we have a player who is a natural centre half. At centre half we have an ageing warrior assisted by a young man who has spent most of his Rangers career being played out of position at right back. At right back we have a player who has spent his Ibrox career being deployed all over the park.
Should we really be surprised then that the likes of Broadfoot and Whittaker have proven to be less than comfortable when finally deployed in their natural positions ?
And yet there are 28 million reasons why this should not have been allowed to happen. £28.78 million if we are to be exact. Thats what Walter has spent in the transfer market since returning to Rangers for a second stint.
Now perhaps, even in the SPL, it could be argued that kind of money does not guarantee success, but surely it should allow a manager to assemble a squad which has sufficient cover for most positions.
When examined closely Walter’s acquisitions have proven to be an unmitigated disaster. For those who wish to argue that point I would remind you that we are seven points behind our rivals in the league before the turn of the year and out of Europe to Kaunas. Yes there have been some good buys—Cuellar and Mendes for example, but as the old saying goes—even a broken clock is right twice a day.
At one point in the summer with our midfield depleted due to the departure of Faye and Davis, we continued to pursue strikers. seeing Velicka, Miller and Lafferty all arriving at the club. If I remember correctly, this brought our total of strikers to the club to nine, not bad for a team which played the majority of the previous season in a 4-5-1 formation.
I would respectfully suggest that the management of our summer transfer budget was wasteful to be polite, neglect to be honest. Heaven only knows what Walter was thinking about.
I’m told that during an interview Walter stated Adam was included because he brought “a better balance to the team” Why the hell has he been told he can leave then? How bad are things if Charlie Adam brings a better balance to our team? In fact how bad is it if players who are viewed as dispensable feature in our most important games?
Contrast that with Strachan’s decision to play the largely untested Mizuno. At least he had the guts to go for it. Meantime the one player in our team, Aaron, who could have brought us the much needed width throughout the game was not “risked”. Whatever happened to fortune favours the brave?
The January sales are coming but I can’t see us standing in the queue. If you were chairmen would you entrust Walter with any more money? We spent £ 7 million on Edu, Velicka, and Lafferty alone. None have featured regularly and the one who has appeared briefly has been played out of position.
I have the greatest admiration for Walter Smith, he has been a legend for this club. But as the saying goes “no man is bigger than the club” and he is not beyond criticism. His transfer policy has been an unmitigated disaster. For anyone who thinks such criticism is unwarranted...here are 28 million reasons.
David Weir - Free
Kevin Thomson - £2m
Carlos Cuéllar - £2,370,000
Lee McCulloch - £2,250,000
Steven Whittaker - £2,000,000
Steven Naismith - £1,900,000
Daniel Cousin - £750,000
DaMarcus Beasley - £700,000
Neil Alexander - Undisclosed
Kirk Broadfoot - Free
Roy Carroll - Free
Jean-Claude Darcheville - Free
Graeme Smith - Free
Christian Dailly - Free
Andy Webster - £400,000
Kenny Miller - £2m
Andrius Velička - £1m
Kyle Lafferty - £3.25m
Madjid Bougherra - £2.5m
Pedro Mendes - £3m
Steven Davis - £3m
Maurice Edu - £2.6m