Normally we wouldn’t discuss matters at another club but… the shenanigans at Ibrox deserve a wee mention today.
Mark Warburton claims he never done walking away. Neither did Frank McParland. Or David Weir.
The basket case that is currently The Rangers Football Club reared it’s ugly head again late on Friday night when the Club issued a statement, which had Jim Traynor and Level 5’s paw prints all over it, claiming the Magic Hat and his cohorts had resigned their positions.
After 15 minutes of social media mayhem, mocking and malevolence there was a sting in the tale. Warby hadn’t offered to leave and neither had his no.2 or Chief Scout… What?? Hold the bus! This s*** just got interesting.
Confusion reigned supreme. No-one really knew exactly what was happening. There was the rolling out of Terry Butcher on Sky Sports News which caused fury in Hibs households everywhere until he admitted he’d throw his hat in the ring for the job. This was followed by a guest appearance from Derek Johnstone who looked like he’d been dragged off a park bench in his orange (hmm…) polo shirt, jumper and ‘dress’ jacket. His attire was dreadful but DJ was adamant Warby’s time was up and Graeme Murty would be taking charge of the upcoming Scottish Cup tie against Morton on Sunday.
There were rumours abound wherever you looked. Twitter was certainly buzzing. Claims of Rangers website being hacked, Warburton insisting he was told by email, Level 5’s insistence he had left of his own accord, then it was his agent’s fault, then the boogeyman and finally Gazza turned up with his fishing rod and 6 pack before Keith Jackson broke it as a Record exclusive four hours later.
Things were happening at breakneck speed but essentially it seems Respectful Mark was happy to walk away as he believed there was a job waiting for him at Nottingham Forest.
His agent, Dave Lockwood, had approached the Ibrox board on Tuesday to basically say ‘My guy wants out, he’s got a job offer down south, if he goes can you waive compensation and it’ll save you a fortune in pay offs.’
This is where it gets murky. Rangers dithered. Forest were annoyed and withdrew any mythical or not job offer. The Govanites boardroom had agreed to Lockwood’s proposal but Warburton now had nowhere to go. So he was just going to stay put.
No danger thought the ‘Gers board who clearly believe they can get rid of him without paying an estimated £700k severance package between the three of them. There’s no doubt been a frosty relationship between staff and those who pull the strings at the top level since it became apparent Rangers are now domestic also rans and look destined to stay as such unless Dave King finds his war chest hidden in a Deep South African mine.
The statement release at 9pm on a Friday evening just 36 hours before a cup tie seems mentalist behaviour. Now, Scottish Football knows the Teddy Bears love a statement and can produce one at the drop of a (magic) hat but the timing was unbelievable, even by their own ever changing standards.
Why had they let Warburton take the pre match press conference just a few hours before if they’d already accepted his resignation on Wednesday?
Why was he allowed to take player training on Friday?
At what stage was Murty approached and asked to take charge of first team affairs?
Has Warburton personally handed in his resignation or was it heresay via a third party (his agent?)
Rangers claim their managerial team were notified in writing. When was this? Can you, by law, have your employment terminated by email?
Will Warburton & Weir do a Rowan Alexander and pitch up at Ibrox on Sunday claiming still to be in charge?
So many questions still to be answered by both parties and you might as well dig out the popcorn as this could be a true epic, especially if it’s played out as the Level 5 controlled media v the rest.
Interesting times ahead.
On a personal note this editor would like to thank Warburton for his part in the greatest day in history when his steadfast refusal to change tactics helped Hibs lift the Scottish Cup last May.
His decision not to double up on Anthony Stokes after the first minute or lack of discipline by his side at set pieces were true managerial genius.
Gone but never, ever forgotten.