Mark Warburton And The Avis Factor

The famous business battle between Hertz and Avis produced the odd phenomenon of second place being a position to be embraced and even celebrated, with Avis’s legendary “We’re only Number 2, so we try harder” slogan.

A variation of this in footballing terms could be the acceptable goal of a Champions League spot from the English Premiership e.g. Arsenal could have the slogan: “We’re happy with only Number 4, so we don’t need to burst our backsides trying to actually win the League for a change.”

silver_medalYou would be forgiven for thinking that being Number 2 in Scottish football – particularly in a head-to-head between Rangers and Celtic – would never be acceptable but it appears you would be wrong.

I have blogged extensively in the past about the battle between the Glasgow giants being THE distinctive product that we have to offer in the game up here and how the fierce rivalry between the big two is essential for the health of Scottish football. It has to be said, however, that this has not actually transpired, despite Rangers’ return to the top flight.

There is a settled order in Scottish football at present which indicates that this historical competitiveness will not be returning any time soon. That order is Celtic at the top, with their city rivals at the very best a firm and distant second place. Without the “So we try harder” part, unless you consider huffing and puffing around the field an indication of laborious effort.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not being critical of Mark Warburton and his men. In fact, they are doing just as well as Celtic are to keep the settled order as settled as can be. They are playing to the script they have been given and are on target to set the objective of their own Chairman to finish in the top two. Dave King has set the bar at being second place and all Mark Warburton has to do to make himself unsackable is meet this demand.

This, I reiterate, is no criticism of Warburton. Frankly, I share the misgivings of some I know and respect who question his ability to make Rangers the dominant force in Scotland. But I strongly defend his right to be given the support of club and fans as long as second place is viable.

The stark reality facing Rangers fans going into the New Year is that the team is second best by a distance. It isn’t the yawning chasm of a gap dreamers would imagine and could be breached by a bit of intelligent activity in the transfer market. Dembele aside, who would make the grade in the EPL from this current Celtic side?

So the present order will continue and it remains to be seen if the board at Ibrox will have the temerity to refuse their given role in this order. Those of a conspiracy mindset who see evidence that the Old Firm is not named as such in vain, will have their suspicions grow deeper the longer this goes on, particularly if 10-in-a-row is achieved.

Rangers’ victory in last season’s semi-final over Celtic could have inspired a panic reaction from the Celtic board but their shrewd assessment of the situation – or their customary parsimony (I’ll let the reader decide) – led to astute decisions i.e. sacking Deila and replacing him with a decent upgrade along with sensible buys.  Brendan Rodgers has made all the difference to a team shorn of quality by seasons of downgrading. Staying the few necessary steps ahead of Rangers is the pragmatic philosophy adopted by Celtic these days, with no real attempt to hide the coveted goal of 10-in-a-row. Not every Celtic fan accepts this as the zenith of achievement but there are enough to make the Rodgers Revolution an ongoing crowd puller.

Both Rangers and Celtic fans are being sold short by the lack of ambition their respective boards are presently displaying. No doubt directors of both clubs would cite the lack of money as a reason for this but that would be a poor and cowardly excuse.

At present we are seeing the Old Firm at its worst. We have been here before, with one team dominant and the other constant underdogs. It may throw up the occasional against-the-odds victory but real football fans of both sides and others don’t want a cosy cartel at the top of our Premiership. They want blood and guts and real competition.

Directors of both Rangers and Celtic should know two things: The first is that we the fans want continual growth and improvement, not downsizing, downgrading and “settling.”

And the second thing is that being Number 2 is NEVER acceptable.



21 thoughts on “Mark Warburton And The Avis Factor

  1. Looks like everything Bill said about King is coming home to roost, fans are now starting to see things differently, going by the posts on TBD.What a mess we are in.

  2. I’ve kept quiet now for approx. two years on Dave King and Co. and their takeover of Rangers. However, I sit here bewildered, wondering why Rangers fans chased a Billionaire and embraced someone, with it appears, slightly more wealth than the people that comment on this forum. I understand that Mike Ashley’s PR was abysmal, but surely a little more patience with the man might have seen far more progress than we are currently witnessing.

    1. Chasing the billionaire was all part of the plan.

      It was and is vital for serious money to be deterred in order that Rangers stay a very definite second.

  3. Anybody feeling glad all over ?

    (Ross Hall General Medical Admissions)

  4. It would be interesting to get people’s thoughts on Dave King and his promises of over investment 2 years ago.

    From where I’m standing it’s the support that are funding the football club, effectively.

    1. You are a Lundy, a tim, a traitor.

      Just anticipating the kneejerk response from the staunch, bud lol.

      1. Ha!

        Being serious, something has to give here. Fans won’t take this for any great length of time.

        I seen you say the gap in quality isn’t that big in reply to someone else.

        Got to disagree there, mate. I think we’ve got only 3 or 4 players in this squad capable of winning the title.

        So many of these players aren’t the quality required I’m afraid.

        1. I agree the matter must be addressed urgently. Still maintain the gap is not as big as many say. Saturday’s game could easily have been a draw. Celric are not all that. Three good additions in the three areas of the team could be the difference. A proper centre back, a battling midfielder who can dominate and an old fashioned centre forward.

  5. I thought there were some positive signs on Saturday, well in the first half anyway. Rangers took the game to Celtic and dominated for the first half hour.

    After that it was the same as ever. A defence that simply can’t function as a unit as the full backs are too far up the park, a midfield that wouldn’t look out of place at a midgets convention and strikers that don’t score enough goals.

    Our keeper kept the score respectable in the second half, if not for Foderingham it would’ve been a whole lot worse.

    I’m not really sure where this team go from here, the squad is full of players that aren’t good enough and it’s blatantly apparent that most of them will never be able to challenge what for me is a pretty average Celtic side.

    Dembele and Sinclair tore right through the middle time and again and they targeted the flanks as Tavernier is nowhere near good enough defensively and Wilson isn’t a full back and never will be,

    We have serious problems and could easily finish 40 points behind Celtic. It might not be as much as that but it’ll be 30 anyway. Not good enough.

    My issue with Mark Warburton here is simple really, you don’t have to be better than Celtic to challenge, you just have to make sure you’re better than all the rest in the division. Do that and you’ll maintain a challenge throughout the season.

    His signings this summer haven’t done that, in fact those signings have been an unmitigated disaster on the whole. None of them have been a success and are t good enough.

    That is down to Warburton underestimating the quality of the opposition. League1 and League2 players from England are on the same level as most of the players in the SPFL, take a look at Inverness, Ross County, Kilmarnock, Aberdeen etc, most of their signings come from those divisions.

    The problem with that is those clubs are paying a fraction of what we do in salaries for these players. For the money paid and budget given to Warburton we should be out of sight in second place, we aren’t not will we stroll the second half of the season with these players either.

    King has to man up or move out, he promised plenty and the majority of fans backed him and his board. They must find a way of backing the manager with cold, hard and serious cash. They won’t though and we all know it. Full of it is our Mr King.

    On another note, where were King, Murray, Gilligan or Park during the commemorative ceremony for the Ibrox Disaster, if happened before the game. Did none of them deem it worthy enough to turn up and pay their respects to the people that lost their lives that day in our stadium?

    Absolutely disgraceful if there’s no valid explanation for their non appearance.

    Just about sums them up if you ask me.

    1. As usual, astute insights and spot on analysis

    2. Ibrox is within the Glasgow Southside Scottish Parliament Costituency boundary

      Was it ever the case that parliamentary representation occured for the commemorative ceremony for the Ibrox disaster ?

  6. Bill I disagree with some statements I have read in this blog, I was at Saturdays game and I believe we were closer to a victory than some feel, looking at both Celtic goals neither were great unstoppable pieces of magic, both scorers were hopelessly unmarked, guilty party ? One of the three lost boys, Tav Kieran & Wilson, as for Dembele I never seen him win one high ball from Hill a man in his late thirtys, on another day Millars late effort could have gone in, and as for Forrester trying to go solo instead of a easy square ball to Dodoo , the result could have been different, as to the two points dropped against St Johnstone the goal we lost , say no more, and I seen at least two balls go straight across the 6 yard box and both times our £1.7 mil striker was nowhere to be seen. Nobody will convince me there is not better players out there for the money our current squad are getting, or some could not benefit from better coaching , sadly tho I don’t see anything changeing in the foreseeable fucture as King seems happy with Warburton and Warburton seems happy to make excuses for what he is producing, watching Rangers at the moment is like a plate of frustration with a hint of McCoist, never the less I have supported Rangers for 65 years through thick & thin, and nothing going to stop me now WATP

    1. This Celtic side is not streets ahead. They are marginally better quality-wise but what Rodgers has brought to them is focus and desire.

  7. This is a difficult one for me Bill. There is no doubt in my mind that we sit in the hands of an utter charlatan who wont be spending a penny on the team anytime soon. He is ably backed up by the serial business failure Paul Murray and that utter embarrassment of a Rangers Director, John Gilligan. Until recently I had sympathy for Warburton as he was operating with his hands tied behind his back. However, a number of issues have arisen that have seen that sympathy wane. I was disgusted to read on FF a post that linked Key Sports Management directly to McParland, Warburton his daughter and son to Players we had signed. The whole inference was that of bungs and personal gain. In the last few months Warburton has seen fit to defend King et al and express his satisfaction with the support he has had from this Board. This in turn means he must accept full responsibility for the rank rotten quality of Player we see in Light Blue and the subsequent position that we are a distant second to our rivals. It will never be acceptable to Rangers fans to be second at anything but that is the line we are being fed now. He keeps talking about a project and give me time which would be OK but for the life of me I see no progress that would leave me to believe we will be title challengers next year. His summer signing have by and large been a disaster and we more or less operate with the same team that won the Championship. Sadly that is their level and most of them should be nowhere near a Rangers jersey. They are being found out badly one step up and never more clear than the second half on Hogmany. I could probably write a book on how poor is the quality of Player we have now but when fans are singing the praises of a non scoring, mini thug we call a striker then I know its all a waste of time.

    1. Good points, my friend

  8. – ‘Simply the (2nd) best’ doesn’t have the same ring about it.
    – a meagre, to zilch, amount of money for new players
    – a fans organisation that isn’t allowed to be independent from the board (club1872)
    – the prospect of the next five seasons, at least, being a dead ‘grubber’

    The Rangers fans may have to take heed of the actions of the fans in the late 70s/early 80’s not stop going in numbers to change this board’s minds….but even then ?

    1. Bill

      Remember me! doubt it !!!
      When all in sunder were pressing for Dave King ,including yourself and Rangers Trust , sons of Struth and the rest
      I said he should be nowhere near the Club and in fact id take every person who was on the board at the
      time and wash my hands of them -never to darken the doors at Ibrox again
      You have all got what you wished for and worse is to come
      It break s my heart to see this great club in the state it is in and the Supporters who have their head stuck in the Sand
      And for someone as articulate and influential as you are to the Club , you have done very little to alter this situation
      Maybe you should stop talking in riddles and grow some and make waves
      If not then as far as im concerned your as guilty in bringing this great club down as all those narrow minded chairman’s did in 2014

      1. My opposition to King is known to anyone not in a coma since 2012. I have endured persecution and threats of a sinister nature for it. Reality is, barring the intelligent bears of the RSL, nobody wanted to hear. Yes, the turkeys have the Christmas they lusted after.

      2. rk, what’s your evidence that Bill was ‘pressing’ for Dave King et al to be at the helm of The Rangers ?

      3. What are you talking about? Bill, along with the rest of us at the RSL fought for two long years in an attempt to dissuade Rangers fans from backing Dave King in his quest for control.

        Dearly me!!

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