beams Norrie the doorman as I make my arrival through the legendary main entrance to Ibrox stadium.
The trail of Bill Struth’s cigar smoke still lingers, however, it’s the scent of history and success that’s even more potent; almost intoxicating.
Rangers is so much more than a football club; it’s a British institution.
I caress the silky smooth ornate oak banister with my right hand as I slowly make my way up the iconic marble staircase; my eyes pausing momentarily on the bronze Bill Struth bust to my left, before gazing upon the distinguished hall of fame placard taking pride of place on the landing wall.
After reaching the mezzanine, my brown brogues continue across the polished marble floor.
This is it…
I’m now part of an elite band of men to have been bestowed this great honor.
Rickie Clark – Rangers Manager
The illustrious history of Rangers is vast yet, it’s everything that’s happened in their modern day history that brings me to Govan.
Having made the pilgrimage back to the top flight following financial peril and demotion to the lowest tier [Third Division] in the Scottish footballing pyramid back in 2012 – the club, and those in important positions were gifted a tremendous opportunity to use the state-of-the-art youth academy to their advantage; alas, they decided against such a strategy. This was a real vexation of mine at a period when Rangers needed it most, therefore, that’s the main reason why I have chosen to take charge of the Glasgow giants throughout Football Manager 2020.
Oh, I nearly forgot – there’s also the bitter rivalry with Celtic and the need to halt their domestic dominance – putting an end to their quest for nine and ten league titles in a row. In achieving this aim I’ll be the one credited with returning this footballing institution back where it belongs, at the seat of Scottish football.
While Celtic have won plenty of battles, Rangers claim the outright war on the basis they’ve secured a record-breaking 54 league titles.
Rangers need to rise again and reclaim top spot in Glasgow.
Can this be achieved whilst predominantly using players from the clubs youth academy?
One club / One philosophy
Throughout this particular save game the aim will be to cultivate and nurture those young players coming through the Hummel Training Centre [academy].
It will be a conveyor belt for the first team and it is, most likely, an investment fund that will bankroll Rangers’ future.
There will be sales, of course, but they won’t come cheap at a bargain price. Rangers’ reputation for excellence will speak for itself.
It will be a delicate balance to maintain coherence on the account sheet and structure on the field. We will be tasked with mounting a strong challenge for all available domestic silverware. Make no mistake; continual failure to win trophies will result in my dismissal. It really is that simple.
I attempt to remain as true to the real world as possible so, there won’t be endless, lavish spending splurges, even if certain high earning stars somehow become available on the transfer market. We will not ever spend more than is realistically possible for the club and the nation itself.
Highest transfer fee paid
|Tore André Flo||Chelsea||Rangers||£12.5m||23 November 2000|
|Odsone Édouard||Paris Saint-Germain||Celtic||£9m||15 June 2018|
|Ryan Kent||Liverpool||Rangers||£7m||2 September 2019|
[Consequently, the goal will be to keep incoming signings to an absolute minimum – instead focusing predominantly on our academy players and the pathway to the first team].
Granted – if the situation arises where no academy graduates are available to fill vacant positions in the first team – we will then need to act accordingly by turning to the loan/transfer market.
Wages will also be taken into consideration with a ceiling being assigned to a single contract.
The club will look to the continent at successful models already being adopted by the likes of Ajax and Atalanta.
Dutch giants Ajax are in a similar situation to Rangers domestically – where they are expected to challenge for honors each and every season. Ajax are undeniably more successful in European competitions but, the stature of both clubs is undoubtedly comparable.
What Ajax do so well, though is consistently rebuild their squad – on an almost seasonal basis. Each cycle often ushering in the next young star from the development conveyor belt. How long each academy starlet remains at the club following a breakthrough campaign can vary, however, the cream of the crop are often sold for vast sums of money.
This will be our modus operandi from day one as we attempt to shift the culture of signing players for the first team.
If the financial package meets the clubs valuation, it may well be the case that our top academy graduates are sold soon after breaking into the starting eleven, nevertheless, we want clubs to covet Rangers players.
Our business model: Develop the next generation of stars and sell them to help fund the next wave, making the process self-sustainable.
Casimir Westerveld – Ajax: Head of Youth Recruitment
Like Johan Cruyff once said, it’s never a team that makes its debut, it’s a single player, an individual. We need to develop individual players so every player within our academy has his own individual plan to make the steps needed to finally get in to the first team.
We use our [academy] team more or less not to win games, but to try to develop as many individual players as possible.
Our rivals have lead the way in recent times with regards to developing players and moving them on for exorbitant sums of money and, we must go way back to the year 2008 to find Rangers’ highest ever player sale. That player also happened to be an academy graduate.
Highest transfer fee received
|Kieran Tierney||Celtic||Arsenal||£25.5m||8 August 2019|
|Moussa Dembélé||Celtic||Olympique Lyonnais||£19.75m||31 August 2018|
|Allan Hutton||Rangers||Tottenham Hotspur||£9m||30 January 2008|
Subsequently, we won’t attempt to hang on to players who ultimately break our wage cap [players demanding vastly improved contracts]. Counter to this – we won’t sell for the first offer received, but instead try to gain what we feel our players are worth in the current market.
I took note of a FM19 save where someone managing Celtic lured Renato Sanches to Glasgow by offering the Portuguese a whopping £90k per week. I think this somewhat contextualizes my point.
I’m overjoyed to be managing my club on FM20 and can’t wait to get this exciting challenge underway.
Having managed AS Saint-Étienne throughout FM18 and then Newcastle United for the duration of FM19 – I’m relishing a fresh start and a completely new outlook to a save.
It’s my intention to take a slow and methodical approach to this save game; Laboring over my decisions.
I’ll be back fairly soon with a look at the initial changes and improvements we can make in-and-around the club that align with our strategy going forward.
See you soon..!!