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Sir David of Weir talks about Ally and Boozegate


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Taken from his autobiography.

 

TAKING over from Walter Smith is a tall order for Ally McCoist, but one I am sure he is ready for.

 

I just get the impression that it's his dream job and Rangers being successful is the most important thing for him.

 

The club's in his heart.

 

It's not a personal glory thing, he's got a genuine feeling he wants the club to do well and he's a winner.

 

Everything he's done, he has succeeded at. His football career, his media career was a success, his time as assistant boss has been a success, so he's the kind of man that you expect whatever he's doing he will be successful at.

 

He's got a quip all the time, one of the sharpest and funniest guys I have met, always listening for an angle and jumping on somebody for saying something.

 

He just loves life. That's the way he is and that will not change.

 

There will be tense times for him as manager, there will be worrying times, but he'll relax the atmosphere by the nature of who and what he is.

 

He has been over the course and the distance with Walter as well and has seen a lot of situations.

 

He's definitely got all the hallmarks to be a successful Rangers manager and I genuinely hope he is because of what he's done at the club and the esteem he is held in.

 

He's also been such a big part of Rangers' history.

 

There's not been that many managers of Rangers through the years and I think it is an honour for him to join that illustrious band.

 

I don't think anybody knows until you are in that position, 100 per cent pulling the strings, how it'll feel.

 

I am sure he has his own ideas of how he's going to do it, but how it turns out depends on many factors.

 

How much money is he going to have to spend? How many players will he be allowed to bring in?

 

All these things will dictate how it's going to be.

 

He will make decisions, I don't think there's any doubt about that. I'm sure he's more than capable.

 

The players know that too.

 

The club has been in safe hands and Walter made it his mission to ensure it stayed that way.

 

Whatever happens, there will always be a Rangers.

 

An institution and club like that, which means so much to people, and has the history, will always be there.

 

I've never been a fans' favourite during my career.

 

I got a lot of Player of the Year awards, but I was never really a player that the fans sang about.

 

At Rangers recently I've been aware they have an affinity for me, which is great. I'll always cherish it.

 

And Boozegate

 

I WASN'T included in George Burley's Scotland squad for the double-header against Holland and Iceland but the events of the 'Boozegate' drinking session at Cameron House would impact directly on Rangers and my own role at the club.

 

It had happened throughout my Scotland career that when you came back on the plane from a game you were allowed a couple of glasses of wine.

 

When you got back to the hotel, if you wanted a drink, especially if you were coming home after a night game, you were allowed a couple of pints and something to eat. The lads would have a couple of drinks and then Richard Simpson would come up and say: "Bar's shutting, the gaffer wants you in your beds."

 

He would have sorted what became Boozegate, but I don't think Richard was

there.

Don't get me wrong, Richard had pints thrown over him and all the rest of it for going into similar situations but in this instance nobody did that.

 

Nobody told them they were going over the score or ushered them out.

 

The other players involved went to their beds, eventually, but Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor didn't.

 

You can't excuse what they did, they had too much to drink and stayed up too late.

 

I think there were hotel guests coming down for their breakfast and they were still going strong.

 

It should never have happened.

 

They were stupid but it wasn't made black and white for them as it should have been and had been in the past.

 

They were supposed to be training the next morning but Allan got carried to his bed basically towards lunchtime.

 

The manager found out about it and said he was going to send Allan and Barry home, but the players amongst themselves tried to talk him out of that.

 

I would imagine guys like Darren Fletcher, Gary Naysmith, James McFadden, Kenny Miller and Gary Caldwell went to see him and said: "You can't send them home if you don't send the other lads home, because they were drinking as well."

 

Walter Smith phoned Allan and Barry after it all came out and told them to make sure they kept their heads down, come back to the club and he'd sort it.

 

 

He had spoken to them directly and told them not to do anything stupid and take it on the chin. But they then made those infamous V-signs at photographers while sitting on the bench at Hampden before the Iceland game on, appropriately enough, April Fools' Day.

 

They were just trying to ruin the pictures � they weren't directed at anyone � but it was still poor behaviour.

 

At the pre-match meal they were talking about it apparently, saying: "We'll just spoil their pictures." You can imagine them talking like that, not with any great plan about what they were going to do, but just through stupidity.

 

The most stupid part of all was that they had disobeyed the gaffer's orders to behave themselves until they got back to Murray Park and that led to them both being suspended by the club and me being asked to take over as captain.

 

It was a big call by the manager as we were in the middle of a title race and they were two of our best players.

 

The consequences for Barry and his family saddened me.

 

He was a great player over a long period of time for Scotland.

 

He missed a lot of squads through injuries and had been involved over a lot of years and never got to a major championships or into the Hall of Fame.

 

Yet, for the length of time he played, the impact he had on Scottish football and the personality he had been in Scottish football, he should be in there.

 

He worked really hard and trained hard. The one silver lining of the whole business was that Darren Fletcher emerged as a respected leader within the group, although that was already the case.

 

There's no edge to him at all.

 

He's just a normal guy and I don't see why we expect him to be any different just because he plays for Manchester United.

 

It was a boyhood dream of mine to become captain of Rangers, but it was also kind of tarnished by what had happened.

 

We were going for the League and that's all that mattered to me, being captain was irrelevant.

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