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Setting the Standard: Unlocking the Murray Park Potential

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The 'Setting the Standard' project continues with another fine article by CammyF.




"When the routine bites hard

And ambitions are low

And the resentment rides high

But emotions wont grow

And were changing our ways,

Taking different roads

Then love, love will tear us apart again"


Writing an article on the merits, success (or failure) and ambitions of Murray Park (and any Youth Development programme), it would probably be more apt opening with the lyrics from say Teenage Kicks rather than the poetic prose of Ian Curtis and Joy Division. However, the ââ?¬Ë?Setting The Standardââ?¬â?¢ project covers every facet of Rangers Football Club and will touch on every aspect of ensuring that The Rangers are the standard bearers, the example that is used when case-studying a football club. Rangers should be innovators, Rangers should be leaders, Rangers should be ââ?¬Ë?first classââ?¬â?¢, exemplary.


The opening lines to 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' are very apt at the moment in relation to supporting The Rangers. Rangers� routine is biting hard, and is hard to stomach as second best appears to be acceptable to the current regime. Our board or directors and our custodian have set their ambitions low and arguably, this has led to a rise in resentment for growing section of supporters.


As for changing our ways, hopefully, the ââ?¬Ë?Setting The Standardââ?¬â?¢ project is a tiny step in that direction. Hopefully we wonââ?¬â?¢t take different roads, as to ensure that we set the standards and are successful (in the long-term) we require all of the fans to be united and to push for the improvement that is required. Love of Rangers tearing us apart? Well, weââ?¬â?¢re all well versed at having our emotional strings tugged and our hearts torn-apart by follow, following The Rangers!


Of course the difficulty with offering criticism of the club is that you often have the present Ibrox incumbents informing anyone that willlisten, that those behind such criticism are 'faceless and clueless'. However, the twist to this accusation was that those of us who were termed 'faceless and clueless' were then offered the platform to reveal ourselves and to offer solutions for the identified problems.


Firstly, Iââ?¬â?¢d like to introduce myself as I was one of those deemed as ââ?¬Ë?facelessââ?¬â?¢ (Iââ?¬â?¢ll cover clueless later - it may not be as easy to argue as faceless is!). I, like every Rangers fan requesting positive change at the club, am simply that: a Rangers fan. Therefore, I am not faceless, I am present wherever and whenever Rangers play. Rightly or wrongly there are those within our support who put supporting Rangers as their main priority ââ?¬â?? it is what they live for and it is what they spend the majority of their income on. I do not fall into that category, I spend the majority of my disposable income on supporting Rangers, I suppose I am lucky (at the moment) to be able to do this but like many others, this may change due to the current economic climate.


Anyway, I am digressing. Given that the above covers the ââ?¬Ë?facelessââ?¬â?¢ part of the accusation, lets tackle the more important and less clear cut, clueless part. I will agree with Sir David Murray, I am no 'captain of industry'. I will also admit to the fact that I am not a football manager nor am I a tactical genius. However, I do have and am entitled to an opinion on any matter relating to, or directly affecting Rangers Football Club. I appreciate sometimes criticism maybe overly aggressive or pointless without solutions so I'm glad Gersnet (and RangersMedia) are tackling this via constructive suggestions for improvement.


As such, I would like to offer a solution regarding youth development which would also benefit first team players due to what I believe is the failure to completely utilise the facilities at our disposal at Murray Park. Dick Advocaat encouraged Sir David Murray to invest in a training facility that was in all honesty long over due. This training facility was to serve as a state of the art venue that would supplement and improve our players skills and be used to groom the best young talent so we wouldn�t have to rely on huge transfer fees to ensure that we remained as the top domestic club. At the same time, we wanted to use such a facility to make inroads into the European Elite (before going any further, this is where Rangers should be, end of story).


Can any of us claim that Murray Park has delivered on these worthy aims? Of course it hasn�t (John Fleck, Alan Hutton and Alan McGregor arguably being the exceptions rather than the rule).


Coaching wise, we are still witnessing the inability to retain possession at a throw-in. We struggle to effectively defend nor attack at a set-piece. Our ââ?¬Ë?shootingââ?¬â?¢ is nothing short of awful. Yet, we have the perfect setting for addressing all of the above, and if nothing else, Murray Park should ensure that we can get the basics right. All of the above is just systematic of our overall problems. Unable to get the basics correct, our problems snowball from there.


This issue is easy to rectify and is something that shouldn�t have to be discussed. All our players should be coached in these skills and made to practice them time after time until they can deliver on a consistent basis. If this requires extra and/or longer training sessions, then so be it. Our wingers and full backs should be able to (9 times out of ten) deliver a ball into the box that doesn�t strike the first defender. All outfield players should be able to consistently hit the target from distances up to 30 yards from goal. All our players should be able to take an effective set piece. None of this is rocket science, just something that has to be coached into players and continually worked at.


The issue of Youth Development is something that I have written about on websites and fanzines since the inception of Murray Park and before. If the custodians had utilised and set in place a true youth development model (say modelled on clubs like Ajax or Auxerre) we would be reaping the rewards already (both financially and player wise). However, once again, we were undone by our Board's continued short-termism. The good news is, this can be address and rectified. This will require funding (hence the reason it should have been addressed during the days the custodian was throwing money at managers and players), logistics, administration and, most of all, time to work and a determination for it to work. The fans would need to play their part by being patient as well.


Such a youth redevelopment strategy is an essential part of our future. This goes beyond having the cream of Scottish youth players at Murray Park. This is about having youth teams, scouts, coaches etc entrenched in every footballing region in the world. This would require having ex-players working on our behalf in their region. These players would set-up / utilise a network of contacts to identify and sign the best talent from their region. These players could be brought to and schooled at Murray Park, or we could leave them to flourish were they are.


Imagine someone like Jorg Albertz covering Germany, Arthur Numan covering the Netherlands, Craig Moore covering Australia, Claudio Canigga covering South America and Brian Laudrup covering Scandinavia. All these ex-players were internationals who served their countries with distinction, who embraced being a Ranger and whose opinion would matter to a kid deciding on where his future lay.


As far as I am aware this idea has never been considered within the corridors of power at Ibrox. If tackled correctly, it would ensure that we had a steady conveyer belt of talent not only to take Rangers to the next level, but to sell on when and if required. Again, this isn�t rocket science and has been done to varying levels of success on the continent. We have close links to Dutch Football so getting an insight, report, feasibility study et al shouldn�t take that much effort or resource. The hard work would be implementing, managing and ensuring that this project was the success that it could be. Again that would take time but the benefits would surely be worth it?


Another possible money-making idea relating to the Youth Development is insisting on a sell-on clause to be inserted into any Youth players we sell. As an example, Motherwell sold Ross McCormack to Cardiff and we, as developers of McCormack�s talents went unrewarded. Martin Bain should ensure that any young player leaving Ibrox for pastures new has a sell-on clause inserted into their contract allowing Rangers to benefit from any sale of these players. Any money raised from this should be ring-fenced and used and reinvested into Murray Park / Youth Development.


Of course, all of these ideas and suggestions can't be successful overnight. They would take years to bear fruit and problems would occur throughout. But would we be any worse off? Challenges are not insurmountable and the risk surely smaller than our short-term high player turnover strategy?


Over to you Rangers.



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All good points and suggestions within the article...


For me, our coaching structure has to be a bit more defined. I've no doubt our existing guys have all the badges and qualifications for the job but sometimes more is required than just that. We can all obtain licences but do we have the instinct that only the best players have? That's unlikely.


Of course, conversely, just because Ally McCoist had that instinct doesn't mean he would be a good coach/manager.


As such, while I certainly don't advocate making more sweeping changes at Murray Park, it would make some sense examining bringing in former players to complement the existing structure. Of course we couldn't afford to have Gough, Albertz or Laudrup coaching on a daily basis but surely they'd be interested in helping on a consultancy basis?


As such a set of 'special' coaches for the spine of a team (GK, defence, midfield, attack, set-pieces etc) could be utilised on a rotation basis to ensure we get the very best out of all players - young or old.



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Great piece cammy.


After AZ saw some of their top youth players disappear to Arsenal because in the Dutch Law you have to be 16 to turn prof. That is 15 in England and some other countries. That is obviously a huge advantage in attracting\stealing youth players The Dutch are now pressing Fifa to make the rules and age the same for everyone which will stop many young players being picked out of the Dutch (and other countries where the limit is 16) leagues.


This doesn't affect your piece i just thought it it was interesting to know.

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