We certainly live in interesting times,and the origin of that particular phrase lies,ironically,in a Chinese curse. Never before have we faced such an upheaval as the one that lies before us,not even in the ones which I outlined in Monday’s article.
Although we have identified our new CEO,he is yet to take up his post. That leaves the outgoing CEO as either a lame duck who can do nothing,or the exact opposite-in place,able to rule at will but without any concern over the outcome of any decisions he might make. That’s why most companies either put their staff on “gardening leave” or alternatively pay up their notice period and remove them from the building. In fairness,such is Lawwell’s control over every aspect of the company,it is probably important that he continue to hold the reins while baby-stepping various titular heads of department on how to do their job free from interference.
It may well be too that he is involved in the massive recruitment process that the club needs to undertake with some urgency. After all,it is hardly sensible to wait until Dominic McKay takes his seat on 1st July-we need to get the spadework done long before that to rebuild our squad,even before we take into account the work to be done on managerial structure and personnel. I’m sure that DMcK will have the final say on those appointments,but it is not fair on either him or his current employers to expect him to do the hard yards in finding the right people or in actually getting them on board. Nor can we wait until he arrives!
But who and what are we likely to need? Well,the obvious position which needs filled is that of probably the most important person at the club-the manager! I’ll come back probably tomorrow to my shortlist for that one. And although nothing has been said officially,the smart money is on us creating for the first time a role of Director of Football/Technical Director,who will oversee the footballing department and remove the CEO from any decision making in our recruitment process. I have no views on the correct person for this job,as it isn’t a subject that I’m versed in.
It is likely too that Nicky Hammond will be replaced,and that the entire scouting department will be pulled apart and rebuilt. Long overdue,this one. The last decade or so almost makes me look back longingly at the likes of John Park.
And then there’s the crux of the matter,the playing personnel. Let’s start with the premise that the new manager arrives with the intention of giving the youngsters a chance as cover for injuries,suspensions,etc when the first team squad is depleted. This will itself be a huge step forward for us,because the last decade has been something of a desert for us. Far too few players have been given that chance for any worthwhile period of time,and on many occasions we have seen young starlets sparkle brightly,only to be snuffed out and banished once more to the darkness.
But are those players actually there? This season,we have been crying out for cover at centre half,and what we had was a young right back! Admittedly,Stephen Welsh has hopefully made that position his own,but when we later needed a replacement right back,he was already playing at centre half! Young Conor Hazard stepped into the breach when we needed a keeper,but unless and until he is brave enough to make every ball into the box his,shouting “M-I-N-E!!!!” so loudly we can hear it in McChuill’s,then I hae ma doots.
Ditto Michael Johnston. An undoubtedly skilful player,but one who seems to have no idea of his best position and needs to be more robust in every aspect of his game.
Wee Karamoko is one who seems to have decided his future lies elsewhere,as Harper has already done,and I don’t think they will be the last ones who decide they are better served elsewhere. There are though still plenty of options,and I hope the new manager uses them wisely.
So where does the manager start with the rebuild? Well,unless there’s a gem of a keeper going for the square root of sod all,I’d start at right back. And the chances are that we will need two automatic first choice centre backs too,as it is unfair to load too much expectancy and responsibility onto young Welsh so early in his career. I’m actually quite happy with Greg Taylor at left back-which will have ATHINGOFBEAUTY,GARRY et al choking on their cornflakes-as there are more pressing areas to deal with. But that is still three defenders needed.
Our midfield for next season as it stands is likely to consist of Soro,CalMac and Jamesie out wide. Ntcham may well return,tail between his legs,and due to the fact that he is in the last year of his contract he could finally get aff his fat lazy arse and do a bit. But we certainly can’t put our faith in that unlikely possibility,nor in Tom Rogic deciding to play again for the same reason. So again as in defence,we probably need three top midfielders,as I’m still undecided on the fitness levels of David Turnbull. We can probably fill one of those roles with young Henderson and our left side with Johnston,but still two top guys required. And then we come to the real problem…
Our front men have been truly honking this season. Eddy can’t be arsed,Griff and Ajeti can’t even be arsed to get fit,and Klimala doesn’t fit our style of play,a la Harald Brattbakk. There is no-one lighting up the youth leagues who we can confidently place into the team either,so we are looking at an entire new strike force-or a bloody miracle from the ones we can’t get rid of!
Now,my article on Monday showed us that rebuilds are possible,and have been done successfully in the past. MAHE yesterday explained that in each case,there was already a nucleus of remaining players for that rebuild to be structured around. That is unlikely to be the case this year,with a huge number of the personnel clearing their lockers for the last time,and in most cases leaving for a mere fraction of their true worth-thus making it more difficult for us to replace them.
Make no mistake,DMcK has his work cut out,and so too will the people that he puts in place to rebuild the entire footballing structure of the club. That in itself is an indictment of the gross failure of his predecessor and his enablers on the board. He will need time to get this right,as will the people he puts in place.
May you live in interesting times? I could do without it,thanks.