Dreams of more than chrome

Last updated : 18 January 2008 By MDC
Neil Young is in town soon, hauling his Rusty Horsemen and guitar with him on what may be his last real tour of these islands.
"And once you're gone, you can never come back
When you're out of the blue and into the black."
Kevin Keegan is clearly not a fan. The most interesting, and in some ways most comical, story of the week concerns the return (again) of the Messiah. The Geordies are delighted, and with the real possibility of the, um, other modern messiah (this may be more useful to those not of a monotheist persuasion) joining him at St. James', the media and punters have something to keep them going for at least a few months, when it may all end in disaster.
It can be easy to laugh at Newcastle - their conceit as a support and their complete lack of any real success for a couple of generations makes them an easy target.  And, goodness me, how thick are they to fall for that old trick: the returning manager and the hero-worshipped playing legend? Which brings me nicely on to Walter Smith and Super Ally, MBE.
Now, not for a moment am I saying the situations at both clubs are strictly analogous, but the pattern is unmistakable.  And the real trick, the question as inevitable as it is worrying, is this: who follow follows Walter? Do we (more importantly does Sir David) have even the foggiest of notions?
Some may consider this to be unimportant. Whatever you think of Walter, and the FF messageboard reveals a breadth of opinion, prejudice and blinkered love, he has a positive report card, so far. Grumbles about formation and a lack of flair are really only exciting for the football manager generation: we have a limited budget, limited scouting and, to be frank, limited appeal to some of the sorts of players we'd like to have at the club. Despite that, Walter, Ally and Kenny have us atop the league, still in both cups and in Europe, even if that is tinged with disappointment. Things are, in this world of accepting the smallest of rainbows and moonbeams, 'okay'. And after last year that is more than enough for most. The league title may well be returning to its favourite home.
But Walter, with the greatest will in the world, is not a young man. Chairman Murray, despite some rumours flying around, still would like to see an end to his tenure as owner of Glasgow's greatest sporting institution and is faced with the harsh reality of his actions determining the price he can command. But one thing would seem to be a fair bet: as much as Russell T Davies says he will not hire another Doctor in his time to replace David Tennant, so Sir David, burnt by the French farce, is unlikely to go through another managerial appointment process and hunt. So, in the near future it is Walter and, possibly, some sort of internal promotion to follow.
The PLG debacle was a real pivotal moment in our history. Never before has a manager been so clearly out of step with his place at Rangers - but does that mean that from now on we don't look around for someone with ideas; someone who can make a change at Rangers (love him or resent him, Dick Advocaat certainly made sure Auchenhowie was completed). Does it really mean that, for as long as Murray persists, we've bought the old legends patter and the future is for other people to work out when it happens?
We bought the mantra that we would no longer buy players over the age of 30, those with no real sell-on value. We bought the notion that for every fiver, blah, blah, blah.  Some of us, despite that scepticism and that horrendous burning feeling in the stomach which results when we really want to believe in the positive, will even swallow the redevelopment of the stadium and long for a new era for an old, beloved institution and landmark. But if we can be asked to dream and to look to the future in some respects, so it must be considered in others. Promotion from within worked to an extent for Liverpool, but in a different era, and the fact that someone once wore the shirt with distinction, and wore it in the way and with the attitude we fans would all have displayed, does not mean they should be manager of our great club. We may laugh at Newcastle throwing a bone to their beleaguered and barmy Toon army, but are we so right to be smug?