Has Le Guen earned our trust?

Last updated : 03 January 2007 By MJS
Le Guen arrived in a blaze of glory and a vast majority of us – myself included – believed that he was going to take the club to a higher level; that he was the right man at the right time for Rangers. He seemed to have fresh ideas on how a club should run, a European philosophy that would allow us to play football as it should be played. But the truth is that he has stumbled from one mistake to the next.

The signing policy of Le Guen is the first issue to take into account. None – excluding Clement - of his summer buys have yet proved hat they have the ability to improve Rangers long-term, indeed a few are on the brink of being ousted already. Filip Sebo – who commanded a fee of £1.8m, unbelievably – has yet to prove he is even a footballer, let alone one who can improve our team. Sasa Papac and Karl Svensson have been massively disappointing and although Svensson will rightly be given more time to prove himself, Papac looks like he is on his way out already. Lionel Letizi was signed to be our first choice goalkeeper but after high profile blunders that have cost the team crucial points, he now finds himself as third choice and with little future at the club. Libor Sionko is getting a chance to prove himself but is far from being of Rangers quality.

Then we had the two loan signings from Manchester United – Lee Martin and Phil Bardsley - who were both promptly sent back to Old Trafford. It all makes depressing reading. The only successful signing has been Jeremy Clement, but even he has his doubters. At the age of 21 he is likely to be around for a little while and should go on to be an asset for the club.

The next failing of Le Guen was his tactical outlook on the SPL. We lost games that we shouldn't have simply because we did not approach the game in the correct manner. The key failing was not utilising the ability of Kris Boyd. While he is not an all-round star he has a specific talent which, when harnessed and used correctly, will earn the team points. He found himself isolated on far too many occasions when he needed someone alongside him to supply passes. These mistakes are elementary. We can use all the technical terms we like for where Le Guen went wrong on the tactical side but he just got it wrong and the club paid for it by dropping point after point.

If you add everything up – the signings, his apparent tactical know-how and our present league situation – Le Guen has been a failure for this club. Maybe Le Guen is the man to take us forward in the long-term but he had six months to plan for this job, six months in the job and he has yet to do anything that to suggest he will be a long-term success. Qualifying from your UEFA Cup group stage is par for the course, not a blazing glory.

So having made so many critical errors that have put the club into a precarious position – a position he admits he also finds himself in – why should we believe that sacking Barry Ferguson will make things better?

Almost all of Le Guen's signings have been disappointing; even the best ones can only be considered mediocre. In comparison, Barry Ferguson is the best player at the club and has deserved special praise for some of his performances this season. There is no-one at the club currently who can fill his boots as either a midfielder or as a captain and we simply do not have the funds available to sign a ready replacement. If we are looking to replace him it must be a player of proven class who is playing at a high level: cheap prospects from the European backwater need not apply.

If Barry Ferguson has committed the sin of working behind the managers back in order to undermine his position then removing him is justifiable. But I simply refuse to believe at this point that is the case. It has been rumoured that the two do not see eye to eye over the position of captain. I stress that we are all commenting on this situation without knowing both sides of the story. I believe Barry deserves his say and I think there must be an oversight from Sir David Murray. But Barry Ferguson is a Rangers-man at heart. He knows what it means to play for the club and I fear that he has been sacked for daring to explain to a group of underachievers just what it means to play for this club.

I take comfort in having a captain willing to do that and Le Guen has maybe acted out of the principle that no man dare try to do his job. Maybe Barry Ferguson was right do what he did, maybe he was wrong. But I have more reason to trust his judgement than that of Le Guen.