SCOUTING FOR BOYS
A phrase overused by pundits is that we have to start "rearing our own ". Does that mean we should scour the streets of Govan for elusive tanner ba' players? I think that search would be fruitless. We have a reat tradition of attracting young players from around Scotland - Greig from Edinburgh, Johnstone from Dundee to name but two. However the world has changed and I have to ask if Rangers scouting has moved with the times?
I do think the early signs under George Adams are encouraging and his recent plan to start a coaching base in the North of Scotland is to be encouraged although I was shocked that we didn't already have one. Think back to the heady days of late summer when we played FC Copenhagen. I am sure I was not alone in being impressed by Zuma, the south African and then we heard that Copenhagen have a set out plan to get players like him from South Africa to play for them and hopefully sell on at a profit. Now this is not Milan, Ajax or Barcelona that is organised enough to do this but FC Copenhagen from the Danish league so why the hell can't Rangers football Club not start doing likewise?
Where do we have contacts galore and goodwill? Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, USA and Canada. Their once was a time when these countries would only have been of use for cricketers or basketball players but now they are producing talented athletic footballers desperate to go to nations with footballing infrastructure where they can become full time professionals and play at a higher level. Do we use our contacts in these areas? I see no evidence; our link with Northern Spirit brought us what exactly? Nothing as far as I can see, another Murray grand plan that died a death.
Even in Europe surely we should be searching for talent. In particular the former Communist nations have fine traditions of producing football talent but now they are devoid of finance and cannot pay their talented players decent money let alone the potential riches in the west. We should be searching Russia, Ukraine, and Serbia etc for players, setting up training camps. We only have to look at the mighty Khizanishvili in our defence, the one shining light of the season to see the standard that can be found.
The World Under 19 championship is just finishing, talent on display from Panama, Canada and Burkino Faso as well as the traditional countries. Many of the players as usual show raw exiting talent, I just wonder if we had a scout at the competition or will we reduced to studying some games off the TV. Likewise in January we have the African Nations Cup, will we have any representative at matches?
Teams with long running traditions of youth development such as Ajax and Auxerre do not just recruit youngsters from their local community but from all around the world and then school them in the ways of their club. This is what we have to do and the sooner the better.
I wish George Adam and his staff all the best because their work in the next few years can lead us to a way of running our Club that will halt the spending of ridiculous amounts of money on mediocre journeymen. We need to develop a Rangers culture of playing and of behaving that will enhance the Club on and off the field.