Someone has to get the chop today - Barry or PLG have to go

Last updated : 02 January 2007 By Grandmaster Suck
There have been rumours going around for a couple of months about unrest in the dressing room - over tactics, over team selection, over the training regime, over Scottish cliques, over the leaking of stories to the media. Often you dismiss these as the run of the mill for any football club - but stick them into the context of the unacceptable string of results and performances and they get taken more seriously.

We need to take this situation back to first principles. Despite misgivings about results the manager must be backed and given his place - he is the leader and must be allowed to lead. He can be offered advice, he can be criticised but he has to be allowed to lead. My own view is that, like Alex McLeish before him, we will never know until he is given decent funds what sort of manager Paul Le Guen can be for us - indeed one consistent rumour is that PLG feels let down by the Chairman by not giving him funds promised when he accepted the job.

The recent results naturally make fans less inclined to automatically support PLG's decision-making but that is only human nature - it does not detract from the principles that the manager needs to be given reasonable time and resources before the knives come out.

Mostly worryingly - several of my normally reliable sources tell me that neither Murray nor Bain were aware beforehand of the action PLG took. Those sources are closer to Barry than to the directors but they are not the sort of people who repeat nonsense or accept the first tale they are told.

I'll put my cards on the table before talking about Barry - I was never a great fan of his off-field behaviour and reckoned his awkward media personality made him unsuitable to be captain despite being our most talented player. The sad saga of his leaving for Blackburn shortly after receiving a new contract when the club was on it's knees and then coming back when he felt like it displayed a weakness of character and self-centeredness which I find hard to forgive.

In our current crisis the demotion of the club captain smacks of shambles. Either Barry has been guilty of undermining the best interests of the club in some manner or else PLG has been such a poor man-manager that he has lost control of our most talented player - yesterday's events cannot be explained in any other way.

At the moment we are discussing the subject in a vacuum - we don't have detailed public information from both sides - the club's own ‘statement' issued yesterday tells us nothing about the reasons for the removal of the captaincy. The brevity of the statement adds to the atmosphere of confusion as it gives the impression that the directors of the club were unaware of the reasoning behind the action.

And that is the nub of the issue - who knew what when?

To justify his actions in removing the club captain PLG has to offer more than vague ‘I have my reasons' utterances. It is that crucial. Barry's position as captain and popularity with the punters means the demotion has to be justified publicly. He's not some anonymous squad player - he's the captain of the Rangers.

Barry is in a difficult position - his pals in the media have to be careful on his behalf - it's a life or death struggle he is engaged in now with PLG once the gloves have been taken off - but if he says the wrong thing and appears to put his own career over the best interests of Rangers then he is finished.

There is a very natural sympathy for Barry - a working-class lad captaining the club he grew up supporting - but in the current crisis there is no room for sympathy - only for facts and for what is best for the club.

This season we have drifted from one shambles to another - on and off the field - whether it be performances, results, UEFA or Jack McConnell's lunacy - with no leadership worthy of the name from the club. The Barry Ferguson situation must not be allowed to fester - David Murray has to settle the issue publicly today now that he is back from France and able to talk with both parties face to face.

If Barry has been undisciplined and sought to undermine the manager then he has to go.

If PLG's man-management has been so shambolic that he has allowed any player, or group of players, to run wild and then taken action against the captain without informing the Chairman or the Chief Executive then his position is untenable.

Earlier this season we had the unedifying spectacle of the Chairman entering the dressing room to ‘sort things out' - we simply can't have a fudge over this issue and see things fester for weeks. Today has to see the departure of the manager or the captain from Ibrox.

Only David Murray has the power to determine the truth and act upon it. He must do so.