I feel that I should discuss what this series will be about, I will assume control of Rangers Football Club who in game currently play in the Scottish Championship and the second tier of Scottish football with aims of dominating our domestic game and long term challenging to win the Champions League – a trophy that has eluded Rangers in their illustrious history.
Why Rangers? I’m a big Rangers supporter, hold a season ticket and with the previous save with Parma being corrupted I felt using the winter update with my team and making this my last save until Football Manager 2017 would be a good idea.
A bit of a background
Rangers are a club with an incredible history of winning trophies, with 54 top flight league titles, 33 Scottish cups, 27 league cups and that historic European Cup Winners Cup trophy in Barcelona in 1972 as the song goes. An interesting fact is that the 54 top flight titles is the most of any club in world football and they have achieved the treble in seven seasons.
Rangers were formed in 1872 by four young lads – Moses McNeil, Peter McNeil, Peter Campbell and William McBeath and supporters to this day following the team they founded sing in recognition of those four young lads. 16 years after the formation of Rangers, our greatest rivals Celtic were founded and to this day it is ranked as one of the most passionate derbies in world football due to many factors such as religious differences with the blue half known as protestants and the green half as catholics, however the support is far more diverse now – the passion and hatred remains as strong as ever.
Bill Struth is well known as the clubs greatest ever manager and his record of 18 league titles, 10 Scottish cups and 2 league cups among many Glasgow cup wins is very impressive but it was success combined with his longevity, with his 34 year reign finally ending in 1954.
His immortal words which are now displayed in a portrait in the Ibrox trophy room, part of his speech is below..
“I have been lucky— lucky in those who were around me from the boardroom to the dressing-room. In time of stress, their unstinted support, unbroken devotion to our club and calmness in adversity eased the task of making Rangers FC the premier club in this country.
To be a Ranger is to sense the sacred trust of upholding all that such a name means in this shrine of football. They must be true in their conception of what the Ibrox tradition seeks from them. No true Ranger has ever failed in the tradition set him.”
Moving on Celtic won 9 league titles in a row between 1965 and 1974 in what was a grim time for the Ibrox club, however having being runner up in the Cup Winners Cup final on two occasions in 1961 and 1967 they finally won their first and only european trophy in 1972, beating Russian side Dynamo Moscow 3-2 in the final.
Tragedy struck on 2nd January 1971 when large scale crushing occurred on a stairway exit after an Old firm game, sadly 66 supporters went to Ibrox and never returned – there is a monument outside Ibrox where supporters can pay tribute.
The 80s saw the rising of the “New Firm” comprising of Aberdeen and Dundee United and during this time they managed to split the Old Firm dominance, in fact in this period there was a three year spell where neither old firm side won the league title between 1983 and 1985 and Sir Alex Ferguson was showing what he could do in management with Aberdeen.
Between the 1988-1989 and 1996-1997 seasons Rangers were able to equal Celtic record of 9 league titles in a row, this was started off by recruiting Graeme Souness to Glasgow as a player manager. It is well known as a revolution however after a few seasons he was off to England and assistant manager Walter Smith was promoted and would go on to win 6 further titles in a row, the tenth title was a step too far however with an ageing squad
Legendary players such as Brian Laudrup and Gazza came to Rangers in this era and many of our support have very fond memories of them two as being geniuses however one of our own Davie Cooper also has a special place in many supporters hearts.
In the 1992-1993 european campaign Rangers were within a whisker of the newly branded “Champions League final” being pipped by Marseille who would go on to beat A.C in the final and despite losing their league crown, refused entry to next seasons Champions League and being relegated to Ligue 2 due to match fixing/bribery they never had their european trophy removed. What might have been.
There was then a dutch revelation under Dick Advocaat with the initial football some of the best I have ever been lucky enough to witness, there was Alex McLeish reign with the football not the best however progression to last 16 of the Champions league was impressive and there was winning the league title in the last 3 minutes of the season when Celtic bottled it conceding two Scott McDonald goals in injury time. The Helicopter is changing direction
Paul Le Guen came with a good stature in European football however let’s just say things didn’t go to plan, Sir Walter Smith came back to steady the ship and took us on an incredible european journey in the 2007-2008 season where after 7 points from 3 games, we collapsed and fell to 3rd position and dropped to the Uefa cup as it was named at the time.
Wins in knockout rounds over Panathinaikos, Werder Bremen and Sporting Lisbon led to an incredible semi final tie against the Italians Fiorentina – with the game tied after both legs and extra time it went to penalties and Nacho Novo scored probably the most iconic penalty ever. Brace yourself Manchester, they are on their way.
Sir Walter would go on to win three league titles in a row before handing over the reign to assistant manager Ally McCoist, the less said about his managerial time the better, it was some of the worst football I have ever witnessed but after throwing away a 10 point lead while in the top flight, Rangers were rocked by news of entering administration. The reasons are quite complex and long but Rangers used EBT’s between 2001 and 2010 which were legal at the time but with the potential tax bill being high and having a dodgy owner we voluntarily entered admin.
A consortium headed by Charles Green received preferred bidder status much to the bemusement of Rangers fans, he set up a new company and bought all assets from the old company before the liquidation process started thus keeping the club formed in 1872 intact, membership in SFA was then transferred between companies with all major football governing bodies, law lords etc confirming Rangers as the same club, it hasn’t stopped rivals from claiming otherwise however.
After demotion to the bottom tier of Scottish football aka Third division there were back to back promotions including an unbeaten league season, however Rangers struggled to a 3rd place finish last season in the Championship and after losing 6-1 in the playoff final to Motherwell remain in the 2nd tier and require a overhaul with a disillusioned fan base demanding much better.
In March 2015, during an EGM the board that had been using their position of power for their and others own benefits and treated the club and support with disdain were voted out and true Rangers men took control through supporters votes and share purchases, a new exciting dawn awaits.
Rangers play their football at the historic Ibrox stadium, it is a 50,947 all seater stadium and is iconic in that the tradition and fantastic brick work is mixed with a modern stadium. It has been the home of Rangers since 1899 and unlike other saves where I’d try and move stadium I would be looking to expand Ibrox instead of trying to force a stadium move due to the history and tradition.
A £500k transfer budget and around £8k p/w spare on the wage budget doesn’t leave me with a lot to work with however with the winter update including the January additions the squad has a decent base to start with.
Danny Wilson is unlike irl a commanding centre back in game and with 4 stars for ability/potential and 14 for heading and tackling and an impressive 18 for determination a very strong addition at the back, he could do a job in the top flight I’d imagine but for europe may not cut it.
James Tavernier plays the complete wing back role on the right hand side and can be a great addition to cause problems going forward, acceleration and stamina of 15 is very good however only a 10 tackling and 7 positioning shows defensively he is not too impressive.
Jason Holt is the other key player in my opinion with first touch and passing of 14 and technique at 15 he is excellent within my 2-3-2-3 system in the advanced playmaker role, buzzing about creating chances and spreading the play. Off the ball of 17 is incredible and composure and decisions of 15 means he makes the right decision and is calm in doing so most of the time. A major asset.
Ryan Hardie is a raw 18 year old striker however I know he can become deadly in front of goal, he has the right attributes in finishing, composure and off the ball and fits my false nine role perfectly. Excited about him.
Ross McCrorie is a solid defender for Rangers especially at just 17, he starts in the under 20s however I promote him straight away and despite being a centre back he can also fit in at right back which is a positive with no real competition for Tavernier should a suspension or injury arise. 4.5 star potential rating and improves very quickly.
Robby McCrorie is a strong goalkeeper and comes in as my number 2 behind Foderingham, SI have probably reduced his potential from last year where he was my keeper winning Champions leagues however he has a 4.5 star potential ability at 17 years old and has decent attributes in reflexes and handling of 13, however 7 for rushing out will need worked on if he is to play the sweeper role, due to my high defensive line.
Aims for the save
- To restore Rangers as the dominant side in Scottish football as soon as possible (Short term aim)
- To make the use of Auchenhowie at long last and develop and bring through a conveyor belt of young British talent
- Playing progressive, exciting football so the support can enjoy themselves
- A basic aim for around 60% or higher possession on average per game as I like to dominate games with technical players
- To win the Champions league within a 7 year plan and once that is achieved, to start to dominate as the best club in european football on a consistent basis (Long term
I hope to have the first proper update up to the end of the January window out by the end of next week however I won’t be able to guarantee schedule times.
I hope you enjoyed reading and any feedback will be appreciated in the comments section or you can interact with me on twitter, I’m @johnmcintosh19.