Hello and welcome back to this blog, as you can likely tell from the title we will be going to Scotland with Rangers to try and break the Celtic dominance as they aim for 6 titles in a row. It seems a good time as I’m refreshed after a break from FM for a bit and with Rangers in a sort of mini crisis in real life with questions over the manager and being 27 points behind a dominant Celtic, it’s a wrong I wish to put right.
As you may be aware Rangers are my boyhood club, I go most weeks whether that is a home or away game, I’m a season ticket holder and it is a big part of my life and the last 5 years have been an experience anyway, there is a big financial and football gap from Rangers to challenging Celtic but on FM it is an easier difference to close in my opinion.
History of the club
Rangers Football club were formed in 1872 by four lads as the song goes – Moses and Peter McNeil, Peter Campbell and William McBeath. Little did they know at the time how big this club would be and what they would go on to achieve or probably how hated this club would be by the majority of Scottish football.
In terms of honours Rangers have a rich history to be proud of, winning 54 top flight league titles, the Scottish cup 33 times and the League cup 27 times and can lay claim to be the most successful club in world football in terms of domestic success, however they are back in the top flight after a four year absence having been demoted down to the third division in 2012 due to major financial issues.
Rangers main rivals are of course Celtic who make up the Old Firm, the Old Firm have been so dominant in terms of domestic league success so much that combined they have won 101 league titles between them with very few teams breaking that dominance.
Aberdeen are one such team to achieve this under the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson and there is still a strong rivalry between Rangers and Aberdeen, however Aberdeen haven’t beaten Rangers since 1991 at Ibrox in what is called “The Silence of the Sheep”.
European success however is something that has always been much more difficult to achieve but in 1961 Rangers became the first British team to reach a European final when they contested the Cup Winners Cup final against Italian side Fiorentina, only to lose 4–1 on aggregate.
Rangers would again reach the final of the same competition 6 years later but would again finish as runners up against Bayern Munich, however in Barcelona in 1972, Rangers would win their first and only European trophy defeating Dynamo Moscow 3-2. In 2008 Rangers would make an unlikely Uefa Cup final going on an incredible run to Manchester defeating teams such as Sporting Lisbon, Werder Bremen and Fiorentina before being beaten 2-0 by Zenit in the final.
This European victory was only a year on from the tragic Ibrox disaster which claimed the lives of 66 innocent football fans on 2nd January 1971 when a collapse occurred on stairway 13 culminating in large scale crushing at the end of an Old Firm derby, the fierce rivalry with Aberdeen and Celtic in particular can be summed up with chants/graffiti etc mocking the disaster but this is rare and usually widely condemned.
Rangers play their home games at Ibrox situated in Glasgow, Govan which holds 50,817 in an all seater stadium and with excellent training facilities and great youth facilities there is a really good base to work with even if your budget is less than impressive first season. Good junior coaching and well established youth recruitment shows we are in a good place but room for improvement.
The Rangers Way
Of course the aim in the short term is to create a serious challenge to Celtic which I will expect in our first season, the board actually expect you to win the league in the first season which I feel is very ambitious but something that on FM is achievable.
Long term though I hope after asserting ourselves as the dominant Scottish side, we can progress to the latter stages of European competitions but this may be difficult initially given Rangers lowly European co-efficient.
On top of this I want to do this by playing attacking, fluid football where the team is hungry for the ball and presses aggressively whilst promoting youngsters from our academy. I may need to be more pragmatic to begin with but the tactic will evolve over the time when I can take the risks.
In terms of recruitment it’s simple within Scottish football every club is a selling club and Rangers are no different, so gaining an extensive team of scouts and knowledge across the world will be key to identify young talent who show signs of high potential available at low prices. It’s really simple but buy low sell high has to be our way and building our bank balance is something that will be important.
Having a young side where we afford opportunities to young players is key for me but I don’t want to put requirements that we have to promote x amount per season as that defeats the purpose. I could promote 1 or I could promote and afford opportunities to 10 youth players, the old saying “if you’re good enough you’re old enough” saying is something I believe in.
Self imposed restrictions
- Average age of the squad to be 23 or below*
- Only sign 3 players over 23 per season
- Use at least 5 players 21 or under in every game of the League cup
I have taken some inspiration from @timmssports who has written his first part of his Grasshoppers introduction, he has very similar philosophies that I will be implementing. I want us to not only be a youthful squad but as the seasons move on and we improve our youth recruitment, facilities and junior coaching etc we can hopefully have a conveyor belt of young talent that come from the academy to make a big impact in our first team.
In the first season our average age is 25 which is hindered by being unable to move on some older fringe players such as Matt Gilks, Kenny Miller and Joey Barton but I hope we can in the summer and bring that down to at least 23. Furthermore the League cup is not a competition I care a lot about and is a great opportunity to give young talent chances.
5 year plan
- Season 1 – Win either league or Scottish cup and finish in the top 2 in the league
- Season 2 – Win the Scottish cup and become league winners, no European expectations
- Season 3 – Win the league and make it to the group stages of the Champions League
- Season 4 – Win the treble domestically and make it to the last 16 of the Champions league or quarter finals of Europa League
- Season 5 – Win Scottish cup and league double and make it to the quarter final of the Champions League
The plan could be seen as very ambitious but I know this squad well and have guided Rangers to past Champions League success on previous versions of FM, the very low co-efficient will probably give us tough opposition however.
I think that brings us to the end of this introduction, in the next installment I will discuss a variety of things ranging from club finances, staff, players, tactical ideas to our budget and expectations for the first season.
Thank you for reading and I hope you will follow the progress of this series, if you click the follow button at bottom of article this will alert you by email every time a new post is out and would be appreciated.
Twitter – @JohnMcIntosh19