Scottish Football, SPFL

Goodbye Gnomemeister

The Gnomes in the Sevco garden are gutted that Ally has gone

Good Evening.

So Ally has finally ‘left the building’. The building being a garden shed, where he has resided since last December when the old Sevco board decided that results weren’t quite hilarious enough and decided to put Kenny McDowall in charge of first team affairs.

Since then, Ally has been drawing the large monthly wage to which he has been quite rightly entitled, and the standard of football played by the Sevco Garden Gnome XI has really gone downhill.

Long balls and Cup failures have abounded.

But the sports pages of the Grass Cutters’ Gazette have given him an easy time of it.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

It is being suggested that Ally has another job lined up away from management. And presumably it will be in the media.

You have to wonder if Ally will be paying the broadcasters to carry his tactical insights and strategic input…

But as we reach this long-awaited and much-delayed departure (the question of why it took the board so long to reach agreement with Ally may forever remain a mystery), there is a question to ponder…

Will Ally be missed?

By Sevco? That is very doubtful. The hilarious statement announcing his departure today said all the right things (as well as mentioning the holding company/liquidation fiction).

However, Ally was an expensive failure. He may have provided a rallying point to those looking for continuity between Rangers and Sevco (and I can appreciate that the fans will forever respect him, simply for being the man on the spot in 2012, and not..err… walking away). But as a manager he ultimately made little substantive positive impact on either Rangers’ or Sevco’s on-field fortunes.

The brand of football played by his sides was ‘agricultural’ to say the least, and his managerial career with both Ibrox clubs was littered with Cup failures, and indeed humiliations on the European and Petrofac stages.

He really wasn’t very good at all, and the blame for Sevco’s failure to secure promotion last season is in no small part down to his (and thereby his team’s) shortcomings.

The Warbmeister has already started to demonstrate what can be achieved with a modicum of managerial ability, and decent organisational and motivational skills (and an expensive wage structure!).

Could you EVER imagine a McCoist side playing as effectively and energetically as the Warbo one?

Will Ally the Manager be missed by Scottish Football? Absolutely not. Aside from his shortcomings as a manager, Ally made a number of unfortunate contributions to our game.

The famous whisper in Neil Lennon’s ear was a catalyst for some very ugly scenes that both Celtic and the late Rangers could have done without.

The notorious cry of “Who are these people?” in reference to the SFA judicial panel looking into Rangers’ wrongdoings was – on my opinion – utterly reckless and an absolute disgrace.

His waving of a sheaf of papers – claiming to have the names of a hundred people in the game who had broken betting rules -following the misdemeanours of Ian Black, was petulant, and cast aspersions upon others without producing a single shred of evidence to back them up.

And then there was the media fawning. By all accounts Ally is a great guy. He certainly has his fans in the media. To the extent that certain pundits were quite open about not wanting to criticise him.

McCoist was of course Walter Smith’s protégé, and was given the benefit of the doubt about his performance as manager at every turn and for a very long time.
Granted, the death of Rangers and the turmoil of establishing a new club possibly earned him some deserved leeway. As did the constant boardroom traumas at the new club.

The lack of Sevco fixtures against Celtic also probably earned Ally some media forebearance. A series of pumpings at the hands of Celtic would soon have turned many against him.

But as it was, McCoist may have enjoyed the longest media honeymoon in the history of sport. It was quite striking that the Sevco fans lost patience with their hero long before the media ever started to seriously question the job he was doing.

A media in thrall to a football manager is never an edifying spectacle. It’s ridiculous enough watching the English media give Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho the benefit of the doubt time and time again. But the situation with McCoist and the Scottish media was something truly special.

In fact it was utterly tedious, and meant that basic questions about horrendous Sevco performances and Ally’s relationship with the various Sevco boards went unanswered.

In short, the normal dialogue between manager and media was often suspended in respect of Ally McCoist.

It made for incredibly skewed coverage. Compare Ally’s easy ride with the stick which Ronny Deila got soon after arriving at Celtic.

And which he continues to get. The recent comments from certain journalists about how Ronny has cost Celtic £17m in Champions League failures being a case in point.

There is no comparison between the media treatment of Ally and other managers.

No, in my opinion the Scottish game is better without Ally being involved in ‘club’ management.

Sure, there were good times: Rangers’ calamitous double exit from Europe in 2011 was hilarious, as were Sevco’s Petrofac Cup defeats to Raith and Alloa.

And I have a soft spot for Nadir Ciftci’s ‘celebrating before he scored’ goal for Dundee United against Sevco in the 2014 Scottish Cup Semi-Final.

However, such uplifting moments were the exception rather than the norm. The football played by McCoist’s sides at both the clubs he managed was often abysmal, and the man himself was sometimes caught up in unnecessary and unwelcome incidents – such as those mentioned above – that have become notorious.

All the while, some of the Scottish media put Ally on a pedestal – seemingly on the basis of him being a ‘cheeky chappie’ who managed an Ibrox-based football club.

I think we can do without any more of that, thank you.

So goodbye Ally and all the best to you in your future endeavours.

Hopefully you’ll get back to the garden at some point. I hear the Sevco Garden Gnome XI is about to start playing a lot better now that you’ve gone.


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