Ally McCoist and Rangers board a bad marriage that needs ended

By Tom EnglishBBC Scotland
Rangers manager Ally McCoist
Ally McCoist was still in charge of Rangers as they faced Queen of the South on Friday

As is the case with so many things in this dysfunctional place, the Rangers song no longer works, the club anthem now a self-mocking parody of itself, a thing that cannot be sung with a straight face. Simply The Best? Not even the diehards sing that tune anymore.

There are many songs that tell the story of Rangers' pitiful journey into high-farce better than Tina Turner's. Another One Bites The Dust could have been the soundtrack of the last three years as chairmen, chief executives, finance directors, consultants and assorted other characters flitted in and out of the door at Rangers, each of them exiting with bulging pockets despite leaving the club in an ever-deeper sense of confusion.

Everything has a labyrinthine complexity at Rangers. Throughout this saga, there's been a sense that Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton are calling the shots while hanging from their fingertips from the edge of the Broomloan Stand.

This is a club that limps from month to month on the back of loans from Mike Ashley, who are being kept afloat by a man who, it would appear, has driven a coach and horses through the agreement he struck with the Scottish FA, the discredited arrangement not to have undue influence on the running of the club.

Kevin Holt (left) celebrates putting Queen of the South 1-0 ahead against Rangers on Friday
Kevin Holt (left) put Queen of the South 1-0 ahead against Rangers on Friday

Rangers have a critical need of money and order. As a club, they are staggering around in the darkness. No leaders, no scouting system, no planning and now a manager who has given notice of intention to depart.

In the first flush of the Ally McCoist story, the news came through that he was "leaving". Nothing is that simple at Ibrox, however.

It was too much to expect that this would be a clean break, a simple act of a manager having had enough of the craziness off the pitch and departing for the good of the club and for the sake of his own peace of mind. No, no.

McCoist is leaving, yes. It is said that he has become ground down by the endless internal grief - and no wonder. The fact that the supporters in greater numbers no longer believe in him must have been a factor in his decision.

Scottish Championship
Queen of the South1684428

He said as recently as a week ago that he would only depart if he thought that the maelstrom at Ibrox was beginning to impact on his family. Less than a week after uttering those words, he made it clear that the time had come. Or, at least, was coming.

But precisely when it is that he is leaving is still very much open to question. He has informed the club of his intention to work 12 months' notice, as his contract stipulates, and then resign as Rangers manager.

At a normal club, McCoist would no longer be there. The performances of the team and the scale of his salary would have seen him sacked long before now.

Even now, after he has signalled his intention to leave, they cannot, it would seem, avoid the shambles of 12 grim months with a lame duck manager. There's no money. There's not much of anything at Ibrox these days except chaos.

A few weeks back, a Rangers supporter wrote McCoist an open letter and published it on a fans' website. It was a plea for him to resign and it came from the heart of a guy who held the former striker in the highest esteem.

Ian Durrant, Ally McCoist and Kenny McDowall on the sidelines in Dumfries
Ally McCoist and his managerial team watched their team lost 2-0 to Queen of the South in Dumfries

The exit strategy was clear in the mind of the supporter. He had lost faith in McCoist the manager but still loved McCoist the man and McCoist the icon.

He pleaded with him to go in order to preserve his legacy, which is increasingly in question given the wretchedness of some of the football this Rangers side is producing.

And here was the thing. The fan wanted McCoist to leave his post as manager and to publicly expose those who had brought the club to its knees - a last and selfless act that would guarantee his beloved status forever and would render all mishaps, including the recent capitulation against Alloa, utterly meaningless in the big picture.

It was a plaintive cry, well-argued and, it would seem, it had the support of a growing number of the club's fans. McCoist could have arranged his exit and left to the sound of respectful cheering, a hero once more.

It's not the route out of Ibrox that he has chosen and so we enter the longest period of stoppage time in the history of Scottish football. The next 12 months, if the full notice period is served, will be another year of killing time at Ibrox with an underperforming manager who doesn't want to be there much longer and an awful board who don't have the wit and the cash to plot a future without him.

Like a myriad of other issues at this joyless club, it has to be addressed. McCoist and the board is a bad marriage and it needs ending. Not in 12 months, but now.

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