In any organisation where there is an obvious and structured hierarchy, there will be conflict between the various tiers. Sometimes it will be down to personality clashes and sometimes it will be down to individuals not wanting to do what they are told. In the case of Lee Wallace and Kenny Miller, it is unclear what has been the cause of their suspension and judging by previous “scandals” it is unlikely that we will ever find out.
What we do know is that after a disgraceful performance in the Scottish Cup Semi-Final, Lee Wallace and Kenny Miller have, in the eyes of the club, behaved inappropriately. Now, as Captain and Vice-Captain do they form part of the leadership group, does their experience at the club and in their respective careers grant them the right of an open mic? Apparently not. So where does the blame and responsibility lie?
Let’s get one thing straight first of all, being a senior professional does not give a player the right to undermine the Manager. Being part of a previously successful period in the club’s history does not give a player the right to undermine the Manager. Being a Captain or Vice-Captain does not give a player the right to undermine the Manager – they may have access that other players don’t have but there is a time and a place, not in front of the full squad.
So why did Wallace and Miller think they had the right to behave in the way they allegedly did, considering they weren’t even on the pitch during the game? It builds up over time. It has happened before with Paul le Guen and Mark Warburton – “We will analyse the game, look at how to improve, work hard in training and go again next week”. Week, after week, after week.
The biggest thing is that I’m not really surprised it has happened with Murty. After the match he made the following comments:
“…I’ve not said anything to them….”
“…it’s too raw, it just causes conflict”.
So he has just let the players sit, in silence, festering, waiting for someone to say “What the [email protected]*k was that?!”. Rather than letting the players deal with it and sort it out amongst themselves, it appears Murty has got involved and Wallace and Miller have undermined him. If Murty wants to be passive, he should just resign, you can’t go into a dressing room after that performance and say nothing. The players are all looking at the manager to say something, to do something, is it any wonder it erupted?!
Fallouts happened all the time under Souness and Smith, but it was between the players and kept there, there are countless stories about Smith and Knox watching players physically fighting with each other during training but it was resolved. Souness and Smith let the players know in no uncertain terms after games what was and what wasn’t acceptable in a Rangers jersey, they didn’t just talk the talk.
So who IS in the wrong? With the information we have both parties are responsible for what has happened, Murty for not doing anything after the game and then getting involved once it kicks off and Wallace and Miller for undermining the manager. Have a go at the players, yes, but the manager, not in that situation, not for me. They can approach him the next day and say that the players weren’t happy/were uncomfortable with how they were set up but there is a line and it appears they have crossed it and for Miller, it isn’t the first time.
Murty appointed Miller Captain and restored him immediately to the starting line-up following Pedro’s dismissal so we can only assume it has been a pretty severe falling out.
Now, as a fan, and to contradict myself completely, Wallace and Miller absolutely did the right thing. If something had to be said, it had to be said and they were the right ones to say it because they DO understand what it takes to be a Rangers player and what it takes to beat Celtic. Sometimes we learn more in defeat than victory, it couldn’t have been any worse in that Semi-Final so surely there will be a 100% improvement and close the gap to 7 points, hey, we’ve got to stay positive eh?!
One final thought.
I started by talking about hierarchy, it isn’t lost on me the irony of a club suspending two players for undermining the manager when the Chairman and Board have been doing it all season……