Friday, April 27, 2007

McCall over bar the shouting


Another season, another club, another departure.

Just what is wrong with Ian McCall?

His “amicable” split with Queen of the South marks the end of his sixth spell in management.

It is suggested that his next stop will be Partick Thistle. Which seems obvious enough because Thistle are a club crying out for a manager that seems to offer no stability whatsoever.

Clydebank (during which time they tried to move to Dublin), Airdrie (the last manager in their history), Morton (too expensive), Falkirk (jumped ship after 30 games), Dundee United (28 games won, 40 games lost) and Queen of the South (different ambitions from the board). Six clubs, six departures, no periods of stability.

Now, there is bad luck, there are misunderstandings and there are personality clashes.

But McCall seems to attract all three with unerring regularity.

Yet still he gets jobs. He’s underachieved as a manager as he underachieved as a player but a scary number of clubs seem to want his services.

Why?

Firstly, and it’s only my theory, McCall is a media darling. He lives in Glasgow’s West End which remains Scotland’s media centre. He’s the BBC’s main analyst despite having the incredible ability to make one pine for the commentary of Jock Brown.

But the media deem McCall a character: this relates to anecdotes from his playing days when he first defecated from a step ladder at Rangers (leading Graeme Souness to boot him out) and then defecated in player-manager Simon Stainrod’s shoe at Falkirk (what boot Stainrod kicked him out with is unclear).

Clearly this is a classy guy with a frightening level of sophistication.

Secondly, Scotland is a small country. That’s why the same actors appear in Take the High Road, Taggart and River City. And it’s why the same managers keep cropping up at different clubs. And, to short sighted club directors, McCall is attractive because of the high media profile that his moments of comedy excellence have so deservingly brought him.

So McCall keeps getting jobs and fans keep getting promised great things only to be awarded with mediocrity and abrupt departures.

But perhaps anyone hunting for new managers should study McCall’s comments yesterday: "The First Division is not easy, and will be even harder next year."

The challenge is never quite so appealing when you know the BBC will keep you in beer money.