Pundits and former Rangers stars cast verdict on Michael Beale appointment as Englishman hailed as ‘top tactician’

Beale has become the Ibrox club’s 18th permanent manager and immediately got down to work on the training pitch this morning.
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Michael Beale has returned to Rangers as the club’s new permanent manager, inheriting an injury-hit squad who have won just twice in seven previous outings and trail Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic by nine points.

Following the dismissal of Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who enjoyed a distinguished playing career, only five months after the Dutchman led the Ibrox side to Scottish Cup glory and the Europa League final, his successor remains a largely unknown quantity in terms of making it on his own after stepping out of Steven Gerrard’s shadow to pursue his own career in management.

Beale’s playing career ended when he was just 21 after spells with Charlton Athletic, FC Twente in the Netherlands and short trial periods in the United States. He later invested heavily in a futsal facility in London and was involved with the academy set-ups at Chelsea and Liverpool, where he first worked alongside Gerrard.

Michael Beale (right) spent three years working under Steven Gerrard at Rangers (Image: SNS)Michael Beale (right) spent three years working under Steven Gerrard at Rangers (Image: SNS)
Michael Beale (right) spent three years working under Steven Gerrard at Rangers (Image: SNS)

A long-time fan of South American football, the 42-year-old grasped an opportunity to move to Brazilian club São Paulo as assistant manager in January 2017, spending six months in the role. His coaching credentials cannot be questioned.

Beale decided it was time to take the plunge into his first managerial job back in June, replacing former Light Blues boss Mark Warburton as head coach of English Championship side QPR. During his short stint in west London, he took charge of just 22 games, winning nine of those and guiding the Loftus Road club to seventh in table, just outside the play-off spots.

While many Rangers fans will feel his appointment is a major gamble, a number of former Gers stars have given Beale their backing after sampling first-hand his talent on the training pitch.

Here’s what some of Scottish football’s lead pundits and former Rangers players have had to say on the appointment...

KRIS BOYD

The former Gers striker told Sky Sports: “Every appointment is a gamble, whatever way you want to look at it. He has only had 20 odd games as a manager but he has been involved in football for a long, long time. He has coached in different counties, but it brings it’s own risk when you go out on your own.

“I’m sure QPR fans would have been saying the same things in the summer. He has never been a manager before, it’s a risk, and taking over from Mark Warburton with the job he has done. But he went in there and started the season really well, albeit the last few games it’s not been.

“I think there has probably been other things on Mick Beale’s mind - he was up at Ibrox a couple of weeks ago. He has probably had one eye on this. I know he has been very vocal on why he turned down Wolves, but Rangers is a special football club. It plays with your heart string, and he feels as if he can go and turn it around.”

JERMAIN DEFOE

The recently retired veteran frontman stated: “He’s impressed me in a big way. When I sat down and spoke to Stevie (Gerrard) before I signed, he said ‘you might know Mick Beale, he is proper’. The way I see it is, in terms of tactics and stuff like that, he is up there. I’ve worked with some top managers and top coaches and he is right up there.

“His attention to detail and how he puts his points across for people to understand. When Alfredo (Morelos) got suspended, Mick came to me and said, ‘JD I’m going to tweak the system so it’s better for you’. He said ‘I’m going to bring in two number tens in the middle so they’re close to you, so it’s easier for you’.”

MICHAEL STEWART

Writing for The Times, the former Hibs and Hearts midfielder said: “Having just pledged his allegiance to QPR, he could claim some deniability and insist nothing should be read into his visit. It certainly threw me off the scent. I genuinely thought there was no way he would turn up at a club where the manager was under pressure and have any intentions of taking the man’s job. How wrong I was!

Football can be such a cruel business at times. It is an incredibly fickle business and, undoubtedly, there will be QPR and Wolves fans feeling they are better off without Beale. On the flip side many Rangers fans will happily ignore these issues and focus on the “special” connection their new manager has with their club as the reasons he has returned and remember fondly the improvements while he was at their club first time around.

“In the hotbed of Scottish football, some will thrive while others will wilt. We will soon find out which ctaegory Beale falls into. One thing is for certain right now, integrity and loyalty count for nothing in this business. Victories are the only currency that count. For beale those wins have to come quickly.”

SIMON JORDAN

Speaking on talkSPORT, the presenter confessed: “I think Rangers are taking a risk. This is a guy that was a (coach) in their building period of time, he has been managing QPR for 20 games and the last four or five haven’t been particularly compelling for Queen’s Park Rangers.

“Beale has now obviously indicated that it wasn’t about staying with QPR. It was about Wolverhampton Wanderers’ offer, attitude and outlook not particularly being to his liking. The bottom line here is that he goes to Rangers and maybe he will reap what he sows because Rangers are in a very difficult poisition.

“Celtic are dominant at this moment in time and the only game in town is what happens between Celtic and Rangers. He may fall foul of the same trap that Giovanni van Bronckhorst fell into. Producing a team that did commendable things in Europe, and then getting no latitude the moment you fall short in the Premiership and the manner in which you engage with the media.

“I don’t admire this. I think he’s a Johnny-come-lately who got a job at Queen’s Park Rangers on the back of someone giving him an opportunity, because no one knew whether he was going to be a good manager. Someone had to take that plunge. Someone had to say: ‘I am going to pluck you from the obscurity of being a member of the coaching staff and give you the big seat, I’m going to give you the opportunity to earn the right to be a manager and learn on my dime and my time.’

“The reward for that is he has indexed the walls and we all praised the pushback, and now here we are again with a situation manifesting itself that he is likely to go to Rangers. What could QPR have done? I don’t think they could have done very much. I don’t think they ever had control of their own destiny in that situation.”

GRAHAM DORRANS

He told BBC Sportsound: “Having worked under Michael Beale I think his stock is only going to rise in the next few years. In my opinion someone like Beale will be out of Rangers’ reach in a few years. I say that because I really believe he’s a very good coach. OK, he’s not been a manager very long, but given time at Rangers I’m sure he’ll prove me right on that.

Michael Beale served as assistant manager to Steven Gerrard at Rangers for three years (Image: SNS Group)Michael Beale served as assistant manager to Steven Gerrard at Rangers for three years (Image: SNS Group)
Michael Beale served as assistant manager to Steven Gerrard at Rangers for three years (Image: SNS Group)

“For me it’s the right decision. He’s someone who knows the club having been in there recently. I get the shout that you need a manager with experience but how do you get experience in football? These guys need to get jobs to get experience.

“Michael has coached all over the world, he’s been in Brazil, he’s been at big clubs like Chelsea and Liverpool. He’s been in at Rangers before and Aston Villa - and has now had a manager’s job for the last six months or so with QPR. So it’s the right decision to bring in someone like him. The timing of it is very good.”

ANDY HALLIDAY

Speaking on Clyde 1 Superscoreboard, the Hearts star admitted: “He’s always said he would love to come back to Rangers. Michael bale didn’t take the warm up, but everything whether it be tactical or technical, he took. Set-pieces he didn’t take but he took all of the meetings. He was very hands-on as a coach and I don’t see that changing now he’s a manager.”

RICHARD FOSTER

He told BBC Sportsound: “It’s going to be difficult for him. What a place for your second managerial job. It’s a fantastic opportunity for him but it depends on how much time he gets to spend on the training pitch. We don’t know what the mandate is from Rangers. Maybe they will have a couple of transfer windows to bring in new players. The squad is aging and looks devoid of any confidence.”