According to McDowall himself, he has been ordered by Mike Ashley and his henchman at Rangers, Derek Llambias, to play ALL of the five new Rangers players (Vuckic, Ferguson, Bigirimana, Streete and Mbabu) on loan from Newcastle. Speaking in an interview at Rangers’ Murray Park training centre, McDowall, who wants to leave at the end of the season said:
“When I was given the job I was told players incoming and outgoing wouldn’t be my responsibility. I take the team and coach the team and I am more than happy to get on with it.”
Which is hardly news to both Rangers and Newcastle United fans. However when pressed on whether he was obliged to play them, he dropped his bombshell, replying:
When pressed on whether he would be ordered to play them all every week if they were fit, McDowall continued:
“Yes. They are obviously good players – they play for Newcastle – but I will carry on and do what I am told to do.”
That is also hardly news now either as it has also been covered by several other sources and my intention is not just to repeat the stories of others which can be read elsewhere. However it does raise another very salient point for Newcastle United fans like myself: What if the same policy were to be implemented at Newcastle? Or what if it already HAS been implemented?
To add a little context, I have already written at length on my longstanding hypothesis (which is rapidly turning into a theory with recent developments north of the border) that Ashley wants both Newcastle AND Rangers as a network of ‘selling’ clubs like Giampaolo Pozzo’s Udinese, Granada and Watford. These are the Pozzo family’s three European ‘footballer farms’ who endeavour to hoover up cheap talent from around Europe, develop it and sell it on to big clubs at a vast profit. I won’t go through all the points I raised in that again though, you can read it here if you are so inclined and you haven’t already. Supposing this were the case, could it be that John Carver will also be leant on by the Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley to play certain players whose profile needs to be raised to increase their value and showcase them to other clubs for a potential resale?
Carver could be the perfect man for the job in their eyes, like Chris Hughton when he assumed the reins at Newcastle, he is a very experienced coach but someone who, a few games as Newcastle caretaker apart, has never been a top level manager. Hence it would be the chance of a lifetime for him even if it came with the kinds of strings attached that would be unnacceptable to a pedigree manager like Ronald Koeman or Frank de Boer.
Some might say it is football lunacy, but trivialities like that haven’t stopped Mike Ashley before. After all, the whole point of this story is that he’s already doing it at Rangers and as we Newcastle United fans know, he has made bonkers decisions at Newcastle in the past, some of which led to the club being relegated even though it easily had a top ten squad of players. If I may turn into a tin foil hatted conspiracy theorist for a moment, did Alan Pardew’s rapid decision to depart from the club when he had the chance have something to with team selection politics?
I don’t know but it would certainly be interesting to know if 50,000 Geordies are paying their season tickets to watch a team selected by Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley.