Former Brentford manager Mark Warburton will be unveiled as the new Rangers manager at Ibrox tomorrow, after signing a three year deal with the Championship side.
The 52-year-old will be assisted by David Weir, who returns to Rangers after a four year exile.
Warburton was dismissed as Brentford manager at the end of the season, despite leading the Griffin Park side to the play-offs where they fell to eventual playoff final runners-up Middlesborough.
Rangers chairman Dave King had said there were five candidates for the position, including Vitor Pereira who was manager of Olympiacos until 10th June and has since become manager of Fenerbache. Former Valencia assistant Ian Cathro was also linked with the role as was Alex McLeish and Billy Davies.
However, King did intimate that a number of candidates had taken their name out of the running after the club’s failure to secure promotion to the Premiership after losing 6-1 on aggregate to Motherwell.
Stuart McCall, had been considered for the role following his stint as Rangers manager at the tail end of the season, but failure to secure promotion ended any chance of the Scotland coach getting the job.
Despite those more experienced linked with the role, Rangers secured the services of Warburton and Weir, whose stock is high after their work at Brentford – on a relatively small budget.
Just ten years ago Warburton was a city trader coaching schools and university sides as a past time. After taking his coaching badges, Warburton was hired by Watford and worked his way up to Director of the Hornets’ youth academy.
He was also co-founder of the now defunct NextGen series, widely praised for giving youth a chance to shine on the European stage until UEFA’s Youth League put paid to the competition.
Warburton became Brentford manager following Uwe Rosler’s departure in December 2013, two years after joining the Griffin Park side – first as a coach and then as Sporting Director.
He secured promotion for the Bees from League One to the Championship in 2013-14 and reached the championship play-off semi final last season before losing to Middlesborough.
Brentford’s season hit a speed bump in February when it was announced that Warburton would leave the club at the end of the season no matter how the Championship side’s season ended.
Weir is no stranger to Rangers fans and Scottish football. The former Scotland international spent five years at Ibrox, captaining the side from 2009 after Barry Ferguson was stripped of the role.
He won three Premier League titles, two Scottish Cups and three League Cups with the Ibrox side.
After just one appearance in Season 2011-12, the 1-0 defeat to Malmo, Weir left Rangers and trained with Sheffield United before being appointed as reserve coach at Everton in February 2012.
In June 2013, Weir was appointed manager of Sheffield United on a three year deal. But his first stint as manager soon turned sour as the Blades won once in 13 matches under Weir’s stewardship.
Just four months after being appointed as United manager, Weir was sacked after defeat to League Two side Hartlepool United.
December saw Weir return to coaching duties as assistant to Warburton at Brentford and just like the 52-year-old was shown the door at the end of last season with the Bees looking to go down the Moneyball route.
With Rangers’ failure to secure promotion to the Premiership, a rebuilding job is needed at the Ibrox side. 11 players – including captain Lee McCulloch – were released at the end of the season and Warburton’s first task will be to bring in new players quickly and must hit the ground running if they are to secure automatic promotion.
Warburton’s contacts with the lower leagues in England and in youth systems in Europe could prove pivotal in attracting players to the Ibrox side, while David Weir’s experience of Scottish football will be invaluable to the new manager.
Only time will tell if the duo have what it takes to make their time at Rangers a success, but one thing is clear chairman Dave King must not end all the talking about investing and actually stump up the dough.