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I always tip the Rangers job to people in England – it is a fantastic opportunity



THE long nights when sleep was almost impossible because poor results and performances were tormenting.

The times when his mind was all but overwhelmed with anxiety and trying to work out how things could improve.


Mark Warburton always remembers his Ibrox tenure fondlyCredit: Keith Campbell – The Sun Glasgow
The boss left and managed Nottingham Forest and QPR and then won the Conference League as David Moyes' right-hand man at West Ham


The boss left and managed Nottingham Forest and QPR and then won the Conference League as David Moyes’ right-hand man at West HamCredit: Getty

But also the precious days when everything felt great and everyone was happy.

Mark Warburton experienced it all as Rangers manager.

And while he won’t declare as much, you wonder if he’d be delighted for the chance to go through it all again.

He’ll forever laud Rangers, no matter the bitter and painful circumstances of his exit in February 2017, nor the toxic fall-out with a board then led by Dave King.

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Little wonder the 61-year-old looks at the Ibrox managerial vacancy and views it as one of the great opportunities in football — even if he has specific concerns over the club’s latest pursuit of a new boss.

Warburton said: “It’s a huge privilege to be Rangers manager, but do they go for a foreign manager who doesn’t know Scottish football or the market?

“Do they spend a fortune on a manager down south who has a so-called pedigree?

“Do they even have a fortune to spend after substantial investment during the summer transfer window?

“That could see them go for someone out of work, available now and without a sizeable compensation bill. But would that appease the fans?

“It’s a massive decision for John Bennett and the rest of the board. I know John and I’ve got respect for him.

“Rangers are playing in the Europa League, it’s a massive club with an amazing fan-base all over the globe.

“They need to get a manager who is going to take the club forward.

“I speak to coaches and managers down here all the time about Rangers. I never hesitate to tell them it’s a fantastic job.

“My feelings for Rangers have never been affected. I loved being manager and will forever be proud of the opportunity I had.

“The one problem with attracting top individuals north is the perception of the Scottish top flight. It’s basically Rangers and Celtic for a lot of people, that’s it. That’s very harsh. I’ll always have great respect for Scottish football.

“But the Premier League’s amazing, even the Championship’s seen as tremendous. Both leagues are extremely competitive, with a number of teams in the hunt.

“Celtic brought back Brendan Rodgers and he’s a high calibre manager.

“The Rangers fans quite rightly want the best too and the pressure’s on the board to deliver the right man. But a high calibre individual is going to want the appropriate budget and I’m unsure if that’s in place for the January window.

“Anyone coming in has got to be given the tools to have a chance of success.

“A lot of players were signed by Michael Beale in the summer, with plenty of money spent. Credit to the board for how strongly they backed him.

“But who is to say a new manager wants to carry on working with the current set of players? Maybe he’ll want to change them, but will he have to wait until next summer?

“Celtic will go again in the January market. They’re already seven points clear. It’s a big gap for this stage of the season and I understand why many folk are claiming the league’s finished.

“Celtic are improving and they’re still without one or two main players.

“However, I’m not going to write Rangers off just yet.

“When you’re Rangers manager and the results aren’t coming it’s a severe pressure. I know exactly what it’s like.

“You have sleepless nights, it’s all consuming. Your thoughts are dominated by how you’re going to improve the situation. In that respect there aren’t many clubs in Britain where the pressure to win every week is as intense.

“Yes, the giants of English football are miles ahead of Rangers when it comes to the finances, but when it comes to expectation levels, Rangers are up there with any of them.”

Warburton was in awe when he first walked through the main entrance at Ibrox.

And the former currency dealer added: “I relished being Rangers manager. The pressure didn’t bother me. Let me tell you, when things are going well it’s absolutely magnificent.

“The season I won the Championship with Rangers we were playing well, scoring goals, it was unforgettable.

“To be stood on the touchline watching the team play well and the fans being happy is a marvellous feeling.

“But at Rangers you’re only as good as your last game.

“Glasgow can be a goldfish bowl. It is an intense football environment with serious rivalry.

“There was big pressure for me too when I was working in the City. High stakes. But the difference with being Rangers manager is you’re not dealing with the same passion and emotion as you are with football.

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“In the City, if you’re having a bad month, a bad half year, you’re only answerable to the head of the desk or the CEO.

“At a club like Rangers, you’re answering to thousands and thousands of season ticket holders and those around the world, plus, of course, the board. But I relished the pressure.”

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