Rowan Alexander - A Realistic Candidate For The Job?

In the past Rowan Alexander said “I would never even entertain the thought of going back to Morton. It's as simple as that. I'm not disappointed I've never been asked, and I won't be disappointed not to go back in the future. I believe you should leave people with the memory of your playing days, and too many people have tarnished those memories in the past by returning to a club and not doing well.”

He obviously changed his mind because Ton chairman Douglas Rae revealed that Alexander was one of three candidates on his short leet to replace Jim McInally in February 2008. The other two were Irons - who would eventually get the job - and Jim Duffy. Irons recent departure has seen Alexander's name thrown back into the hat by some fans on the unofficial messageboard.

The subject of Alexander managing the club seems to split the support right down the middle; the polarity of opinion ranges from some who claim they won't be back if he gets the job to others who say he's their number one choice for the role.

I'm firmly in the 'don't want him to get the job' camp (I wouldn't go as far as to say I wouldn't be back). However, some fans insistence he is the man for the job has intrigued me enough to take a closer look at Super Ro's managerial record, and here it is:

1995/96: QotS - 7th in Division 2
1996/97: QotS - 5th in Division 2 (lost Challenge Cup Final)
1997/98: QotS - 4th in Division 2
1998/99: QotS - 4th in Division 2
2002/03: Gretna - 6th in Division 3
2003/04: Gretna - 3rd in Division 3
2004/05: Gretna - 1st in Division 3
2005/06: Gretna - 1st in Division 2 (lost in the Scottish Cup Final)
2006/07: Gretna - 1st in Division 1*

*Davie Irons took over in March 2007.

Being honest, his managerial record isn't as bad as I thought. Therefore I'm inclined to believe he's probably a better manager than I give him credit for. However, his achievements before Brooks Mileson started to invest heavily in Gretna are modest; there are no promotions or cup wins, only mid to top end of the table finishes. Mileson's initial investment in Gretna meant that they were signing players and putting them on wages SPL clubs couldn't afford and the resultant meteoric rise was to be expected.

To be fair to Alexander the money has to be invested wisely, the right players have to be bought and moulded into a group that function well as a team. As Morton fans know, big spending doesn't guarantee success. You only have to look at how long it took us to get back to the 1st division even though we were outspending all of our rivals (with the ironic exception of Gretna in 2005/06).

While acknowledging his managerial record isn't as bad as I expected it to be, especially pre-Mileson, I still don't want him to get the job. This is mainly because I don't think he'd be much of a departure from Davie Irons. He comes across as the kind of manager the players would despise, just like Irons. There's also the mystery behind his sacking at Gretna - there were suggestions of alcoholism and / or mental instability - and the way his close relationship with Mileson seemed to disintegrate overnight. What we need now is a manager who is not only tactically astute but who has the man-management skills to build up the confidence of a squad whose morale could be optimistically described as fragile. I don't believe Rowan Alexander is that man.

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