This headline is a quote by George Washington, but it is also friendly advice to Keith Jackson of the Daily Record in response to his ‘exclusive’ today on the reasons Derek McInnes turned down Rangers.
May I begin by drawing people’s attention to two statements by the same organisation on what was essentially the same subject matter:
Aberdeen FC Statement 14th June 2017:
“The club can confirm that early this afternoon Sunderland FC agreed to meet all the contractual obligations for both Derek McInnes and Tony Docherty and they have, reluctantly, been granted permission to speak with both of them about the vacant managerial position at Sunderland.
Aberdeen FC will be making no further comment at this moment in time.”
Aberdeen FC Statement 5th December 2017
“Aberdeen Football Club has announced this evening that Rangers have contacted the Club asking for permission to speak to Derek McInnes and that permission has been refused.”
It is clear from the first statement there are contractual obligations that, when met, mean the club must allow their manager the option of dialogue with interested parties, however reluctant the club may be.
Although money is not mentioned, contractual obligations can only relate to the commitments on either side to terminate the agreement and these are usually financial. In the case of an interested suitor, it would be expected of them to pay this on behalf of the employee.
There is no mention of contractual obligations in the club statement on 5th December, from which one can only infer that Rangers either refused, or were in no position to meet, the financial commitments required. Aberdeen FC therefore exercised their right to refuse permission to speak to McInnes, a position they are perfectly entitled to maintain until such time as Rangers agree to meet all contractual obligations, just as Sunderland did.
The story for the press to pursue is obvious yet Keith Jackson wants to have us believe that the McInnes decision -and ultimately it was his decision – has nothing to do with money. Jackson even suggested that an offer of £1m up-front was on the table in a piece that was published on Wednesday:
In it, Jackson states;
“Dons chairman Stewart Milne made his hardball position clear last night after booting out an official approach from the Ibrox club – and turning down a cheque for £1 million in compensation.”
I’m not entirely sure what Mr Jackson means by an ‘official’ approach, I would have thought ‘formal’ to be more apposite but it’s a moot point in the grand scheme of things. Fact is, Jackson didn’t think long and hard enough about this statement because it contains not one, or two, but three glaring inaccuracies.
- Mr Milne did not ‘boot out’ any approach – official, formal or otherwise. If Rangers had met the necessary contractual obligations then Aberdeen FC could not have refused McInnes the opportunity to speak to Rangers – that would have been a breach of contract on the club’s part and McInnes could sue.
- Mr Milne is not ’playing hardball’. Playing hardball is about getting what you want. Mr Milne already has what he wants. He doesn’t need to play hardball – it is Rangers who, if they cannot afford the compensation or wish to alter the terms of the compensation, would need to attempt to play hardball. Jackson has this the wrong way around – a common failing when trying to justify a lie and pursue a biased narrative.
- I don’t dispute that Rangers offered to pay £1 million in compensation, but I do not believe for one millisecond that it would be paid in a single instalment either by cheque, cash or bank transfer because the audited accounts published last month prove that such a commitment would not be possible. A shortfall of £4m was required in soft loans to see out the current season, with monies required immediately, and a further £3.2m after June 18. Furthermore, these figures did not consider the additional cost of a change of management at the club/holding company/engine room subsidiary/call it what you will.
It’s rather telling that Mr Jackson makes no mention of this £1m cheque in his ‘exclusive’ today. Instead, he offers another inaccuracy. He says’;
“When Milne made it clear he was unwilling to grant the move his blessing – and that McInnes would have to rip up his contract to pursue a return to Ibrox – the ex-Rangers player was boxed into a corner.”
Mr Milne is in no position to grant a move, whether with his blessing or otherwise. There is a binding contract in place and only if contractual obligations are met then – as is glaringly obvious from the Aberdeen Club Statement of 14th June – Mr Milne would have to, albeit reluctantly, allow the manager to speak to the other club, just as he did in the case of Sunderland. He cannot box his manager into a corner. There is no decision for Mr Milne to make if the requisite compensation is agreed to be paid in full to terminate the manager’s contract with Aberdeen FC.
More plausibly, Rangers could box McInnes into a corner. The job is his if he wants it, but he will have to resign his position to take it because Rangers won’t meet the contractual obligations. Once again Jackson has it the wrong way around because he is lying and pursuing a biased narrative.
Any reasonably minded follower of Scottish football knows why McInnes is not going to Rangers. It’s all about the money – or the lack of it – and no amount of lying or high-level fantasy by award winning journalists will alter that prosaic fact.