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Francesc Fabregas

The Pelé Podcast - Mark Docherty

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Alright lads, some of you might be aware that Tell Him He's Pelé have moved into the seedy world of podcasting - we've been going for the past few weeks and have recorded episodes with Stevie Aitken and Gregor Buchanan.

This week, we've had a sit-down with former Gretna, Greenock Morton and Stenhousemuir manager David Irons - CLICK.

I didn't want to just stick this in the big Morton thread because I think this has quite a broad appeal. Irons talks about Gretna and maybe even goes into detail about a few things he hasn't before. He also talks in great length about his difficult time at Cappielow and his acrimonious departure. Irons finishes by speaking about his time at Stenny.

There's something in there for everyone - he was on good form and was surprisingly honest and a little brutal in some of his takedowns.

It's an hour long so make sure you're in the mood first.

(If you like what you've heard, then follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.)

Edited by Francesc Fabregas

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Really important stuff about Rae in there, saying that there're problems at Morton that will always be there as long as Dougie's in charge. Comes across like a very balanced guy.

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Ooft, rarely a dull moment in the Morton section! So for those needing to keep track at home:

Douglas Rae being a dressing room based control-freak - confirmed.

Useless Derek Collins having been "a burden" on the club - confirmed.

James Grady and Allan McManus being lying snakes stabbing Irons in the back - confirmed.

Basically all the stuff that happy-clappers insisted was not the case at the time, contradicted by, erm, the manager in charge; I have no doubt that their similarly embarrassing claims that Irons' training regime was directly leading to players' injuries was a similar, bullshit story flung to them from Rae and his lackeys. Time to kick Shoogly out and give Irons an assistant post to Brian Wake's manager/chairman role (unsurprisingly picked out by Irons as basically the best player of his generation); he'd probably win this particular league as manager anyway given the budget at his disposal.

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A question about the whole Grady/McManus affair that should have been asked (but for valid reasons wasn't high on the interviewer's research) is... why were Grady and McManus re-signed to the club in the summer of 08-09, at a fairly late stage of that pre-season IIRC; a few months before they levered Irons out of the manager's post? I'd really like to know the explicit role of the chairman in bringing those two clowns back into the playing squad at that time - I don't doubt for a second that he was interfering in the deal.

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I think any of this should be carefully prefaced by acknowledging that this is one side of an argument from a man who admits himself that he is blowing his own horn. It's a forceful but inconsistent account, and he isn't willing enough to admit his own faults. Yet this is also a pretty damning account of what it was like to work under Dougie Rae.

He is very disparaging of Grady and McManus but shows little consideration that this is how Rowan Alexander might feel about him. And for all we know Grady was acting on behalf of other players as well as his own ambitions. We only have one side of the story, as with the reserved Alexander scenario. He also gets some details a little bit wrong, we finished 6th and lost our last 4 games in his full season in charge (equal on points with both 5th and 8th in a very tight league) - this is symptomatic of the way in which he underplays his failures in this interview . Maybe the players did undermine him, but not many managers survive losing 5-0, 3-0, and 3-0 on the back of an already poor run. Irons is very quick to take the credit, but isn't taking any real blame here.

All in all, I don't particularly rate Irons as a coach. He overplays his achievements at Gretna. Fair enough getting to a cup final and winning the First Division were good achievements, but lets not pretend that Gretna weren't a village team with a massive budget that outstripped their rivals (and Gretna wouldn't have won the league against Hibs and Hearts this season either, so he can stop comforting himself with someone else's failure). And, again, he very quick to blame other factors for his abysmal record after taking over from Alexander. The football we played in his time with us was also fairly rancid for the most part; a long ball game that could quickly fall apart.

But what he says about Dougie goes along with what Moore and others have only hinted at - that he likes to give suggestions, with inherent pressure added, about team selections. And also that he likes to have too big a say about team matters. That being said I tend to think we'd get a very different account from someone like Jim McInally, but I can't be sure. I think he's right that a huge factor in where we are right now is Rae, I don't think anyone can deny that he has been an overarching factor in all this.

The bottom line is that Irons backs up what many fans think about Rae's management of the club, and it's damning stuff, but that doesn't really help us move on. It offers no solutions. No constructive way to address the problem. In that sense he might be no more than another impotent dissenting voice.

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Irons was very dismissive of anyone who wasn't in the first team squad, to the extent that they would get very discouraged and become desperate to leave.

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Davie always strikes me as a bit 'David Icke'. Look forward to giving this a listen - one of my favourite ever Pars players.

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But what he says about Dougie goes along with what Moore and others have only hinted at - that he likes to give suggestions, with inherent pressure added, about team selections. And also that he likes to have too big a say about team matters. That being said I tend to think we'd get a very different account from someone like Jim McInally, but I can't be sure.

Why would it be different for McInally?

Let's face it. Irons isn't saying anything that the happy clappers haven't known for a long time. You're right in that there's no solution though, and that's why we're probably likely to go into administration again, and maybe even worse.

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Why would it be different for McInally?

Let's face it. Irons isn't saying anything that the happy clappers haven't known for a long time. You're right in that there's no solution though, and that's why we're probably likely to go into administration again, and maybe even worse.

I could be wrong on this one, but I was of the impression that Dougie respected and trusted McInally more than the other managers we've had, and that McInally has had a tendency, more than any other former Morton manager, to speak highly of Rae. Maybe McInally was just better at being accommodating of Rae, or maybe I've picked this up wrong, but I've always just got that impression that they there hasnt been any animosity there, in either direction. I'm not saying that Rae acted any differently, just that perhaps McInally saw it in a different way to Irons.

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A: Jim McInally was both a liar and a shameless poodle to the chairman; his 'account' would stay true to those two defining aspects of his personality.

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I could be wrong on this one, but I was of the impression that Dougie respected and trusted McInally more than the other managers we've had, and that McInally has had a tendency, more than any other former Morton manager, to speak highly of Rae. Maybe McInally was just better at being accommodating of Rae, or maybe I've picked this up wrong, but I've always just got that impression that they there hasnt been any animosity there, in either direction. I'm not saying that Rae acted any differently, just that perhaps McInally saw it in a different way to Irons.

I agree with much of what you say about Irons refusing to acknowledge his own failings, but I'd say that McInally's account would be different because Jim McInally is a sycophantic Yes man who would have gladly accommodated Rae's interference in order to secure his own position, even when that was to the detriment of the team and club as a whole. That can be seen in his refusal to drop the under-performing Chris Templeman to save face for Rae due to the amount of money spent on him, and going along with Rae in the shameful attempt to ostracise Chris Millar when Millar had done nothing wrong and the real issue was gross incompetence on the part of the club.

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As for Irons, yes, he undoubtedly deserved to be sacked when he was, but I always felt that he was judged a bit harshly by Morton fans. There was a load of talk about how he'd set us back years, how he was the worst manager we'd ever had, etc. That was clearly pish. He's ultimately remembered as a failure, but he did a better job than the his predecessor and successor. Depressingly, he's one of the best managers we've had under Rae, but that says far more about Rae's track record in appointing managers than it does about Irons.

Grady and McManus being snakes and Collins being incompetent is interesting but ultimately of little consequence. The real issue here is Rae's interference in the first team. It's long been alleged and pretty much accepted as fact but we've always had people striving to defend him: now we have it in black and white from a manager that he was constantly trying to meddle in the first team, wanted to be in the dressing room on a Saturday, wanted a say in team selection. Yet more questions that need to be answered by the Chairman. Why does he think this is acceptable behaviour? Is this still going on? Does he only try to influence team selection or does he make all the signings too?

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He clearly still makes signings. Hence why we have Peaso and Tidser, and driving us to the grave with every penny.

Yes, quite. Hence why we should be questioning him publicly on this so people are aware of his meddling rather than burying their heads in the sand and pretending he"s some benevolent figure who doesn't interfere regularly with team.

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Very interesting.

It really is terrible when you have a self appointed narcissist in a position of absolute power. We went through this and it took ten years of denial and our club to nearly go bust before his ego finally folded.

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This was excellent. Was almost difficult to listen to as Irons sounded so downbeat at times but he was extremely forthright. Obviously, it's only one side of the story so would be very interesting if you got Grady to do a show and asked him about the claims.

Have to say though, when someone speaks about being "betrayed" and "stabbed in the back" and then claims to have move passed it, you do have to roll your eyes a little. When you actually move on, you don't still hold that feeling on injustice.

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I'm guessing with someone like Irons who is not forthcoming when accepting their portion of blame in every failure in their life that this interview is full of truths, half truths that suit his agenda and full on lies. To sit and try and figure out which is which would be difficult, but i'd say the one that looks to have the most legs would be the part said about Rae, as it's been rumoured for years that he's been doing stuff like that.

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Always remember when his relatives came on here & the Morton site to defend him. Give them their due they tried harder in defence than McManus did

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