BY IAIN COLLIN –[email protected]_sport
MARK Burchill knows the Hibernian fans will not like it but he insists it was a ‘no-brainer’ for Alan Stubbs to agree a switch to Rotherham United to progress his managerial career.
Burchill is a former Celtic team-mate of Stubbs and had two spells as a player at Rotherham, and believes the Millers can give his old Hoops pal the platform to move on to the ‘next level’.
He is fully aware that many supporters north of the border, not only those of a Hibs persuasion, will question the stature of Rotherham, who finished fourth bottom of the English Championship last season, a full 25 points adrift of a play-off spot, and play in a 12,000-seater stadium.
However, the ex-Scotland striker reckons money talks and the kind on offer south of the border gives any ambitious manager the opportunity to further their career.
Burchill said: “Rotherham are a well-supported club, it’s a big club, and as soon as I saw they were interested, I knew if Alan had any chance of going he would go, it’s as simple as that.
“You can only manage to a certain level with the players you’ve got at your disposal. The players he had at Hibs are on x amount per week, but the wages they can pay at Rotherham are three, four, five times as much as the Hibs players are getting.
“It’s an absolute no-brainer for him to go.
“It’s a natural progression for him and I think anyone in Scotland, even at the lower end of the Premiership, would jump at this job, I have do doubt about that.
“There’s no comparison, whatsoever. Fans in Scotland don’t realise, there are 50 clubs (in England) bigger than even the clubs at the bottom half of the Premiership, that’s a simple fact.
“They’re bigger, they can pay bigger money, the money they get from Sky TV is a lot more, and as a manager and a coach a lot of it comes down to how much money you’ve got to spend.
“Hibs are still not in the top league and next season there’s going to be massive pressure on them to get up, and there’s no guarantees.
“So, it’s the perfect time for him to get out, having won the Scottish Cup and gone down in history at Hibs.
“To go to England, to go down to the Championship, is progress. I don’t care what English Championship club it was, he would have gone to any – and even one in the top half of League One.
“I think it’s a great job for him to go to the next level, I really do – and whether Hibs fans, or fans in Scotland, like it or not, Rotherham is the next level.”
Burchill, currently out of work after being sacked as Livingston manager in December, spent a brief spell as a player at Rotherham in 2004, on loan from Portsmouth, and returned to the club on a permanent deal in 2008 as the club emerged from administration.
And the 35-year-old believes Stubbs will have an ideal opportunity to prove himself as a manager as he bids to turn around the Millers’ fortunes, just as he did with Hibs.
Burchill added: “They’ve got a brilliant new stadium and they’ve got a really good fan-base, fans who are really passionate about the team and really support them.
“They’ve got a brilliant owner, who has been there for a few years now and is building the club, and Alan’s family will be close by.
“There will be no comparison in the wage bill, which means as a manager you know you can get more money to spend on players, which will mean better players, if you do your recruitment right – which undoubtedly he will. And then you can look like a better manager.
“And, let’s be honest, if you’re going to pick a team to go to in England then you pick one four places from the bottom of the league because then you know if you end up in any of the 20 positions above you in the league then you’ve done a good job.”