AS a person and a project, Mark Allen was difficult to gauge and judge at various stages of his tenure. Now that he has left, it is perhaps only time that will deliver the best verdict on a Director of Football that split opinions both on and off the park at Ibrox.

His departure late on Friday evening - after just over two years in the role - was greeted with surprise by supporters, but it wasn’t a completely unexpected development. Once the transfer window had closed, Allen’s successes and failures could be easily plotted and his future debated.

A statement was praiseworthy of Allen’s efforts and Steven Gerrard reaffirmed those sentiments after the win over Livingston on Saturday. Not every member of staff was disappointed to see Allen leave, though.


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Allen positioned himself closely to Gerrard on trips abroad and seemed to always be in and around the football staff in public. At home, he was often seen on the training ground during the week and was a noticeable, perhaps out of place, presence when he joined in with the celebrations after big wins for Gerrard’s side.

Many will see nothing wrong with Allen having such a public profile, but a Director of Football should operate in the background, be heard every so often and seen even less.

On the occasions he did speak, Allen gave little away. He was pleasant enough to interview, yet there was often plenty of words but not enough details when the time was there for him to really sell his vision and to add substance to conversations over his role and his vision.

In Portugal back in pre-season, he skipped around questions about the status of the Joe Aribo deal, despite the midfielder already being in the country and official confirmation from Rangers being minutes away.

The move for Aribo was certainly one of the success stories of the summer for Rangers but it was the business Allen did going the other way that counted against him.

The Ibrox board had to sanction pay-offs for Graham Dorrans and Joe Dodoo and Rangers still fail to recoup significant funds when it comes to offloading unwanted players. Kyle Lafferty lasted just a year, while another handful of arrivals either failed or have unconvinced so far.

Plucking the likes of Borna Barisic and Eros Grezda out of Osijek is a risk and the rewards haven’t been forthcoming for Rangers.


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The left-back remains in Gerrard’s squad and, if he did move on, it wouldn’t be at a loss on the £1.5million paid for him last year.

But Grezda has never looked like fitting the model of buy low and sell high. The Albanian is nowhere near the first team squad and efforts to move him on, even on a loan deal, proved fruitless in recent weeks.

No transfer policy can ever be completely successful, but deals for the likes of Ryan Kent and Jermain Defoe were down to Gerrard’s influence, while those for Allan McGregor and Steven Davis were no-brainers.

Nikola Katic does look a shrewd investment and if Filip Helander can justify his £3million outlay and George Edmundson and Jake Hastie progress as hoped, there will be long-term advantages to the strategy Allen has overseen in the market.

There are other lasting measures of the Welshman’s tenure around Ibrox and the Hummel Training Centre and Gerrard, of course, is the most important one of all for Rangers.

The new lounge for players before home matches is an impressive upgrade behind the scenes, while the training ground is a more professional and polished environment as investment has been made in staff, infrastructure and facilities.

Gerrard’s influence now runs throughout Rangers and Allen certainly played his part in taking the club on as it emerged from the most difficult period in its history.

His ambition was to leave Rangers in a better position than he found on his arrival from Manchester City. In that regard, it was a job well done.

Allen can now search for his next project, while Rangers must find a replacement, and an upgrade, for a position that needs to be filled.