Charlie Nicholas has hit out at the "conspiracy theorists" claiming Michael Beale 's move to Rangers was weeks in the making and says they need a dose of realism.
Beale was named as Gio van Bronckhorst's successor on Monday, returning to Ibrox on a three-and-a-half year deal. It comes weeks after he was back in the building for the first time since following Steven Gerrard to Aston Villa, taking in Rangers ' win over Aberdeen as a spectator.
But Nicholas reckons those linking that visit to his eventual return as manager are clutching at straws. And writing in his Scottish Daily Express column, he says those QPR fans accusing him of "disloyalty" need to look at it from the other end of the spectrum, as he doubts the club would have shown him the same courtesy if their downturn in results under the Englishman had continued.
Nicholas said: "It's ridiculous that some people are trying to take the moral high ground by accusing Michael Beale of disloyalty for quitting QPR for Rangers. Anyone who genuinely thinks there is much loyalty in football is kidding themselves. Angry QPR fans are calling Beale a hypocrite, reminding the manager of his explanation for rejecting the Wolves job last month, when he insisted 'integrity' and 'loyalty' were big things for him. However, if results had deteriorated at QPR, do you think their board would have thought twice about sacking him? It works both ways.
"A lot has also been made about Beale being invited back up to Ibrox in late October to take in the Aberdeen game. He also attended a London-based Rangers supporters' club to watch the team's Champions League qualifier against PSV Eindhoven in August. Big deal!
"All the conspiracy theorists are saying Steven Gerrard's former No.2 at Ibrox was obviously being lined up for Gio van Bronckhorst's job. It's nonsense. Beale can do what he wants. I don't recall anyone jumping to such conclusions when he was back in Glasgow. Nobody thought for a minute that he was coming back to Rangers. Beale himself probably didn't imagine the club would come calling, even if Van Bronckhorst was to be sacked. The only box that all this stuff ticks is Beale's desire to return to Rangers."