Jeers of derision both on Wednesday and Saturday have spelled the end of the support for Giovanni Van Bronckhorst at Rangers. He requires a miracle turnaround to win back the fans who have lost faith in this brand of football and the whole situation has an air of inevitability about it.
The squad are no longer reacting to the manager, they look out of ideas and unable to perform or at worst fight for his position. It seems almost unthinkable that we are here just months after a European final, but any talk that this squad is ‘the best we have seen in years’ are as fanciable as they are optimistic.
When you are booed off midweek then ask for a big performance and response, subsequently to be booed off the next game at half time and full time, some might say the writing is on the wall.
The football is chronic and at times absolutely boring. Van Bronckhorst told us he likes to attack and play expansive football, well I’m not sure I have ever seen that almost one year into his tenure.
Seventy plus aimless crosses on Saturday against Livingston more than proved that. There is no style, there doesn’t seem to be a tactical plan and it’s all a little bit predictable. The manager can’t seem to get a response from the players and it’s entirely fair to ask if he still has the support of his squad.
Van Bronckhorst told us it was impossible to compete at Champions League level, the gulf in finance is too much. He has a point to a degree. Well perhaps we can ask why a Livingston team and manager can outfight, outthink and defend against our team so easily when the financial gulf is also so big. Livingston manager David Martindale talked about having to justify £1k a week wages in his team, well what does that say about our players who can’t match those levels and are paid twenty times their Livingston opponents?
I’ve long since asked questions on Van Bronckhorst and I made my position clear on him previously. This isn’t suddenly a change in thought process or reactionary to bad results, nor is it an ‘I told you so’, I simply don’t want the accusation ‘You never said anything months ago!’, those that regularly read know I have. At the recent press conferences I have pressed him and he looks almost as despondent as I have seen him.
I have no faith that he can recover this position and any hope I had that we were finding our form has now completely gone. It now looks like wishful thinking on my part. Sure his win rate may be high ‘80%’ outside Old Firm matches, it might ‘only’ be 4pts, we might still be in cups and we might have ‘made’ the champions League but that defence is simply covering for what the eye can actually see. It isn’t good, it isn’t even average.
My patience has gone completely and judging by the response of the wider support, I’m not alone. However, it’s bigger then just the manager. The players aren’t exactly innocent. But above Van Bronckhorst is where focus needs to be applied.
Removing him solely is a mistake that can’t be allowed to happen.
The truth is several windows of inaction and poor quality recruitment has a huge part to blame for this situation which brings me to Ross Wilson. He has oversaw squad recruitment and planning, culminating in the position we are now in. A squad completely unbalanced and haemorrhaging wages on overpaid injury hit players.
Before anyone tells me that his job is more than just recruitment and it’s about scouting, youth development and the overall football department, perhaps they can tell me just how those vital club areas are performing.
In scouting we have lost our head staff member Andy Scoulding and haven’t replaced him. Head of youth scouting David Stevenson also appears to have left along with other scouts throughout the set up. That department seems almost a mess from the outside looking in, it would certainly explain the standard of recruitment which I will come too.
Then there is the football department and youth set up, which is underperforming and lacking quality throughout the age brackets. You only have to look at the extensive recruitment needed at under 18 level to show the lack of talent coming through. Recently bossed by Hibs, amongst others, at youth level and beaten convincingly which speaks volumes for the position that is in. The B team an exception who have done well in Europe and currently top the lowland league, not all negative absolutely but as an academy there is certainly questions worth asking.
As for recruitment under Wilson, well when you actually want to be brutally honest and not happy clap his position, he has brought in around 26 players and his success rate is well below 50%. In fact this squad still relies on a 40 year old goalkeeper, no RB cover and a midfield that boasts Steven Davis and Scott Arfield who were seen as requiring upgrades years ago. Brutally honest, the ‘best’ players in this team still remain from Mark Allen’s tenure (seven of Saturday’s eleven came from that).
Then there is contracts, which we now know from Van Bronckhorst’s comments is completely on Wilson, along with squad management. When pressed he has admitted that’s nothing to do with him and a question for Wilson. Well he has allowed our squad to have eight players going out of contract at the end of the season including Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos who are key assets. Plus another two first team players who are here on loan and a squad which faces major surgery, Wilson is the man who has orchestrated this position entirely. Then there is a wage bill which is more than £5m over budget and way too high for individuals who aren’t performing.
The recruitment had to be spot on this summer and he has failed to rectify the vital positions required. Everyone knew we had to spend our money wisely, the midfield needed revamped and the right wing position rectified. It never happened and when you hear John Lundstram openly admitting to playing through injury it tells you everything. When contracts for Allan McGregor, Steven Davis and Scott Arfield were renewed many feared it would turn into this. We have been told Ridvan Yilmaz wasn’t signed for 5 weeks but for 5 years and is a long term project, perhaps someone should have said ‘Hold on surely those millions could have been invested wiser elsewhere on this team!?’, just one example of our policy which is more about flipping potential for money than it is providing the team with what they need.
Then there is the manager himself. Rewind to last November in the Blue room at Ibrox and Stewart Robertson told me straight the appointment of Giovanni was down to Ross Wilson and his succession planning. Well if he is in this position what does it say about the man who apparently hand picked him?
How many failures does he have to oversee before the light is shone on his position and examined properly?
Giovanni Van Bronckhorst will carry the can for the team performance, but there is no doubt that removing him only will not solve anything. It will merely put a plaster on a situation when the man who has the overall responsibility remains and is allowed a huge say on what happens next.
IF Van Bronckhorst no longer is the Rangers manager at some point soon then Wilson’s position is equally unsustainable, if not more so.
The big question is when does this board act? Now? When everyone can see how this will end or in a few months when the position becomes even worse? Given their silence and inaction on other matters, except when they are asking the fans for something, I’d be surprised if it’s anytime soon.
AGM is scheduled for the first week in December, I hope they are ready.
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8 thoughts on “Van Bronckhorst’s football has lost the support but Ross Wilson’s position must be examined”
Stevie, your points are valid but I would question your attack on the youth set up. Last season we won the Youth Cup. The B team are top of the Lowland League and were runners up last season as well as Glasgow Cup winners. The U19s pushed Ajax hard and beat Napoli at home. The system had to be built from nothing once we got rid of the spivs, along with every other part of the club. In 1997 we sold Greig Shields to Dunfermline for £100k. This year we sold Nathan Patterson to Everton for up to £16m. Does that not indicate progress in the right direction? The loss of the likes of Rory Wilson to EPL clubs shows where the Gers stand in the food chain. In terms of the scouting department, Scoulding and Stevenson left us for plum jobs with Spurs and the FA respectively. Someone with a poor track record would be unlikely to attain such positions, surely? We now have John Park as chief scout, correct? When he was with Hibs and that lot he was hailed as a genius. Let’s see what the next few weeks bring.
Something in the background is seriously wrong at Ibrox for the Team too throw the towel in so early in the Season is unacceptable something has got to change NOW 😡
Thanks for your updates I always enjoy your work
Everything you have said I fully agree with We need a clear out its very hard to watch the way we have been playing and to see things going downhill very Quickly I love Rangers F.C. and we have been through a lot as supporters we need a change now. WATP RANGERS FOREVER.
Lack of investment in the team by the current board since winning 55 has come back to bite us. The style (lack of) of football since Gio came in last year has been really hard to watch. The only time we really played well was at ibrox on the way to the Europa league final. Seems to me that getting there kind of papered over the cracks. Looks to me as if some of our players don’t give a damn these days and that’s unacceptable.
Totally agree, it’s difficult to see Gio coming back from this, though he only needs to change a couple. But omg, Arfield before Wright, or Sakala, was a disaster yesterday, absolute shambles Regards
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Spot on every word,Morelos and Kent should have been told sign or go ,at any price.
Excellent article. 👏🏻👏🏻
Nail. Head. Battered same.
I concur. The Dutch experiment has failed. We need to move on and it needs to be now.