Giovanni van Bronckhorst, rightly, has taken a dignified silence since leaving Rangers earlier this week. Ibrox Noise regulars will know we were big admirers of him as boss, only admitting his time was probably up when it became clear from his own word that he’d had enough and wanted to move on.
Sure, he claimed in press conferences that he was staying, that he’d fight on, but that comment after Ajax was a leaf out of Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa (and indeed Malmo Rangers) book in challenging the club’s board to fire him, because plainly GVB wasn’t supported by any of the suits, and he saw no point carrying on without harmony.
He deserved better. Giovanni earned Rangers around £100M in a year – while Ross Wilson was responsible for the deals to sell Nathan Patterson, Joe Aribo and Calvin Bassey, it was under van Bronckhorst that the latter two, Bassey especially, deeply thrived, and became gigantic assets to the club. Bassey rose utterly under GVB and turned a free Bosman under Gerrard into a £23M asset.
He also earned the club around £70M in revenue from Sevilla and UCL, not that the suits ever gave him an ounce of credit for that and even tried to downplay what the UCL earned, despite the numbers proving otherwise.
So it stood to reason the man deserved support, and deserved better treatment from both the board and the players. We’ve discussed the players’ alleged insurrection already, but the board just didn’t back him from the start.
He got absolutely nothing to play with in the January window and none of the freebie players Wilson brought in were value for wages, aside the loan of James Sands from the MLS albeit he didn’t start to thrive till the following summer. This left Gio in a position to work miracles in Europe, getting a £15M team to the UEL final.
And hands were equally tied in the summer, when Wilson signed in a host of rubbish, frankly, spending around £15M on making the team weaker.
Our boss deserved a tonne better, and he relayed it well in his media displays after the summer. Players who weren’t respecting him or working for him, and a board that didn’t have his back, Gio’s end was a sorry one from a good man who was worth more than he got.
We’re glad he dug his heels in and got a payout from a board for whom he’d earned multimillions – had he resigned, he’d have left with nothing but disloyalty from those around him and nothing to show for it.
Gio is a Rangers man, but he was given no chance by this board or, in the end, by the players.
Michael Beale had better hope the board and players give him a lot more room and respect than they did his predecessor.