Yesterday’s revelation that Giovanni van Bronckhorst effectively sanctioned Leon Balogun’s exit from Rangers really was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Ibrox Noise.
We had always trusted Gio and gave him our faith, we believed his intentions were the best for the club and he wanted to do right by it.
But while we absolutely acknowledged Leon Balogun had major injury issues at Rangers and we’d posited that was probably the main reason the club didn’t offer him a new deal, the truth was really rather different, and the club, and Ross Wilson in particular, tried their hardest to keep Balogun but van Bronckhorst wasn’t convinced.
And what Wilson said at the AGM yesterday looks ever more true now with Leon Balogun and Niko Katic essentially backing him up:
Balogun has confirmed that it was Wilson trying to keep the Nigerian in Govan, and it was Giovanni who blocked it. Niko confirmed it was Gio who told him he wasn’t wanted, following months of non-communication.
Now, Gio didn’t actually sanction Balogun’s exit explicitly, Leon explained that essentially Wilson said ‘yes’, Gio said at best ‘not sure’ and at worst ‘no’ and the lack of unification of the management team meant it was a no overall because they all had to be on the same page, especially van Bronckhorst.
This confirms that the manager DOES have final say at Ibrox on all transfers, he has the total power of veto, and Wilson simply does not have the authority to overrule him. If Wilson says yes, the manager’s ‘not sure’ is more powerful and it’s a no.
Which is why van Bronckhorst’s judgement was utterly lousy. He ditched Katic, he didn’t authorise a new deal for Balogun, and he sanctioned John Souttar and Ben Davies.
All of which left Rangers in collapse at the rearguard.
For all the good GVB did last season, it derailed spectacularly in the summer at Rangers, and from thereon in, he absolutely did not know what he was doing.
Malevolent? We can’t say. Incompetent – for sure, and utterly out of his depth by the end.
To go from Sevilla to 100% wrecking the defence is possibly the most aggressive fall from grace a Rangers manager has had.