The media enjoys skipping over things it doesn’t want to see.
Today there was a sterling example in The Daily Record, as Van Bronckhorst talked about his “plan” for losing key players in the January window. He has come to terms with their need, probably because it was written in his contract before he even signed it.
He understands how things work.
I wonder if other people do. I wonder if the press does.
I know for sure that their fans don’t.
Pressure is mounting on all sides of them. Things on the pitch are great for disguising big problems elsewhere; we know it only too well. Their club faces difficult choices.
Those choices were already hard before the government closed football grounds.
They might cry and wail about the break being brought forward, but the reason it’s been left to idiot allies and the club hasn’t commented openly is that they are terrified of the prospect of stands being shut.
The evidence of that is clear in that they’ve already moved to have the B team game with us called off as they want fans there.
If they hadn’t been rolling towards Pittodrie and Parkhead their club would have been out in front of this thing with the condemnation of the government and demands for an extended winter break before ours was.
Their moaning might seem convincing to the rest of the world (not to us) but inside the walls they know they can’t go through another spell of games without fans. They barely got out of the last one with the club structure intact.
And this dropped out of the sky onto them at a time when they could least afford it.
They already faced the need to sell in this window before that.
Now that need is even more pressing, and this because of two developments they really ought to have been prepared for.
The first is the return of King, whatever it is that he’s up to.
He still has a significant block of shares and for reasons best known to himself he wants to screw with their plans somewhat.
They could probably get rid of him by buying him out.
That option now seems closed off to them.
He’s “offered” himself back to the board, but they know that’s just the start of whatever it is he’s doing.
They have every cause to be concerned by his actions.
The second thing is the return of Ashley, and the secrets which are about to be revealed in a courtroom about the strength of their current contract with Castore.
That, in itself, might prove to be highly embarrassing, but worse is to come because it will almost certainly prove to be hugely expensive as well, with Ashley filing for loss of potential earnings and some estimates that the bill will be more than £10 million.
Who knows what other unpaid bills there are behind the scenes?
Who knows what other pressures are lying heavily on them without being part of the public discourse?
They had hoped to be, and even expected to be, far enough ahead in the league that some player sales would barely register as a hit, but we’re still close enough to reach out and grab them and they know we’re simultaneously coming out of an injury crisis and on the brink of signings.
The pressure will mount over the next week or so, with no games on, with no clear picture of where we’re going to be at the end of January, with no idea what King will do or what a judge will decide in the Ashley case.
If clubs make low-ball offers for their players and that leaks they will have to deal either with transfer offers too low to accept or with unhappy footballers.
Their range of choices is shrinking. The walls are starting to close in.
When it comes to fans back in grounds, I think the numbers are still trending in the right direction in terms of growth rate and hospital admissions, but that could change … and Ibrox knows it.
This is the worst possible time to have all this uncertainty, and it is surrounding them.
And these are the conditions under which they have to make decisions about the next year.
I wouldn’t want to be in that boardroom, facing those choices.