So the shortlist for the manager of the year came out today and you can hear the wailing from the Hidden Hills psych ward already because Van Bronckhorst isn’t on it. But to be blunt, he doesn’t deserve to be and their own fans know it.
Tell me how they get from “we’ve thrown the league away” to “Van Bronckhorst should be the manager of the year”?
How does that leap of logic transpire?
It’s as if they just open their mouths and let anything come out without thinking it through.
The Record has led off with the story, and they are promoting the other candidates.
Ange gets a nod of recognition, but not much more than that.
Which is why I want to look at the central claims in the Record story, because really, they don’t stand up.
First, there is this oft-expressed view that a manager who wins things at one of the “big two” has to do something pretty exceptional in order to get the prize. Nonsense.
Brendan Rodgers became the first manager to win back to back trebles and didn’t get it … that’s one for the books.
The rationale behind not giving it to him, that he only did what he was “expected” to do once established was then swiftly forgotten last season when Gerrard got it.
We all know who the manager of the year last season was; Callum Davidson, who didn’t get it but should have won it by a country mile. The trouble with the media is that they change this narrative whenever it suits them.
The second justification for not giving it to Ange is that he “had £20 million to spend.”
No heed whatsoever is paid to the fact that we lost our captain, our best striker, our top defender and one of our best attacking midfielders. A host of others left on free transfers. Ange faced the biggest rebuilding job in our recent history.
Not only that, but he did it revenue neutral.
People talk about him spending £20 million as if that was sunk into an already established team, but it wasn’t.
Four key players left and others sold to bring that money in, and his spending amounted to only two thirds of what we recouped from sales. In terms of net spend, Ange did this for virtually no money at all.
Not only that, but virtually every signing that the boss has made has turned out to be a success … how many times in the recent history of Scottish football can you say that? Of those who haven’t made an immediate impact, none cost more than £1 million … so the overall value for money that he’s managed to get is absolutely extraordinary.
The consistency of this team has been incredible. Had we not had a stumbling start this wouldn’t even be a debate because we’ve be about a dozen points clear and the league would be won already.
When you consider the narrative we started the season with – that even a really good Celtic side would not be able to claw back the “25 point deficit” from last season, as if this stuff carried over – it must be sobering for the hacks to contemplate that.
In a just world, Ange has this won and I am especially amused to see that two of the candidates for it – Malky Mackay and Dick Campbell – carry a good deal of historical baggage with them.
In short, both of them are bigoted toe rags the game shouldn’t be honouring.
If the press wants to make a case that the racist and misogynist should get it then let them dare.
If they want to make a case that the singer of anti-Catholic songs should get it, then let them stand behind their man.
But the next time they bang on about those subjects they should be reminded that when the crunch came they didn’t show these things the red card but the red carpet.
If one of those two gets it, it will just about sum Scottish football up.