For every time there is a season. For Ibrox, this season is the last hurrah.
The last gasp of a side that but for reaching its European final on the back of seven wins was assembled at enormous cost and has spectacularly underachieved.
A single title (albeit a big one) and a Scottish Cup are a dreadful return for spending £100 million over and above earnings.
There are various elements of the situation at Ibrox that I want to write about and have wanted to write about for more than a week. I’ll get to them, after the Real game. That comes first, and the story can wait.
But it’s a good story, and for a while today I thought that Jackson himself might write something along its lines … but predictably he went not just the wrong way but the complete opposite way from where I’d have gone.
I’ll get to that maybe tomorrow. The article was a horror show.
Yet even the worst of the hacks is slowly coming to a number of realisations about the Ibrox squad that they have lauded for so long.
Namely that it really isn’t very good.
It’s first eleven may be able to raise itself for certain games in Europe, where their bizarre, slow style seems to have modest success, but the squad itself is piss poor and weak, and lacking in several positions. In fact, it’s lacking in almost every department.
Perhaps it’s just as well, then, that this is a team which is almost certainly finished after this season. A number of their players are out of contract and the club will struggle to justify giving them new deals.
This includes McGregor, Arfield, Davis, Jack and Helander. But of course Morelos and Kent are also out of contract, and already that’s a lot of footballers to replace.
The average age of the squad continues to creep up.
Their summer signings include a number of players nearing their 30’s, so with no re-sale value whatsoever, in stark contrast to Celtic’s policy of buying players in their early 20’s who have it all in front of them.
Everything at Ibrox is predicated on short-termism, and next summer they run out of a whole lot of road. They face a rebuilding job. That would be difficult even at the best of times. But they will not be the best of times now that UEFA’s eyes are on them.
The loss of so many players will certainly help with the wage bill. But the club cannot spend too much money in replacing these guys and every signing they make will have to be dead-on right. That’s difficult to do with their scouting system.
They’ve brought in John Park in the hope that he might work some wonders, but even if he does, that’s a few years out. These things take longer than the five minutes they usually give things.
It will be a while before it generates any results … and even then, Park had as many misses as he had hits and when you’re being watched for FFP you can’t afford many.
What makes it all worse, of course, is that this will need to be done in the shadow of Celtic and Ange, and whatever we do next. That will increase the pressure on their club until it is choking them.
There are big problems over there … and they need to start fixing them come January.
With UEFA watching, that will not be easy to do either.