The Ibrox boss sat in front of the media yesterday with the knives being sharpened all around him. The hacks know they are watching a tottering regime, just as their colleagues in London smelled the blood in the air when it was Johnson. Just as they could tell by the despondent atmosphere wafting off everyone in Downing Street when it was Truss.
Our hacks are poor at their job, but as a smart man said “it doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” Van Bronckhorst gives off that wounded animal vibe of death.
If he looks up he’ll see that there are buzzards circling.
His assassins are no longer waiting in the shadows. Their weapons aren’t even concealed. They flash them openly in his face. He’s finished and they know it and they don’t care that this knowledge is being telegraphed back to him.
When he was asked about boardroom discussions about his future he said he hadn’t had any.
That is supposed to come off as optimistic.
But when you think about it, that’s not good news. Nobody has taken him aside and told him to ignore the critics and that he has nothing to worry about? Nobody from the boardroom has even asked him what the plan is?
Those discussions have to be going on.
He would have to be mad not to realise that.
If they are going on without him, if he’s not even being consulted or given an opportunity to defend himself, if nobody is even giving him token encouragement then those talks aren’t progressing well for him and I would think he has to be at least partly aware of it.
As my mate said to me recently, when these sort of conversations are happening, openly, all around you then it’s already over and you’re on the final countdown. Some folk in that position last longer than others, but all are eventually overcome.
The sense of crisis is mounting and if he’s being realistic he can probably see that the writing is pretty much on the wall.
The trouble for him is that this has gone past mere results.
There is a feeling amongst their media “partners” and the fan-base as a whole that the club is directionless and drifting. This is not a guy who, like Ange, is planning for the future.
He’s merely surviving right now, a hand-to-mouth existence which no overarching strategy.
Performances are awful, and these are tough times in which to expect fans to pay good money to watch turgid, boring football and especially when other fans are watching pure entertainment.
This needles at their support constantly, and it’s unsustainable.
There doesn’t appear to be any coherence at any level of the club either. Yesterday he had to give the fans the news that Kemar Roofe – just back from long-term injury – is out again. It’ll be “weeks” before he’s back. He joins a long line of others in the queue for the treatment table, and that alone has their fans asking what in the Hell is going on.
Teams now going up against them are starting to get cocky.
Journalists no longer even hide from Van Bronckhorst the fact that he’s on death watch.
There is a way these things are done at first, when people are still tip-toeing around the issue, but that’s long since past with him and the speculation about when and how he’ll be dispatched is happening in the open.
Forums are discussing his successor already, in the way Conservative Home and other sites were openly plotting who the next Tory leader would be as Truss floundered in her brief time in charge.
The so-called “in the knows” claim the wheels are already turning.
They might as well be because the distinct scent which under pressure managers know so well is in the air, and everyone can smell it.
Dead man walking. Dead man walking. Dead man walking.