The more The Mooch talks about January, the greater the disquiet that seeps into the bloodstream of the Ibrox fan forums. And not without reason, because he is echoing nearly everything that we said on this site and on others. There will be no spending spree.
Ibrox was always going to have limited options in this window, and the fans should have known that the only way those options would have been better – limited still, but better – was if they hadn’t needed sacked one management team and hired another.
What cash might have been available to Van Bronckhorst was paid out to bring his replacement to the club. It was not a gamble. It was a decision forced on a club that had no other choice, that had no other option, if its board was not to face an AGM firestorm.
The club bought itself a pass from that, but at huge cost. That cost will be paid by the manager himself, and in the denied ambitions of the fans. They look across the city at a Celtic team adding to the squad and they fume that their own club appears weak.
The Mooch has been tapering down expectations, probably on orders from above. Van Bronckhorst built his reputation on working with limited resources and The Mooch progressed (allegedly) a QPR team which was skint. It was all spelled out for them.
Now they read reports about how he’s putting his spending off until summer, when he has analysed the squad and the board has him out there like a shifty used car salesman praising their leadership and trying to spin their policies as some kind of genius.
Those preposterous remarks about how, as a manager, he would prefer a player with only six months on his deal to one with six years left are a good example of the guff this guy is expected to sell with blue, white and red ribbons on it, and the audience isn’t the rest of us, who know better and can smell what’s in the package, it’s their fans.
They can smell it too, of course, and on the forums a lot of them are saying it. They expected big things from this window, in their belief that they can beat us next week and open the race up all over again. To genuinely take advantage of that they would need a couple of new players, and they were convinced that The Mooch wouldn’t have come without guarantees that he would get them. Like so many other delusions it is already unravelling.
Keep watch over there. Their board knows that they have to pull some kind of rabbit out of the hat, and so they will certainly try. But when the options are this narrow they will more and more fall back on that old standby; a gullible media willing to spin anything.
It won’t help them. The Mooch and his followers are in for a rude awakening.