The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists today moved The Doomsday Clock forward to 90 seconds before midnight, the closest the world has ever been to the brink of disaster. Every year this eminent group gets together and decides what to set the clock at and this year this is their decision, based on global warming, pandemics and the war in Ukraine.
But in the meantime, there’s another Doomsday Clock ticking down, the one at Ibrox, and their fans are too dumb even to realise it. A few good results (but not good performances) have them eating out of the hands of their latest managerial guru.
The Mooch has already seen the writing on the wall though, and for him it’s all about keeping morale high as all around him his staff fill buckets with water and throw them over the side.
The Ibrox superstructure has a great big hole in it though, and as fast as these guys are frantically working to keep it afloat the water just pours through. They are signing players, or trying to, without really spending a whole lot of money, and in the meantime the contracts of over a half dozen of their current first team starters continue running down.
A sensible club would have tried to shift Morelos or Kent or Jack in this window. A sensible club would have actually sold these guys in the summer, instead of letting it get to this. But of course, someone has to want them first … and that’s where one of the problems lies.
The other part of the problem is that Ibrox labours under a number of delusions about their importance in the game, in part because Connor Goldson allowed his own contract to run down before he signed a new one.
People think The Mooch has some special relationship with Morelos and Kent, and that this will make a huge difference … I would not be too sure, and if I were in their boardroom I would not be betting on it. But they have, and now are faced with an incredible choice; they can watch these two leave for free or pay them far more than they are worth to keep them at the club. Two players who have been proved serial failures over and over again.
But they did, at one time, at least have re-sale value, even if the club was never going to get the fantasy fees that they once believed that it would. Kent and Morelos are 26; this is their optimal time for getting the big bucks. That’s why when Van Bronckhorst was there he said that the parties were miles apart in the negotiations.
Now, The Mooch might decide to offer these guys the Earth to keep them. That would obviously be a source of frustration for some in their dressing room, and would set a new high water mark for negotiations with future signings … a dangerous strategy.
But it’s all walking in a minefield for them right now, and they know it and the media knows it. Can you imagine the constant, unrelenting pressure on us if the contracts of some of our top players were running down like this? Would they be getting puff pieces, nonsense about how winning a cup might convince them to stay, or daft comments from the manager being taken at face value? Kent has “put negotiations on hold to focus on his game”?
Really? Who in God’s name believes that? Which sane director at a sane club would want to wait until there was a month left before opening meaningful talks? This is a smokescreen, but who it’s designed to convince is another question again.
The reality is that their club is papering over cracks right now.
They know that hard choices face them in the summer, and without a proper budget to give to the manager.
It’s not only our fans who are watching this, it’s UEFA and their financial sustainability committee.
If that hasn’t yet dawned on The Mooch and their directors it soon will.