What a load of 'gelul' - Rangers civil war is the last thing Giovanni van Bronckhorst needs

The Dutch have a word for it - gelul. Do a quick Google translation and you’ll get the idea.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst chose to mouth the English version of it under his breath at Dens Park last Sunday as play was delayed by Rangers supporters’ protests against the club’s decision to face Celtic in the Sydney Super Cup tournament in Australia later this year.

After the game, van Bronckhorst defended the right of fans to make their feelings known but asked that, going forward, they did so in a balanced manner which did not impede the efforts of his players on the pitch.

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But if the Rangers manager hoped the international break might help soothe the festering discontent of those supporters towards those calling the shots in the Ibrox boardroom, he has been left disappointed.

Former Rangers chairman Dave King (centre) with managing director Stewart Robertson (left) and current chairman Douglas Park (right) at the club's annual general meeting in November 2017. (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group).

The past few days have seen Club 1872 fire a lengthy and excoriating broadside at the executive management team at Rangers, which was quickly followed by a more succinct but no less disparaging response to the fan shareholder group from an official club statement.

Now former chairman Dave King, a long-term ally of Club 1872, has followed up his own recent criticism of the Rangers board with an intimation he is prepared to foot the bill for any penalty clause the Scottish champions would have to pay in order to extricate themselves from the contract they have signed to head to Sydney in November.

In the month which sees Rangers formally marking their 150th anniversary, it all adds up to an undignified sideshow with faint echoes of the disconnect and mistrust between supporters and directors from the grim days of the club’s financial collapse in 2012 and the civil war which followed between rival factions.

Not all Rangers fans, of course, have the narrative of their engagement with the club dictated by the social media bubble in which most of the bickering takes place.

Rangers fans again protested against the scheduled Sydney Super Cup friendly match against Celtic in November before and during last Sunday's league game against Dundee at Dens Park. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Many of them, even if they share the opposition to the Old Firm friendly down under, would prefer to simply turn up and give their full backing to the team on the pitch and leave the politicking to others.

By the same token, it’s questionable how much of this issue has any cut-through with the players Van Bronckhorst hopes can achieve a memorable and successful end to the season in the Premiership, Scottish Cup and Europa League.

Professional footballers are a singular breed of people who generally have the capacity to go about their business in a self-absorbed manner, irrespective of whatever intrigue or controversy is at play at boardroom level.

But the last thing van Bronckhorst will want to see or hear when his team next take the field for the crucial league game against Celtic at Ibrox on April 3 is anything which has even the slightest negative impact on the defence of a title which almost certainly carries automatic progression to the Champions League group stage next season.

The potential is there in the next two months for Rangers to write a success story which would be up there with anything the club has achieved in the previous 149 years.

If rancour and petty squabbling off the pitch in any way undermine his efforts, van Bronckhorst may resort to a few more profanities in both Dutch and English.

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