“It is important to work at a club that suits you. Of course I already know Rangers. I know how they work here and what ambitions they have. That makes it easy for me to make that choice.”
No, Giovanni van Bronckhorst didn’t have to think long when the Scottish Rangers FC knocked on his door to become a trainer. It is the club where he played between 1998 and 2001, winning two league titles and three cups.
It therefore feels like coming home to the 46-year-old trainer at his official presentation. “Yeah, yes. I came after the 1998 World Cup. Then I had a week’s holiday and I started here. It was still completely new for me. That is a bit different now, because I know the club of course.”
Van Bronckhorst had competition from Frank Lampard and the Italian Gennaro Gattuso, among others, to succeed Steven Gerrard who left for Aston Villa. Rangers, currently the leader in the Scottish league, eventually chose Van Bronckhorst.
The application procedure was different from what Van Bronckhorst was used to in the Netherlands. “It was several conversations in a period of four days. The feeling was good from the start. From the club to me, but also the other way around. It is a good basis to continue.”
While the talks were being held, the Dutch national team narrowly qualified for the World Cup in Qatar against Norway. If that had not worked, Louis van Gaal would have stopped and the vacancy for national coach of Orange would have become available. Did he wait for that scenario?
“No, certainly not. The moment it was an option to work for Rangers, I also go for it. That is also necessary. Otherwise you cannot enter into a conversation with a club. So Orange was not an option.”
For Giovanni van Bronckhorst, a new chapter of his still early coaching career will start on Monday. After four years at Feyenoord, with the national title as the biggest success in 2017, Van Bronckhorst went for an adventure with the Chinese Guangzhou R&F.
There he resigned a year ago, because he wanted to spend more time with his family. So now he chooses his old love Rangers. He is not afraid of a scenario like Ronald Koeman, who was fired from ‘his’ FC Barcelona after a disappointing period.
“I also did it with Feyenoord, my greatest love. That went well. It was a hectic time for four years. But in the end I got a very positive feeling from that. I think everyone. don’t have to worry about it either.”
Crucial European duel
Van Bronckhorst was an attentive spectator in Ibrox Stadium last Sunday and was also sung to by the fans there. He saw that Rangers were eliminated in the League Cup by Hibernian. The Dutch trainer will make his debut on Thursday in a crucial Europa League match with Sparta Prague. So work on the shop.
“We have to look ahead with a fresh look from tomorrow. And prepare the team as best as possible for Thursday. A very important game for us as a club.”