Giovanni Van Bronckhorst is new Rangers boss

Former Rangers star Giovanni van Bronckhorst returns to Glasgow where he will manage his old club. (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
Former Rangers star Giovanni van Bronckhorst returns to Glasgow where he will manage his old club. (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images) /
Rangers van Bronckhorst
Gio van Bronckhorst will take over for Steven Gerrard (above) who left Rangers last week to take the Aston Villa job. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images) /

Former Dutch midfielder Giovanni Van Bronckhorst has been announced as the new Rangers boss following Steven Gerrard’s departure last week.

Van Bronckhorst returns to Ibrox after a successful stint as a player in the late 1990s, where he secured five major honours and a domestic treble in 1998-99. The Dutchman was always held in high regard by the Rangers faithful, and subsequent moves to Arsenal and Barcelona demonstrated his class in some of Europe’s biggest leagues.

He also notched over 100 caps for the Dutch national side, ending his tenure in the 2010 World Cup Final, where he skippered his country to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Spain in South Africa. That turned out to be Van Bronckhorst’s final playing appearance, having left boyhood club Feyenoord earlier that campaign.

However, his coaching credentials are less illustrated, despite a relatively strong start.

After playing with the Rotterdam outfit, the 46-year-old quickly returned to the club in a coaching capacity, taking up the role of assistant manager, before subsequently taking the top job in 2015. In 2017, he spectacularly claimed the Eredivisie title for Feyenoord; a feat that hadn’t been achieved since Van Bronckhorst’s treble-winning season at Ibrox.

On leaving Feyenoord, he spent some time as a football student, linking up with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City to study his philosophy and learn how footballing functions operate at elite level clubs.

“Gio” was then offered a position in the lucrative Chinese Super League with Ghangzhou R&F in 2020, but an 11th-place finish and a pretty dismal record of 7 wins in 23 spelt the end of his tenure.

Despite this, there’s no doubt that the former-Barcelona man is a popular choice amongst supporters. His connection was always strong with the Light Blues fan base, and he has carried on an affinity to the club ever since leaving for North London 20 years ago. He’s eager to get stuck in it would seem.

Talking to BBC sport, Van Bronckhorst stated:

"“I cannot wait to meet the club’s incredible supporters again and begin this new era for us all.”"

The Dutchman also took to twitter to express his delight:

But, former allegiances aside, is this a strong appointment for the Govan side?

Steven Gerrard’s legacy will ultimately be defined in two possible ways; whichever one you champion will probably have something to do with your allegiance to one side of Glasgow or the other.

On the one hand, for those of a Celtic persuasion, Gerrard’s return of one trophy out of a possible nine is a poignant reminder to Rangers fans that last season’s title success was insurmountable compared to the domestic hegemony the Parkhead club enjoyed over the previous nine seasons.

The winning of title number “55” (or “1”, depending on your views of Rangers’ financial collapse in 2012) was enough for Rangers fans to quickly forget Gerrard’s baron spell; a run that probably would have had disastrous consequences for any of his 15 predecessors.

Next. Ange Postecoglou working wonders at Celtic Park. dark

Either way, Van Bronckhorst has enough opportunity to make a sizable impact at Rangers. His recent record as a coach may leave a little to be desired, but for a club whose just rode the crest of the Gerrard wave, a return to a young, ambitious and well-respected ex-international player may again be the route to the loot.