Mark Warburton could be one defeat away from the sack at Rangers, according to Keith Jackson's latest Daily Record column.
Given that that next game is against Greenock Morton in the cup, and the context of the game, that seems fair enough and understandable. However, Jackson also claims that Warburton and the board have had a frosty relationship ever since last season's Old Firm semi-final win, with the board "jealous" over the manager's popularity with fans.
From the man himself:
Also, it was at that very moment that Warburton’s relationship with his own board began to turn cold. Chairman Dave King and one or two of his fellow directors appeared almost resentful of the manager’s soaring popularity among the club’s supporters.
It was almost as if, having restored order behind the scenes at the club, some of the inflated egos inside that boardroom believed they were more deserving of the adulation and respect which Warburton was being afforded by the club’s supporters.
And especially so when they felt strong armed into doubling his wages later that summer, in the knowledge they might be hounded out of office had they refused.
The truth of the matter is King was forced into fulfilling a promise he made to his manager and he did so through tightly gritted teeth. But it meant that Warburton and his bosses were on uneasy terms before a ball had even been kicked in this season’s top-flight campaign.
Of course, it's not hard to see why a man as publicity-hungry as Dave King, who as we know is always trying to get in the papers and on the TV and radio. In fact, you never hear him shut up. As Jackson himself said a couple of weeks ago:
The stay-away chairman was last spotted in November when he stood up before shareholders at the AGM, said nothing of much note and then ducked out of answering questions from reporters as he disappeared again back into the vacuum which has engulfed his time in charge.
Ah. Well, perhaps he just wasn't feeling very well.
It's no secret that the board and the manager probably aren't trusting each other a great deal right now, but the reasons for that are surely more to do with the team's poor form and bad recent recruitment rather than some nonsense about jealousy. If that was the case, why has Jackson decided to report this now, rather than last season? When Warburton signed his new deal, there was no mention of it being offered reluctantly. Perhaps it's information that's just come to light recently, but then why would somebody suggest that?
There's also the rumour doing the rounds that Mr King had upset Mr Jackson in some way at their last meeting, explaining the latter's recent weekly anti-King diatribes. For the most part, they've been the standard shite that those folk have come out with which are easily shot down (Stuart Robertson runs the club, not King, he didn't promise £30m for transfer fees in one season, etc.) This is just a whole other level. So if the source in this isn't King, it's probably not too hard to guess exactly who it is.
So - will Warburton be gone if we lose at the weekend? Probably, yes, but that was to be expected. is it because big bad Dave King is a bitter and jealous man who hates other people being successful? No, it's because we're behind Aberdeen and in order to improve we'll have to trust a man who thought Joe Garner was worth £1.8m with the family silver. Do us a favour, pal.