Mr. Goodwin eyes a prize…

Date: 4th November 2022

Our second Donald’s blog for the week.

Mr. Goodwin eyes a prize …

Govan’s store to the stars…

Imagine the Emporium that would be. Mr. van Bronckhorst does not need to. As its manager he was delighted to follow on from the work of a well-regarded Scouser before him, who re-established the shop as a force with which to be reckoned. He was now expected to repeat the feat and become the premium go to shop for everyone, not only in the area but throughout the West Coast of Scotland, and then the country.

There was a tradition, and it was fine…

But today is the day that the Govan branch are benchmarked against the third biggest shop in the group. They are to be measured alongside what is happening in a sales test to determine bonuses, futures and new targets. For some, it can be their commercial graveyard.

The rise, once again, of the Aberdeen branch of this fine institution, the Pittodrie chapter of Cost Less, the Discount Store of Choice, looms large.

Picture the scene…

It is the first day of the Govan weekend – Thursday – and reports are arriving that the infamous Mr. Goodwin will be in town with his posse this weekend. His target may well be the very job that Mr. van Bronckhorst holds…

Surely not, thinks Mr. van Bronckhorst …

But you never know…

An infamous smash and grab man, Mr. Goodwin seems to have turned from poacher to gamekeeper, very successfully… from a user of shops to the manager of one in the Pittodrie branch of old Aberdeen which came about on the back of Mr. Goodwin’s sterling work in the shadow of Ferguslie Park in Paisley, taking an ailing old girl of a shop back into serious national prominence.

The weekend will be their showdown and for now, Mr. van Bronckhorst has to weather the storm of some unkind words which have followed him from his brief time in Italy this week. Just back and fresh off the plane, he is checking stock once more to see if he needs to refresh things as well as what personnel have managed the transition from wee corner shop to the store to the stars, he envisages…

It looks like a mountain to climb but there is always tomorrow…

Friday. Quick visit from the auditors who ask awkward questions – they always do – probing and asking away what it is that Mr. van Bronckhorst plans to do. They ask what changes he needs to make and how he will make them all the time not realising that he has made all these choices before, based upon experience and knowledge that many of these auditors simply do not have. The auditors have not always bene a welcome feature of the store and things got so bad at one point that his company even banned the Bulk Buying Consortium (BBC as they are known in the trade) from sending auditors in as it was upsetting everyone. Now he is hearing that the weekend visit of the Aberdeen personnel has been described by Mr. Goodwin as there being “a lot at stake”. What does that even mean… The rest of the day is spent with him mulling over that comment. He is now convinced that Mr. Goodwin is out to do him and his reputation serious harm…

Saturday morning…

Mr. van Bronckhorst opens the store as usual.

Things are quiet…

The crowds shall arrive later. It is time for him to reflect on the week past, before the madness descends. And it shall descend.

He looks at his office and sees the legendary managers of the past. There is a legacy to which he must rise. He knew many of them, served alongside them on the floor, served under them when they managed and heard lots about them. He has a lot on his shoulders, and he keeps repeating to himself that he shall not let them down.

But it weighs heavy.

He picks up the ledger.

In it are the results of times past when his store came up against the others. He scans to see how they fared against the Pittodrie branch before in sales figures. 11 times in a row, they have beaten them. 11 times. It should be comfort. It is not.

Lunch looms…

Things are progressing well and the meeting of these two giants of the Scottish retail market begins mid-afternoon – 3pm. Mr. van Bronckhorst eats uneasily.

Somewhere on the M8, Mr. Goodwin tells his accompanying auditors of his confidence in going to Glasgow. He has spoken to his team already and claims that “My boys are feeling very, very confident. There’s a lot of self-belief within the group and hopefully we can use that to our advantage.”

Mr. Goodwin also told his auditors that he admires Mr. van Bronckhorst, “I’ve got a lot of time for the manager as well but by their own admission they are not in a great place just now.”

Not in a great place refers to the struggle the previous week in sales with the West Lothian branch, which was won by the Govan team, but it was a close run thing. Then came the buying trip to Italy and Mr. van Bronckhorst is not feeling confident. Or is he?

The way the Greggs fudge custard doughnut – they were out of jammies – is going down belies that fact. Just as the bus with the Aberdeen delegation arrive in Govan Mr. van Bronckhorst is finishing it off and looking out the window… he does not realise that a streak of custard has dripped all down his shirt front as the automatic doors open, a highly confident Mr. Goodwin enters his emporium, and he realises it is time for the battle to commence…

 

Whilst the author, asserts his right to this as an original piece of work there is no evidence that Giovanna van Bronckhorst has ever eaten out of Greggs, unless you know differently, so this is clearly a piece of fiction, though we have used some words spoken by Jim Goodwin in the pursuit of some authenticity.

The fact is that during that the pressure is on Mr. van Bronckhorst at Ibrox after a lacklustre performance against Livingston, a 3-0  defeat in Europe to Napoli, and there was then the visit of Aberdeen under Jim Goodwin – though in the last 11 meetings, Aberdeen have failed to beat them. In an interview prior to the game, Jim Goodwin pointed out that there is “a lot at stake” for Rangers, that “My boys are feeling very, very confident” and “There’s a lot of self-belief within the group and hopefully we can use that to our advantage.” He did have some sympathy for his opposite number as he said, “I’ve got a lot of time for the manager as well but by their own admission they are not in a great place just now. Giovanni van Bronckhorst has said in recent press conferences that they aren’t playing to a level that they’re capable of and in front of their own crowd last week against Livingston they were below par by Gio’s admission, so we have to make sure that that’s the case again this weekend. I think there is a lot of stake for Rangers this weekend. I think they know that. I’m not trying to play mind games here. I think they’re well aware the gap between themselves and Celtic has grown last weekend and they can’t afford for that to happen again this weekend.”

This was written before the game kicked off, though the debate over Mr. van Bronckhorst’s future is already well rehearsed…


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