With Liverpool youth coach and legend Steven Gerrard hotly tipped now to become a shock selection as Rangers’ next manager, supporters could not be more divided over their opinion of the potential appointment.
There are a number of schools of thought among debate, and they are all valid, interesting and worth looking at.
Here Ibrox Noise takes you on a trip through them all, and their merits, or otherwise.
“Rangers did this in 1986 and look how that worked out”
Yes, Rangers did indeed sign up a Liverpool legend in Graeme Souness who basically knew less than sweet FA about Scottish football and Rangers. He also had absolutely no coaching experience, having been playing at Sampdoria when Rangers made the dramatic choice to make him player manager. It was a roaring success and it revolutionised Rangers. So yes, we have done this exact same thing before and it worked out. But yes, there are caveats. He had money to spend, big money. He had an incredible assistant in Walter Smith. He also had the best English players around due to the Heysel Disaster.
However, he also had world class contacts, and the man was a European champion. He was a born winner. Inside one match he completely got Scottish football and Rangers and the rest as they say was history.
“Steven Gerrard is another John Barnes. And look how that worked out”
A world class player does not guarantee success in coaching. Absolutely true. John Barnes was a move of desperation by Celtic, hoping to hit upon Dalglish’s football nous and Barnes’ ability to inspire the players. It was a dud. It failed comically.
However there are two caveats here. Barnes had never coached in football on a single level, never picked up a badge, nor learned the trade at all – he went from Charlton Athletic as a washed up player to Celtic’s manager. It was absolutely shambolic. Secondly, he had never demonstrated an iota of knowledge in the game, while Gerrard has been preparing for life after football for the past two or three years. He has been punditing on BT, and coaching Liverpool’s youth.
“Gerrard is yet another Celtic fan manager”
Actually, no he isn’t. There is no evidence the lad has any affinity with either Rangers or Celtic at all, his team are Liverpool. Catholic he might be but who gives a damn? Only Celtic fans, who were the only ones to raise that about Joey Barton and Jon Daly. Unlike our eastern chums we don’t care who comes in, just as long as they raise our standard. If Gerrard comes in, regardless of who his second team are, we hope he does. We don’t want tonnes of dross Celtic-minded men, but Neil McCann and Mo Johnstone weren’t dross. Barton was. Either way, you’ll need to give us some hard proof Gerrard is a Celtic man.
“Football management isn’t like how it used to be”
There is certainly merit there, for those who try to dispel the Souness argument by pointing out it was a different era. And yes it was. But 9IAR was a different era to 2007 and Walter still came back and sorted Rangers overnight with his wily brilliance. Eras count for little, and look at how Jupp Heynckes has done over FOUR different eras at Bayern. Quality is quality whenever it takes place.
“Gerrard’s contacts will be incredible”
Imagine the players Steven Gerrard could bring north, just like Souness did. So many great players will want to play for a legend like him, and Rangers can only benefit from that. Sure, we’ll need money to pay them, but Gerrard’s own reputation could itself clinch a great number of deals.
A lot of fans are making knee jerk reactions on this one – we instantly knew Pedro was a dud, and Murty was just a pathetic appointment, but Steven Gerrard is a bold and ballsy move like we used to make. It’s slightly risky, yes, but it is a much more reassuring name than some Portuguese guy we’ve never heard of. We know a guy like Gerrard will NOT take nonsense and knows how to play the game of football. He understands the sport as well as anyone.
He has experience coaching and he clearly knows how to lead and communicate.
This is not us endorsing or condemning the appointment – we truly don’t know. How can we predict the future?
But this is one where we would suggest, if it materialises, we give it a serious chance – he will have Rangers-quality players again – McGregor, Docherty, Arfield, potentially McArthur and we’re sure many more will come in.
Do you want him as manager?