Friday, 17 August 2018

Steven Gerrard & Walter Smith

Slightly older Rangers fans will remember January 2007 well. Paul Le Guen’s miserable Rangers era had finished, and Uncle Walter was back – quitting Scotland to return to his club, the Grand Master of Rangers made only three significant signings in that first January window; David Weir, Ugo Ehiogu, and Kevin Thomson. He spent £2M. We’ll pretend Andy Webster didn’t happen.

From Walter’s second debut on the 13th of January v Dundee United, Rangers didn’t lose in the SPL again that season, and drew only three further times.

One man and three modest signings had turned Rangers from a pathetic rabble under PLG into Scotland’s best team, literally overnight.

So, while it’s ‘early days’ under Steven Gerrard, we’re equally reminded of a quote from Barry Ferguson (paraphrased post PLG):

“Until we go 10 games unbeaten, I won’t believe we’ve turned a corner.”

Steven Gerrard has won six of 10 matches so far in all competitions, with the draws being in Aberdeen, Shkupi, Maribor, and an unlucky deflection at home to Osijek.

There is no question what we are witnessing really does look like what happened 11 years ago – but with a completely rebuilt team.

Gerrard and Walter did have a chat, and clearly Gerrard listened. No one better to guide our new manager than one of our greatest ever – and nailing the defence first has made a mammoth difference – just like in 2007 with three defensive signings.

It changed the SPL overnight, and while we’re not ready to make that assumption yet, we see echoes of that here.

Add the hard working midfield and the in-progress but effective attack and we’re looking at something potentially a bit special.

We at Ibrox Noise weren’t sure about Gerrard – we applauded the board for the bold appointment as it became clear we couldn’t get the ‘manager’ we wanted, so we opted for an untested legendary player instead. And we just hoped it would work out.

So far, it is, with aplomb. We’ve even been asked to ‘owe Dave King an apology’ – we’re puzzled why because we never criticised this appointment. We backed it. Not all fans did.

So far though it’s looking like an astonishing gamble which has paid off better than anyone could ever have dreamed of.

Including Uncle Walter.

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