Monday, 1 April 2019

Challenging Steven Gerrard

So after the dust has settled (football-wise) on another Old Firm clash, we at Ibrox Noise want to take a look again at the manager. We’ve covered Alfredo’s indiscretions to death, while also discussing the weaknesses of the playing squad, of which there are many, but after yet another Old Firm defeat, Gerrard’s management must now rightly be scrutinised.

Others don’t – in the eyes of the majority of Rangers’ support, he can do no wrong and anyone saying differently is out of order. In short, to the lion’s share, In Gerrard We Trust and Give Him Time. Sound familiar?

That’s fair enough, it’s their opinion, but as one of Ibrox Noise’s very own said recently, if Steven Gerrard wasn’t who he is, didn’t have the playing career he’s had, he’d have been fired by now – and we can prove it. More on that later.

Of course, looking at the face of it, we’re second place and still a comfortable six points ahead of Aberdeen. That seems like progress, and given all the third-place finishes of recent seasons, it’s a reasonable assertion to make.

But as we alluded to on the site, dig a little deeper and focus on actual performance and the numbers, and the picture is grim.

Gerrard’s win rate, in all competitions, is now significantly below half. In league alone it’s 55% (17w of 31 rounded up), which is 5% higher than Mark Warburton [spl] who had no budget at all (12w of 24), but exactly the same as Pedro Caixinha (11 of 20) whose budget was identical.

Having both Pedro Caixinha and Steven Gerrard spend £10M+ has yielded more or less the same results in the league. Gerrard’s big advantage is Europe and that win in December over Celtic – otherwise it’s honours even.

Just like Caixinha, and Warburton, Gerrard has his favourite players he sticks to come hell or high water – Goldson, Tavernier, Worrall and Morelos are among them, and he stubbornly refuses to shift from them. Meanwhile, more stubbornly yet, are the players who deserve and deserved a chance. Jason Cummings, Greg Docherty, Ryan Hardie, Nikola Katic, Ross McCrorie, Lee Wallace and quite a few others either got axed, loaned out or live on the bench regardless of their form or ability.

In Gerrard’s favour his Europa League run was staggering, and was the highlight, along with the Celtic win, of this season – but you can’t live on the past – you must keep progressing, or at least never regressing, and Gerrard’s Rangers haven’t won since February 27th.

March 2019 joins the dubious collection of rare months Rangers have failed to win in at all throughout our long and proud history, with four attempts at picking up three points all failing.

Fans have turned on players – the likes of Ryan Jack, Connor Goldson, James Tavernier, Joe Worrall and Alfredo Morelos, for right or for wrong, have all come under fire, with frequent arguments that we need better personnel.

True, we do – but a £10M budget is still far in excess of Aberdeen, Hibs and Killie yet Rangers frequently struggle against sides of their level. Yes, league position is the one that counts, but it takes more than a touch of the gloss away when despite being above Aberdeen and Killie, we keep on losing or drawing with them when we play them.

Rangers should have enough in our tank to overcome these sides more often than not (Even Walter had bad results now and then against the more modest SPL sides so we’re not being ridiculous about it) but it seems like something just isn’t gelling.

The brutal hard numbers come down to the league win rate – that’s how all Rangers managers are measured – and Gerrard is no better than Pedro Caixinha. Those are simple facts and Caixinha got fired for this level of incompetence – and that’s the proof we mentioned earlier.

A key response from Gerrard’s biggest backers (which is the majority, frankly) is he needs time and will learn, and deserves our support. Surely 1: Rangers is not the place to cut your managerial teeth at, and 2: when your manager keeps doing things you disagree with, to the team’s cost, surely you’re allowed to question that?

As we said before, we’re seeing the same fan patterns with Rangers managers surfacing all over again – every manager seems to get an unquestioning loyalty from many supporters, who then castigate the ones who dare to raise queries as ‘Celtic fans’. It happened with Warburton, Pedro, even Murty and now it’s happening with Gerrard.

Our manager has shown no real sign this season of truly being the right manager for Rangers. He’s flirted with competence and even started looking convincing, but the numbers don’t lie.

Such as league wise Gerrard L5, Warburton L5 and Pedro L4.

If you can scream and foam and gnash your fangs and tell us we’re scum for saying these factual things, but that’s what they are – facts. Bear in mind while Rangers finished third the season of Warburton, he actually left us in second place.

So, you’re reading asking us ‘what do we suggest then’? Maybe that will be the next entry…

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