So the Steven Gerrard to Derby story has upped in intensity today with press claims the Championship giants are set to offer the Rangers manager a £50,000 a week pay packet with a £7M bonus should he do what Frank Lampard didn’t and get successfully promoted.
The numbers are pretty astonishing for a manager, far more in line with a Championship player, indeed, and purely on the face of it, if Gerrard was driven by the £££’s, even we at the site would understand his head being slightly turned.
But for a millionaire, like he is, who is still motivated to cut his teeth in management and has started something at Ibrox he wants to finish, while we can certainly understand his ambition being Liverpool manager one day, Steven Gerrard leaving Rangers for Derby would be a pretty bizarre decision.
Gerrard took a risk at Ibrox – he jumped straight into the deep end, and we will always praise him for such a ballsy move. Because it really was a ballsy move. Rangers’ own lack of ambition in not getting an established manager instead of a box office player-turned-manager is a separate issue, and on the board alone – but the man himself definitely gambled.
So… why would he consider Derby anyway?
There are, certainly, two major reasons why Steven Gerrard would be interested in this job.
The first is the Championship is a much higher standard than the SPL. It’s really that simple. The quality of the sides in the second top flight in England match many Premier Leagues in the world, and the money in there is ludicrous. A manager who excels at that level has much more credibility than one who does in the SPL.
The second is the Brendan Rodgers factor. Steven Gerrard had a big rivalry with his old manager, and it was a portion of the carrot which attracted him to Ibrox. He wanted to beat him, and while he didn’t over the course of the season, he did in an Old Firm match. But that’s something he will now never do as Rangers manager in terms of titles, so a small modicum of the motivation has certainly gone with Rodgers’ departure.
We would then add the hefty wage packet – but we don’t consider it a reason – we don’t take Gerrard to be a man motivated by money. He’s made his cash in football and while any human is attracted by money, most professionals need vocational attraction on top of the financial rewards to be tempted. Unfortunately, the first two reasons do rather create that.
But equally Gerrard has many reasons to stay at Ibrox. And if we overlook the many obvious ones, the simple reality is the likelihood is the only job which could and will take him away from Rangers is the one he wants. Liverpool. Derby isn’t Liverpool nor is anywhere else. One day he will be Liverpool manager we believe, but that’s another story for another time.
But, in case you have any doubts, we’ll summarise; unfinished work at Ibrox, the fact he loves his job, the fact he’s signed seven players for Rangers this summer already who came significantly for the manager, the Old Firm carrot whoever is manager there, beating Celtic, winning a trophy and of course European football.
In short, it’s an odd one, and the timing is certainly interesting.
Rangers have already put out a statement denying Derby have approached, and stating Gerrard is going nowhere. It was certainly a step up from the earlier implications the story is hogwash. Which maybe it was, but now it does seem to have fire under its smoke.
Whether that fire goes out time will tell.