We’ve been receiving a few raised eyebrows of late over perceived criticism of Steven Gerrard. And it’s true, ever since the disastrous Old Firm (we’d been unrelentingly positive this season about him up till then, easily forgotten by some of the angry replies we’re getting) we have been extremely castigating of him.
The Old Firm was unacceptable – and few objected to our thoughts on that at the time. Livi was a shambles, and even then the opposition to our content wasn’t overly huge. But the international break left us in a bit of a pickle – we were remaining balanced, but on the back of two dodgy matches it was hardly conducive to stunning overt optimism.
So to go from that to us suggesting last night’s performance and result left everything peachy would be completely hypocritical.
So, just why are we so critical of Stevie at times? Why do we get so heavy on him?
Well, the vast majority of your Ibrox Noise crew are over 40, and we’re used to growing up around Graeme Souness, Jock Wallace, Walter Smith et al – absolute winners who produced the kinds of Rangers we took for granted.
That was Rangers – a Scottish titan managed by a patriarchal manager, that bestrode the league like a colossus.
Things have changed in the past decade, and we know this. Rangers are not the force they were, we’ve gone through 8 managers in 8 years compared with 4 the previous 9 years.
Things have altered a lot, and us older fans are still in 1995, or even 2005. It’s why we often criticise what we see – we compare James Tavernier with Gary Stevens, or Ryan Jack with Trevor Steven or Gazza – and while a number of our players genuinely are of the level of yesteryear (Allan McGregor certainly is) the overall picture isn’t.
And that leaves us looking at the man who defines it – the manager.
Gerrard has absolutely hiked the level from what it was when he took over last year – we’d never call that anything else.
But we ask for a little leeway from some of our readers who frequently foam at the mouth when we’re critical. We are supporters and we do support but we find ourselves stuck in an impossible dichotomy between what we expect from Rangers and what we actually get.
We also know that a lot of our audience are the younger social media generations – 16-30 year olds who have grown up surrounded by Facebook and Twitter and access to people and information that simply wasn’t around when Walter was destroying the league. Even his second spell only saw the very start of that revolution.
So, we ask for a little slack. From you all. Remember we’re older fans who only know an all-shattering Rangers who keep on being top of the table – a Rangers who always have the Indian sign over Celtic.
And for us, seeing us not top of the table, seeing us struggle against much lesser sides is difficult to handle. We’re winners, we’re Rangers, and seeing anything less is hard to ‘Bear’.
This is not to be unreasonable – one defeat all season is a hell of a record, even for the best Rangers, and we can clearly see massive improvements from the place we were in a couple of years ago.
But until this Rangers is winning the league, until it is clearly challenging for it, sustainably and concertedly, honesty from us is all you’ll get – calling it as we see it as older fans used to constant success.
We know the youngest generations are growing up with a Rangers who aren’t the best in Scotland – it’s all they know, and for them the rise from where we were 7+ years ago to where we are now is just amazing and why would we be negative about that?
But we’ve known and seen better, and we will always expect that. So we ask you to remember the angle we’re coming from the next time we say something negative about our manager or our team.
‘It’s nothing personal’.