An interesting comment on the site in recent days provoked our curiosity. Not from a Rangers fan, but from a fan of someone else.
“After his first game in Scotland he accused the SFA of being corrupt and anti rangers and hadn’t let up since but still no sanctions against him! Any other manager would be up on charges of bringing the game into disrepute.”
Now, this gentleman has, on the face of it, a point. Gerrard has made some strong comments since arriving in Scotland, and there is the notion that other managers (especially Rangers managers) may have been sanctioned for them.
There is a difference here though.
Steven Gerrard comes to Scotland as an outsider, a genuine neutral to Rangers and Celtic. He comes to Scotland as an absolute legend of the game, someone who arguably has a bigger global brand and reputation than the entire Old Firm combined.
And whether the fans of other clubs in the SPFL like it, Steven Gerrard’s words carry weight.
Take Steve Clarke – Gerrard rightly castigated the Scotland manager for his poor handling of Ryan Jack, a situation which left Rangers without our star midfielder for a match or two. And not only did the SFA not ‘sanction’ SG for these quotes, but Clarke came amazingly close to an explicit apology.
For the first time since Walter Smith, Rangers have a manager respected by the universal game of football. Whether Celtic like him or not doesn’t matter, they now have in place an adversary who has infinitely more clout and influence in the game than Neil Lennon or Brendan Rodgers.
And his words mean something, they carry value.
Here is a neutral who isn’t influenced by years of pro-Rangers or pro-Celtic bias. Yes, he’s on Rangers’ payroll but his opinions have mostly screamed of a neutral who’s in disbelief at the running of the game in our country.
It’s not till a genuinely respected outsider comes in and assesses it for himself that it starts to smart – that it genuinely drives home how bad it is, and removes any notion of Rangers fans being paranoid or the like.
So, why hasn’t he been sanctioned? Because, shock horror, in most cases his assertions have been bang on.
Yes, Gerrard hasn’t been imperious – when the team plays poorly his quotes do get a little inconsistent, and bizarre, and we call him on those.
But mostly he’s spoken extremely well, and fairly, and has genuinely called the absurdity of many aspects of our game for what they are.
And that reality is one of the many reasons the underclasses in our game hate him.
Long may it continue.