On a pure football matter, we’ve noticed a trend in the past four months, and we’ve alluded to it before, but we’d like to go into it in a little more detail today.
We’ve jokingly called this syndrome ‘Gerrard FC’ because we’ve definitely noticed that Rangers fans, by and large, entirely back the manager and trust him, but definitely don’t feel the same about the players, or indeed, some of the management staff such as Gary Mac.
Indeed, very few players at the club have been given unconditional support these past four months or so, but the same fans berating the Glen Kamaras, Connor Goldsons, Steven Davises and James Taverniers have been the ones demanding we back Steven Gerrard.
The man who made Tavernier captain, and signed those three players, all being attacked to different extents, is the one who appears to be less targeted for similar angst.
Why is this?
Well, we were interested in this comment from 4Lads Stevie Clifford, whose views on Gerrard were guarded but telling:
“In terms of where the fanbase are with it – this is Rangers Football Club and we are bigger than any player or manager. Bigger and better people than Steven Gerrard have been shown the door in the past, so if he decided tomorrow that he would walk away, there would be a fair bit of upset in the supporter base and there would be worry, but ultimately we would continue on with someone else. That person might not be the stature or the name of someone like him, but we cannot be held to ransom by a falseness of the stardom of Steven Gerrard. He’s the manager of the club, but that’s where it ends. I would say most feel he can deliver a league title, but ultimately it would be wrong to say there isn’t now a degree of doubt within the support; I think that’s fair. What he does now is very important for his Rangers future. There’s not much left domestically to play for; by making changes and dropping people that need to be dropped, he’ll get a lot of leeway from the support. By continuing with guys who are failing them, then the discontent towards to him will grow.”
This is the first time we’ve seen a major Rangers fansite, aside our own, express any criticism or concern about the manager, but Clifford is absolutely correct in inferring the name of Gerrard may just be a factor in the slack he gets.
If he was anyone else, he would have been fired or under major criticism, just like Warburton and Pedro were after around 8 months in the SPL. Yes, they didn’t excel in Europe but they didn’t domestically do a whole heap worse, but Gerrard escapes the level of vitriol they ended up getting.
Because of his reputation, his name, his legacy, and his icon.
But the players don’t have that level of icon, albeit some of them are well-respected for their careers like Davis, Defoe and McGregor.
This definitely helps Gerrard escape the same aggro a lot of the players are suffering.
There is also the ‘kick the ball for them’ argument:
Because Gerrard is on the sidelines, as manager, some fans alleviate him of responsibility because he’s not out there on the pitch – in a way we’ve been unable to remember previous managers being afforded.
Time after time we hear attacks on our players, even Jack, constantly abusing the players and suggesting they’re a disgrace this that and the next thing, but the manager, from the sidelines, whose image they play in, escapes a lot of that, even if he is more subjected now to criticism than perhaps he used to be.
And yet these players are equal employees to Gerrard, paid around the same, but it’s they the fans go for.
And has been all year.
It’s a curious one, and definitely implies Rangers fans trust the manager and not the players.
And we hope we’ve illustrated a little as to why.