“Jambos from July” – a lot of Bears and indeed Scottish football fans will remember this from the distant past.
For those who don’t, it was during mad Vlad’s (Vladimir Romanov) time at Tynecastle in 2005, when Hearts’ appointment of George Burley as Hearts manager initially turned up roses and the Gorgie side topped the table for the first quarter of the season and even more. There was even talk of a shock title contention – yes really.
Of course, Mad Vlad (at that time just a shareholder) then took a power trip and seized control much to Burley’s chagrin and the Scot left soon after. Hearts’ season immediately derailed.
As for the Jambos from July? The Edinburgh side suddenly got a LOT of supporters at Tyncastle until around November, before it went south, and they were accused of being gloryhunters who had only started supporting the Jambos from July.
Now, you’re probably wondering what this history exercise is all about.
Well, the simple truth is the Hearts example shows that any team is capable of having a purple patch in the SPL until around late Autumn into winter, but real progress is sustaining it beyond this.
And this is where Steven Gerrard (and all Rangers managers in the SPL since Walter Smith) have fallen drastically short, every single time since 2011 and as far back as Ally’s maiden season.
Having a good first half to the season is absolutely worthless if it goes south as soon as the year turns around – Hearts showed just how much of a one-hit wonder they’d been when Burley quit – their form turned quickly and it was back to normal when he moved on.
Of course, who knows what might have happened had he remained – but it doesn’t matter. This is about Rangers, and while this season is a bust, nevertheless the only way Steven Gerrard’s Rangers will know they’re the real deal is if a serious title push sustains after the bells.
Two years in a row we’ve seen it collapse at that exact same time, and that’s why we’re hesitant to conclude the same notion as other fans of there being tangible progress under Stevie.
Of course, you can point to the mitigating circumstances – Ally lost Steven Naismith, and the form went south. Stevie blamed last season on the postponed Cowdenbeath match, and this season there’s all sorts of allegations over ‘what happened in Dubai’. And Hearts can claim the loss of Burley ruined their season.
All valid. Ish.
But the end result is the same – a failure to keep a serious push at the title going beyond the end of the first half of the season.
If Stevie wants to become a legendary Rangers manager, and not just one that fans are believing in, he needs to find a way to keep up that form when Rangers come back from the winter break.