Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Analysis: season 20/21 and what Rangers fans truly expect




We must admit at Ibrox Noise we’re genuinely surprised by the ‘pre-season’ banter among our readers and the support at large, and specifically, the expectations thrust upon our manager Steven Gerrard this time around.

Gone seems about 90% of the goodwill we saw him furnished with the previous two summers, and now fans’ expectations have seemingly changed largely to ‘win or you’re gone’.

Indeed, it also has to be added that a huge portion of the fanbase doesn’t even have great expectations of that happening, of Rangers stopping 9.5IAR – a lack of belief in player quality, and a lack of belief now in the manager’s abilities.

The summer business so far hasn’t helped much – the only actual addition officially confirmed is 20-year old Calvin Bassey who no one knew, and who the boss is bigging up as a major player, but of course supporters only have his word to take on that.

Naturally there’s Ianis Hagi too, who is a bright spot, but whose qualities were unable to turn the rot of the start of the year around, so his powers have their limits.

No, we’re seeing a lot less blind faith in the manager this summer, and a lot less in the players.

There’s now a confrontational expectation from more fans than not – ‘win, or you’re gone, and our hopes aren’t terribly high you’ll win’.

Gerrard’s big problem for 24 months has been stubbornness. His unwilling to use players fans like – his ‘Stevie knows best’ mentality, one fans mostly used to uniformly subscribe to but which has lost more appeal the past five months.

Seeing decent (not world-beating but deserving of a shot) players like Greg Docherty, Niko Katic, Jordan Jones, Jamie Murphy and Ross McCrorie to name only five being binned by the manager in favour of the immunity of underperformers like Connor Goldson, James Tavernier, Sheyi Ojo and Ryan Kent has only convinced more supporters to urge the manager to be more flexible, and be more willing to give other players chances.

But his refusal to do that has lost him a lot of favour with vast swathes of our fans.

But of course, there’s Europe, there’s our stunning performances in Europe, and being in the last 16 with a genuine chance, a small one, true, but a still genuine chance of progressing – that achievement has equally bought Gerrard a tonne of slack.

But it’s not domestic, and that is where Rangers’ bread and butter lies. It wasn’t good enough to save Paul Le Guen, and European merit shouldn’t be enough alone to buy Gerrard space.

And fans seem now more expectant with a greater level of punishment if those expectations aren’t met this season.

And if the mood is anything to go by right now, those expectations, themselves, aren’t wildly expected to be met.
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