We’ve covered this before, but Thursday night’s draw in Portugal hammered it home significantly – while Steven Gerrard is ultimately Rangers manager, the real coach on match day is actually Michael Beale.
Anyone paying close attention in the second half would have heard Beale’s distinctive tones yelling at Joe Aribo telling him to get closer to Benfica’s Everton, in a move designed for pressing on the Brazilian star.
And if we’re honesty, he is usually the one we hear, and at training too.
Beale was in the press some months ago discussing the subtle tweaks to the system that had changed the shape and the performances this campaign, and how it was built around Joe Aribo.
With the Nigerian’s injury, others had had to step up, which they had, of course, but the assistant coach’s dulcet comments as Aribo let too much space get between him and his arrival just reminded us that while Stevie does pick the team, and does have executive decision on all management, he and Beale really are equals in many senses.
It reminds us of that confession from Graeme Souness that he didn’t really see himself as the manager at Ibrox, and that he was the one following Walter Smith’s guidance from the touchline – that in his view, Walter was really the manager.
Gerrard is not exactly the same, but it’s evident that Beale has a significant influence and takes a major lead on match days.
Does Gerrard do much on the sidelines – not as much, let’s be honest. He’s more passive than Beale.
He will remonstrate, and gesture, and shout commands, but not in the same constant hands-on way Beale does, and the system works for both of them.
Anyone watching training videos will have seen Beale commanding everyone around him and telling the players what to do, while Gerrard offers his own input or watches studiously in the background.
It’s a team, a management team, and Beale’s acute knowledge and tactical knowhow is absolutely invaluable to Gerrard who definitely relies on the ex-Liverpool U23s coach. But it’s mutual.
And it works. We’ll leave this on a note from the man himself