We put out a little straw poll yesterday, on the social network channels, suggesting we believe Steven Gerrard is now up there with Walter Smith and William Struth, and by and large the majority of replies, around 2500 of you, agreed.
But there were a fair few dissenting voices arguing that he isn’t quite there yet and needs to win more.
It’s a very interesting scenario – is Stevie up there with Walter and Bill?
They won so much, Struth and his 18, Walter with his incredible 9IAR and nearly making the Champions League final plus Manchester, then a 3IAR. These were astonishing managers.
But there are caveats. Struth’s achievements were in a different time in human history, the bulk being post WWI with the wartime and post WWII being a very very different kettle of fish to what we see today. He still won a lot afterwards, yes, but it’s hard to compare in the same way Fred Perry and Sir Andy Murray come from basically different planets in terms of their eras.
And Walter of course had a few quid to play with, and took on an already world class squad from Souness and spent big to keep it that way. But equally Souness has admitted Walter was really the manager all along and was the brains and authority behind all of it. What there isn’t a caveat on, though, on any level, was how Walter took PLG’s shambolic tattered Rangers, made just three signings that January (Ugo, Davie and Thommo) and overnight made us the best in Scotland.
So, we KNOW what Stevie is up against.
And does he compare? Yes, yes he does. There are differences, of course, but he does.
He didn’t overnight turn Rangers into a goliath – it took 3 years of hard work to get to where we are now. Walter was able to do it immediately, but then of course he knew Scottish football and the club like the back of his hand, which is unlike Stevie who had to learn the ropes as a total outsider.
Stevie did all of that in 3 years, but he DID overnight turn Rangers from a European joke into a serious and credible side on that level – a level he WASN’T an outsider on. A win over Rapid and some decent draws v Villarreal and Spartak showed astonishing progress over Progres… and it only got better after that.
But the big thing is of course ‘from where we came from’. Stevie inherited a promoted Rangers, only two years back in the SPL, with limited funds and a glut of changes needing made. Only three players pre-Stevie survived – Tavernier, Jack and Morelos. The rest was, in a word, complete garbage. Even players we like/liked here at Ibrox Noise like Greg Docherty and Jordan Jones now, in hindsight, look way below the standard needed.
We trust our manager, and his judgement, and that’s the big prize for us. When we don’t like a decision, we instead trust it. And that for us puts him up there with Struth and Smith.
Has he won as much? Of course not – and for us he might never depending on how long he’s here.
But from what he was given, from where we were, and given the lack of experience on his own part, what he’s done in 3 years defies explanation.
Yes, he’s up there with Smith and Struth.