As we all lick our wounds over Steven Gerrard’s shock exit this week, it is inevitable Graeme Souness comparisons surface.
For older Bears, Souness’ exit in 1991 was the most scathing betrayal, from nowhere our manager just left the Famous for the Anfield dugout. It was a stinging rebuke and it’s something supporters of a certain age have never forgotten.
He has been forgiven, and he knows it was a gigantic mistake, but he was young and stupid and made an error. He is well-known now as a staunch Rangers man and has been supportive and a big advocate for Rangers’ best interests over the years.
So when Steven Gerrard came along, it was absolutely ‘sure’ that he would never repeat that same mistake, of ditching Rangers for Liverpool. True, we knew he’d leave one day for Anfield, that was clear and he was honest to admit it, but that was in the future. But the Souness ghost was still always there.
And Rangers fans did indeed get stung.
The question is which one was worse?
We said, as the deal to Villa was being completed, that this wasn’t as bad as 1991 was. That there wasn’t the same bitterness over what our manager was doing.
We’d like to revisit this.
Because Souness only left for the team he’d been a legend at, the team he’d played a huge part of and won everything for. It was definitely the only team he would have quit Rangers for.
But Gerrard? Said the same, said he would only leave for Liverpool – then left for Aston Sodding Villa!
All those quotes proven to be complete fiction, hot air, absolute drivel.
We received some private correspondence from a fan, who will remain nameless, who was disgusted by the behaviour, and now believes Gerrard is a liar who can’t be trusted.
It’s a harsh assessment, but it’s also not a million miles wrong.
It’s one thing to quit for the team your career was defined by, quite another to completely rip up your own integrity and join a team that doesn’t even interest you, in a flagrant smite of both Rangers AND Liverpool.
This guy, who swore the only team he would go to from Rangers was his hero team, his idols, will now face them and try to beat them.
If that’s not a complete lack of integrity we don’t know what is.
Many use the argument ‘he was away from his family’ as if that’s never happened to anyone before. As if an oilrig worker or solder would reject a job on that basis and deserves sympathy for being away from their loved ones. In truth, those people, especially the military, probably do, because they protect our country and sacrifice a lot. But a football manager on £2.5M a year? Seems a bit of a snowflake reason to defend him.
But then football people seem to get judged on different rules to the rest of us, as if Joe Punter being away from his family is just a part of life but Steven Gerrard being away from his is a terrible thing and he deserves support for it.
But, this is getting away from the original point.
Which was worse? Souness or Gerrard?
We’d actually say Gerrard. At least Souness had the integrity to leave for the one giant of world football he’d actually quit Rangers for, like the great Walter would only leave Scotland for Rangers.
Gerrard? He quit for the first team to offer him a job.