When Gerrard left I went through the same emotions as many fellow fans, hurt, anger, shock, disbelief. However, he made a decision which was right for him (time will tell) and we needed to move on and make the decision which was right for us. That horizon is Giovanni Van Bronckhorst.
However, I also worried about the Ghost of Gerrard, in that some players would want away and Gerrard returning in the January window and taking some of our best players south, while I felt we needed to hang onto as many as possible to get to 56 and that, all so important, Champions League pot.
After today, my position has changed.
Firstly, I don’t think it’s fair to place the blame on the interim management team. On that, at least, I agree with Goldson. We have enough experienced players that should have been able to carry out the job today. Where I will place some blame with the inexperienced dugout was the obviously panicked substitutions, one after another. They had clearly run out of ideas so took the kitchen sink approach. The previous sub barely had time to settle their way into the game before the next sub was made.
However, two players who were slightly above the rest today were Arfield and Aribo who should never have been subbed. Arfield has done himself no harm today, as Gio may not be aware of how sparingly he’s been played and he did look hungry and gave what he could. Sadly, no-one had the guts to make the one glaring substitution which was needed at halftime. Tav for Patterson. We all know about Tav’s defensive frailties, but we excuse it because of what he offers going forward. Today the armband saved him as it was clear the interim dugout team did not want to sub the Captain, despite one of his worst performances in the light blue.
Kent, another frustration, only because we know what he is capable of, but is not consistent enough and was an invisible man in the 2nd half. Sure, he received the ball, but he couldn’t wait to get rid of it. I never saw him take it and run at a man once in the 2nd half and, rarely in the 1st. He looked disinterested and not all that bothered when he was subbed. After hearing Goldsons interview, although we all knew something was wrong and we hadn’t touched the performances of last season, this was far worse than any of us thought.
This almost feels like our “Ferencvaros moment” when Lennon came out and basically said half of the players didn’t want to be there. Goldson, taking no responsibility himself (which has been a theme over the years) blamed everyone else, but at least he was honest. Reading between the lines, at least from Goldson’s point of view, there are issues between the players with feeling that some “don’t follow instruction,” “have lost hunger, spark” or gotten lazy. We knew something was wrong, but not to this degree.
Gerrard didn’t walk away from Rangers, he ran, which says a lot about him. He knew about these issues and perhaps had run out of steam himself, but it’s clear now he didn’t know how to fix it, so jumped ship at the first opportunity.
This now leaves a far larger task for Van Bronckhorst who felt he was coming into a winning team, more than probably a Cup Final and European Football. The Final is gone and the European tie on Thursday is a big ask for Van Bronckhorst as the reason we are in the must win position is still down to Gerrard and the teams poor performances in Europe and there may simply not be enough time to turn this around. Now there are far tougher decisions to make.
When Gerrard left I worried about the Ghost of Gerrard and him returning in January and luring some of our players to the PL. I was anxious to hold onto as many of our current squad as possible, at least until summer. Surely this “relentless” unbeaten team of last season would be rejuvenated and hungry for 56, eager to impress their new boss?
Now I am not worried about the Ghost of Gerrard’s return. I would welcome it. But the sad fact is most are not good enough for the PL the way they are playing, at present. To get a move like this you need to be playing well to attract the attention and fee such a move merits. Gerrard is out to impress down there and will not take players who are underperforming, solely based on the history he has with them. I felt we needed to hold onto Tav, Goldson, Kent, Aribo, Kamara, Morelos, the list goes on. Now, not so.
While I appreciate Goldsons brutal honesty today, as it blew the lid off of the obvious problems, it was brutal, and no Vice Captain of Rangers Football Club should ever come out and say a game is over at halftime. This is not Rangers, No Surrender, attitude and it will be difficult for Goldson to come back from this interview. The Ghost of Gerrard can take him.
There now needs to be major changes, within a limited budget and players will have to be sold in order to buy and ensure we have players who want to be there, are hungry, with spark and able to or want to follow instruction. A far larger task then we ever thought last week. Gio, over to you………….