Steven Gerrard, Rangers 2018-21 – the final assessment

Steven Gerrard, Rangers 2018-21 – the final assessment
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 12: Steven Gerrard manager of Rangers looks on during the UEFA Europa League Qualifying Round match between Rangers and Shkupi at Ibrox Stadium on July 12, 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

So many of our writers here at the Noise have been extolling the virtues of new manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst recently, and pointing out the ‘limitations’ of ex-manager Steven Gerrard, that it’s time we took the bull by the horns and commit to ‘print’ the reality of what the ex-boss was, and what he left us with.

Let’s be factual, fair, honest, and keep emotion out of this where possible.

The first point we want to raise is the man clearly left us with a squad night and day better than the one he inherited. Some absolute Rangers quality players are in there, players we didn’t have before he signed up, so the quality of our personnel is, entirely, down to Steven Gerrard’s transfer work. Sort of – he didn’t have a major say in a lot of the players who came in, but it was his reign.

However, there is a small caveat to this praise – he did have £35M to spend over 3.5 years so we’d expect a half decent group of players for that. His predecessors didn’t have a penny, and in his first transfer window Gerrard spent £11M on the Barisics, Grezdas, Katics, and Goldsons to name just four. So he was financially backed, and that certainly helped.

So while the results this season hadn’t been the best, Gio has had a fine squad to work with, and that’s helped the transition.

However, we must also point out that with this £35M SG won just one single trophy. If we overlook Europe (which is unfair to do) Gerrard really didn’t do great with the budget he had. He didn’t get the best out of the quality squad he had assembled, and his favouritism let him down. But if you add Europe, then his performance increases and we punched above our weight. Last 16 twice in the UEL is a fine accolade and that continues under GVB.

But that domestic performance was underwhelming. 55 was gigantic, but the 24 months before the start of that season were pretty much the same as previous bosses. There were glimpses of ‘great’ but nothing materialised.

And cup performances were a disgrace. We don’t need to delve into them beyond that. A big fat fail.

And then the performances after January of 55 already started to slip back to the old, and while we still won the league in a record-breaking time, the staggering work had been done in August to New Year. And we’ll be bold to say a lot of it relied on Ryan Jack as well.

The loss of Jack completely screwed Gerrard, and performances deteriorated almost directly as a result of losing him.

SG was signed to start a shift in power, to end Celtic’s dominance. While it took 3 years, he succeeded.

And he gets full credit for that.

But he just wasn’t a very good manager for us, over the piece. He achieved his mandate, but he didn’t perform spectacularly in doing so, over the 3.5 years. He was a learner manager who blundered a tonne of times.

It’s no lie or bitterness to say that, he got way more time than Pedro or Bread Man, and in that time he spent £35M (more money than either) and still did notably less with it than Walter did with his £35M in 2007-2010.

Fair comparison? No, not really, Walter was the Grand Master, but he is who all our bosses must aspire to.

Gio hasn’t spent a penny and already has SG’s team, without Ryan Jack, as a far better unit than SG ever had, aside the impressive split of 2019. When the league was long since lost.

So what’s the conclusion? What’s the moral of the story?

Gerrard did lay the foundations, but the house he built fell down several times, and it simply wasn’t able to deliver, under him, what it should have been capable of given how much spending was done.

He got the big one, 55, and stopped *10, but honestly? Domestic he completely underachieved and that’s fact.

We’ve completely overlooked the diabolical manner of his exit, but we’ll all have our thoughts on that. Ibrox Noise have been pretty clear how we feel about it.

But we’re onto an upgrade under Gio, and we’re grateful.

We thank Gerrard for 55, for stopping *10, and for making us competitive in Europe again.

And we thank him for leaving and for letting us both move on.

And that is about that.

No posts to display


  1. Enjoyed that. Very good article. Fair and accurate.

    Couple of things to add.

    Regards the squad. A lot of the squad we have were attracted by the ‘Gerrard’ name. To be managed by a legend of the game. Some of them wouldn’t be at Rangers had we of had a different manager. (Hopefully GVB continues that trend).

    Regards the transfer budget. I’m pretty sure Pedro spent approx £10-12 million when he arrived and that was a complete shambles. It’s hard to hold Gerrard’s transfer spendings against him when you compare it to Pedro’s waste of millions.

    Finally, no Rangers fan likes to admit this but let’s be realistic. Before Gerrard took over we weren’t even the second best team in Scotland. We’ve came a long way since then.

    But your last four sentences to summarise are bang on the money 👌

    • I’d also add that comparing transfer spend from 2007-2010 to that of Gerrards is a bit pointless. World Transfer Record when Walter left was £80million it’s now £200million. Inflation would suggest Walter in today’s money would probably have spent the equivalent of 45million-ish! Regardless, the future is looking a lot brighter than it was a mere 6weeks ago.

  2. I think even Gerrard would say it was disappointing that he never won any cups but don’t let that tarnish what he did since his arrival in 2018. Your article seems to assume the team he had when he arrived, or put together soon after, was capable of winning trophies. They weren’t. They were a mile off it. What he was doing was “building” a team and there’s absolutely no doubt his teams got better each season until we ultimately won 55 and along the way he brought us respect back in Europe. Don’t forget how far we were behind a Celtic rich with 9 years of Champions League money and big player sales. Do you not remember the regular 4-0, 5-0, 5-1, 5-1 thrashings they gave us? As someone else said we weren’t even the second best team in Scotland. It wasn’t other clubs winning these cups, last year excepted, it was Celtic. And they were damn lucky to win one of those League Cups.
    I’m hoping beyond all hope that GVB is the man to bring us huge success but too many people are seeing a “huge” improvement which I don’t think is there…….yet. There has been a general uplift of form which we were all expecting under Gerrard. There has also been a few minor tweaks which along with better form has made us a bit tighter. Tavernier still plays and frustrates, Goldson still plays and causes problems, Barisic is still not the player he was, Hagi often disappoints, Morelos still plays and is still lazy, Kent still blows hot and cold and Patterson is still on the bench. Hopefully Gio can solve these problems and bring in some top players and take us to the next level but I will be forever grateful to Steven Gerrard for getting us to this point.

      • That’s absolutely what Im not saying. I’m saying there are some ridiculous and unnecessary comparisons being made with Gerrard. Gerrard took us to where we are and deserves full credit for doing so. I think GVB was the perfect appointment and hope and expect him to take us to the next level and I’m 100% behind him.

  3. Excluding Europe is pointless , Rangers only source of real income is in Europe, not Scotland, with exception to season ticket revenue. Winning the league in Scotland gets you enough money to buy Helander, not pay any bills. Peanuts.

    Gerrard put Rangers back on the map. We have to respect his tenure at Ibrox.
    He has improved Villa too. We should thank him and move on.

  4. I really think for being a learner he did a good job he won the one that mattered the most and excelled in Europe with great results and to be honest punching above ourselves. Look at the money the likes of Porto and Benfica spend compared to us. We shouldn’t be able to have competed with them but we did. I like Ibrox noise dont be bitter or rude no need. Heres a scenario if Stevie G won a league cup and a scottish cup but not the league. He would have been a failure.

  5. There’s no doubt SG was brought in to stop 10 but his cup record was dismal and I expected us to kick on after 55 and go on and win 56 and then see SG go the fact he left in the manner he did has tarnished his reputation and not staying to retain the title tells me he felt his remit was met and probably lost some motivation after the early champions league exit.

Comments are closed.