Jermain Defoe has left Rangers after the veteran striker departed Ibrox on perhaps not the absolute crest of a wave he’d have hoped.
He secured 55, albeit playing only a small role that season, but did manage a very solid 76 appearances in the 3 years he spent in Govan and found the net an extremely respectable 32 times in there, with a decent 10 assists.
He was a genuine pro for the club, overall, and we can have little complaint about his contribution up till last summer, when he received a rather unnecessary new contract at a hefty wage of around £30,000 as a coach.
In truth, this move worked out for no one, and new manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst simply wasn’t interested in Defoe on any level, including him in his maiden Rangers SPL squad away at Livi but otherwise leaving him out thereafter.
He did, however, net a lot of goals for those first 18 months, and indeed was easily the most naturally gifted finisher in the SPL – his awareness of movement off the ball was excellent and he had a psychic awareness of where the goal was. What he lacked in height and physique he made up for in positional awareness and clinical finishing.
We do, however, have a little bit of issue, not so much with Defoe, but with his ex-manager, who insisted on giving his old pal pre-season minutes last summer, knowing he was going into coaching anyway, and rejecting Cedric Itten who was champing at the bit to play and scoring while he was at it.
We’ve seen it said that Gerrard then ditched his mate to go south, and let him down in the process, and in truth he probably did.
Defoe’s plan is coaching, even if it didn’t work out at Ibrox, and being striker coach with Gerrard and his crew at Villa would have seemed like the natural step. But he was left behind and Gio wasn’t interested in that role for the former Spurs man under his regime.
The punditing thing was a bit confusing too – matches where Defoe was supposed to be with the Rangers squad he’d be spotted on Sky Sports matches instead. Fans defended this as being with club permission, and Rangers ended up making a statement about it as well. It was certainly odd and a bit unprecedented.
But equally it was Rangers’ choice to extend his deal, to give him a coaching plan, to pay him what they did – Defoe didn’t have a gun against anyone for demands and clearly had designs on punditing as well as coaching. So we can’t blame him for accepting.
As it is, we’re glad to free the wage up, albeit we can’t be sure if Defoe exited ‘for free’ or was a mutual consent, but given his fortune from the game and his integrity, we’d expect him to have left without a pay off.
We wish him the best, he’s a decent guy and for the first 18 months he was a fine contributor on and off the field for the club.
And once a Ranger always a Ranger.