Rewarded for rubbish as old Gers boss Steven Gerrard gets extension

Rewarded for rubbish as old Gers boss Steven Gerrard gets extension
AL DAMMAM, SAUDI ARABIA - NOVEMBER 24: Steven Gerrard coach of Al Ettifaq looks on prior the Saudi Pro League match between Al-Ettifaq and Al-Ittihad at Al Ettifaq Stadium on November 24, 2023 in Al Dammam, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images)

It’s not exactly Rangers, but old Ibrox boss Steven Gerrard, who is currently the world’s best-paid football manager incidentally (£16M a year), has just extended his stay in Saudi Arabia till 2027 with a wage increase in tow to a likely £25M per year.

Having not won a single match of football with his charges since October.

If nothing else highlights the commercial nature of the Saudi Pro League, it’s the fact that regardless of the fact Gerrard is an absolutely horrible football manager who simply hasn’t got a clue what he’s doing (7 wins of 21 since joining that league), his name is massive and his presence will continue to bring their club exposure, endorsements, attention and fans.

We can’t be too critical in a sense – a lot of these reasons were why Dave King brought him to Rangers in the first place. Mark Allen, then-technical director, suggested it to the chairman, and he saw those pound signs light up. Gerrard was unveiled soon after.

And because of his continuing commercial attraction, Rangers stuck with him despite his being sh*te for 24 months and wasting around £24M.

It wasn’t until the rules of football changed for a year amid Covid, and Celtic lost their manager and their way that a fanless Ibrox saw Gerrard’s Rangers suddenly shine. And Ryan Jack’s form certainly didn’t hurt things.

But now Al-Ettifaq are effectively confirming that his results on the pitch in Saudi are irrelevant – they are rewarding his name and not his ability by hurling as much money at him as they can to keep him in the Middle East.

Of course there’s another angle. Some Rangers fans might scoff that he left Rangers to be nearer his family, then of course bogged off to Saudi Arabia in an apparently rampant show of hypocrisy.

But as Ibrox Noise explained, his wife and kids never once came north to Scotland. They weren’t interested in Glasgow, in his career at Ibrox and he did miss them, having to commute a lot. But Saudi? They went with him and they all live out there now.

So ultimately, they’re happy with their cushy lives out there, and he’s quite happy getting a whack of money for being rubbish at his job and being nothing more than a trophy manager.

Unfortunately, not the trophy manager most bosses want to be.

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