This morning, in the wake of a quite innocuous press interview by Leigh Griffiths, a gibbering Sevco site has said that our player has “provided” Gerrard his team talk. If that’s true, then that club is in more disarray and deeper trouble than any of us knew.
It is one of the stupidest cliché’s in the game, this “pin it to the dressing room wall” garbage. Any manager who needs comments from the opposition to get his team in the mood ought not to be kidding himself that he belongs in the dugout.
I actually don’t doubt that Gerrard is the sort who believes there’s some utility in such pitiful gestures. Because when you examine his attitude towards his players it is pretty much the only one of the low cards he hasn’t publicly played.
I’m fascinated by the way this guy behaves in front of the media. The way he slams his own players cannot be good for morale. The way he talks about replacing them cannot be helping them settle in. He is so clearly out of that “old school” where bosses think if they give players a bollocking that’s the job done. The problem is, that stuff doesn’t work anymore.
Gerrard worked under some of the best managers in the English game, including Brendan.
He certainly didn’t learn that sort of nonsense from them.
The modern manager, at a big club – and Gerrard thinks he’s at one of those – has to walk into a dressing room filled with egos, where every footballer is already a millionaire.
That takes finesse, and it takes psychology … which millionaire is going to listen to somebody raving at them like a loon? None of these guys is going to go hungry. If things don’t work out for them at Ibrox they all have other options, especially those there on loan.
The media was salivating over his “dressing room inquest” at the weekend; instead, those of a Sevco persuasion should have been worried. It’s the umpteenth dressing room inquest he’s had with them, and as anyone who’s ever had a shouty boss knows it might be scary the first couple of times but in the end you start zoning it out completely.
As I said when I wrote about McLeish, if a manager comes into a new environment and he starts all that posturing, that “rule by fear” stuff, then he’s leaving himself no outs, no options, if it fails. Because it’s the last thing a halfway decent manager would do.
McLeish has already failed, and was always going to, because an international manager has limited options anyway and a Scotland boss has more limits than others. Threatening to drop players from our club when they are the best available to him was the equivalent of that moment in Blazing Saddles when Cleavon Little sticks a gun to his own head.
Our media, about as brain dead and ignorant of the realities of the modern game as it is possible to be, assumed that because Gerrard had a big name that he would command respect in the Ibrox dressing room instantly. It doesn’t work that way.
Apart from the fact that many players in that dressing room envy his career and probably harbour some professional jealousy, there are others who only respect achievement in the dugout and would have been highly unimpressed at the appointment.
On top of that, the game is littered with the managerial corpses of big players who thought it was just that simple, that the journey from the pitch to the dugout was a straightforward one. Roy Keane is the sterling example, a leader, a captain, and great at rallying his men on the pitch, but wholly incapable of the much larger task of commanding a club.
Players can hide. Managers can’t.
Their mistakes are costlier, the consequences for failure more severe.
Gerrard is feeling life in the pressure cooker and he isn’t liking it, and you can tell that just by looking at him. A lot of it is coming from his own fans, the kind of people who would seize on Leigh Griffiths making a joke and try, desperately, to turn it into a rallying call for their own footballers.
That is the sign of a fan-base in meltdown.
If the manager tries that, it’s a sign of a club in dire, dire straits.
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