It is ego that makes us think what other people do looks easy.
I used to watch professional snooker players strutting around and think “there’s nothing to that.” And then I tried it. Let me put it this way, if I ever quit doing this for a living I’ll not be picking up a cue in order to pay the bills. To say I’m crap is to credit me with more skill than I possess.
Steven Gerrard is not the first professional footballer to look at the job managers do and think that it’s a simple step up from what happens on the pitch to what happens on the side-lines. What binds a lot of them is not the intellect required to make that journey but the arrogance to think it will be a quick and painless one.
The roads are littered with their corpses.
It was an act of supreme folly for Sevco to appoint Gerrard as manager based only on his famous career on the pitch, and especially at a time when we were already on seven titles and playing for the eighth. The madness of it is only compounded when you consider that it was Brendan Rodgers who was sitting in the Parkhead dugout at the time.
To throw an untested coach against a man who had won two trebles, one of them with an Invincible campaign, was lunacy. But King, too, is an arrogant fool who believes he knows things other people don’t and is possessed of a unique vision.
He believes, too, in another incredible fantasy; the talismanic power of the word “Rangers.”
The combination – he thought – of Gerrard and “Rangers” would prove too good to resist; indeed, as a PR stunt it was a masterpiece. Just go back and read some of the sycophantic drivel that was being turned out in the media at the time.
I still laugh at Neil Cameron’s gushing fan-boy guff describing the press room at Ibrox like a hushed wedding chapel waiting for the bride.
Gerrard himself believed that the transition from playing to managing would be easy, and it’s very tempting to suggest that he bought in, completely, to the nonsense talked down south about how any manager with resources could win the league up here. He has certainly never had the slightest respect for other clubs, and he makes that clear in his public statements after poor games, as he decries the idea that his team should ever drop points to lesser sides.
But Scottish football is much tougher than he ever expected it to be, and the management game itself is much more complicated than his modest intellect is able to handle. This was inevitable from the day and hour he took over; indeed, if Gerrard goes this week I’ll have only been a couple of months out with my initial prediction that he’d be gone by January 2020.
If, as many think, Gerrard is about to walk then you have to wonder if he’ll ever again manage at a top flight club.
Oh I’m sure he’ll get plenty of opportunities to tell the media down there that his players chucked it and that he was pushing a boulder up a hill, but chairmen might not be quite as ready to hire someone who behaves like that as some folk believe.
Obviously this is a developing story, and I’ll have more on it later.
For now, it looks as if reality has finally arrived for many at Ibrox, and unfortunately for them more of it is on the way. It is tempting to suggest that Gerrard sees the writing on the wall and it’s for that reason, more than any problems with his players, that has him eying the exit gate.
I don’t want him to go; I like this loser just where he is.
But if he walks out this week it will leave his club in a dark place. Because although any manager with experience would be an improvement, Gerrard has left the cupboard pretty much bare. Nobody who comes in will be allowed to spend what he has, or assemble such an expensive team.
Indeed, the future at Ibrox is austerity.
Their next appointment has to find a way to do more with less, and they are floundering even now.