Here’s the thing; good managers do not sign winners. They make winners.
So it was with the really great bosses down through the ages.
Take Brian Clough; he is one of the great managers of all time, and he did it by taking players who had never won things and moulded them into a team which, for a spell, simply didn’t believe they could lose. No football is “born” a winner; it doesn’t stop the press from using that tired old line whenever they want to praise a certain calibre of player.
Take Sevco’s boss Steven Gerrard; a “born winner” they call him.
If he is he must be one of the few never to secure a domestic league title.
The men he’s frequently compared to – Scholes, Keane, Viera – are players who did win leagues, multiple times.
They played as members of great teams.
The sides which were constructed at Anfield were just never that great. Rodgers came close though, due in no small part to the genius of Luis Suarez. It took Klopp, who realised individual talents don’t get you anywhere, to mould great footballers into a great team … and he has already made winners out of them.
When you look at the ex-Rangers players Gerrard has signed over at Ibrox, you can see lazy thought processes at play. Davis and McGregor were part of the last Ibrox side to win things … that was the thread that ran through his desire to have them.
It was as if he believed their very presence would give the team a winning mentality.
But you can’t buy that. You have to build it.
Barry Ferguson is in the papers today promoting the same old tired claptrap. Gerrard “needs winners” if he is to succeed. The thought seems to be that if he buys players – with what? haha – who have won titles that they will carry the rest of the dreck to the Promised Land.
If it was that easy, though, clubs would be doing it everywhere.
The problem for Bazza and his favourite club is that it just doesn’t work that way.
You know what wins leagues and trophies? Quality footballers moulded into a winning unit by a good manager who knows his stuff. And yes, when the winning comes and it becomes a habit then a team is suddenly very hard to stop. Which is why we’re on the cusp of the Quadruple Treble.
Good players cost money though, and Sevco has been shopping in the bargain bin for a while.
Oh, they have squandered millions on second rate junk, like the Ibrox club of old, but buying actual quality has eluded them. Married to Gerrard’s one dimensional style, you can see why they have struggled under his “management” even as their cash has been pissed against the wall.
The only Sevco will get a team of winners is by winning something, and good luck with that whilst this team at Celtic Park exists, this team which does have the quality and that taste for success, this team which the most successful domestic side in the history of the Scottish game.
What Sevco needs is a better class of footballer and a better class of manager. Both of those things are out of their financial reach, and Gerrard will flounder next season as he has the last two. How long they continue with that bizarre experiment and others like it will determine whether or not we’re challenged as we go for 15 in a row, not 10.
The tenth title is as good as certain, and it was before corona hit.
God knows what mess will be left for Gerrard to work with – if there’s an Ibrox club at all – before this ends.
I do know he’s the wrong guy to get the best out of mediocre footballers.
Ferguson isn’t looking at this rationally; he isn’t capable of that. Start by shipping out the manager and offloading some of his junk, and Sevco might be in place where they can keep next season’s deficit to under 15 points. Persist with their lunacy … and they’ll be lucky even to survive it.
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