If Steven Gerrard and his agents have a fraction of intelligence they will speak to Bristol City, and if they get the kind of offer they want they will depart Ibrox from the English club. It is the only way that Gerrard can rescue the next twelve months and save his credibility.
Bristol City is his level. In going to Sevco in the first place he was both blindly arrogant and terribly naïve.
Naïve because he believed that Sevco still had the stature or Rangers, when in fact even before its liquidation that was an artificially inflated club which never would have been competitive if it wasn’t also being doped to the gills with Other People’s Money.
He was arrogant too, because if Sevco had been Rangers and Rangers been real the job was miles too big for a former player with less than a year coaching a youth team. He didn’t even have all his UEFA badges at the time. To call him unqualified is to understate it.
When they told him it was one of the biggest clubs in the game Gerrard believed it.
And he believed that he belonged at that level.
That neither is true hasn’t helped him, because unfortunately for him Celtic is just as big as he’d heard … and a manager three or four times better would find himself majorly outgunned in going head to head with us.
Gerrard is the luckiest manager in football.
He was in dire, dire trouble with Celtic about to roll into town, when the global health crisis struck and the game in Scotland was shut down. His team was floundering. He’d lost the dressing room. I firmly believe we were going there to slap them all over the pitch. The 13-point gap would only have grown.
He was brought to Ibrox to stop the march to ten.
It was a crazy appointment. At the time he was going up against Brendan Rodgers, with one of the best win ratios in the history of the club, at around 70% at that time. It was just his bad luck, I guess, that Rodgers was replaced by Neil Lennon who had an even better record (and who in his second spell has a better one again).
None of this is strictly Gerrard’s fault, but that will not help him when it comes time for him to meet the historic judgement that awaits him if he’s the guy with his hands on the wheel over there when we win the ten.
He’s had untold millions to spend in the last two years, and doubtless they will turn over every sofa cushion to get him something for the coming campaign … he might try and argue, later, that he hasn’t been funded by more than £20 million and two full squad’s worth of signings will make him a liar.
They gave him everything they didn’t have.
No trophies is the real headline, and as I said the other day it’s now guaranteed that Sevco will go through 2020 without winning a major honour as the League Cup has been moved to next year. That’s a decade at Ibrox where the cupboards are bare.
Their fans will not react well to that run being extended.
Gerrard can no longer hide behind his reputation as a player either.
Those in his dressing room don’t care what he achieved as a footballer – far less, by the way, than some of the headlines he gets would suggest. They do care that he’s done nothing as a manager that justifies his fury at them last season.
They see just another ex-player who doesn’t know how to read a tactics board or motivate an entire team.
Many of them were ready to revolt last year.
The Scottish media still loves him anyway, but even that will change when it becomes clear that he isn’t going to get the club over the line in this most vital year.
Paul Lambert was right, on Radio Scotland, last night when he said that the heat will consume this guy if he presides over Celtic marching to ten.
He has no idea what that will do to his reputation.
Now is the time for him to wise up.
Bristol City have other candidates in mind; Gerrard isn’t their main target no matter what the Scottish media might want you to believe.
Indeed, he has never been targeted by any club south of the border (or anywhere else) since rolling into Sevconia … his reputation has already been damaged by the last two years, and the media down south watches him like a hawk.
Rovers are an ambitious club with money to spend, which is more than he’ll get at Ibrox.
Their board wants a Premier League place and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. He would be competing in a monstrously tough league, against other well-resourced teams … but he will get time there, and space, and there won’t be so much pressure on him.
I personally don’t want him to leave Ibrox, but if he and his agents are smart they will already have put out the feelers to clubs up and down England, in the hope that somebody bites. He must know that Sevco fans will turn on him as this season drags on, and that his dressing room will only tolerate so much of his behaviour in this campaign after having to listen to him denigrate the squad all through the last one. He knows how that will all look down south.
More than anything else, Gerrard never won a title as a player.
After a while his failure to do it as a manager will start to seem like a curse.
He really went to the wrong club if he wants to break that particular losers habit … not that I think he has the talent to break it anywhere else.
But he can buy his career time.
Time for him to grow without all the pressure on him.
If he stays at Ibrox the next campaign is going to crush him and he and his coaches will be out of their long before the season comes to an end.
The global health crisis saved him last season. Sutton is right too; this season he will have no excuses and nowhere to hide.
Ibrox is not a managerial hot-seat; it is an electric chair.
If he’s smart (haha) he’ll get out of there as soon as he can.
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