Gerrard is in the news today talking about how he wished he’d played up here for Celtic or the Ibrox club when he had the chance. This will not go down well with those who still have their life-sized cardboard models of him, but it’s nothing we didn’t know.
In fact, there was nothing particularly original or surprising in anything that he said today although the press seems determined to make as much hay out of his comments as they can.
First, let’s be clear about this; Gerrard has always had pro-Celtic leanings and there’s not a one of us who wasn’t fully aware of that when he signed on as manager at the Bigot Dome. For all that, he is clearly “one of their own” now, and that’s not going to change no matter how much he expresses some minor regret about never pulling on the Hoops.
There’s a line you don’t come back from, and the second he sat in the Blue Room over there he made a choice that can’t be reversed. Not only that, but he quickly fell right in with every single one of Ibrox’s ideological leanings, betraying almost everything he once knew about being part of a tolerant and respectful football club.
But then, Gerrard always was a smug and self-serving sod no matter how much hero-worship there was down at Anfield for him. A lot of Liverpool fans know full well that he came within an ace of leaving for Chelsea, and would have gone too except that he worried that it would harm his reputation on Merseyside. Note, he was concerned about self-image, not necessarily about the club or the fans. He wanted to continue being the big I Am.
And he still does, only now at Ibrox as well as at Anfield.
But no, it’s not news that he regrets not playing for Celtic; he was a Celtic fan long before he rolled into town over there, and there used to be a part of him that embraced the ethos that went with our club as well. Andy Lynch talked about it at great length back in 2018 after the Ibrox club offered Gerrard the job, and a lot of us knew it from long before.
None of that stuff really matters or ever has … but I do know a lot of Ibrox fans will not welcome his comments on that score today any more than I welcomed it when David Moyes has said that he’d manage at Ibrox as well as Celtic Park … that should disqualify him, on its own, from ever getting the gig here, not that he has ever really had any interest in it.
His other comments, directed at the Ibrox board, that he felt his plans ran into too many “compromises” are even less surprising. This website knew that he was angry at not getting money to spend and wrote that. We knew he would leave when the first decent offer came in, and we wrote that too. We knew that he had alienated some parts of his own dressing room, and said so. Not that anyone on their side of town believed it.
Gerrard, who had spent a fortune in the campaigns leading up to this season, was told he would have to do more with less. That is the way of it at a club whose board has been carrying debts for years beyond count. It’s not that Gerrard’s squad was impoverished; if he’d been willing to do a bit of wheeling and dealing he could have had money … but always people like him want more, and more and more … he even uses those words.
I don’t get the sense that Gerrard really gives a damn about the Ibrox operation. He left them in mid-season, doing a midnight flit like Rodgers did, and I doubt he’s ever looked back. He’s made it clear that there were issues between him and the board and even between him and some of his players, so it’ll be a while before they invite him as a guest.
He is still hero worshiped by a large part of their fan-base, and doubtless he can rely on their goodwill for a long time to come … that’s all he really cares about, his own place in the pantheon of heroes wherever he goes and whatever he does. Gerrard is a walking ego, permanently tripping on his own perceived greatness just as Rodgers is.
The difference is, Rodgers has never said he would have loved to manage at Ibrox and for all the stories I’m sure he could tell he’s never said a bad thing about us since walking out the door.
There is an integrity in that which Gerrard simply does not have.