In short: No. We should not be worried about Steven Gerrard.
At his peak, Steven Gerrard was an exceptional footballer. A one-club man, he captained Liverpool to multiple trophies and almost won a league title. Almost…
The Rangers fans, as fervent as a bored housewife sitting down to watch the new season of Loose Women after a short break, looked on as their new youth coach-turned-manager introduce himself to a crowd, seemingly more interested in Scott Brown than Steven Gerrard.
Chris Sutton has commented that Celtic fans are afraid of the unknown. Steven Gerrard being unveiled as the new Rangers manager certainly is the unknown.
But there is nothing to fear…
Firstly, with my most cynical of heads on, this was not a managerial appointment by The Rangers; it was a commercial one. (Or maybe they just want people to like them for once, I don’t know.)
The suggestion is that Gerrard will receive a huge war chest to go out there and strengthen in a bid to challenge Celtic.
But what if the economics behind the Gerrard deal are akin to that of Neymar’s record-breaking move to PSG, in that the fee of £200 million would be offset by the financial benefits the Neymar™ ‘brand’ would bring to the club? Do Rangers expect the interest in Gerrard to furnish the revenue required for his transfer dealings?
And let’s not forget, those fans were showing up to revere the footballer that Gerrard WAS and not the manager he IS. The optimism was based on the fact it was the name ‘Gerrard’ and nothing more. It simply could not have been for his managerial prowess, unlike when Celtic fans showed up in their thousands to venerate Brendan Rodgers.
It is difficult to see Gerrard’s avenue for success. But it doesn’t mean he won’t be…
I am not saying that Steven Gerrard will not be a fantastic manager in the future. I am saying that he is not right now. He is not signing for them as a world-class central midfielder but as an untried and inexperienced manager, so I find the reception odd, if not unsurprising (I noted in an earlier article about The Rangers tendency to behave like a mad dog hounding down an unattainable car in their typical haphazard way). So, of course, this is no different. The 18/19 league is, so it seems, over because The Rangers have signed a youth coach as their manager who was a very good footballer once upon a time. That’s the sort of zany, illogical thought process Gerrard will have to navigate in his time at the Ibrox helm.
Another element I found extremely strange was the indistinct feeling that it was not a Rangers manager being unveiled; it was a potential Liverpool manager going to serve his apprenticeship.
Now, I reiterate, I am not saying that Steven Gerrard will not be a great manager. I am not saying that he will not get a good budget and bring in good players. I’m not even saying that he won’t be successful!
But I am saying it’s unlikely.
Let’s say Gerrard does turn out to be a good manager and that he get’s legitimate money to strengthen the squad. He will still be coming up against a rampant Celtic team under a top-class manager. A good manager is nowhere near guaranteed success on the South Side of Glasgow, never mind an unknown entity succeeding.
Having said all that, I recently chastised Rangers for their deep-rooted, hostile hubris, devoid of all class. Their arrogance is their downfall, was my argument.
And we mustn’t let it be ours either.
Being as neutral as possible, I feel the pitfalls far outweigh the paths to glory for Gerrard at Rangers. But we musn’t become complacent and we absolutely mustn’t feel entitled to the top spot. As soon as that happens, we become complacent.
Instead, Celtic should react to this in the way that I am sure we are all confident we will.
By keeping calm, remaining focused and by constantly focusing on the most important game: the next one.
We do not change course because of the noise emanating from Ibrox. That is not who we are and it is not who we will become. We are Celtic and our success, all of it, is fought for and earned. It was like that before Gerrard’s reign at Rangers, it will be like that during and it will most definitely be like it after he has jumped ship.
There is only one team to fear in Glasgow and it is not The Rangers.
Here we go, 10 in a row.