The news that Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard is set to become the fourth Rangers manager in six years has certainly pricked up the attention of pundits and fans across the UK, but a move to Ibrox at this time will be career suicide for the former midfielder.
With just over a year’s worth of coaching experience with Liverpool’s Under-18 side, Gerrard is set to replace another youth coach, Graeme Murty, at Rangers. Murty was tasked with seeing out the season at Ibrox following a calamitous and amateurish pursuit of Derek McInnes, that decision has effectively killed the former Scotland international’s managerial career.
It was reminiscent of the Scottish FA’s pursuit of Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill.
Come the end of the season, Murty will be shown the door at Ibrox, he will lose his youth coach role and will be given an unceremonious farewell by a basket case of a club who have gone through managers as quickly as Celtic have notched up title wins.
Ahead of the Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Celtic, Murty was thrown under the bus by club chairman Dave King – who more or less confirmed that a new manager would be put in place in the summer. King, who has once again broke takeover panel rules AND a court ruling well and truly shat all over a man who took on the role when no one else wanted it.
Murty should be thanked for his service to the club not treated like a piece of shit by overpaid primadonas in the dressing room and a board that couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery.
Celtic counterpart Brendan Rodgers has shown more dignity and grace towards Murty than his own club, board and support has.
In the wake of Sunday’s 5-0 win over Rangers, Rodgers backed Murty, saying: “Graeme Murty’s been in a position where he’s been put in a job. Last year he was U20 coach and everyone was talking about how he was a good guy and doing very well.
“Now because of a couple of defeats and it hasn’t quite worked out he’s just been thrown to the garbage really and I think it’s very discourteous.
“The guy went in to Rangers and he’s done his very, very best and from the outside it looks very, very trying and difficult circumstances.
“Whatever direction they want to go in Rangers whether it’s Graeme or someone from the outside then they will want the assurances.”
And now with Rangers looking more likely to lose second and third place to Aberdeen and Hibs, the hierarchy at the club have cranked up their PR to bring in Steven Gerrard – simply to sell season tickets to keep the club ticking over until another loan can be found to keep the lights on at Ibrox.
There is no denying that Gerrard is a massive name and would be a PR dream for the club, but is he really the man to take Rangers from where they are at the minute to league champions in the space of three years?
Given Celtic’s spending power, regular Champions League football and a squad that every Scottish club envy – Rangers have to spend big to have a faint hope of closing the gap let alone overtaking Celtic, but can they up the ante like Celtic can without the help of tax dodges?
They would have to take out another loan from corporate loan sharks Close Brothers or hope that King diverts some cash from his hidden bank accounts on the down low so that the South African government doesn’t catch wind of it again.
Rangers are set for their third rebuilding job in as many years and with season ticket money desperately being collected before things get even worse in the league – potentially finishing fourth and failing to secure European football.
As Rodgers said, Gerrard will need assurances that there is money to rebuild a squad full of pathetic, spineless and cowardly players and to achieve the dreams of a fan base and club that have a Napoleon complex.
Whether there is money to do so is beyond the point, but does Gerrard have time on his hands to sort out the mess on and off the field at Ibrox? Can he work with a Director of Football in Mark Allen – who seems to be signing more dross than one club can take? Can he keep the hordes at bay if results don’t go their way?
I cannot for the life of me see why someone like Steven Gerrard would take on the manager’s role at Ibrox – unless he has no clue as to what is happening on and off the field at the second club in Glasgow.
A bit like the two Match of the Day pundits Ian Wright and Alan Shearer on Sunday night’s programme.
For Gerrard, despite all the pomp and ceremony of a Royal Wedding that will surround his appointment, this job could kill his chances of becoming manager of a bigger club down south – especially the Liverpool job. His dream job.
Many a joke was made last night at the expense of Gerrard and Rangers with footage of cars doing u-turns of roads or planes taking off from a runway they just landed on seconds earlier. But for Gerrard his career path would ideally be better served working through the ranks at Liverpool, becoming assistant to Jurgen Klopp and then potentially taking over from the German once he leaves Anfield.
He will almost certainly be given more time and money at Liverpool than he would ever get at Rangers, and with the prospect of watching Celtic win ten in a row Rangers fans will make his life a living hell.
Just look at what the Union Bears did to the current players last night as they stormed the Hilton hotel in Glasgow to angrily confront the Rangers players and officials before setting off pyrotechnics in a hotel lobby.
For Celtic fans watching Rangers turn to another rookie manager at a time when they need stability, experience and a miracle – it adds icing onto the cake that is their seventh title in a row and potentially back to back trebles.
Rangers fans will laud Gerrard’s arrival as the second coming of Christ, like they did with Craig Whyte, Charles Green, Mark Warburton and Dave King – but he is just one result away from being crucified by the fans and the club’s poodles in the media.
Gerrard will almost certainly walk alone if he cannot challenge Aberdeen and Hibs let alone Celtic. He is no Graeme Souness after all.
At least he has his punditry to fall back on after Christmas.