The potential signing of Steven Gerrard by Rangers is nothing more than a PR stunt to flog season tickets from a board led by Dave King fighting for its life at a time when the fans are gathering for another revolt.
When chairman Dave King undermined then-manager Graeme Murty ahead of the Scottish Cup semi final clash with Celtic, he stated that the next appointment would be the best person for the job and would challenge Celtic for the title. It was clear PR rhetoric at a time when Rangers need to flog season tickets and renewals.
Defeat in the semi final to Celtic caused further damage to an already basket case of a board and the last derby game resulted in the sacking of Murty with all eyes firmly on what Gerrard is now saying and doing.
A PR Stunt
Gerrard is a huge name in British, European and World Football there is no denying that and it has already got pundits and fans talking. But many of those commenting from down south have no clue how bad things are at Rangers and are just basing their opinions on the fact that Gerrard is a name in the game.
Where are Rangers getting the money to fund Gerrard’s wages? He will almost certainly command more than former manager Ally McCoist’s £800,000 salary when he was at Ibrox. Will this money come from another Director’s loan? They are already pushing £20 million worth of loans in that respect. Will they use their most valuable commodity? Season ticket revenue. Or will they turn to corporate loan sharks Close Brothers for another hand me out secured against one of the club’s assets? Or maybe the departures of Paul Murray and Barry Scott were just a prelude to a rich oil sheikh from the Middle East coming in to fund Rangers like at Manchester City or PSG. After all they have been chasing after investment for over three years under King but conveniently it has arrived at the time when they woo Gerrard. Conveniently.
They can but dream.
Whatever Gerrard decides, one thing is clear despite the assurances given from a chairman dubbed a ‘glib and shameless liar’, he will not get the amount of money he needs or the players he desires at the club to challenge Celtic and win their first league title within the next three years.
Three years is the maximum deadline for Gerrard or potentially his successor when he falls flat on his face like the more experienced youth coach Graeme Murty or just like the two previous experienced managers Mark Warbuton and Pedro Caixinha.
All three did not have a clue about Rangers, Scottish football or what the Rangers fans demand when they took on the role and that helped to cause their downfall.
Yes, Gerrard played for Liverpool and yes he has won the Champions League but Liverpool fans are not as demanding in their quest for superiority as Rangers fans are. You may agree but it is a fact. After all they claim to be ‘the people’, the quintessential British club and the world’s most successful club.
Rangers fans’ superiority complex is second to none. They demand better, they demand to win at all times and they demand every club and governing body to do their bidding. And they will demand nothing less from Gerrard than to beat Celtic to the league title and qualify for the Champions League. Spoiled brats will always demand more.
Can Gerrard deliver that? Certainly not in his first season, so will an already under fire board or fanbase be happy with that? I doubt it very much.
This is IF Gerrard is happy with the assurances given to him from King and the rest of the board.
Clueless English pundits
But hey what do we know, after all Ian Wright says Steven Gerrard’s potential managerial move to Rangers is ‘perfect’ for both parties and can only help the Liverpool legend’s career.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Wright said: “With Steven being the personality that he is, wherever he goes, he is going to have that focus on him so you might as well go somewhere like Rangers where their aim is to get closer to Celtic.
“The only problem Steven will have is if he starts losing to the other teams, he can’t get his message over or they aren’t playing well enough. I don’t think that will happen if he surrounds himself with the right people.
“If they are going to back him and give him exactly what he wants, it’s perfect because it’s a magnificent club and they are way behind Celtic, so anything he can do to progress and get them closer is going to be a success for him.
“The pressure in Scotland is very crystallised and what it will do is get him ready for whatever may come in the future for him. It’s almost as if Liverpool are loaning him out.
“For him to have the opportunity to have a job of that stature and that size, I think it’s perfect.”
Rangers would be Gerrard’s first appoint as manager at a senior club, with little over a year’s worth of experience at Liverpool’s Under-18 side. Moving to a Scottish club, according to some ill-informed English pundits, may be ‘perfect’ but it could kill off his managerial career just as it begins like it has done for Graeme Murty and just like John Barnes’ career did after he flopped massively at Celtic.
Just because he was a great player, doesn’t mean he will turn out to be a great manager. John Barnes epitomises that, as does Roy Keane, Gary Neville and Ally McCoist.
Is it perfect for Rangers? It all depends what the board’s end game is. Are they wanting to make money? Then yes it is a perfect appointment. Gerrard will help to sell season tickets, he will help to sell merchandise, they can even stamp his face on burger buns and sell them, and sponsors will come in off the back of Gerrard’s appointment.
But from a football perspective Gerrard becoming the new Rangers manager is a huge risk. He has no first team management experience, he is at a club who’s first team squad is full of players that have shown to have no backbone and will need to be culled and a fanbase that wants immediate success to stop Celtic winning ten in a row.
Dave King and the fans’ demands of immediate success will not be solved by appointing a rookie manager who has no experience or knowledge of Scottish football. Appointing a number two or three to assist him know about the ‘Rangers way’ is not going to help them. It didn’t help Warburton nor did it help Caixinha or Murty.
All the newspaper articles in the world and pundits lauding Gerrard, even before he dons the blazer and brown brogues, has certainly made many a Rangers fan look all dreamy eyed in his direction. Just like they did with Craig Whyte, Charles Green, Dave King and Mark Warburton.
This is the last throw of the dice for a board on its last legs. If Gerrard does indeed move to Rangers, the short term boost from his appointment will not fix the deep wounds at the club, just simply put another plaster on it.
Or maybe Gerrard will turn out to be a huge success, Dave King will plough the £30 million he promised into the club three years ago and Rangers will actually become the world’s most successful club.