Former Liverpool captain faces an immense task in his first managerial post
Gerrard’s Appointment by Rangers Makes Little Sense
Curious coincidences. Hardly had Steven Gerrard been ecstatically if so controversially installed as the new manager of Rangers that it was reported that a well-known Liverpool criminal, who long ago had been asked by Gerrard’s father to protect him from a thug who was demanding money from him, was reported to have been killed.
All those years ago when the protector was up in court and about to be sentenced, Gerrard’s father put in a word for him though in the event he need not have bothered as the man absconded, though he was later caught.
Frankly, I can make scant sense of Gerrard’s new appointment, though it has unleashed euphoria among Rangers fans, who thronged to greet him when he arrived at Ibrox, promising to “topple Celtic”. This hot on the heels of Celtic’s five-nil annihilation of the current Rangers team. Gerrard, absurdly in my view, now must make the immense leap from coaching a Liverpool teenaged team to taking over at famous but struggling Rangers.
I suppose I can understand why he had decided to do so whatever his manifest coaching inexperience, I can understand the excessive enthusiasm of the fans, but why the Rangers hierachy should think Gerrard, whatever his playing triumphs, should be ready to guide them to success makes not a grain of good sense. He does at least have the experienced Gary McAllister beside him, but the task he faces is immense. That some 7000 ecstatic fans should have greeted him with such applause was only the measure of their desperation. Shades of The Life of Brian.
“When Rangers came it was a game changer,” says Gerrard who tells us that he turned down other offers. Perhaps the best thinking he could do would be to put his footballing boots on and become a player manager.
Has Gerrards been presumptuous? I suppose it is easy to understand. In a well ordered world, Gerrard would eventually take over the top job at Liverpool, with years of managerial experience under his belt. In the interim, he might have briefly managed lesser clubs to acquire that managerial experience.
Still, even if things go wrong at Ibrox, Gerrard has a four-year deal and would be amply compensated if he was obliged to leave. He says his parents brought him up to face a challenge. Well, poor old Don Quixote thought he was facing them too when he was only attacking windmills. Somehow I don’t think Celtic and their manager, let alone the team as a whole, will be trembling in their shoes.
A highly successful Hollywood screen writer once said that in Hollywood, no one knows anything. You could say much the same about football. Certainly, I would make such an admission myself after decades of writing about the game. Who for example could have foreseen that Arsenal in their last home game under Arsene Wenger at the Emirates would thrash 5-0 a Burnley team which looked more than a match for them.
I have yet to see a convincing analysis of just how it happened perhaps because like so much that happens in gootball it simply defies one.
On the same weekend, Fulham, on a 23-match unbeaten run, and with every possibility even of automatic promotion rather than facing the play-offs, should go to Birmingham and crash 3-1 to a team I had watched lose 3-1 the previous week at Shepherd’s Bush to a QPR team which was not even at full strength. True the score was a little harsh on Birmingham, but they didn’t remotely look like a team which could embarrass Fulham. Now you have to wonder whether Fulham, drawn initially against Derby, will survive the play-offs, which they didn’t last year. For Derby look a stronger proposition than Birmingham City.
What went wrong with Fulham at St Andrews? Their manager seemed to have no explanation. The goals they gave away testified to a defence leaving criminally wide spaces on the flanks while the Fulham attack was largely and comfortably contained by a well organised Birmingham defence.
Jack Wilshere had an excellent game in attacking midfield for Arsenal in their demolition of bewilderingly poor Burnley, but he still hasn’t signed a new contract with the Gunners, having turned down the reduced one which they have offered him. Which means of course that he can simply walk away for nothing come the end of the season. Since the Gunners appear to have no more than the bagatelle of £50million in the kitty to acquire new players, it still seems daft to me that they, or their recently appointed administrators, could let Wilshere go for nothing. At a time when they are paying the highly gifted but highy inconsistent Ozik a colossal £350,000 a week.
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