On Saturday, I was helping a studio shoot a pilot for a potential upcoming show on Scottish football. The show is designed to preview and review matches from the perspective of fans, rather than pundits. It will allow fans to have more of a voice about their team and the issues in Scottish football.
What became more than clear on Saturday is that, just like everyone else, Rangers fans are only talking about one thing – Steven Gerrard. The match itself became secondary to the excitement and trepidation that appointment brings.
With that in mind, let’s look at what’s being discussed regarding the new manager.
THE MAN HIMSELF
Steven Gerrard is the sort of name that’s so well known in football, it’s almost difficult to truly know his character. When players get to that level of popularity, there’s a reaction which is more emotion than logic that drives opinion. What became apparent on Friday was that he’s absolutely up for the challenge. He showed an edge in his press conference which isn’t always apparent. His passion on the pitch in front of the fans was clear. This is someone who can’t wait to get started, and will probably need to be leashed to the dugout to prevent him just running onto the pitch at times.
When you talk about mentality and needing the right winning attitude, Gerrard has all of that. Fans who were against the appointment, or on the fence, are finding themselves fully on board and looking forward to next season.
HIS COACHING TEAM
It’s easy to forget that managers are rarely in it alone. Football is a strange game that way. Clearly a team game, fans tend to focus on individuals for praise or criticism. Gerrard will be the focus, but he won’t be the only one trying to improve the players.
Gary McAllister is a good choice as assistant manager. He’s trusted by Gerrard, which is the biggest thing. His coaching history and the managers who have worked with him suggest he has ability in the role. He’s also passionate about Rangers, but measured and in control of his emotions more often than not. Gerrard will have things to learn, but looks set to be excellent in terms of motivation and man-management. McAllister will be able to do the other side and have his opinions respected.
Gerrard also looks set to bring another few coaches from Liverpool, all of whom have been highly regarded. Culshaw, Milsom and Beale will provide him with familiar faces who will know what the demands are. When we look to predict how this will all go, it’s worth keeping all of them in mind rather than focusing solely on Gerrard.
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY?
The press briefing by Dave King didn’t reveal any sort of major investment. However, he did state that Gerrard would be backed, and that each transfer would be considered on its own merit rather than just being part of an overall budget. The reputation and position Gerrard held meant that he didn’t have to take this sort of risk with Rangers. It’s presumed that he’ll be given relatively high amounts to spend on players.
One thing that is certain is that he has the support of Mark Allen and the scouting team. That alone will bring better results in terms of recruitment. Gerrard made it clear that whilst he will have the final say on a transfer, he won’t be solely making decisions on the targets being identified. Through player sales and season ticket money alone, Rangers will provide a decent amount to the new manager. Anything on top of that will be a major bonus.
THE FUTURE OF THE CURRENT SQUAD
Gerrard has been very vocal in what he’s looking for from players. Attitude and mentality will be every bit as important as ability, if not more so. These are qualities that are difficult to argue exist in the current squad overall. The capitulations to Celtic in recent matches, and the fear they’re playing with at the moment, don’t suggest they have the mentality being sought. It’s more than possible some will step up, or benefit from better players around them. If you were asked who you’d fancy to do that though, you’d struggle to make a case for many.
There’s been upheaval in the squad for too many seasons in a row now. If it has to happen again, we have to hope it’s the last time in a while. This season has almost reflected the way our squad has had to change over the years, with so many defensive partnerships, captains and even managers being used.
The game on Saturday wasn’t noteworthy, but Rangers certainly are at the moment. What are your thoughts on Gerrard? Tweet us @abouttherangers with your thoughts!