Although many have castigated Steven Gerrard’s risky decision to take the Rangers managerial vacancy, his appointment may be the injection the sleeping Glasgow giant needs.
The news that Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard will be the new Rangers manager have been met with little encouragement from most sectors. Barring the odd positive reaction from the likes of Alan Shearer and Greame Souness, the general consensus is that the Ibrox club is a basket case destination.
Sceptics suggest that Gerrard taking the post, could see his managerial career finish before it even begins.
Gerrard himself seems keen. He said as much during BT Sports’ Tuesday night Champions League coverage of Real Madrid’s victory over Bayern Munich.
“Yeah, there’s truth in the rumours. I’ve held initial talks with Rangers and the plan is to pick them up in a couple of days time. I’ve held positive talks…and we’ll see if we can progress it.”
Looking at the situation in the cold light of day with the green-hooped spectacles firmly removed, this could be an excellent opportunity for Gerrard. Granted, Rangers have been a shambles over the last few years but there is massive untapped potential brimming beneath the surface.
The arrival of a commercial colossus like the former Liverpool and England captain could be all it takes to stir the dormant side of Glasgow into eruption.
Several parallels can be drawn with Roy Keane’s appointment at Sunderland. The Black Cats were languishing at the foot of the Championship having failed to record a win when the Corkman arrived.
Following the appropriate fanfare and the arrival of several of Keane’s former teammates, attendances were up, the team were flying up the table and Keane was a hero.
There’s no denying that Gerrard’s arrival would help the club attract players of a calibre they could only dream of otherwise. Liverpool’s blossoming academy is another possible source of talent.
One or two shrewd signings, coupled with the enthusiasm Gerrard’s arrival would inject into both the players and fans could be enough to significantly close the gap on Celtic.
The standard of the Scottish Premier League has been on the slide for almost 20 years, Brendan Rodgers achievements at Celtic have been tempered by that fact. Rodgers’ side are undoubtedly the pinnacle but they are far from the elite level of the game. The fact that they may be on the verge of an unprecedented second consecutive domestic treble suggests an elevated level of quality, while the reality is that the competition is at an all-time low.
Gerrard has been reluctant to drop down the leagues in England to start his managerial career, yet some would suggest the Rangers job poses an even higher risk of fading into obscurity.
However, with a clear path to European football in his first season there aren’t many more attractive prospects available to Gerrard.
As a player, Steven Gerrard was never one to take the safe option and play the percentages. He’d rather take on a shot from an outlandish distance than play a sideways pass.
Rangers could be the first ‘Hail Mary’ of his career in management.