Next Rangers manager: Steven Gerrard pros and cons, Michael Beale and the man Ross Wilson knows well
Over three seasons it became a marriage of success. Rangers impressed in Europe and finally won its 55th title. Now, with the club on the hunt for a new manager following Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s sacking, and Gerrard available after being relieved of his duties at Aston Villa, it could well be a marriage of convenience.
When you scour the bookmakers' shortlist it is noticeable how far down he is. One outlet has him at the same odds as Livingston boss David Martindale and behind the likes of Marcelo Gallardo and Gerardo Seoane, as well as odds-on favourite Michael Beale who worked under him at Ibrox. There simply doesn't appear to be a groundswell of desire to have him back.
"I wouldn't be into it," said Adam Thornton, the Rangers fan who quite literally wrote the book about his time in charge – ‘Gerrard’s Blueprint: The tactical philosophy behind Rangers' 55th title triumph’. “I don't really like to go back. I don’t know if it is the book fatigue or not, but when Van Bronckhorst was appointed I wasn’t thrilled with it, it probably was a sensible appointment but felt like being more of the same. It turned out not to be as cohesive as that but broadly the same approach. I wanted a big change, someone coming in who is a more attacking manager, who will play high intensity football.
"I think I am still at that stage to be honest, particularly with all the players potentially going in the summer, there is a chance to have a bit of a refresh. Rangers fans, football fans in general, always want to go back to the last safe point – ‘When was the last time I was happy? Who was the manager?’. You also have the added complication Michael Beale isn't there as well. I very much doubt we would get that dream team back together so it is not going to be exactly the same as it was.
"Most of the discussion surrounds whether we should appoint Michael Beale rather than we should appoint Steven Gerrard."
The right time
Is Beale, who knows the club so well and remains popular, a more attractive proposition? It wasn't so long ago that, while QPR boss, he called Ibrox "my home".
“He’s being doing very, very well down there," Thornton said. “I think he’s a really good coach, a really good man manager. He develops young players very, very well. I think it would still be a big risk on both sides.
“He seemed to pave himself into a corner when the Wolves job came up and how he was invested in the project at QPR. I can’t see, three or four weeks later, turning ship and coming back up to Glasgow. It would be something both parties would be interested in but I don’t think it is the right time.”
Gerrard: Pros and cons
Back to Gerrard. A huge name in the world of football but who failed at Aston Villa, sacked as fan pressure became vociferous. Former chairman Dave King reckons the former Liverpool captain was pushed out the club due to boardroom decisions. Yet, all was far from perfect on the field when the move to Birmingham happened a year ago.
“You can say many things about Steven Gerrard but he had a stature and got the respect we hadn't seen in a long time at Rangers," Thornton said. “ You would hope there is a little bit more money to spend than Gerrard had in his last couple of windows. There is that side of it which could be quite attractive to him if the board are willing to back him to re-energise the squad. It’s also possible there could be an upturn in the players who really enjoyed playing under Gerrard and maybe dipped since he's gone.
“It really wasn't great domestically before he left. We were four points clear at the top of the league but Celtic were still finding their feet, getting used to the manager's style. It wasn't great and Europe hadn’t been great either. I think everyone is probably of the opinion that we wouldn't have got to the Europa League final if Gerrard had stayed given the way things were going. If things were going stale at the start of the last year with Gerrard maybe some people would think ‘what has changed in a year’. He has lost Michael Beale which arguably makes him less of a stronger unit than he would be coming back.”
Dyche and Hasenhüttl
This period is always an interesting one for fans as the merits of managers linked are weighed up, including Sean Dyche.
"It's a tricky one." Thornton admitted. “Rangers fans always want to balance it with having a manager who has this great character. Personally, we don’t put enough emphasis on an attacking style of play. There are obviously candidates out there. I wouldn’t be a big fan of Sean Dyche. I just don't think that style of play is something we would want up in Scotland. That doesn’t suit a team which dominates the ball. I think it was fantastic for Burnley. I think there is a reason Premier League clubs and top end Championship clubs are knocking down Sean Dyche’s door. I don't think it's a great fit on the footballing side but a great fit with what fans want in personality and passion.
“Ralph Hasenhüttl who Ross Wilson knows very, very well (from Southampton). He has experience of British football but also being able to play football in a more attacking way.”
‘Gerrard's Blueprint: The tactical philosophy behind Rangers’ 55th title triumph’ can be bought HERE
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.