The move was confirmed by both clubs on Thursday morning following days of intense speculation, with Gerrard set to take his Ibrox backroom staff with him to Villa Park including assistant Gary McAllister and first-team coach Michael Beale.
The timing of the departure leaves the Ibrox club with a significant void to fill ahead of their upcoming League Cup semi-final against Hibs at Hampden on November 21, which is followed four days later by a crucial Europa League fixture at home to Sparta Prague.
Gerrard’s mid-season exit, leaving Rangers four points clear at the top of the Premiership on the back of a guiding the club to their first title in 10 years, draws parallels with Brendan Rodgers move from Celtic to Leicester City in 2019 – which brought a wave of criticism from angry Hoops fans who turned on their successful former boss for leaving midway through the nine-in-a-row campaign.
A section of Rangers fans have reacted in a similar fashion to Gerrard’s untimely exit with disparaging comments such as “snide” and “snake” mentioned among more irate replies to the club’s post confirming the announcement on Twitter, while other fans have accepted the news.
Here is a selection of Rangers fans’ responses to the news:
Brodie (@BrodieM1992): Zero respect for him. Leaving us in this situation and likely to decimate our squad even further by coming in for our key players. You have a mammoth task to replace him and it has to be someone special. We lose out on the league, it’ll not only be on him it’ll be on the board.
Gary Hayhoe (@Hazzybar): Thanks for 55 SG but you have let yourself and everyone at Ibrox down with the timing of your departure. I’m sure in years to come you will realise just what you have walked away from!!
Gav Alexander (@_GavAlexander): Disappointing, but we move on. This is modern football & why we have Ross Wilson, we gave Gerrard a platform to showcase his ability & he built us back up to the standards we should be at, leaving us as champions with a good squad, and a far more attractive proposition than when
Ian Wyllie (@ian_wyllie): I am a very sad Rangers fan today. Gerrard brought us fans immence happiness during the pandemic. All the best gaffer. Now on to Hampden.
Dave Caldwell (@davecaldwell66): Don't wish him any harm but hope he fails miserably. He has let the club and supporters down badly.
Wayne Jameson (@w_jameson54): Thanks for last season SG. 55 was delivered and the whole of Scotland subsequently had a meltdown. Leaving mid season leaves a sour taste. Lesson to be learned is that the only loyalty in football comes from the fans. We move on.
Scott Cameron (@Cammy26_2): Thanks for leaving us in a better shape than in 2018, the joy of 55 and euro nights won't be forgotten Club need to make next manager one to keep us moving forward. This will test Ross Wilson and succession planning. The club/support is always bigger than any individual.
Tam (@ThomasAB05): He dragged us by the scruff of the neck from arguably our worst top flight team in history to winning the league at a canter and will always be grateful for that. We’ve lost bigger and better in the past, we will be fine
Craig Welsh (@Welshy2686): Hard not to be annoyed at the timing of this deal. Gerrard and his coaches have done a great job to make us champions as well as good runs in Europe. SPFL is less attractive place without him. Trying not to be bitter
Stewart (@Stewmacl2021): Thank you Steven for your efforts, for restoring pride in our club and for number 55. I can’t help but feel this is a decision you’ll live to regret but good luck regardless.
Ryan Smith (@RyannSmithh95): Unforgivable to leave at this time of the season, semi final coming up, must win game in Europe to progress and a chance of automatic champions league group stage football and 40M.
Craig Lin (@CraigLin): Thanks for 55, but your empty words and decision to leave half way through the season is unforgivable in my eyes.