The Gerrard Express has not yet left Lime Street.
Rangers are still negotiating with Steven Gerrard, the deal is live and at an advance stage. Unlike previous recent managerial appointments at Ibrox the process is almost wholly in the hands of Director of Football Mark Allen.
Until the contract is signed things can still hit the buffers – but the timing of the Old Firm match tomorrow means it was never likely to be announced before next week – and would have been kept under wraps had it not been for a leak from a source down south. If he comes expect a tight group of staff to accompany him.
Another vital figure in the process, largely overlooked by journalists, has been the Rangers chief scout Andy Scoulding, who previously worked at Liverpool FC and is a personal friend of Gerrard’s.
My personal thoughts are mixed but considering the shambles the club is it’s been remarkable this deal was so far advanced before leaking. Personally, I’d have preferred to push the boat out and get in an experienced manger with a proven track record. Gerrard will be gamble. It won’t be a gamble like the iconic Souness who came in at a very opportune time and exploded like a neutron bomb on the Scottish scene – able to use his own prestige to attract players at a time when the English game was rocked – remember we bought the England captain and goalkeeper at the time!
Gerrard, if he signs on, will however have advantages gained from his years of experience and his high profile – those will enable him, if he works at it, to draw in a higher calibre of recruit than we would normally be able to attract simply on a financial basis. But we cannot rely on that alone. It will need hard cash.
From studying the club accounts and bits and pieces of info picked up in my travels I expect (although I could be wrong) the forthcoming share issue and conversation of loans to bring in anywhere between £15m and £20m depending on the exact structure of the issue (some shareholders may, for instance convert loans to shares of keep their money as loans). That will be decent money but not transformative. It will be a welcome boost to the regular income of the club.
When trying to recruit Derek McInnes the club gave Mark Allen a budget to work to – and he selected targets in that price range. Due to a combination of McInnes’s behaviour and the Board making extra cash available I believe the final package he was offered was just over £600,000 a year as things developed and Aberdeen piled on more cash to keep him at Pittodrie. That gives you an idea of the sums involved, Gerrard will not be so cheap.
If we do get Gerrard in as a manager it will be a gamble but it could also be a chance for the club to kickstart itself out of the mess it is in and spark necessary changes in other departments. One won’t work without the other.
30 plus years since the Souness Revolution this is a bold move – if it comes off we all have to grab the opportunities by the scruff of the neck.