Steven Gerrard the Rangers

Steven Gerrard the RangersSo Steven Gerrard is the new manager of The Rangers. A bit of an odd decision for a number of reasons. And as 99.9 percent of the Scottish mainstream media can’t say anything negative as their tongues are so far up The Rangers arses at any given time, I’ll give it a shot.

Interesting on so many levels. A club who’s very short history includes throwing season ticket selling appointment Joey Barton under the bus, just as soon as the season tickets were sold, and they wanted that expensive contract cancelled. Their treatment of their previous managers in their exceptionally short existence didn’t appear to involve backing them under pressure, or showing support. In fact they were regularly undermined, and sacked, the second the heat was on the directors.

There is so much that could be said on so many different aspects of Gerrard’s decision. In terms of any career strategy, his possible understanding of the job and club, why for example did he not just wait for the England job come August? Southgate will be sacked after the World Cup, and there are so few top English managers. Ryan Giggs cottoned onto you can get away with being bad at management a lot longer at international level. A lot less games.

But it’s Gerrard’s psyche that interests me. A world class footballer, twelve months after retiring. What sort of person would Gerrard be, on a human level. What must it be like to have been so special since you were a teenager, so coveted, so adored, every time he walks into a room, he’s the star, he’s important, there will be whispering, there will be awe, always everywhere he goes. There will be abuse from opposition supporters, but only because they rated him, feared him. It’s been like this for him for more than twenty years.

Not just Gerrard, lots of great footballers of a generation now dealing with the come down. Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand, truly great, legendary players, people with enormous talent, and incredible work ethic who have deserved all the plaudits, all the money, and then one day in your mid thirties, it’s over, you’re not important anymore. How’s the boxing career going Rio? That Deadpool trailer filled a day eh David…

What they must have experienced must be incredible. Like nothing most of us can even imagine. Years ago I went to a Barcelona match at Camp Nou for a standard La Liga game. I stood on the street before the game quite a bit from the stadium, just looking at the architecture, the crowds heading in, and thought, how on earth can the footballers deal with this. Arriving for a game at this coliseum. The pressure, the expectation, the sheer incredible scale of it all. I felt nervous for them. Those at the top learn to deal with it, and thrive off it.

When they start out as footballers, they are just kids, not fully formed, emotionally, intellectually, they don’t know who they are as people yet. Their whole personality grows around that lifestyle. And they can work as hard as they can at humility, and gratitude, expressing how lucky they’ve been during their careers, but nothing can really prepare them for when it’s over.

There’s no longer a murmur when they enter the room. No buzz, no adrenalin shot.

How does that affect a person, when it stops. Retired footballer. Football coach. After dinner speaker. TV studio pundit spouting cliches. The guy who used to be.

They would do literally anything to get back in that spotlight. Be the main man again.

Let it bleed

I was watching a stand up show on Netflix  last week, from a comedian I hadn’t heard about before. John Mulaney, Kid Gorgeous at Radio City. He touches on famous people’s personalities, and perceptions of what is nice behaviour. It’s a stand up routine, not a psychologist’s academic paper.

It’s a good show, you might like it, he tells a story about when he was a writer on an episode of Saturday Night Live, the US topical sketch show. Mick Jagger was to be appearing as special guest. He spent a couple of hours working in a writers room with Jagger.

He asks, do you think Mick Jagger is a nice person? Someone who every time he stands on a stage, is told by everyone that he’s amazing, and has been getting this treatment for fifty years.

Of course not, he’s horrible. How could he not be. And it’s not a judgement on Jagger, it’s a judgement on how a personality becomes, after a lifetime of being treated like royalty.

Like royalty.

So maybe that’s why Steven Gerrard chose that club, that job…

The Happy clapper article that got the Twitter lot after me.
The history of art-Dandy Dons art.
The Dandiest front page ever.



Here are the top five Old Firm lies. Repeated regularly by the clubs and the succulent lamb Scottish media.

There is no such thing as the Old Firm.

Why are they here talking of their common aims. Discussing each other as one entity, an entity with a common goal, and an understanding that for business they come as a team. A combined business, going back many, many years. An old firm. The Old Firm.

Celtic and Rangers are a global brand.

Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan, Juventus and a few others are global brands in football. There are supporters in Florida, Beijing, Copenhagen, Melbourne, for whom those clubs are their number one team. There is another even bigger group of people from all over the world, for whom one of these clubs is their second team. A close second.

With a very few exceptions, Rangers and Celtic supporters living in these cities were born in Scotland, or Ireland. That is not a global brand.

Scottish football needs a strong Old Firm.

As ‘you know what’ edges closer to the Scottish Premiership this one is going to be getting repeated again and again. The only Scottish club which has suffered significantly since ‘you know what’ went under is, Celtic. A number of clubs, including Aberdeen, are doing better than they have in decades. If you want to see at what point Scottish football stopped developing talent, just pinpoint the day Graeme Souness became manager of Rangers, and the chequebook came out.

The EPL needs The Old Firm.

The English Premier League is arguably the most successful league in the world. Part of the reason it works is the sheer scale of the country.

Leeds United have been out of the EPL for about a decade. They are a huge team with a proud history. How many times have you heard, ‘the league isn’t quite the same without Leeds United’. Nottingham Forrest have two European Cups. Sheffield Wednesday, Wolves? And there are plenty others. Lots of character clubs large and small, how exactly do they need the Old Firm?

Added to the sheer stupidity of what possible reason would Manchester United, Aston Villa or Bournemouth want to vote in another rival, with potentially deep pockets, and a long journey to travel for away games.

The Old Firm is the biggest derby in the world/best derby in the world

Since ‘you know what’ went under never a day goes by without someone on CNN, or in a Rio de Janeiro cafe or a couple of goat herders trekking the Appalachian  Mountains saying ‘I really miss the Old Firm, it’s just not the same without that game’.

A derby by it’s nature is always the best derby in the world, if your team is in it. And ideally your team is winning. The sheer arrogance of the statement matches only it’s ignorance. Bless the Glasgow media.