This reminds me of the Terry Wigan show when he got the listeners to write in to fill it – except the music is worse. Bitofcommon, England.
I’m not sure who Terry Wigan is. There’s a venture capital and private equity professional from Glasgow on LinkedIn, but I don’t think he ever had his own show. If you mean Terry Wogan, then I’m happy to take any comparison, even one intended as an insult from someone who is, let’s face it, not the brightest bulb in the chandelier judging by the evidence presented.
Anyway, Wogan was a brilliant broadcaster and his audience interaction wasn’t filler – and neither are the posts here. They’re a springboard to create a new column – to revisit points and expand on them, to bat about different points of view, to take topics in a new direction, as vehicles for jokes, and music and off-shoot issues. Often, we veer away on tangents, intended to entertain or amuse. Want to hear my favourite Wigan joke, as told by Dave Spikey. A bloke from Wigan goes into Kwik-Fit. ‘Can you replace the spark plugs on this car?’ he asks. ‘Are they Champion?’ says the fitter. ‘No,’ the bloke replies. ‘They’re f***ed.’
Anyway, I’ve never calculated the word count of posts versus replies, but I reckon it’s fairly even between me and you lot. Sometimes a long post might get a response of one sentence, sometimes a sentence gets a reply that’s the length of a column lead. Anyway, whatever the difference this week, I reckon it’s worth it just for Dave Spikey’s spark plugs joke. As for the music, there’s good and bad news, Bitcommon. The bad news is you probably won’t like this. The good news is I don’t give a (that’s enough bonding with the readers for one day, Mart. Ed.)
Five points up next.iPhone transfer software
Point one: Steven Gerrard, Rangers manager.
I think it’s the perfect club for Gerrard. It’s just a question of whether the timing is right after less than a year as a coach and whether Rangers are stable enough at the moment. But if his long term aim is to manage Liverpool he stands more chance of getting it if he is successful at Rangers than at a Championship club – and if he can't improve them at all then management might not be for him. Fortier, Birmingham.
But don’t you think that is the crux of it? That so much hope and expectation will be heaped on him because Rangers is still seen as a big club, despite current evidence to the contrary in terms of their squad personnel. If Gerrard flops, or stays still pegged some distance behind Celtic, he will be seen as a failure in a way he might not at a Championship club in England with lower expectancies. I agree that if he makes an impact it will set him up for a return to Anfield in a way a decent stretch at Milton Keynes Dons may not – but that’s a very big if.
So many very good players have failed as managers but Gerrard isn’t going to get an easier start than in Scotland. If he was going to Celtic he’d be guaranteed to succeed, although if he doesn’t finish above them it’s failure. If he fails with Rangers, where does he go from there? He couldn’t go back to Liverpool. Redmist21, Port Talbot.
What a strange post. You first say it’s an easy start, and go on to spell out exactly why it is not before pointing out some pretty enormous pitfalls. I disagree with your last point, too. I think Gerrard has enough reserves of goodwill within Anfield to return whatever happens at Rangers. He would be going back in at the ground floor again, which would be a setback in his ultimate ambition to claim the top job.
Gerrard the hero player? The man who slipped and blew the title? Ha ha ha. The media are so deluded over Gerrard. He was a decent player who looked good playing in a rubbish team, a bit like Francesco Totti and Roma. If he played for a top team, he may have been on the bench for most of his career. Mia Malkova, United Kingdom.
Yet, amazingly, in this rubbish team, Gerrard won every club honour possible, bar the league title, including a Champions League final that he turned, and an FA Cup final that is as good as named after him. On his day, he was quite brilliant, as was Totti, who also won every domestic honour in Italy with his favourite club – oh, and the World Cup. One of my boys still plays football twice a week in his Roma top. Not because he loves Roma – but because, unlike you, he knows a player when he sees one.
Why would Rangers have a chance? Gerrard has zero management experience. Has no one told Samuel that a great player doesn’t automatically equal a great coach or manager? Johnny Drama 2, Grenada.
More pertinently, has no-one explained the column to Johnny Drama. I wasn’t saying Gerrard would make a great manager because he was a great player. I was saying great players, like himself, were what he would be short of if he took the Rangers job. I illustrated this by pointing out that when Graeme Souness went there in 1986 he was player-manager, so had at least one world class talent to call upon. Everyone else seemed to understand, Johnny. That’s why they didn’t feel the need for lectures.
Steven Gerrard is on the brink of leaving Anfield to become manager of Rangers
I think, Martin, you underestimate Gerrard. Not only was he the most physically dominant midfielder in the history of English football but he also had the tactical nous and strategic awareness to employ his abilities to their greatest extent. It’s a tragedy and a blight on our game that he was never allowed to become a Premier League winner when players like Luke Chadwick and Wes Morgan were. Just as he did against AC Milan in 2005, Gerrard with sheer will and unrivalled football knowledge, will grab the whole club by the bootstraps, galvanise them into a formidable unit and turn a hopeless situation into a triumphant one. Then he’ll move back to Anfield and for a quarter of a century fulfil his destiny to become both the greatest player and manager in history. Roger Hodger, Brighton.
I cannot work out if you truly are the biggest believer in Gerrard’s talents or merely winding us up, but I’ll take your thoughts at face value for the sake of argument. I thought Gerrard was a wonderful player, too, but I’m not sure he had the tactical and strategic awareness you laud. One of the reasons Rafa Benitez, for instance, often didn’t use him in a central role with Liverpool was that he thought he deserted the position and went chasing the ball. Equally, his partnership with Frank Lampard for England was hardly a triumph of strategy and tactics. Indeed, much of his international career was a disappointment, given his enormous talent. Also, players are not ‘allowed’ to win league titles – there are 19 clubs across 38 games trying to stop them. It disregards the achievement of a club such as Leicester to say Wes Morgan was allowed his winners medal. I hope Gerrard does exactly what you predict at Rangers, and it would be incredible if he could return to Liverpool in triumph and replicate success there, too – but I fear it will be a lot harder than you suggest, throughout, starting at Ibrox.
Why mention Joe Hart and Daniel Sturridge? You know that there’s not a chance in hell of them dropping over £100,000 per week to earn £20,000 in a league with a much lower standard – and both would effectively be waving goodbye to their England careers. Gerrard will be taking on a poisoned chalice. Celtic will financially outmuscle Rangers for any player they want. Cash is king these days, and going to a club purely to work under a big name former player doesn’t really factor into a players’ thought processes. I think Gerrard needs a gig where he will be given a substantial number of seasons to progress and develop as a manager. He won’t get that at Rangers if Celtic continue to dominate, which they will. Hendrox, Newcastle.
Well, I mentioned Hart and Sturridge for exactly the reasons you detail – to illustrate how times have changed. Souness took England internationals such as Chris Woods and Terry Butcher because Rangers could at least match their salaries and, with English clubs out of Europe at the time, going to Scotland was seen as a positive move. I took two senior England internationals who may have difficulty maintaining a career at the elite end of the Premier League in England, Hart and Sturridge, and showed why a transfer to Scotland would involve a severe drop financially, and might be unappealing professionally, too. The same points you made, pretty much. And now, time to get our collars felt. But first, this.
Point two: Keeping them peeled.
Martin – so you can tell your media friends why the Roma lads were undetected at Anfield. They casually walked up from waste land opposite the Kop. It was a time when most supporters were in the queues to enter the ground, earlier than the 7.35pm reported. I was in the ground at 7.30pm but had already seen the chaos they had caused by the attack . Nobody would have thought this was going to happen. Lads were walking in small groups not showing colours but in a split second gathered together to attack anyone in the way. As soon as the impact was realised, police and supporters got involved and chased them. As usual the Roma fans have more reverse gears than any others. Don’t for a minute say the police were inadequate on this incident. You were in the safety of your privileged location of the press box when you decided to report what you thought went on. How sad are you? Inoffthepost, Liverpool.
I didn’t report anything. I commented. There’s a difference. I commented based on a photograph of Liverpool supporters standing on top of a police van against a backdrop of pyrotechnics. That seemed a little too softly-softly for me – certainly so soon after the Manchester City bus had been attacked. Merseyside Police are very sensitive to the criticism they have received over that, but I’ve got no sympathy here, except for the victims. Anfield matches are taking place on their watch, and on their watch a team coach has been attacked and rendered unusable, and a Liverpool fan has been beaten half to death. This is in consecutive home games in Europe which doesn’t strike me as efficient policing. My colleague Dominic King was walking around outside Anfield before the Roma match and when he came back he said there were groups of threatening looking Roma fans, acting suspiciously, not wearing colours. He thought it looked ominous then. And, yes, some hooligan groups are hard to detect – but the police are law enforcement professionals. Shouldn’t they have people in their ranks with a nose for trouble? They are supposed to be on the lookout for anything suspicious, certainly with a group as notorious as Roma’s Ultras. The Cambridge Rapist helpfully wore a balaclava with the word ‘RAPIST’ on the front, but not all criminals are so brazen. That’s where detection comes in, surely. And if the police are not even motivated to stop fans using their van as a viewing platform it strikes me as a dereliction of duty. What if it were needed to respond to an emergency?
As for my privileged position, what do you think – we stay there all week waiting for the game to start? We are parachuted in? We emerge from underground tunnels? We walk, through crowds, the same as you. That is why one of