WHEN Steven Gerrard left Rangers in the Scottish Premier League (SPL) a few months into the season for Aston Villa in the English Premier League (EPL) just this past week, I felt bad for his former squad.

I can understand leaving because of a better opportunity. But in my opinion, he should have finished the year because there would have been an opening in the EPL by season’s end anyways.

One can make the argument that openings for a big club might not be there. Really? If you ask me, the jobs of the managers of Watford, Southampton, and Leicester might be in jeopardy. There’s Manchester United but that will definitely not be a stop for Gerrard owing to his Liverpool roots.

It is an obvious move to England so when Jurgen Klopp decides to vacate his seat at Liverpool, Gerrard can slide back in.

Think of how the officials, staff, players, and fans of Rangers must feel. While other SPL clubs especially Celtic might gloat—they shouldn’t. Didn’t Brendan Rodgers leave them as well for a return to the EPL with Leicester City?

Furthermore, what does that say about the SPL as a whole?

They’re like a brief stopover until some folks decide to go south of the border to England.

Although one can never compare the EPL to the SPL because the comparisons are oceans apart.

The EPL has the best load of managerial talent in Pep Guardiola, Klopp, Thomas Tuchel, Rafa Benitez, Marcelo Bielsa, Antonio Conte, and Claudio Ranieri to name but a few.

They have the lion’s share of football talent, the best television revenue, and largest fan base in the world.

Still…. I think Steven Gerrard should have finished this season with Rangers then depart if he wishes so. I think everyone in the blue side of Glasgow knows he wasn’t going to stay long.

The die has been cast.

Gerrard is at Aston Villa where he won his first match as boss, 2-1, over Brighton Hove Albion just this past Saturday.

And I remember a quote by Jurgen Klopp when he first joined Liverpool where he said, “It’s not so important what people think when you come in…. It’s much more important what people think when you leave.”

Gerrard joined Rangers during the 2018-19 season; two seasons after their return to the EPL. Rangers were in third place then with Celtics on their way to their seventh consecutive title. They finished second over the next two seasons before winning it all during the 2020-21 season while staying undefeated.

When Gerrard left them, Rangers defeated Ross County, 4-2, and atop the table with a 9-3-1 record; four points ahead of Celtic (8-2-3) – 30-26.

So in that regard, he did take Rangers over the hump.

The onus should be on the SPL management who should make it in their plans to turn their league into one of the best in the world and not as a league for managers to cool their heels before taking the train down south to London.

Now all Rangers fans can do is hope that new manager Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, who played for their club from 1998-2001 (scoring 13 goals in 73 appearances) can help them retain the title over a hard-charging Celtic.

Their next match is this November 26 against Sparta Prague in Europa League play then return to the SPL to take on Livingston (in 10 spot in a league of 12) on November 28

Now, their season really begins.

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