New Rangers Manager Steven Gerrard to succeed? – An FM Experiment

New Rangers manager Steven Gerrard during the press conference at Ibrox. Photograph: Scott Heppell/Reuters

“I am honoured to become the next manager of Rangers. I have enormous respect for this football club, and its history and tradition” – Steven Gerrard during his first press conference at Ibrox

Liverpool hero Steven Gerrard has signed a 4 year contract to become the new manager of Rangers FC. He has brought in fellow Liverpool man Gary McAllister to serve as his assistant manager, and has already expressed his ambitions for the future of the club.
Will he succeed as Rangers boss? That’s what I’m here to find out! I will create a simulation on Football Manager 2018 to see how his first season goes, whilst being assisted by Gary McAllister

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Klopp claims Gerrard is destined to be a club manager and says he will support him whatever the Reds legend decides to do.

To make it a bit more interesting, I’ve also added Liverpool as a feeder club for Rangers, to see what players Steven Gerrard makes moves for, this is something that is likely to happen in real life, so adding it to the simulation is something that would add to the experiment.

Let’s get into it.

Pre Season

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Rangers kicked off their pre-season campaign with an away trip to sunny Denmark where they played out a 3-2 win over Esbjerg fB. The goals were scored by Jamie Murphy,  Eduardo Herrera, and Joe Dodoo.

9 days later, the boys flew back to Glasgow for their annual friendly with affiliate club Cambuslang Rangers. They pulled away to a 3-0 win thanks to goals from Niko Kranjcar, Jamie Murphy, and Dalcio.

Their 3rd pre-season friendly was an away day in Netherlands against Eredivisie side Heracles Almelo. Joe Dodoo and Jason Cummings scored second half goals to give Rangers their third win out of three to cap off their pre-season.

Europa League

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Rangers kicked off their Europa League campaign in the first qualifying round. Their first match was an away trip to Malta to face Premier League side Floriana. They came away with a 2-0 win, and proceeded to batter them 4-0 back on home soil.

This sent them through to the second qualifying round in which they started with a home tie against Danish Superliga side Brondby IF. Rangers managed to pick up 2-1 victories in both the home and away ties to progress to the third qualifying round.

This is where it got tricky. Their first game was against Russian side Krasnodar at the Ibrox. 37 year old striker Kenny Miller opened the scoring in the 34th minute with a low driven shot from the edge of the box, only to be cancelled out by Fedor Smolov in the 76th minute. This meant that they needed to pick up a result over in Russia. Unfortunately this did not happen. Rangers bowed out after a 2-0 defeat by Krasnodar.

Betfred Cup

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Rangers got their Betfred Cup campaign underway with a match at the Ibrox against Ladbrokes League 1 side Airdrie. Goals to Jason Holt, Eduardo Herrera, Andy Halliday and Jordan Houston gave them a 4-0 win and free passage through to the quarter final where they would travel to Kirkcaldy to face Raith Rovers.

Rangers went 2-0 up after early first half goals from Jamie Barjonas and Eduardo Herrera, but those goals were cut out in the second half by Dario Zanatta and Greig Spence. The match then went all the way to penalties where Rangers came out on top 4-2 to advance them to the semi-final stage in which they had been drawn against fellow Ladbrokes Premier League side Partick Thistle.

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The semi-final and final were to be played at Hampden Park in Glasgow, the home of the national team, and what a beautiful stadium it is.
Rangers turned up to what could be considered their first challenge in the Betfred Cup so far, still with the intentions of going all the way.
And that is what they did! A clean sheet for Wes Foderingham in goal and goals to Graham Dorrans and Alfredo Morelos gave the boys in blue a 2-0 win and a trip to the Betfred Cup Final where they were to face their biggest rivals, Celtic.

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Steven Gerrard wins his first trophy in his new role as Rangers manager with a 2-1 win over all-time rivals Celtic! A massive congratulations to Steven Gerrard. Surely this is the first of many trophies.

Scottish Cup

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Rangers Scottish Cup campaign wasn’t as successful as they were knocked out by Hibernian in the 5th round. Previously, Rangers had travelled to the west coast town of Ayr and come away with a 3-0 win thanks to a brace from Alfredo Morelos and a stoppage time goal from Eduardo Herrera.
Rangers could now focus on the Ladbrokes Premiership, and their quest to dethrone Celtic.

Ladbrokes Premiership

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This is how Gerrard’s first season as Rangers boss ended, with Rangers only managing to achieve a 3rd placed finish. The start of the season was the most successful part for Rangers, going unbeaten in their first 7 matches before losing their first game to Hamilton Academical. They then managed back to back losses at Aberdeen. Then followed another 7 game unbeaten strike for Rangers, before losing two in a row away from home to Ross County and Partick Thistle. They then failed to get a win in their last 7 matches, managing 4 draws and 3 losses. This meant that they finished 3rd in the table coming up to the Premier League split.

For those of you that don’t know, the Scottish Premier League has what is called a ‘split’ at the end of the season. The 12 teams in the table are split into two groups. The top 6, and the bottom 6. The top six teams play each other once, and the bottom six teams play each other once. This determines the final standings.

This meant that they had to play Celtic, Aberdeen, Hibernian, Motherwell and Hearts

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Rangers managed to pick up 3 wins and 2 losses from the playoff sector of the Scottish Premier League, meaning that they stayed in 3rd position for the season.

So how does Steven Gerrard’s first season compare to real life? Let’s compare!

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No surprise as to who won the league with Celtic asserting the same dominance in-game as they do in real life. Aberdeen finished 2nd but a long way off of Celtic’s points total, once again similar to in real life. Rangers finished in 3rd place behind Aberdeen but totalled quite a few less points than they did in real life this season.

Hamilton Academical were relegated from the Scottish Premier League whereas in real life, it is looking likely to be Ross County who will be facing the drop this season. They sit bottom of the table 2 points behind Partick Thistle and require a win over 8th placed St. Johnstone away from home to save themselves. Not looking likely.

So overall, Steven Gerrard did not have as successful a season as Rangers have had in real life, but that isn’t to say he is not going to do it in real life.

How do you think Steven Gerrard will do? Let us know in the comments section!

Here are some other articles you might be interested in:

How to Manage in the MLS: An FM Guide
How would Arsenal’s 2003-2004 ‘Invincibles’ team perform in modern football?
‘Started from the bottom now we here’ – An FM Guide: Going from Semi-Pro to Pro

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