A number of Rangers fans have been left enraged by the timing of Steven Gerrard’s move to Aston Villa, after his departure was confirmed on Thursday morning.
The Liverpool legend took over at Ibrox in 2018, since leading the prolific club to an historic 55th Scottish Premiership title last season, breaking Celtic’s sequence of nine in a row and going the entire league campaign unbeaten.
Gerrard now exits the club at a decisive stage of the season, with the Scottish champions sat just four points ahead of rivals Celtic, with a League Cup semi-final against Hibernian just 10 days away and qualification for the Europa League knockouts in their hands.
Aston Villa have announced the appointment of Steven Gerrard as their new manager
The Liverpool legend guided Rangers to an historic Scottish Premiership title last season
Rangers, who have been paid a total of £2.5million in compensation, announced the news across their social media platforms, with chairman Douglas Park thanking Gerrard for his work over the last three-and-a-half years.
Meanwhile, Sporting Director Ross Wilson insisted both Gerrard and his backroom staff will always be welcome at Ibrox.
That message has not quite translated to a large proportion of the fans, however, who feel they have been let down at such a pivotal moment of the campaign.
In response to Rangers’ statement on Twitter, one fan wrote: ‘Sad sad day. I would like to thank him for what he’s done for our great club but I will never forgive him for leaving us at this time and I have lost ALL respect for him now. NO ONE is bigger than the club.’
Another wrote: ‘Appreciate the work he done in the 3 years, from a shambles to Champions. Sadly, a very snide exit is a poor way to end.’
One fan, clearly unsure of how to take the news, wrote: ‘Divided on this today. Raging that he’s done it with a must win Europe game and a semi-final coming up but also we all knew his loyalty was never to Rangers in the long-term and I want someone who can win and loves the club. Who’s next?’
A number of Ranges fans were left fuming due to the timing of Gerrard’s exit to Aston Villa
Particularly, a number of Rangers fans believe Gerrard has not stayed true to his word, having played down talk of an exit as recently as October.
Asked about the surrounding speculation, having been linked to the vacant Newcastle job, a place since taken by Eddie Howe, Gerrard responded with: ‘Do I look happy, do I look settled, don’t ask me silly questions then.’
Gerrard boasted an impressive 64.6 per cent win record while in Scotland – graphic from SofaScore
Additionally, after being confirmed as Scottish champions for the first time a decade in March last year, Gerrard insisted more was to come.
He then said: ‘There is more to come and the next thing for me, when you win, it is always about what is next. I am so proud of the players first and foremost — they are the most important people inside the club.
‘I always said the first one would be the hardest. But I am hungry for more and I hope my players share that with me. If they do then it is exciting times to be a Rangers fan.’
One angry fan wrote: ‘Cheers for the memories but it’s a bit s****y leaving halfway through after saying a few weeks ago he was going nowhere. Leaves a decent manager but a few cups short of a legend.’
Another wrote: ‘Absolute snake. Hope you get them relegated. Absolutely no well wishes from me doing that at this point in the season.’
More fans were disappointed after Gerrard had strongly quashed talk of an imminent exit
Indeed, Gerrard has received some fierce backlash to the news of his exit, but there are a number of fans who have instead thanked their former boss for his services.
Though always insisting he was happy with the Gers, a move down south allows the former England captain to spend more time with his family, who still live in the Liverpool area.
It is also no secret that Gerrard’s ultimate goal is to manage Liverpool, the club with which he is synonymous after a glittering playing career at Anfield. Bringing success to Villa could be his final stepping stone to his dream job, once Jurgen Klopp eventually departs.
That sentiment was echoed by a number of fans, one of which wrote: ‘Our fans that are calling him a rat etc get a grip of yourselves man. We will miss him. Hope he does great things at Villa.’
Another wrote: ‘Thanks for transforming our football club and putting us back where we belong.’
One optimistic fan chimed in, stating: ‘As disappointing as it is, lets see how the players react. With the right appointment we could get a new manager bounce coming into a tough couple of months. This could very well be a blessing in disguise.’
Other fans insisted Gerrard should be thanked after turning the club’s fortunes right around