In football, there are various options for a player to stay in the game post-retirement.
One can become a commentator (like Jamie Carragher), a manager (like Patrick Viera), a development coach (like Leighton Baines), or take up a boardroom role (like Edwin Van Der Sar).
You need not stick to your chosen role either. Managers can easily transition to the TV studios, just ask Gary Neville and Thierry Henry.
After all, going into management is probably the most high-profile and riskiest option of them all – just ask Steven Gerrard.
Gerrard started his managerial career as a youth coach at Liverpool before moving to Rangers in 2018.
The ex-player’s time at the Scottish club was one that was considered extremely successful. Celtic, their rival, was aiming for a record-tying ten consecutive titles when Gerrard was hired.
The burden was on the new man, and he and his squad more than lived up to it, going undefeated throughout the league season, winning 32 of 38, tallying 92 goals while only giving up 13, and, most importantly, winning the Scottish Premiership title.
Gerrard had an incredibly high win percentage of 64% during his time at the club. This was when Aston Villa came calling for his signature.
Unfortunately for Stevie G, the Premier League and the Premiership are only similar sounding in name – not difficulty.
The English League is largely considered the toughest league in the world, the pinnacle of club football, a league where very few can find success. Gerrard’s time at Villa Park only drives this point home.
Gerrard had a fairly good start to his career when he joined the club in November last year. He came in halfway through the 21/22 season, winning 4 out of his first six games, losing only to Manchester City and Liverpool.
The new manager bounce did not last for long, however, as he lost 5 matches out of the next 8, and managed to win only once.
Overall, Villa ended the season placed 14th in the table – lower than expectations but still content given they had a new man in the dugout.
A summer of bedding-in has not yielded anything better though.
In fact, they are far worse. In the 11 matches they have played thus far, Villans have managed to win only two, accumulating a grand total of 9 points.
His win percentage has been 33%, which is disastrously low.
Things were already looking very shaky for Gerrard as Villa were down in 17th, but the latest 3-0 defeat against Fulham sealed the deal for his time at the club.
The stats, the fans, and the boardroom – none were in his favour anymore.
Last night, it was announced that Steven Gerrard is leaving the club. The club statement read, “We would like to thank Steven for his hard work and commitment and wish him well for the future.”
Villa fans, however, did not seem so grateful for his commitment. During the Fulham game, they were seen singing songs about his infamous slip, and also loudly voicing their strong opinions regarding his departure, saying, “Steven Gerrard, get out of our club!”
Could an argument be made that Gerrard should have been given more time to see out his project, like Klopp was given during his early days at Liverpool or Arteta was given in Arsenal?
Probably, but considering the situation is a lot direr here than it was for either of those two, it’s easy to see why he wasn’t.
With players like Coutinho, Martinez, Buendia, Luiz, Konsa, and Ings – fighting relegation should not have been the scenario at Villa.
If ambitious plans are not met with results, the plan is given time. But if the plans are met with failure that could lead to a catastrophic future for the club, it’s best to end it before it gets worse.
As they say, precaution is better than cure.
It has been rumoured that the club is prepared to provide one of the highest salaries in football in order to entice one of the best coaches as the search for their new manager gets underway.
Villa fans are hoping for the likes of Mauricio Pochettino and Thomas Tuchel as they are both now unemployed.
Time alone will tell who will manage Villa in the future. As for Gerrard, his win percentages are as bad as those of Gary Neville and Tim Sherwood – both of whom never got into coaching ever again.
Punditry it is?