Steven Gerrard has been confirmed as the new Aston Villa manager, replacing Dean Smith who was sacked last weekend.
The Villans endured a torrid start to the 2021/22 season, picking up just 10 points from their opening 11 Premier League matches to sit 16th. Five consecutive defeats going into the international break was the final straw for the board, calling an end to Smith’s three-year tenure.
But they wasted very little time in appointing Smith’s appointment, with Gerrard snapped up from Rangers on a three-and-a-half-year deal, with the first aim of steadying the ship at Villa Park. According to reports, Villa will also pay between £3.25m-£4m to Rangers for Gerrard and his assistant Gary McAllister, who will also be making the move from Glasgow to the West Midlands.
Villa will be Gerrard’s second senior club as a manager, after Rangers, but Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow also looked at the 41-year-old’s time with Liverpool’s academy when deciding to offer him the job.
“Since moving into coaching after his illustrious playing career, Steven began by managing and developing top young players in the Liverpool FC Academy which is experience we value highly at Aston Villa,” he said in a statement released on the club’s official website.
“He then took the brave decision to test himself in the intense and high pressured environment of the Scottish Old Firm. His subsequent achievement in winning the Premiership title with Glasgow Rangers really caught our eye as did his experience in Europe.
Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa odds with Sky Bet…
- Aston Villa to finish in the top half of the Premier League in 2021/22 (9/2)
- Aston Villa to finish in the top four of the Premier League in 2022/23 (16/1)
- Aston Villa to win their next three Premier League games against Brighton, Crystal Palace and Man City (66/1)
- Aston Villa to finish in the top half of the Premier League and win the FA Cup in 2021/22 (125/1)
- Aston Villa to win the Premier League in 2022/23 (150/1)
- Aston Villa to go unbeaten in Premier League until January 1, 2022 (250/1)
18+ only. Be Gamble Aware. All odds in this article are correct at 15:30, 04/11/2021.
“It has been very clear in our discussions with him that Steven’s coaching ambitions, philosophy and values entirely match those of Aston Villa.
“We are excited he has agreed to lead us in the next phase of our ambitious plans as we look to build on the progress made since Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens took over the club in 2018.”
Gerrard also spoke of Aston Villa’s long-term plans, adding: “In my conversations with Nassef, Wes and the rest of the board, it was apparent how ambitious their plans are for the club and I am looking forward to helping them achieve their aims.
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everybody associated with Glasgow Rangers for giving me the opportunity to manage such an iconic football club. Helping them secure a record-breaking 55th league title will always hold a special place in my heart. I would like to wish the players, staff and supporters the very best for the future.”
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Gerrard joins Villa off the back of a successful stint in charge of Rangers in which he turned the Glasgow club from Scottish Premiership title outsiders to champions within three years. After cutting his teeth with the Liverpool academy, Gerrard took over at third-placed Rangers in 2018, replacing Jimmy Nicholl who was caretaker after Graeme Murty’s departure (Pedro Caixinha has also left his role earlier in the 2017/18 campaign).
In his first season with Rangers, Gerrard took the club up to second, just nine points behind Celtic (cutting the gap from 12 the previous season). They also reached the semi-finals of the Scottish League Cup and Scottish Cup quarter-finals, while bowing out of the Europa League at the group stages. A year later, Rangers were Scottish League Cup runners-up, Scottish Cup quarter-finalists again and made it to the knockout stages of the Europa League, while finishing 13 points behind Celtic at the league’s curtailment.
Five teams have completed a 38-game top-flight season unbeaten this century:
◉ Arsenal (03/04)
◉ Juventus (11/12)
◉ Celtic (16/17)
◉ Rangers (20/21)
◎ FK Crvena zvezda (20/21)
The captain of the first and managers of three others are in charge of a Premier League club. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/u7wluBDOaT
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 11, 2021
But that gap was wiped out last season as Gerrard took Rangers to their first league title in a decade, ending Celtic’s nine-year stranglehold of the Premiership, while also bringing up the club’s 55th success. Rangers finished the league season unbeaten and a massive 25 points clear of Celtic, dropping just 12 points, scoring 92 goals and conceding just 13. Overall, Gerrard had 192 games in the Rangers dugout, winning 124, drawing 41 and losing 27.
How did Villa’s Gerrard appointment go down with fans?
The appointment was met by a mixed reaction among Villa fans.
I cannot wait to see the Steven Gerrard version of John McGinn. #AVFC
— Patrick Murphy (@EvoflashUK) November 11, 2021
‘So weird. Have hated him for so many years, an absolute nemesis in his playing days. Will take some time getting used to,’ wrote one Reddit user (for context, Gerrard scored 12 Premier League goals against Villa in his career, the most he managed against any club).
Another wrote: ‘Never wanted Smith to go but actually think this is a smart appointment. Brings the kudos of the club up (because Gerrard will bring more attention than Smith), might help our recruitment with players wanting to play for him and realistically, I think he will get the club. He’s obviously got a lot of love for Liverpool and I think he understands what a large part of the area Villa is. Good luck I guess’
There were also mixed feelings among Rangers fans (albeit more toward the negative end of the spectrum).
Thanks for 55 SG but you have let yourself and everyone at Ibrox down with the timing of your departure. I’m sure in years to come you will realise just what you have walked away from!!
— Gary Hayhoe (Ha55y) (@Hazzybar) November 11, 2021
Rangers win the league.
Aston Villa relegated.
Gerrard gets sacked.
Gerrard then covers our champions league games next season in the BT studio.
— Gavin Macdonald (@GavinMac1994) November 11, 2021
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
— Pena Cartel (@PenaCartel) November 11, 2021
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💙💙
— Flip The Mindset By Kenny MacKay (@FlipTheMindset) November 11, 2021
Some speculated that he might bring Ryan Kent with him to Liverpool.
In all honesty, the only guy who I think Gerrard would consider taking to Villa is Ryan Kent.
— EffPeeEll Dave 🏴 (@EffPeeEll) November 11, 2021
Ryan Kent sending Ruben Dias to eat grass and then scoring in the top corner.
Gerrard knee sliding in front of Pep. Tears.
— Tipsy Thiago (@T_T_2219) November 11, 2021
If Gerrard signs Kent there will be bloodshed
— KW (@Kyle_Walker99) November 11, 2021
Fans of Liverpool, who play Aston Villa on December 11, were mostly supportive…
What a man congratulations to captain Steven G https://t.co/e6KH3aWYOg
— Djimi Traore (@Djimi_Traore19) November 11, 2021
— This Is Melwood (@ThisIsMelwood) November 11, 2021