Former Rangers manager Steven Gerrard managed a late win in his first game with new club Aston Villa as they hosted Premier League Brighton.
The Liverpool legend now takes charge at Villa Park after an extraordinary fortnight at Ibrox which has seen former Gers midfielder Giovanni van Bronkhorst take the reins in Govan.
The manner of Gerrard’s exit remains a bone of contention amongst supporters with the club’s former boss recognised as having done a fine job in Glasgow in difficult circumstances.
But whilst Stevie G might’ve delivered 55 and rebuilt Rangers on the European stage, soundbites about being committed to the club and the exit to Villa have skewed his legacy.
As a result, fans were split heading into Gerrard’s home debut with Villa against Brighton with some wishing the manager all the best and others looking for his day to be spoiled.
But as things transpired, Gerrard and the former Rangers backroom staff did manage to engineer a victory for his new side against an in-form Graham Potter led Brighton.
Courtesy of two late goals from Ollie Watkins and Tyrone Mings, the Gerrard era at Villa Park is underway with a victory and interestingly, they even managed to keep a clean sheet in a 2-0 win.
Value of Steven Gerrard Aston Villa matchwinners highlights Premier League Rangers gap
Much was made during the week regarding Gerrard’s exit and in the former Gers gaffer’s first media interview since joining Villa he was visibly emotional as he discussed leaving Glasgow.
The lure of the Premier League and being closer to his family were cited as the two main reasons as the manager quickly moved on from any line of questioning regarding Rangers.
🗣 'It's important to make sure this press conference is about Aston Villa."
Steven Gerrard says it's an 'real honour' to be #AVFC's Head Coach and promises his supporters he is all in ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/Eu5coIYDea
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) November 18, 2021
But in this first victory as Villa boss there is something to be said about the two men who managed to haul the club to three points with their goals.
Ollie Watkins is an England international and a £33m signing from Brentford in 2020 whilst similarly club captain Tyrone Mings also turns out for the England national team and cost Villa £20m when they signed him from Bournemouth a year earlier.
That means a combined total of £53m of talent helped secure the victory for Gerrard and that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the transfer fees spent in the Villa squad.
Say what you like about the difference in the support, the stature, or the standing of Villa, but there can be little doubt those figures give an insight into the financial gulf between the Birmingham club and Rangers.
This is always going to be make it remarkably difficult to compete and by the ex-Rangers boss’ own admission, it was the difference in leagues and not clubs which convinced him to jump ship.
Things move on quickly in football however and now the Gers support have been loving an early embrace between new boss van Bronckhorst and a legendary member of the Ibrox staff.
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