When two of the icons of the Prem took over historic clubs, fans were abuzz. Dreaming about how the former legends could turn around the fortunes of their clubs. However, their tenures have become disasters, as both icons have tarnished their reputations.
Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are two of the greatest players that the Prem has ever seen. However, they are below average managers who are the butt of every joke.
Lampard and Everton were both a match made in heaven and hell. Everton were in utter shambles when Lampard took over while the manager previously failed at Chelsea. Things haven’t gotten better, as both club and manager are destined for more failure.
Gerrard came back to the Prem with a rather impressive managerial resume. The Liverpool legend had a successful spell in Scotland with Rangers. It did seem that he could continue his managerial class at Villa, but Gerrard tanked in the Prem despite Villa’s efforts.
Both cases should serve as warnings to both clubs and prospective managers, as it shows just how hard it can be to manage at the highest level. Gerrard and Lampard will forever be icons as players, but for now, they are just jokes at the managerial level.
Unlike Gerrard who opted to develop himself before moving up, Lampard never really developed as he took bigger jobs. This is an awful strategy for both club and manager and it has proven the case at every club that Lampard has managed so far.
After retiring in 2016, Lampard didn’t have to wait too long for his first managerial offer. Derby County signed Lampard on as manager in 2018 and he helped guide the club to 6th, missing out on promotion. Lampard’s side was decent, but not extraordinary with the side having above average attack and defense, but not much more.
It was a shock to pretty much everyone to see Chelsea bring on Lampard to replace Sarri. While he showed some promise in his first season, the second season was a total mess. Lampard lost the trust of both the board and players, resulting in his midseason termination.
Everton has been a mess for years, so appointing Lampard in the middle of a relegation battle was the perfect summary of the club’s fortunes. While Everton did avoid relegation, it was due to Richarlison carrying the club on his back.
Lampard’s biggest struggle has been finding a style of play that fits him. This has been seen in the myriad of formations and types of players that he has thrown together. For example, when he’s played three at the back at Everton, it’s been a failure given the quality of their defenders.
No matter what set of players he’s had, be it at Chelsea or Everton, he has struggled constantly to find ways to get the best of his players. This is seen in just how much Chelsea players improved after his sacking in 2021.
While he will likely continue to get chances given his status, it might be better for Lampard to manage in a lower league to get those reps as a manager. To be honest, leaving Derby that early was a mistake that has hampered his managerial career.
To Gerrard’s credit, he has shown a desire to develop as a manager. By starting in a lower league like the Scottish flight, he had a chance to develop into a future Prem manager.
Exactly like Lampard, Gerrard got his first shot at coaching in 2018 after retiring in 2016. Unlike Lampard, he took the reins of a historic club in Rangers. The Scottish club needed a change after years of mediocrity.
Gerrard started well, going unbeaten in his first 12 league games and progressing in the Europa League. After helping Rangers develop in his first two seasons, his third season was a masterpiece. Delivering their first title in a decade while going undefeated in league play and topping their Europa League.
With a resume like that, it was only a matter of time before offers started floating his way. Aston Villa secured him in November, as the club looked to finish in the top 10 after selling Grealish. Despite the club investing heavily into the squad, the club’s performances continued to dip, finishing 14th.
With a rocky start to this season, the writing was on the wall. On October 20th, Villa made it official and sacked Gerrard.
For Gerrard, it may be a case of his tactics working in a lesser league, but not in a tougher league. He could never find a way to unlock the attacking potential of this Villa side, as the team struggled to find the back of the net. At the same time, Gerrard was never able to get the team to buy into his tactics and so many players clearly struggled..
Unlike other managers, Gerrard has never had the excuse of clubs not wanting to spend to build competitive squads. Villa brought in some great players to aid Gerrard, but he was never able to find any system that worked.
Despite recently getting fired, it’s easy to see Gerrard work his way back to the Prem. It will be imperative for him to continue his development outside of the Prem.
For every great player that becomes a great manager, there are 10 times the amount that fail as manager. Both Lampard and Gerrard had different fortunes as managers, but both have struggled to replicate their on field brilliance on the touchline. Their struggles should show prospective managers just how hard the job really is.
Featured image: Getty