Earlier in the week we told you about rumours that League One relegation bait Milton Keynes Dons were in talks to hire Steven Gerrard as their new manager. Yet there’s late word that the deal might not happen.
Gerrard, of course, graduated from Liverpool’s academy system and played for the first team for 17 years. He left Anfield nearly a year and a half ago in order to prolong his playing career, moving to the Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer. And while a steady paycheck and some California sun likely did him a world of good, Gerrard felt that his time was up at the end of the Galaxy’s 2016 season and announced he would be moving on last Tuesday.
Since then, Gerrard has had a number of interesting offers on the table, from returning to Liverpool to serve on Jürgen Klopp’s backroom staff to squeezing a little bit more from his playing career at Celtic under Brendan Rodgers to possibly joining Gareth Southgate’s staff if/when he takes the England job.
But one offer on the table raised some eyebrows, particular when it became clear negotiations were at an advanced stage.
Milton Keynes, having been relegated from the Championship at the end of last season, are now struggling to avoid back-to-back drops. They’re currently in 21st place in League One but only one point adrift. Milton Keynes let go of long-time manager Karl Robinson last month in a desperate bid to stop the bleeding.
The story that Gerrard was considering the manager’s post in Buckinghamshire always seemed a bit curious. Apart from coursework toward his UEFA license, he doesn’t have any real coaching experience. Jumping into the deep end would likely have proven disastrous for Gerrard’s fledgling managerial career; not unlike Gary Neville, albeit with somewhat smaller stakes. And on the flip side, the decision from Milton Keynes to offer the job to someone with no experience the job while they’re struggling to avoid relegation (again) frankly seemed bonkers.
Unless, of course, Milton Keynes doesn’t really care about staying up. Whatever the wisdom from a football perspective, being linked to Steven Gerrard has put Milton Keynes in the headlines and an appointment would likely keep them there for the foreseeable future. Given their continuing attendance issues and an ongoing— how to put this delicately— perception problem tied to their origin story, the club is in desperate need of good PR as well as league points. It’s not inconceivable to think that club chairman Pete Winkelman, a former music executive, is engineering this move for Gerrard as a publicity stunt, a way to “win” the PR game ahead of their historic first league meeting with AFC Wimbledon on December 10th.
If that is indeed the case, it’s probably for the best that Stevie G reportedly plans to turn down the offer by tomorrow.