The news that Sammy Lee is to leave his post as Assistant Manager to Kenny Dalglish doesn’t really surprise.
Under any new regime posts like Sammy’s will always by ripe for change. In many ways it was surprising he survived the managerial changes involving Rafa, Roy Hodgson. During his first spell with us he was also retained by Roy Evans and Gérard Houllier after Graeme Souness had appointed him.
Why is this? Perhaps Lee was seen as a link to the past, adding a degree of continuity with a period of success (he won twelve major honours with us) that managers such as Houllier and Benitez, with no previous playing connection to the club, welcomed and of course aspired to? Lee’s connections would help with man management and serve as a useful contact into helping them, as outsiders apply, or at least appreciate, the “Liverpool way” or of course their own ways? However, Kenny given his time with us clearly doesn’t need to be educated or helped over this and, with the appointment of Steve Clarke, surely Sammy must have seen the writing on the wall?
What did Lee bring to Liverpool as assistant manager? Clearly I’m not on the inside and the club has had good spells when he’s been around as well as bad ones. One wonders just how much influence Lee had or was more down to the respective managers? Perhaps we got an indication when he took over the manager’s post at Bolton after Sam Allardyce left. It didn’t work out and he was sacked, perhaps prematurely as he was valiantly trying to change Bolton’s style of play into something less neanderthal. Inevitably rumours will link him with his former boss who is now introducing his own unique style of football to West Ham.
Lee has had his critics and many reds fans will not be too displeased at his departure however, I find it difficult to divorce any unease I might have had at his abilities from the service he gave to Liverpool as a player and after. I wish him luck and reckon that at least one or two of our players could do with the attitude and commitment he bought the club as a player.
Elsewhere and it appears that Connor Wickham has escaped our attention and fled off to the North East, Sunderland to be precise. This could present us with a double blow as now that they have secured the Ipswich striker, perhaps Sunderland’s interest in David Ngog may cool?
Many will see this latest development as a worrying repeat of a familiar pattern when it comes to transfers – we are associated with a player, look to be signing him but then take too long to close things down or haggle to the point where they lose interest and end signing for someone else? Time will tell but there are signs that the new regime is playing hard ball and being more exacting in their deals and if this means some falling through then I guess we have to trust their, and Kenny’s, judgment, for example only last week Rennes winger Sylvain Marveaux was given the “heave ho” because he failed a medical. Is this really surprising given what we went through with Aquilani?
I also think we need to ask ourselves did we really needed Wickham as we have Carroll, Suarez, Kuyt and yes, Ngog? Also were we seriously interested in him in the first place? Remember, we only have the papers to go buy? Perhaps Ipswich saw the money Sunderland were getting for Jordan Henderson and decided to hold out for something similar or may be players such as Stuart Downing and Charlie Adam are higher up our shopping list? On the subject of the latter I notice that Blackpool have signed an attacking midfielder (Bojan Djordjic from Plymouth). Now they have him on board, as a potential replacement, could this pave the way for Charlie Adam’s move which could see one of our younger players go the other way, Jonjo Shelvey has been mentioned?
Overall however, I remain puzzled, but not overly concerned at this early stage, by the fact that we seem to concentrating on strengthening the midfield when surely we should be looking at the defence? The only action we have seen so far in that part of the field is Kyrgiakos signing a contract extension which probably puts him in a considerably better financial position than his country! The trail for Newcastle’s Jose Enrique seems to have gone cold and rumours with Birmingham’s Scott Dann (hope he performs well if he signs as the headline writers will be checking how to spell “desperate” if he doesn’t) will surely be on hold until Chris Hughton gets his feet under their managerial table.
Finally, there is also a rumour concerning Wayne Bridge which I hope is just that. What is it with us and ex Chelsea players?