I was going to write a review of the season yesterday and finish it off with the hope the Kenny would be given more time to try and complete the “unfinished business” at Liverpool that Alan Hansen seemed to think he had. I was not quick enough off the mark!
I am disappointed that Kenny Dalglish has gone, very disappointed. Still, what do I know about football compared to a bunch of rounders loving Americans?
Dalglish’s sacking is symptomatic of the impatient knee jerk reactions that infest the game at present. Those who exercise such quick fire decisions don’t deserve, and normally don’t get, success, or a return on their investment. I thought Liverpool were different, a cut above those clubs who seek to change managers as regularly as their socks (Redsox?) however, we are now looking for our fourth manager in as many seasons. It makes it worse that in this instance the ”victim” is Kenny one of the clubs greatest servants on and off the pitch, my footballing hero, he deserves better because of that and yes also because of what he achieved for us this season.
No doubt many will disagree with the latter part of that last sentence however, a dose of reality, not to mention patience, is required. In the interest of balance yes, we haven’t performed well in the league and, as a result, haven’t qualified for the Champions League. Nonetheless we acquired our first major silverware since 2006 and nearly won another piece to go alongside it, one wonders if Kenny would still be in the post if we had beaten Chelsea? We are back in Europe which is an improvement on last season and, perhaps more importantly, Kenny has made good strides in bringing on the younger players. However, for the owners this doesn’t cash in, it doesn’t equate to readies. Kenny could have won the Carling Cup, The FA Cup, The Grand National and The Eurovision Song Contest however, it still doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, it ain’t cash.
On that subject I guess shelling out £120m or so on players for no discernable return, albeit an immediate one, hits hard at the heart of what most owners are about? Ours are no different it seems. Patience is required, I bet if they planted some carrot seeds in their gardens they’d rip them up after three days because there was nothing there to make a stew! In talking about money spent we also forget the players we sold (Torres et all) which has reduced the net outlay considerably.
One also wonders if Kenny has paid the price for some of the off the field sagas we’ve been privy to this season? Many say Kenny hasn’t helped himself in this area by being distinctly chippy with the press. I guess times have changed since he was last a manager yet his approach isn’t exactly unique and in many cases the banality of the questions merited the reaction? Then of course there was the Luis Suarez incident. I have to say that at times I felt uncomfortable with Kenny’s almost blind defence of the player yet he should not have had to do this. He was left to front this with little or no obvious support or guidance from those behind the scenes, the club’s Head of Communications quite rightly paid for this with his job. Yet to criticise Kenny over this is also to underestimate his loyalty (for club and player) and therefore his compassion? All you need to do is see how he conducted himself in the immediate aftermath of Hillsborough to appreciate that.
And what of the owners? Kenny said his departure had been handled in
“an honourable, respectful and dignified way”
However, despite Kenny’s magnanimous words the honeymoon period could possibly be over? Dalglish is still loved at Anfield and many, despite some disquiet over this season’s league form, would have been more than willing to give him another season. For Fenway perhaps it’s another key decision which enables them to move forward? Was Kenny an uncomfortable link to the past? Will they appoint a younger manager who doesn’t have his reputation or status at the club, someone who isn’t a threat? However, even though Fenway have not discernable history in owning a football club surely they must be aware of the potential ramifications of such a decision with the fans? The dithering of the stadium could now assume greater relevance, the same level of decisiveness they showed in axing personnel will want to be seen in this area?
And Kenny’s successor? Those who bandy the names of Morinho and Guardiola are in cloud cuckoo land. Chairmen of clubs such as Wigan, Swansea and Norwich should be more worried? Andre Villas-Boas’ record at Chelsea suggests he is no more of a prospect than Kenny? Whatever the case I believe Kenny has been wronged, I hope he doesn’t feel bitter towards Liverpool but it must be an immense source of frustration to him that he wasn’t allowed more time to do what he wanted to do. No doubt, as a Liverpool FC man, he will keep his counsel and in my book he can still walk away with his head held high and his reputation in tact.
My magic Kenny (the return) moment? Seeing him at Old Trafford in his first game back, standing up by the dug out in the Adidas coat, I felt I’d gone back in time, it made me feel so young again!
People say that no man is bigger than his club, it’s true but some give it a bloody good run for it’s money, Kenny Dalglish is such a man. Call me blind, delusional and overly sentimental but, despite everything, he is still, and always will be, The King.