I’m not entirely sure what Wigan Chairman Dave Whelan has done to illicit such spite from Liverpool football Club.
The crux of the matter appears to be Whelan’s public uttering’s on our recruitment process specifically in relation to our talks with his own man at Wigan, Roberto Martinez. The final straw appeared to be Whelan’s assertion that we had made an offer to Martinez after meeting Fenway in the USA. Not a problem it would seem except days later we unveil Brendan Rogers as the new man to lead us to the promised land.
The first inkling of discontent came from Steven Gerrard a few days ago who said
“I’ve been kept in the loop all along by the board and the owners and he was always first choice – so take no notice of Dave Whelan. I can go on record and guarantee he (Rogers) was first choice.”
Fair enough, it seems that Rogers was approached first and then Martinez however what we don’t learn from this was to whom and, more specifically when, an offer was made. Perhaps the determining factor was how much we eventually had to compromise to get our man? Reports suggest Rogers rebuffed our initial approach as he didn’t want to be part of a protracted selection process. If Dave Whelan is correct, and who should doubt him as he knows Martinez more than most, his man wouldn’t accept the post given the suggested conditions that went with the job ie. working with a Director of Football and suggestions that the manager might not have full control over transfers.
Cleary we don’t know the full facts however I suspect there is more to this than simply meeting candidates and it being a straight forward case of selecting one. Were we were caught out by the resistance to our terms and conditions. Did we need to compromise? However, that is conveniently forgotten as folk queue up to criticise Whelan? Ian Ayre said
“It is disappointing that Dave Whelan felt the need to run the kind of sideshow he conducted. I always thought John Bishop was the biggest comedian in the north west, but Dave Whelan seems to have taken that mantle over in the last couple of weeks. It is important to understand that we ran a proper search to find a new manager, and that part of that involved us speaking to a number of candidates. We make no secret of the fact we spoke with Roberto Martinez, but that is all we did. He is a great guy, and I can’t speak highly enough of his professionalism and conduct. But for his chairman to make suggestions like he has, and suggestions that just aren’t true, is disappointing to say the least.”
His remarks may not have helped but does Whelan deserve to be subjected so such criticism? We should be grateful that he cooperated with Liverpool making Martinez available for talks. Why should he keep quiet about what is going on with his man? He was clearly worried about losing him and wanted to find a replacement and theWigan fans would surely want to know what is happening. All understandable stuff and that we should expect him to keep quiet is simply ludicrous.
Whilst we are on the issue of “side shows” Ian Ayre no doubt thought about all this before speaking in such flowery ways about Whelan . I don’t know he was trying to achieve personally or for the club by speaking in this way but it does not come across as populist or helpful, simply petty, juvenile and unprofessional. We have got the man we wanted and that should surely be that, nothing more to say get on with team issues? Whelan’s’ response showed a level class, tact and maturity sadly lacking from our people.
‘It’s not worth getting involved in. That’s football. Liverpool are happy and I’m delighted we’ve kept Roberto. Brendan Rodgers is a great appointment and I wish them all the best.’
Meanwhile we are slowly getting an inkling of whereRogersmight start casting his net, it involves some old and some new. Gylfi Sigurdsson, despite agreeing a deal withSwansea, may have his head turned red byRogers’ move and then there is Joe Cole. What are we going to do about Joe Cole and what are we going to do about Alberto Aquilani? Aqua’s case is more clear cut as I suspect he wants to go home however Cole was on the box yesterday talking about wanting to give it another go with us after his loan move toLille. Earlier this year he also said he didn’t regret moving to us and wished it could have worked out.
“I’ve enjoyed moving up here and living where I am. I haven’t enjoyed the football because I haven’t felt as though I have done myself justice or got myself right. I have been frustrated with the injuries, but that’s all going to change. I’ll just keep going, keep training hard and it will turn the corner sooner rather than later”
No doubt Cole is boosted by the appointment of Rogers who he was with at Chelsea. Another go? Why not if Cole wants it then perhaps he should be given the opportunity? He was clearly keen to do well during his initial pre loan spell with us and sadly it didn’t work out. Was this down to Roy Hodgson’s style and will he blossom under Rogers, surely, despite his wages, it’s worth keeping him for a year to find out? If he’s going to “turn the corner” why shouldn’t it be with us?