After mounting speculation, few could claim to be shocked when Kenny Dalglish was relieved of his duties this afternoon but in my opinion, it’s a sad day for English Football.
I’ve said before that I believe Kenny Dalglish was the wrong appointment for Liverpool and I maintain that. He was the ideal man to steady the ship and give the place a lift following Roy Hodgson and the Hicks and Gillett debacle but a short-term fix was all he should ever have been.
Last summer the American owners should have thanked Dalglish for all he had done and shown him back to his ambassadorial seat in the stands. But football doesn’t work that way and after a decent second half of the season, the whole club was swept along in a sentimental sense of euphoria at the return of a legend and a 3 year deal was signed.
Backed heavily in the transfer market, he can never argue he wasn’t supported by his owners but the stark reality is that over the season the league form, particularly at home, simply wasn’t good enough.
Some are now arguing that his handling of the Suarez saga was a nail in the coffin but whilst I’m sure it did little to amour him to those across the pond, had he finished in the top four then it surely would have been less damning?
And that’s the sad part of the whole story and why not just Dalglish and Liverpool fans should be a little sad today. You see away from the league form and racism rows; Liverpool won their first trophy in 6 years and almost lifted another.
Ultimately, those trips to Wembley were deemed irrelevant.
What should have been the manager’s saving grace and the basis of another chance essentially counted for nothing. Yes it would have been papering over the cracks but if winning a cup is papering over cracks, I wish someone would hurry up and decorate Goodison Park with rolls of the stuff.
They beat us in the Semi-Final and for me, our season ended then. We had memorable moments in the league after that but for me it was over. Finishing in seventh and above Liverpool meant nothing to because, call me old fashioned, I thought football was about winning trophies. That’s all it should ever be about.
Not any more. For modern day football club owners and indeed fans who believe football began with the inception of the Premier League, the Champions League and the riches that come with it, are all that matters.
One wonders if in years to come, ex-pro’s will sit down with their Grand Children, showing them their collection of framed league tables showing top four finishes.
And that’s sad.
Football is becoming an emotionally defunct, money making machine and nothing more.
Maybe we should replace trophy cabinets with bank vaults of cash?
What we’ve learnt today is that FSG will be ruthless in their pursuit of whatever you may deem success. Many, myself included, felt sacking a club legend like Dalglish was almost impossible and if a parting of the ways was to happen, it would be of the Scot’s own volition.
Today’s decision is a statement of intent. We’ll back you but we expect a return, no matter who you are.
So who’s next? The bookies have Martinez and Benitez as clear favourites but for me both would be a mistake.
I really don’t buy into the Roberto Martinez thing. Seems like a cracking bloke but that’s no premise for a managerial appointment. Yes, Wigan have been great over the latter part of the season and turned in a number of great results to get them out of trouble but what people conveniently forget is that they were in trouble in the first place. Again.
He may very well have a bright future in the game and perhaps the financial restraints are simply too much at Wigan. But you can’t help but feel he needs another job to prove himself before he makes what would be a massive leap up the ladder.
Benitez would love to return I’m sure but again, not for me. That epic night in Istanbul when Gerrard Houllier’s side won the Champions League (What?) and his support of the Hillsborough families will mean he will always be held close to the heart of most Kopites but really, is a return to the past really a step forward? Have they not just been there? The old adage of “never go back” is often right in football and indeed life generally.
He’s fast becoming one of those managers that with every year he’s out of the game, his reputation gets better and better. If he is so good, why has he been out of the game for so long? Just a thought.
Other than that, you’re scratching around a little. You would expect the swift dismissal of Dalglish means the Americans want this sorted out sooner rather than later and we all await with interest their appointment.
But make no mistake, they MUST get it right. Anything but a fantastic start from the new man and those who stand on the Kop will waste no time in thinking back to King Kenny and wondering if the club is in the safe pair of hands that they hoped it was.
They’ve seen off American cowboys before, they won’t want to have to do it a
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