Following a shameful third-place finish last season and an underwhelming start to this season’s Super Lig campaign, the Galatasaray hierarchy have decided to draw a decisive line under coach Frank Rijkaard‘s ill-fated 16 months in charge today.
A statement released by the club this morning reads thusly;
“As a result of talks with technical director Frank Rijkaard, we have decided to part ways. As of October 20th 2010, Rijkaard and his assistant coach Johan Neeskens have left the club by mutual consent.”
Which is quite possibly the most dubious use of the phrase ‘mutual consent’ I’ve heard in a fair old while.
Although his previous record at the Turkish giants is hardly admirable, the final nail in Rijkaard’s coffin was overseeing his team go down 4-2 at home to perennial relegation flirters (though currently mid-table) Ankaragucu on Sunday.
Rijkaard and his decimated charges left the field amidst a hail of jeers from the home supporters, who were chanting in favour of the Dutchman’s instant dismissal as well as the sacking of the entire populous of Galatasaray’s maligned board.
Seems like the ultrAslans got precisely half of the upheaval they were so fervently chasing.
Rijkaard’s timely sacking seems to play straight into the hands of Liverpool’s new owners New England Sports Ventures (NESV), who were – as conjecture would have it – very keen to install the former Barcelona manager as a ‘big name’ successor to dilapidated incumbent Roy Hodgson, who has struggled with an unmotivated outfit since being brought in as a cut-price interim replacement for the outbound Rafa Benitez during the final few months of former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett‘s blighted reign at Anfield.
NESV are thought to have backed Hodgson to oversee Liverpool’s potential new dawn if the insistence of chairman Martin Broughton is anything to go by but, as we’ve seen before on countless occasions, ‘votes of confidence’ are rarely construed as anything other than ominous by the modern manager.
Rijkaard’s sudden availability will surely be clanging the chimes of impending doom in the back of Hodgson’s mind, especially given the unrest he has stirred by means of his negative tactical decisions and the wretched start to the season that those decisions have directly precipitated.
Fans are currently pawing for ‘King’ Kenny Dalglish to be re-instated, but those calls are made out of a heady mix of desperation and nostalgia. Liverpool need to advance rather than continue their saddening regression, and there are few more progressive coaches in European football than Frank Rijkaard himself.
As a coach, Rijkaard would bring with him an intrinsic propensity toward the kind of attacking, fluent and almost communal (in terms of team performance) football that Liverpool fans now so longingly pine for. He also seems to have one eye on the ‘spectacle’ of any given game, playing to win rather than not to lose – a concept that may now seem very distant to anyone with a vested interest in the recent goings-on at Anfield.
It seems the fates are aligning for NESV, and if they truly are going to sack Hodgson, wouldn’t it make sense to do it now – considering that a ready-made replacement is now lying in wait?