Before you read on let me first put forward a question. If Roy Hodgson was to have played Glen Johnson in the left back position in a must win match against Blackpool he would surely have been crucified by the Kop and indeed any other follower of Liverpool, yet ‘King’ Kenny Dalglish does this and it is seen as a step in the right direction. How can this be fair?
Truth being told it isn’t fair. Roy Hodgson spent six months on the red half of Merseyside and was supported for almost none of his time there if supported at all. It is true that he never really made anything happen that would earn him respect at the club but in reality is six months long enough to turn around the fortunes of a squad that was already failing upon his inheritance? The answer ultimately turned out to be no.
The appointment of Hodgson on July 1st 2010 was not met with normal excitement and anticipation that normally awaits a new managerial unveiling at Anfield. His appointment came at a time when no one in a managerial capacity would touch Liverpool with a barge pole largely due to the past history linked with then American owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks. There was however, one man who stepped up to the challenge when no one else would, one man who ignored all that was wrong with the club and focussed on what was right and what he wanted to make better and that man was Roy Hodgson. The very fact that he was taking on a job that nobody wanted, in circumstances that were far from ideal as well as leaving an extremely comfortable environment where he had recently experienced arguable success should have endeared the already personable manager to the Liverpool faithful instead he was ostracised from the very beginning and this begs the question- did he ever really have a chance?
There have been a number of facts thrown around with the majority of these not ringing in Hodgson’s favour with the most noticeable being that He leaves the club as the first manager since before Bill Shankly not to win a trophy, and with the worst start to a league campaign since the 1950′s and that The last time Liverpool had fewer points at turn of the year was in 1953/54… the season they were relegated. These are obviously facts that are not going to strengthen his argument and these statistics coupled with the less than ideal way he dealt with the media proved to be at the heart of his downfall. However it had been failed to mention that Hodgson did leave Liverpool with the second most successful home record in the Premier League based on the last five home games in the form tables.
There is no taking away from the fact that Kenny Dalglish is an Anfield legend largely as a player and also as a manager but is going back to a manager who has had a long time out of the game really a good idea? Past glory is an often repeated idea at Anfield. There is this precious little mentality amongst many of the club’s fans, not least the noisy crowd of former players employed as pundits in the British media, that somehow the Reds do not deserve what has happened to them in recent times because of their successes in earlier years.
Hodgson had already changed the ethos at Anfield. Young English players from the club’s youth set-up were making an impact on the first team, which was clearly still a work in progress along with a few of Hodgson’s ‘own men’ that he’d brought in still taking time to settle. Despite stutters during the season, patience earlier on would be sure to pay off later, probably next season. But in a league that in continuing to show that the only managers who are welcome are impact managers this was not to be considered and cries of “Kenny, Kenny” echoed around the Merseyside terraces only reinforcing naive beliefs that a face from a glorious past is certain to change fortunes. The result at Blackpool highlighted the reality that the group of players that are fortunate enough to wear the red of Liverpool not only cannot be bothered but also should be on their way.
Dalglish has only won things as a manager when he has had money to spend or he’s been left a high-quality team to manage. One season of expensive glory at Blackburn Rovers was followed by a spell at Newcastle United that is still remembered with shudders on Tyneside.
‘King’ Kenny has also been away from the sharp end of the Premier League for a long time, however many times he may have been seen in the director’s box grimacing this season. Taking over now has proven to have been a long way away from taking over as player/manager of a highly-successful, well-oiled Red machine like he did in the 80s.
Ultimately it turned out that it was the right time for Roy Hodgson to depart from Liverpool, not for Liverpool’s sake but because if he had left it any longer then he would have struggled to get his career back on track. The club as a whole especially the ‘supporters’ should be ashamed of the way they treated Hodgson. They never gave him a chance and straight from the off they were against him it came as no surprise that any individual placed in that kind of environment was destined to fail.
It seems though, that Kenny Dalglish could lead this team to relegation and the cries for ‘Kenny Out’ would be few if any at all.