Blog » Patience: A Byword for Liverpool Football Club?
Iíve been reading in articles, both in print and online of late that the only reason Liverpool fans were supportive of the last manager, wanted to see him given more time and as such were disappointed to see him sacked was because of who he was. Please, let me clear up this silly myth; It is true that Kenny Dalglish is indisputably the most legendary of legends lucky enough to represent Liverpool F.C, and no one could offer an example of a greater living personification of this football club than the King himself. It is also true that many fans, of all age groups would place him as this clubís greatest ever player, with only our current captain and another gentleman scot in Billy Liddell, who literally left his name on the club, being in with a shout at the top spot, but it is insulting both to Dalglish and ourselves the suggestion that the only reason he was given such a fair and even hand from us is because of who he is. Itís not, it is because of who we are!
Thankfully I was brought up in a climate where managers were given time, though admittedly I was also lucky enough to grow up supporting a football club blessed with a history of great managers, where our patience has been rarely tested. During my lifetime alone the club consecutively employed Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Kenny Dalglish (85-91) who had won twenty-seven major trophies between them. Only China could hope to rival such an impressive dynasty.
Even some of our perceived failures in the modern era like Souness, Evans, Houllier, Benitez and now Dalglish again have brought us 9 major trophies collectively. I should make clear that a failure in this context refers only to the fact the board of directors felt a change was needed, as in the case of both Rafa and Kenny a significant proportion of the fanbase was still very much behind them. Many clubs can only boast one or two managers that they could truly call a legend, and the criterium for such exalted status in many cases would be met by our lesser ranked managerial appointments.
We are ridiculously spoilt when you think about it, and I can see why among our supporters at least, there could be a trend towards expecting instant success. To be fair given such a magnificent history as our own itís almost inevitable, and to a certain extent forgivable. As a whole though, weíre a pragmatic lot us Liverpudlians and most are realistic enough to know that when a new manager comes in he will need time to put his own ideas into practice, time to assemble a squad to fit those ideas and enough money to compete, so long as he doesnít make the cardinal sin of attacking the fans or belittling the club then the fans will generally allow the manager that time.
On the way home from doing some work for The Redmen TV last night I caught a bit of TalkSport. Generally not a programme I listen to but my ears pricked up as I heard them talking about Liverpool fans and the fact that Brendan Rodgers had ruled himself out from the vacant managerial position, after being invited to interview by FSG. The Talksport presenter took great joy in theorising how if Rodgers didnít want the job that it meant Liverpool werenít attractive to managers anymore, and so it was the height of misplaced arrogance that Roy Hodgson was deemed not good enough and consequently deprived of the time he needed. I don't think it's necessary to point out that Hodgson was the exception, not the rule.
In fairness to that presenter, on closer inspection he may not be the exception. There may be a caveat that says if a manager is perceived not to be good enough, and the fans donít like the appointment that unless significant progress is evident early on then we may want him out too. Him? is that sexist? Is Cherie Lunghi available?
We should just accept that weíre not living in an age where unproven managers are given the opportunity at a big club anymore, and for the new incumbent to be given any sort of chance with the fans and the players, the owners will need to recruit somebody of proven pedigree, someone the fans could get behind, and have faith in.
Brendan Rodgers was not that man, he knows that and by throwing his hat in the ring it would have show a lot of disrespect to the Swans and their fans, something he had experienced when leaving Watford for Reading in 2009, a job he also claimed to have no interest in, but whereas he was running as favourite then, he would certainly not be first choice this time around and so the gamble would be too great.
FSGís method of recruitment, showing overt interest in other clubís managers before considering an appointment will be welcoming news to Liverpudlians who want the right man in, whoever that may be, but the managerís approached, like Rodgers will be wary of damaging their current club relations by displaying too much interest. The owners in showing such diligence appear not to be taking the matter lightly, although many will be wondering as Mirror journalist Brian Reade inferred in a recent article; why sack Dalglish if you donít know there is someone better out there already?