Thursday, 31 May 2012

Thursday 31 May 2012

Visit Clive Russell's website

Today's diary is dedicated to my views on the sacking and replacement of Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish. As a Fulham fan, I saw him play live only a couple of times and was shocked just how good he actually was. He had incredible ball control, great shot, vision and strength but also a superb passing ability where he would bend the ball around the opposition to find a team mate. However, it's not on his wonderful playing record or on his humility and sensitivity after the Hillsborough disaster that I want to support him.

It now looks definite  that Brendan Rodgers the current manager at Swansea City will become the next Liverpool boss replacing Kenny Dalglish. This appears an extraordinary decision by the owners of Liverpool, Fenway Sports Group.

Kenny Dalglish won the League Cup last year and took Liverpool to the final of the FA Cup where they lost to Chelsea, the European Champions. Liverpool finished 8th in the League last year but in mitigation they hit the post or cross bar more than any other side and were without Lucas all season who has emerged as one of their best players. Added to this, five highly rated British players didn't perform to their capabilities for much of the season: Downing, Henderson, Adam, Carroll and the too often injured Gerard let the manager down. Finally, one of their best players Suarez was banned for racially abusing Patrice Evra (See Clive Russell's Sports View). If Dalglish had been sacked over his management of the Suarez affair and his "kick racism in" t-shirts that the team wore to support Suarez, then the decision to sack him would have been sad but perhaps understandable.

As Liverpool very publicly looked for a new manager, my view was that unless the man appointed was exceptional, then Kenny Dalglish was actually the best man for the job with the best track record, just as he was when he was appointed.

In the end having flirted with Roberto Martinez (current Wigan Manager) who previously led Swansea City to promotion to the Championship from League 1, Liverpool have appointed Brendan Rodgers who got Swansea promoted from the Championship to the Premier League. Both managers kept their respective teams in the Premier League last year. 

Rodgers was previously manager of Reading who sacked him after a poor run of results and he also managed Watford with no success. Due to injury, Rodgers took to coaching at Reading when he was quite young before he could make a first team appearance in English football. He joined Reading from Ballymena. Of course, playing or not playing the game at the top level, does not mean you'll be a successful manager.

However, set against Kenny Dalglish's managerial trophy cabinet of FA Cups, First Division titles, League Cup and Scottish League Cup, the achievements of Rodgers single promotion looks paltry. 

So will Rodgers be a success? If he is, it's a wild gamble that's paid off and not an astute or clever appointment.

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