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The Anfield Wrap – Episode Forty-Two

by TheAnfieldWrap // 14 May 2012 // 31 Comments

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The Anfield Wrap – We need to talk about Kenny.

So we did. With another season over, Neil Atkinson was joined by Nick O’Prey, Mike Girling, Jim Boardman, Phil Blundell, Kristian Walsh, Sean Rogers, Steve Graves and Rob Gutmann to try and answer the question everyone is asking. We also talk about TAW’s plans for the close-season.

#TAW42

Getting you through the summer.

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31 Comments

  1. I’m eight and American and I know Kenny has to go.

  2. It is around 3pm eastern time here in the US. I imagine there has already been a decision made in the Monday morning meeting @FSG. LFC are now owned by a group of high rollers who have made hundreds of millions hedging bets. There will be no sentimentality brought into the equation, I sincerely hope Kenny gets until December to allow himself to resign with dignity, but then I am a sentimental git. I expect a statement by weeks end.

    • Hey Bill, just a quick Question. Do you honestly think that Kenny resigning or being sacked (leaving the management position one way or another) in December would be done with dignity? Surely the most dignified way would be to resign in the summer cos’ if he resigns in December everyone will know that its because he wasn’t good enough or maybe just not the right fit for the club anymore. It would be done in the heat of battle that is the Premier league and all the focus will be on him. We all know what attention the media would bring to that scenario and in turn, they will roast him and his reputation amongst young Liverpool fans will be sullied.

      For me its a two way decision. I believe he should go for the good of the future of the club and for his own sake. As you say below, it is a gut wrenching decision to make and one I hope the owners make correctly. Its certainly not easy being a Liverpool fan nowadays.

      • Just to make myself clear, I’m a fairly young LFC supporter at 29. I was too young to see him play live but as a kid my brother had a load of Liverpool tapes of its history and greatest players and teams. That’s all I watched growing up. Kenny means a lot to me, as he does to you. But I guess its a time when all supporters need to be honest with themselves whether they want Kenny to stay or go. I would prefer he moved on, but it never feels right saying it, even though I mean it with conviction.

  3. Thomas,
    If indeed you are eight and American, then I suggest you go to YouTube and watch every Kenny Daglish video available. You may then have an idea as to why this is such a gut wrenching situation for all us old (your grandads age) fans. Kenny was as close to perfection, week in week out, than any player I have ever seen. There may have been more talented players, no more than half a dozen, but fewer with Kenny’s consistency. Every true Liverpool supporter wants him back, at least all the optimists!

  4. Not listened the podcast yet.

    I will not waiver. Kenny must stay as manager. I’d be happy if we never won another thing and kenny was boss.

    That’s because Kenny IS BOSS.

  5. My Dad is from Liverpool and told me Kenny was a good player and manager. I like how happy he gets when they score and I have his Match card. I think Kenny should work with the young players instead. My Dad hopes he stays so we’ll see him at the game in Baltimore.

  6. ”I will not waiver. Kenny must stay as manager. I’d be happy if we never won another thing and kenny was boss.

    That’s because Kenny IS BOSS”
    You are whats wrong with our club you support KENNY DALGLISH FC and not LIVERPOOL FOOTBALL CLUB.I wantthe best for the club.He should go and Rafa should come back,He has unfinished business!

    • Please go and support someone else. If you don’t understand what that man has done for this club you don’t deserve to support it. I am unwavering because I owe him that. Every supporter owes him that. You are what’s wrong with this club my friend and the sooner you leave it alone the better.

      • You’re a lucky man Carl. I’d be a lot happier in life if I had your lack of ambition and desire.

  7. I am totally with Nick O’Prey on this.

  8. as a liverpool fan for 37 years i cant believe how fickle lfc fans have become,kenny comes in with loads of doubts about him, wins trophey in 1st full season our 1st in 6 years and gets to final of fa cup fuck sake if that was roy hodgson moyes o’neil they would be up for manager of the year,he was at acadamy before he took job as manager ,he knows club from top to bottom , martinez gets mentioned kept wigan from being relegated,remember it was coyle last time being mentioned now relegated,good young managers but nowhere near the class of kenny cant believe how badly you are underestimating kenny. this is not blind loyalty ,kenny will get it right if given time,some of the football this season has been great ,young players bedding in carroll henderson shelvey will all be better for this season ,champions league football will come when we are good enough but ffs give him time to build and gel a side ,we have no divine right to be in top 4 sacking kenny will move us further back that is a certainty, gutted with most of the TAW have some fucking respect

  9. The Americans want value and are asking, where’s LFC’s Cisse, Tiote, Cabaye, Jelavic. Kenny will say he deserves another season to reap the benefits of the grafting done in this one. I worry about this £20m figure, though, not much to work with if true.

  10. I am confused. I was too young for the first coming of course. But, Explain how Kenny plays Carra , not Coates. Now we hear Coates is to be loaned out. Spearing, when he looked out of his depth. Reina or Enrique have not been trained properly in my opinion. Why did the team hide for 60 minutes in Wembley. We won a trophy bcoz Cardiff bottled it, not coz we won it. Who bought Henderson and Downing. Why wasn’t backup for Lucas bought in. Lost the total plot in the Evragate. Defensive and looks out of control in press conferences. Then has to put in retractions. Sent Aqua and Cole to what end?

  11. Do not think Rafa will be chosen by the Americans simply because during Hodgson’s reign and when FSG just took over, the owners made it very clear during THAT phone that Rafa did not do a good job.

    But that was then and now is now, but still do not think the owners will go for Rafa even if Kenny goes..

    Personally i think Kenny is walking a very very fine line. I am in the middle whether he stays or goes. Honestly speaking, i think that is a view shared by many, but is that a mediocre attitude and behavior that has imbued into us after all the bad performances? Should we really be just ruthless and do what is good for LFC…

  12. Why was everyone skirting round saying Rafa’s name?? He’s available, most of our best players were signed by him, his CV is second to none in terms of who’s available, he lives in and loves the city and the club and most importantly of all… the man’s a genius. Well done to Steve Graves for rattifying my sanity by, although not actually saying it, at least suggesting that he wants him back.

    A footnote; if Kenny were to stay i would not be unhappy. Like most of the guys, i agree this is a particularly difficult decision, rather FSG than me because whatever happens, not everyone will be happy.

  13. Agree with what was said on the podcast. You can make as many valid points as to why he should step down as you can reasons why he should stay. Probably depends on whether you are a glass half full or glass half empty type. I’m torn, I desperately want Kenny to be successful but whats best for the club is what is the overriding factor here. If I’m honest, if it was anyone other than Kenny I’d probably be leaning towards wanting them out. Can’t imagine how difficult it must be for the owners. Either way I expect an announcement very soon. Will be a very interesting next 3 months for all LFC fans, let’s just hope we aren’t having this debate again for a very long time

  14. Pod makes many valid points re mistakes made, particularly in transfers and squad development. But:

    1. Kenny is 4 years YOUNGER than Harry Redknapp, and I don’t hear anybody saying that the latter is too old to be managing Spurs or anybody else. Wenger is a year older than Kenny. And need I mention that old much older geezer at Glazerfield?

    2. IMO Roberto Martinez is a suicide note. Luis Van Gaal is a nutcase with baggage and EGO galore – ask Barcelona and Bayern! Capello – chuckle. He was past it in 2005!

    Sure, you could run with Lambert or Rogers – but do run the grave danger of running with this season’s Owen Coyle.

    3. Of course money is not everything in football, but it is important. If you go to TransferMarket site and look at squad evaluations, then LFC are 6th in valuation. So a squad that were slotted – in that sense – to finish 6th finished 8th.

    FYI City squad valuation at circa £420m is double that of one at Anfield.

    4. Gerrard. No, I don’t think his injury level permits him to play centre midfield, much as he wants to. Option A: back as #10 supporting striker with licence to roam, maybe even just away games or impact sub. Radical Option B: Move to defence, as CB/sweeper.

    (Also IMO, Adam is not a central midfield player at all, but another #10, which is in effect where he played for Blackpool.)

    5. Rafa. Big fan but I would say football played on avge by side this season has been better than avge (not just that magic spring of 2008/09) produced during Rafa’s time. We have bombarded teams during mnay games, esp at home.

    But re transfers, surely Rafa is someone Kenny et al should seek to consult re quality players available who may be relatively low on the radar and underpriced in the market.

  15. Forgot to add that the excellent Swiss Ramble blog explains how many of the clubs some would think will struggle to meet the new FFP rules can and probably will meet the necessary requirements. I think I have linked before, re the latest article on LFC’s finances.

    http://swissramble.blogspot.co.uk/

    In shorthand to some degree clubs can get away with showing good intentions ie a decent lowering of debt over next couple of seasons. And if you read his other pieces, you’ll see that clubs like Real and Barca are not as deep in debt – and trouble – as some headlines make out.

    RE City. Thanks to their new sponsorship deal we can say they have £40m transfer kitty straight off the bat. There is talk of several players leaving, and if that includes the likes of Tevez and Balotelli then those fees could raise another £50-100m. For starters I would not be surprised to see RVP, Hazard and Vertonghen signed by them shortly. So that’s the new reality – at the top.

  16. Interesting thought, dhg, Rafa LFC scout, digging up Spanish gold. Would he do that for another manager, though?

  17. Great episode as usual, but very hard to listen to at the same time. I found myself agreeing with all the points and am now completely confused as to the best way forward. It breaks my heart to see Kenny struggling like he is.

  18. End of last season I was FULLY behind Dalglish and optimistic for the future. Only our form in the Europa league gave me any doubts of his tactical ability but I thought with better players we’d have a better chance in the future.

    However these are the points why I think he has to go:
    End of the season and we still don’t know are best formation, best 11 and style of play.

    Out of form Downing and Carra over Coates and Maxi majority of this season.
    Henderson on the right…

    Couldn’t finish top four or even near fourth in a season when it was arguably there for the taking

    VERY Mediocre transfers in that we had a great chance to build a competitive squad and we were backed by the owners. Yet we spent poorly. No genuine pace in the team, not enough technically gifted/intelligent players and NO power for a weak midfield.

    No ability to motivate players for lesser teams (something I expected to be his strong point.)

    Worst league form in years and IF it were anyone else bar maybe Benitez… the KOP wouldn’t stand for it.
    Use of Andy Carroll and setup around him.

    Relationship with the media in general/whole Suarez case handling.

    We’re in danger of becoming a reflection of Everton, a team that can only raise their game for big ‘derby’ type games and then let those performances paper over the cracks. Just as we did earlier this season when we beat Arsenal away. The signs were there for me then that the new signings weren’t intelligent enough and it took Arsenal down to 10 men and Suarez and Meireles as subs to secure the points because the rest of the team looked clueless in attacking a clearly wounded team and this has continued all season.

  19. I expressed a desire to give Kenny until December to allow him to assemble the team he has envisioned. Ferguson did not exactly set the world alight in his first full season with the mancs. What I find disturbing is the tendency to throw stupid money at marginal players when traditionally Liverpool have always had a reserve of local lads to groom rather than buying foolishly. Kenny’s tendency to continually play his purchases when it seemed obvious to all that it was not working was baffling. What role does Clarke play in all of this? Is he simply a Phil Neal to Graham Taylor? Does Kenny need a young, vigorous assistant, someone who will tell it like it is? Personally, and obviously with hindsight, when looking back on Rafa’s term in charge, there where times, plenty of them, when I just could not figure out what the man had in mind. Recall the likes of Morientes, Traore, Salif D. and ending with Aquilani (enter appropriate player here) but then we can also remember the many times the team gelled and all was rosy. Again, personally, I think Paco’s somewhat acrimonious departure was the start of Rafa’s “napoleonic” tedencies, certainly not helped when the cowboys arrived. I expressed my dismay when Hicks was mentioned as a prospective buyer, especially as he was a close associate of George W’s and after reading an article in Harpers monthly describing what a snake he was, I could not believe the knobheads Parry and Moores, would even entertain an offer from either person. Due dilligence was not Parry’s strong point and Moores will be for ever reminded of the damage he is responsible for. Where am I going here? Anyone out there ever start up a business? you employ people who turn out to be not quite right, but you interviewed them, you gave them a start, so you persevere, just like Kenny is with HIS purchases. Carroll has realised there is no going back to the geordies, we should thank them for the shitty reception they gave him, because we now have a force to be reckoned with. Henderson, in a central midfield role with Shelvey, once aligned with Lucas could be the Souness Case and Mc Dermott of the future, even the Kendall Harvey and Ball who drove us nuts in the early seventies. Who knows, one day even Downing might put aside his personal problems and concentrate on his football, he is after all an international, though I doubt it after reading his interviews. We as a team, and I say this as a born and bred scouser, though a long departed one, have no divine right to glory, no point in looking back, sure Kenny has his faults, but then the whole organisation has been living on past glories for the last 12 years or so. I recall questioning why Liverpool thought it was a great idea to have carlsberg as a sponser, you cannot send a kid to school advertising bleeding lager plastered across his chest, and you certainly cannot sell shirts to Malaysian’s, indonesian’s, Middle Easterner’s, etc. We have to hope that FSG realise what they have inherited, I recently spent a week or so in Liverpool and was blown away by the evolution of the city, FSG are not soft, they surely realise what a gem they have in their possession, and if Henry gets to be as passionate about LFC as he is about the Red Sox then we will be ok. Kenny expresses on many occasions how he left school at fifteen, I did too and so did the majority of scousers in the sixties, my hope is that FSG can coach Kenny in handling the press, a situation we all find uncomfortable, give him a good kick up the arse regarding man management, tell Stevie G and Carra who is in charge, look at the academy and find a way to produce players we can actually use, Build us a stadium, or turn Anfield into what the city deserves or failing that, get the fuck out of town.

  20. To the question of what Liverpool should strive to be, I think ideally a first team should always be a culmination of the philosophy behind its youth system, academy and reserves.

    On a different tangent, we are entering the summer transfer window, seemingly with targets already defined and a strategy already in place, which one would think would be contradictory and undermining of the authority of any director of football replacement to come.

    On yet another tangent, what this debate boils down to is uncertainty that Kenny can do better vs. an uncertainty that any replacement can do better. It is a division between knowing in the gut that Kenny is not for many years to come, and yet fearing in the mind the larger risks associated with a possible transition.

    With that in mind, I see Benitez, not as a regression, or a mere option, but the most appropriate candidate at this moment in time, even with emotions disassociated.

    A manager that holds the same football philosophy as our entire youth system (which he helped renew, a la my first point), that understands what the team and its supporters stand for, that has an impressive European record, has the ability to bring in talents from niche markets on a budget, is the only manager who won the Champions League in the last 10 years that is out of a job, and has signed the majority of players in our setup that are now entering their prime, doesn’t just grow on trees. In fact, if a managerial transition is to take place, I’m not sure we can really go any less risky with a certain amount of assured quality than Benitez.

    For Kenny, following my first tangent, I see it a natural flow of events that he would be “promoted” (note the double quotes) to the director of football position given that the strategy is already being planned without a replacement anyways. Whatever that position is meant to do, top clubs invariably have an ex-player with massive respect overseeing the good of the club, and it is natural that Kenny be in that position (not to mention how it can alleviate matters with supporters and the press compared to if he were just sacked).

    I believe Kenny was the right manager to take over – from Hodgson – a club that needed to transition. This season was going to be a rough storm anyway whichever way you cut it, and now that he’s weathered it, and we’re now a club that needs progression, I would say, the time is ripe for the next person in line, and the best person in line.

  21. Just listened and it was a great debate. As many of you mentioned there are much bigger problems than Kenny Dalglish, but Kenny is a big problem which says a lot about our club at this present time.

    If KK was to be moved on, I have no confidence in the club at this moment to appoint the right manager. Ian Ayre should not be our figurehead, leading football decisions. He was part of the team that brought Roy Hodgson to the club, and we all know how that turned out. I guess he is also the one who signs off on transfer targets, anyone who agrees to spend £20m on Stewart Downing needs their head checking. Mr Ayre did a great job to increase our commercial revenue in recent years, and I think he should return to that role. FSG couldn’t find the right man previously, but the CEO role needs to be filled.

    However back to Kenny. The fact that we seemingly gave up on our league season after the Arsenal game is in my opinion unacceptable. At that stage we were also 5 points ahead of Everton, and to fall behind them over the next 12 games is unacceptable. Finishing level with Fulham and below Everton and Newcastle is not what we expected at the start of the season. The league table never lies!

    The results aside,
    1. Kenny’s reluctance to bring in more of the youngsters. Seb Coates should have been used more when Agger was absent, Conor Coady not getting a look in when it’s clear Jay Spearing at 23/24 is not going to get any better, no Suso in the 1st team squad. Had we had these results, but brought through a few more youngsters, I would not be so harsh on him.
    2. KK not dropping under performing players, throughout the season, many players were stuck in a rut yet continued to start games.
    3. Poor Transfers – No signings in January, we needed a striker, why was one not brought in? I doubt FSG would withhold funds given the spending previously. £20m on Downing?? Paying top dollar for average players! Whilst KK may not have been responsible for the prices, he has stated the signings we all of his own choice…

    However, he is Kenny Dalglish, and to many he can do no wrong. People point to his record, winning the title with Blackburn 17 years ago…. Yes 17 years ago and the many with LFC previously!

    IMO he should go, but only if a top class manager could be appointed. Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers and Paul Lambert aren’t the men to replace Kenny, I’d rather Kenny stayed than appoint one of those 3. Guardiola if he could be persuaded would be perfect, however other proven winners are where we should be looking. Capello has won things wherever he has been at club level.

    My idea to turn us around
    CEO – Brian Barwick
    Director of Football – Txiki Begiristain
    Director of Youth Development – Pep Segura
    Manager – Fabio Capello

    • Shaun, with all respect to what you have written, but you mention Begiristain and Segura, and then you mention Capello. In what way do they combine? People with totally differrent vision and philosophy. Why not Rafa then? At least Rafa has much more in common with Txiki and Segura, and bearing in mind that Xabi Valero is said to be approached to come back…
      I am sure the fact that the DoF has not been appointed yet, contrary to what we’ve heard over a month ago: “we sack Comolli now because we need to move quickly to prepare for the next season”, and the uncertainty over Kenny even after his visit to Boston, means one thing: the owners are trying to put a big puzzle together and then make a move. They are not going to act sporadically and appoint all sort of people who probably won’t be able to work together. At least I hope so!
      They have a lot on their plate now to think about, and make a verified decision. Emotions of the fans will play the last role in their decision making process.
      We are in a mess. After spending over £100m on the squad, we find the club in the state of regression… which some people call a ‘work in progress’. More over, we have ‘sponsored’ Newcastle and their success story, which means we have one more strong opponent more to fight for the CL spot next season!
      If FSG leave things as they are for another season, Liverpool FC may be thrown back for decades. We don’t want to become Leeds Utd!

      I just hope FSG are not going to sell the club because of all the mess they are facing at the moment, including the situation with the stadium, etc.

  22. Best fans in the world.

  23. I just don’t think sacking Kenny Dalglish would do anything for us. Right now feels so much like Rafas last season when the fans were split and we all know how that turned out. If we stick to Dalglish, give him at least still December to fix his wrongs, we may all be singing his hymms again. But sacking him for a new manager means we’ll be having this conversation all over again when he inevitabely doesn’t take us to top of the league after 10 matches. And then what? Do we just keep sacking and hiring managers?

    I also find Niels argument about us soon looking more like Villa than United to be a bit too reactionary. At the end of the day, you go through bad times and you go through good times. This is our bad patch. If we had owners who had no goals or ambition than i’d be worried but it’s clear they are winners and follow a simple formula, if we win, they win. This is clear from the fact that they currently own one of the biggest sportings brands in the world in the Boston Red Sox. C’mon most of us only know of a few Baseball teams and that’s one of them. Because they are successful. We share a lot in common with them and that is probably what attracted FSG to us in the first place. A club with great history and tradition going through a rut needing a push to get back to it’s rightful place. We will get there, in time. I don’t know where this 20m transfer kitty stuff is coming from. I don’t know why anyone finds this stuff reliable. I don’t know why Rory Smith thinks he knows what our budget will be (needless to say I absolutely hate Smith, please don’t have him on the show again, he has NO idea what he’s talking about half the time and just BLAGS). But if the owners keep Dalglish, they will provide him with the funds needed. They won’t keep him in the post if they don’t trust him with the money. How stupid is that? The owners are clearly not retarded people otherwise they wouldn’t be sitting on such a fortune. They’ll fully back or they’ll sack.

    Kenny Dalglish has done terribly this season. He knows it and we know it. I’m sure Kenny Dalglish would love nothing more than to lift 19. I have faith we will. Soon.

    I think people are just dumb most of the time and think if you do badly one season it’ll predertermine your position for years to come when that’s clearly not how things work. In Rafas first seaosn we got 58 points which would have had us in 7th place this season and in his second we got 82 points which would have had us in third (without any marquee signings). It is possible to IMPROVE. Jesus holy mother of God. It’s like people don’t have that word in their dictionaries anymore. Heres a word of advice, stop listening to what Robbie Savage, Paul Merson and other opposition fans and pundits who watch us play maybe two or three times a season say. They see the score each week and make their judgements completely on that. Just like all my friends. They don’t KNOW anything.

  24. So now the madness begins (again) so long Kenny, enjoy a long and fruitful life, you did your best and but for the wood work and some seriously woodenheaded players, it might have been different. This has been the saddest season I can remember, and no I am not an “icon worshipper” Kenny is all too human, I would not go so far as to say he is anachronistic, as most of the footie LFC played this year was certainly better than the dross Hodgson had us watch, but the pieces did not fall into place, his stubborn faith in marginal players stood out, how did we send scouts to Rangers and buy Wilson and miss Jelavic? how did he come to the conclusion we did not need to purchase in January? There are dozens of debatable decisions we could dwell on, but it will not change a thing now. As I stated in earlier posts, my sentimentality wanted him to stay and drag us out of the malaise, but I fear his meeting with Henry and co went much the same way as his post match interviews, shrugged shoulders, working class defiance and a general disdain for “suits.” TAW posts have previously touched on the intelligence of the team. Johnson has looked to me our most talented and sensible player this year. Should we be able to keep him, I would like to see him captain the team, move to a defensive midfield position and together with Agger and Lucas become the nucleus of the team, I would have no problem with Rafa, providing he brings Paco back to the fold, other than that we are on a wing and a prayer.

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