By Karl Coppack
THE WBA game highlighted some interesting issues regarding our ex-manager, their current one. The press kept mercifully quiet about him for once, odd given that he bloodied our nose there last season, and went back to smearing Luis Suarez”s reputation instead.
It”s been ten months since he shuffled away from Anfield with all of his signings re-labelled as harmless ex-players and he still makes a point of telling us that he”s not bitter about being sacked. Thanks Roy.
There”s clearly some undercurrent to his words and defence of his genius. Forget the dross he brought to the club, he actively scouted Suarez but obviously couldn”t afford him. Yep, he scouted Luis Suarez. In other words, he saw the World Cup too. The most obvious step after for failing to secure his signature was a last minute punt on Carlton Cole. Suarez-Cole, Cole-Suarez. Names that are synonymous with creative football. Still, at least he recognised the talent, that’s the main thing. I”ve long admired that Argentinean striker at Barcelona but the world won”t listen and I don”t have 37 years of managerial experience.
His latest claim is that he never had the time he needed. Bottom three in October, battered by a weak Everton team with what he described as an acceptable, even decent performance and a famous away win at Bolton. Yeah, we were clearly on the rise. Meanwhile his signings were letting him down badly. Poulsen was horrendously off the pace (although I maintain he did well at Old Trafford in the League), Konchesky”s work was done by Skrtel half the time so bad was his positional sense and Meireles improved under Dalglish who thought it might be wise to play him in his actual position rather than an experimental right sided midfielder. Of course, once it became clear that Joe Cole was the shadow of a shadow of a shadow of the player he once was he became Rafa”s signing rather than his.
It”s not easy to defend Hodgson on many counts but he is exonerated on at least some grounds. Firstly, if Kenny were to announce that he was handing me the reins of Liverpool Football Club tomorrow I”d leap at the chance. True, I would be the last person you”d want given my experience (unused substitute – Croxteth Primary School v Rudston Road, 1978) but I”d love to manage the Reds. Hodgson thought himself up to the task with an arrogance that belies his Tom Good”s Dad look but you can”t blame him for taking at a chance he should never have got.
The club was in turmoil when he took over so he was never going to win. Not only was he trapped between the fans and the board but he had to fight for the love of both pro and anti-Rafa factions within the fanbase. Benitez was never going to last the summer and was too much of a headache for the powers-at-be but was still applauded onto the pitch at Burnley only a month earlier. Therefore, Hodgson was always going to fight against a large group who didn”t like him before he uttered a word. I was one of them.
The biggest slice of the blame lies squarely at the door of Broughton and Purslow and it sickens me to see forum threads singing their virtues for the takeover. That was their job, not telling the third most successful manager in online casino spiele our history who was chomping at the bit to come back that he wouldn”t be considered, nor was it to pick a clearly inappropriate manager based on some footy they”d seen on Channel 5 in April 2010. Rafa wasn”t everyone”s cup of tea but to replace him with a manager who had had one good cup run in several hundred years of management is simply incredible.
Of course the appointment wasn’t completely based on managerial prowess. Hick and Gillet had gone nose to nose with Rafa so often that a warm, uncle figure who wouldn’t bite the hand that fed was always going to be ideal. Did Kenny represent too much of an argumentative figure too? Probably. The press had already turned on Rafa during the erroneously termed ‘rant’ in January 2010 but Hodgson could do no wrong. Affable, so English that he sounded like a 40’s spiv selling nylons from the lining of his coat and a club man. No raging ego, no running off to the press when told of the nugatory transfer budget and no shouting when it came to who was in charge of what. The power they relinquished to Rafa safely restored. Operation Not Rafa was concluded just before a terrible pre-season campaign.
Last week Hodgson said that he would have liked to have seen how he would have got on with the funds granted to Kenny, no ego there then, but he isn’t bitter about his time here. Well sorry Roy but I am. I sat in the Kemlyn at half time against Blackpool having just seen Glen Johnson argue with the ref about the most blatant penalty I’ve ever seen and watched a newly promoted team have the freedom of the park. When Blackpool ran out for the second half we applauded them onto the pitch. The last team we’d done that for? Real Madrid. How the mighty had fallen.
The players shouldn’t get off lightly here. They stank in Rafa’s last season and they stank in Hodgson’s five months.
Ultimately his tenure will be confined to a page in the history of LFC, maybe even a paragraph. It didn’t really happen. Look the other way. That would be a shame as it should be seen as a warning to what can happen rather than being shoved under the carpet.