THERE’s a lot of gleeful handrubbing and told-you-sos flying around at the moment.
Journalists that said Kenny Dalglish should never have been given a second chance are nodding sagely and grinning with delight…even the one who wanted Jamie Carragher to get the job.
Rival fans are appearing from the woodwork, inactive social networking accounts are creaking into life again and (foam semi-final) fingers are being pointed.
A lot of people who have got nothing to do with Liverpool want a Liverpool legend ousted.
Some Liverpool fans want him gone, too.
But there’s perhaps a lesson to be learned from 30-odd miles down the road when it comes to deciding whether to stick or twist with Dalglish.
When Dalglish took the reins in 1985 as England’s first player-manager he had Bob Paisley to turn to for on-the-field advice and Peter Robinson to turn to for off-field advice.
Every aspect of Liverpool was top class. In the 10 years before Dalglish moved into the manager’s office the club had won the league seven times.
The Liverpool he manages now is clearly not the Liverpool he managed then and while that doesn’t seem to dampen the expectations of some supporters and sections of the media, perhaps it will influence FSG.
John Henry has been known to swot up on football past and present and by now he will surely know just how much the club has fallen behind the leading pack.
Revenue-wise, wage-paying-wise, stadium-size wise, Liverpool is not top of the pile.
Clearly that’s not the case in the league either – and come the end of a season, it won’t have been the case since 1990 – 22 long years.
But the year Liverpool were last crowned champions was also the year Alex Ferguson almost lost his job.
Ferguson had spent big and expectations were high. Manchester United kicked off hoping, expecting, that for the first time since 1967 – 23 long years – they would win the league.
United had broken the British record for a defender with the purchase of Gary Pallister at £2.3million while deals for Danny Wallace (£1.2m), Neil Webb (£1.5m) and Paul Ince (£1.7m) were hardly cut price either.
The Pallister deal was in fact the second highest fee paid by a British club at the time. The biggest was by Liverpool to bring back Ian Rush from Juventus.
Ferguson had also tried to lure Glenn Hysen to Old Trafford but lost out – to Liverpool.
He still made a total of 10 signings that season as he tried to end years of underachievement in the league.
But while Liverpool won the title, as per usual back then, United slumped to 13th, their lowest league finish since their relegation from the First Division 15 years earlier.
It’s all sounding eerily familiar isn’t it?
Ferguson came under immense pressure with even the United fans turning on him – one producing the infamous banner: ‘3 years of excuses and it’s still crap – ta ra Fergie’.
When that banner was unfurled at Old Trafford in 1989 it was met by “loud, spontaneous and brutal cheers” according to a Guardian article by Daniel Taylor (and the doyen would know).
Taylor interviewed the fan responsible for the banner, Pete Molyneux, who said: “It was a build up of all the frustrations because his first three years were dark times. Liverpool were running away with everything and we didn’t seem to be getting any closer.
“We were coming off the back of the failures of Dave Sexton and Ron Atkinson to win the league and I just felt the fans had to do something because the club was accepting second-best.”
As it was, Ferguson’s side went on to win the FA Cup that season after a replay, beating underwhelming opposition in Crystal Palace, who had never reached a final before.
It was United’s first trophy in five years, and Ferguson’s first as manager of the club (he was appointed in November 1986).
No-one needs reminding what’s happened since.
But the point is that it is only modern football that decrees managers must be moved on at the first sign of crisis – it never used to be the case.
Managers were given time – especially at Liverpool.
Ah, you might say, well what about Roy Hodgson? Seriously, what about him? It really shouldn’t need to be said but Kenny Dalglish is not Roy Hodgson.
One season of ups and downs, a few bad buys and a poor league performance doesn’t whitewash everything that has come before.
Liverpool fans are now being mocked for calling him ‘King’ but Dalglish is the greatest living legend associated with Liverpool Football Club – a man who has experienced the highs of European Cup glory and the lows of Hillsborough and emerged the other side revered and with a lot of credit in the bank.
Let’s not forget that Dalglish is where he is right now because he answered the call of the club he loves in its hour of need. The easy choice was to keep on cruising – literally.
Hodgson, on the other hand, was the pick of a banker and it showed. He was way out of his depth.
Kenny clocked up eight league titles as a Liverpool player and manager and won the European Cup three times as a Red.
Hodgson didn’t manage to break into the Crystal Palace first team before playing for a string of non-league clubs. He’s managed 16 teams in eight countries, winning the league in Sweden and Denmark.
Unwanted records are being racked up in the league right now but that visibly hurts Dalglish.
In similar situations Hodgson embraced the mediocrity. This was Liverpool’s level and it wasn’t his fault, was the message. Remember ‘formidable’ Northampton?
And the football? Well for all the faults of the current side, at least they try to play the right way.
It sounds like straw-clutching but anyone who watches Liverpool regularly will tell you the football – in the main – has been better than the results suggest.
Under Hodgson, results were deserved. The football was turgid, defensively-minded and one-dimensional. He left the club with a win percentage of 41 per cent. Dalglish sits at 47 per cent for his second stint as manager (it was an amazing 60 per cent the first time around).
This season, Liverpool have often lacked direction – they’ve looked fragile, short on ideas and inspiration and devoid of a leader or two. There’s not enough character in the side right now.
But on the other hand they’ve defeated Arsenal, Chelsea (twice), Manchester United and Manchester City.
They’ve won a cup, ending a six-year trophy drought in the process, and they’re in the semi of the FA Cup.
This side might be clueless but its capable. It’s been good and bad for Liverpool this season.
Dalglish could still turn this around, so why change it?
If he genuinely doesn’t believe he can do any more for the club come the summer I believe he would walk away – he wants what is best for Liverpool.
As he said the first time around: “I would be the first to realise if I wasn’t good enough and then I would confront it.”
Does the club really want to go down the road of a fourth manager in two years if it can be avoided?
And if it does when does that policy stop? It’s an expensive and unsustainable approach – after all, Liverpool doesn’t have Roman Abramovich sitting in the boardroom to soak up the pay-offs.
Dalglish has been in charge for 15 months and 65 games. Every manager Liverpool has ever had bar Hodgson was afforded more time.
Going back to Ferguson in the 89-90 season, Martin Edwards at the time was said to be seriously considering sacking Ferguson, although he was worried about United becoming ‘a sacking club’.
The directors were also reported to have recognised the reasons for the slump – with injuries top of the mitigating circumstances.
It’s just one of the reasons Dalglish could cite for this season’s league performances.
Lucas, Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard, Daniel Agger – all have missed significant numbers of games. In the case of Lucas and Agger in particular, their influence on team performance is huge.
Then there was the Luis Suarez sideshow. Dalglish handled it badly. So did the rest of the club. But in pure football terms it robbed the manager of his most effective attacker – and Suarez has never been the same again since.
The summer signings largely haven’t worked – that can’t be ignored. Andy Carroll, too, still has a lot to prove.
But they’re capable of more. There are players in there – we’ve seen it.
A new manager would call for new players. A new system. Liverpool would be back to square one.
And who would that manager be? There’d be candidates, of course there would be. But what would the calibre of them be?
It was the pulling power of the club – or rather the lack of it – that prompted Dalglish to put himself forward for the job in the first place.
Is Liverpool any more attractive a proposition now? There’s still no stadium. There’s still no Chelsea or Man City-esque pot of gold to spend and there will be no place in the Champions League next season to tempt the top players. Talk of Jose Mourinho is fanciful for many reasons, not least for expecting an ego like that to work with a director of football.
The blood is still being wiped from the walls of Anfield from the messy battle to rid the club of Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
Then, under Rafa Benitez, it was the best midfield in the world. Now it’s not even the best midfield in the league.
World-class talent was replaced with lesser replacements. The pendulum is yet to swing back the other way. That will be the same whoever is in charge in the dugout.
And does starting again under a new manager minus a big budget make any sense at all?
Perhaps a master tactician could come in, drill the current squad and offer a more results-orientated approach to matters – points first, performances second.
But Liverpool have had such managers in Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez. People still moaned and the media still sniped.
Perhaps instead of championing change expectations should be reeled in and tolerance extended to a man who has won the top division four times.
Top four this season – or even higher – always seemed ambitious after what had come before. The turnover over of players has been huge, so it was always a big ask, particularly with an aim to lower wages and without the lure of Europe.
Other teams looked better equipped and further developed from day one – so it has proved, although the Liverpool squad has clearly underachieved while the summer signings have largely failed.
The smart buys of Newcastle that contributed to the latest setback only served as a painful reminder of what can happen when money is spent wisely.
Dalglish and Damien Comolli need to learn the lessons from the last few windows – that’s if they are given the chance.
But whatever happens, whoever leads the team, Liverpool will face the same problems.
Liverpool is still deemed a big club, but now it’s for its history and its support. It’s not the first-choice destination for players, it’s not offering the biggest wages and it plays in an ageing ground that is dwarfed by those of rival clubs.
Now, if Manchester United and Liverpool chase the same player the player goes to Old Trafford. Ashley Young and Phil Jones are testimony to that fact – the boot has long been on the other foot.
Yet expectations remain unchecked. None of it matters. It’s always the manager’s fault. It’s always that easy. When a manager’s lost it, he’s lost it – he can’t pull it back, can he?
Ferguson did. Perhaps Kenny can. While that possibility remains it’s a chance worth taking.
You make the Ferguson comparison better than most I’ve seen, but I still find it a rather tired one. The footballing world has changed so much in my time following Liverpool (early 90s), I expect even more so since the late 80s. The paralells between Dalglish of now and Ferguson of then are tenuous at best I find.
This season has dented my faith that things will simply get better next. There’s been so little improvement since we started this horrible post-Wembley run that I’m questioning whether our management have a credible plan to fix things. The fact that our biggest win streak is 3 games all the way back in August (which includes Exeter) indicates that we’ve capable of something like this all season. For all our good play, it’s proven to be very ineffective and has been for much of the season (particularly against the ‘lesser sides’).
I just can’t seem to summon the faith a lot of other fans seem to have (although when pressed they just roll out his CV as if that’s proof enough). Perhaps it’s because to me Kenny’s playing days and first spell in charge aren’t a memory. They’re a highlight reel or dvd documentary. Therefore I have to judge him solely on what I’m seeing now and there’s a lot that isn’t pleasing.
I’m not at the point where I want Kenny to leave, but it’s becoming a case of ‘if he left, I wouldn’t be heartbroken’.
Spot on on your comment.
I find myself in the situation where I desperately WANT Kenny to succeed but am struggling to see where the turn around has come from. And more seriously for someone usually as objective as myself I cant actually bring myself to want him to get the sack. No matter what happens, sadly I cant see myself ever wanting him sacked.
Only problems with the article is that yet again it is another article that straight from the first sentence sets its foundation as a “them versus us” and to be absolutely honest I find this attitude incredibly tedious. I just dont see a lot of gleeful handrubbing and told you sos, what I do see from the media and rival supporters is bemusement and amusement in equal measure. And that bemusement comes directly from the fact that we ousted a manager last year for being shit, then we pumped millions of investment into a new manager who is doing worse than the previous man, yet we still can not bring ourselves to call for his head.
Im not saying that their ISNT some glee and told you so’s going about, but I wouldnt describe it as a majority.
In terms of how the author compares the current situation with the situation Fergie it is very well written and presented however the problem is that when you look for comparisons between two situations then they are pretty easy to find. Often its the DIFFERENCES between two situations that are far more telling and while there are a myriad of differences between 1989 and now, two jump out at me more than most.
1. When Fergie took charge at United both clubs enjoyed similar gates, and back then gates where the prime source of income. There wasnt the yawning financial chasm that exists today. Finance in general wasnt as big a deal as it is today but United spent heavy and they spend well at the time in terms of the players they signed and….
2. Fergie was a hungry young ACTIVE manager selling a vision to build the club, and in his four years he marked steady improvent year on year finishing 2nd the year before the season mentioned in the article above, Also unlike now managers were given more time, it was a cultural thing.
Manchester United in 1989 was a club by and large on the up, the infamous season Fergie NEARLY got sacked was a blip on an otherwise upwards curve. Liverpool as a football club over the past few years is a club in steady decline and thats the main difference here.
Fergie is the exception that proves the rule, the standout case. He is the managerial equivolent of Lucas Leiva.
Sadly if we like it or not, football has changed and the margins between success and failure are much more brutal now than they were in 1989. And while I find it practically impossible to call for Kenny to go, I am also aware that modern football is ruthless, and United sit atop the game because they are ruthless. Ruthless at every level on the pitch and off. If United were languishing in mid table for a calendar year do you REALLY think no questions would be asked about the manager?
Gazing fondly at the past is something we all do, but continually living in the past and looking there for forward inspiration and progressive ideas is potentially a very dangerous endeavour.
Well,well,well Al’s back putting the knife into Kenny with his ridiculous posit that there is no difference between Hodgson and KD,only difference this time being he includes a long winded tribute to Fergie.
Some funny Liverpool fans about these days.
All good mate. You can tot off and quit supporting the club, no one will miss you. But what happens when they start becoming successful again? Will you jump back on the ship as if you’d never left?
I’m not trying to pick on you, but genuinely asking the question. Don’t you think it’s a little shortsighted and impatient to say the least that you’re completely giving up on the team you’ve supported for 20 years because they’re going through a bad patch? Look at Spurs and Arsenal recently. Both had spells in the relegation zone not long ago, but have since turned things around after persevering with what they knew was a good side capable of more than they had at the moment. And I think that’s exactly the situation with us.
Gareth says it perfectly that we haven’t got what we deserved all season, for many reasons. People are way too myopic in ONLY looking at the points tally in the league and concluding Liverpool based solely on a number. As he said, for those that have watched Liverpool all season, we know better.
The points total doesn’t tell the whole story at all.
There’s always a way to turn things around. We need to get behind the team to show them we believe in them to do so.
“I’m not at the point where I want Kenny to leave, but it’s becoming a case of ‘if he left, I wouldn’t be heartbroken’.”
“All good mate. You can tot off and quit supporting the club, no one will miss you.”
This kind of bile is indicitive of a lot of our support lately. Completely disproportionate reaction to an honest opinion given in good faith.
I don’t see how what I wrote could be read as I’ve given up on the club. I really dislike this attitude among some of our fans, you criticise one thing or question the actions of someone involved with the club and suddenly you’re a traitor who should go support Man City or Chelsea? It makes absolutely no sense.
If anything my commitment to Liverpool as a fan has been reinforced in the past two years, nothing gives you the right to question mine or any other fans loyalty to the club just because you disagree with something they say.
The bigger the problem, the greater the need for perspective. This article provides some much needed perspective. Unless the owners (and they are the ultimate decision makers) see some fundamental problems that cannot be fixed by patience, support and yes, investment, I will take stability over regime change any day. We need patience in the eye of the storm; not many clubs or fans, would give it. We are different and unique in top PL clubs, lets show why.
This is wrong! All the LFC supporting columnists are closing ranks. What is suffering is our result. You may worship Kenny to distraction. But why does this have do drag Liverpool down with him. It doesn’t matter if it hurts him more to lose, or anything else….The plain simple matter is this man has no sense. He has bought players who have ZERO talent WAY WAY above and beyond their real worth. His British record breaking striker has only profanity for him. No goals no assists. Apart from Bellars and Luis the rest on presnt form if sold today will get you less than half their outlay. This is how he messed about the Torres money. He wants to create a Liverpool that resonates with a buy British mantra. I ask you how has that worked. How does a 7 game losing streak still keep him in a job. Is Kenny here to trade all our useful players like Raul, Kuyt and the rest and then replace him with Poor enligh versions. Dont want him , dont want them. This is the moment of truth, LFC fans you gave Roy the finger. How is this situation any different! You know it in your heart that Kenny has really lost it .. He really has! Doesnt matter if he wins two trophies….On present form 110 mill buys you a carling cup on penalties. Thats pathetic…
This article covers everything except Kennys shit buys! GO British ONLY ! Just BRUTISH players needed at Anfield! Like we don’t understand what is going on. Some of us don’t go to Anfield every week, our grand fathers and fathers never went to games together. We admit we don’t know any first team players by name. You columnists do , So you write whatever suits your agenda. Roy sucked, so does Kenny. End of…Anyways if we lose to the bitters what is there to play for this season. So we carry on with Kenny next year. He buys more shit players , trades our good ones. So what happens now. We persist with him just cause Utd did. Fine, I have no interest in seeing us go the way of Leeds. Shit alehouse football like this and fans will lose interest . Thats reality. Its just bad karma i tell you. Kenny had Torres strung out like an ungrateful sod, so this was bad karma is what kenny deserves FULLY! Never said a single good thing about Torres after all he gave.
Don’t litter it’s anti-social.
Your article states
“the signings of United had broken the British record for a defender with the purchase of Gary Pallister at £2.3million while deals for Danny Wallace (£1.2m), Neil Webb (£1.5m) and Paul Ince (£1.7m) were hardly cut price either”
Is your professional opinion that any one of Downing, Stewart, Henderson and Carroll will go on to play at a similar level to Gary Pallister and Paul Ince two of the most outstanding players of the nineties in England, who won 6 league titles between them.
If we are casting are minds back to yesteryear for reference, Bob Paisley once said judge a manager on his judgement of players. Does anyone think for example that Benitez would have spent 113m so badly. Ferguson bought english this summer spending 34m on Young and Jones, highlighting the folly of Kenny’s signings once again, I believe the team could have been radically improved instead there is no discernible difference.
No but Suarez and Coates could.
As I was saying, patience in the eye of the storm. We are all gutted by results but we clearly differ on the solution. Its not about Kenny, its about LFC. Stability is more important for long term success than short term results. This game is all about judgements, so lets see where our judgements take us.
As much as I never want to see the day Liverpool becomes a sacking club, going through managers faster than a box of plastic flags at Stamford Bridge, I do think a disservice is being done to the club, the fans and even Kenny to constantly filter our opinion of his current job performance through the soft warm light of nostalgia. If at the end of this season Kenny was judged objectively on both what he had done for the team in a year and a half and the degree of faith in his (current) ability going forward to remedy this season’s mistakes, even his most fervent supporters would question whether he’s the man to pull Liverpool out of the mire.
I also wonder whether FSG knew from the outset their own intention to be peripheral in Liverpool’s management and saw Kenny as a safe pair of hands to carry the load (without knowing how heavy the load would become this season with the Suarez/Evra situation), absolving themselves of a good deal of day-to-day responsibility.
Carrying on into the next season with both team and corporate management at status quo is just a recipe for more distress. If Kenny is boss after the summer then get Liverpool a new version of Peter Robinson. It’s the only way his reputation, both past and present, will ward off the tarnish.
Kenny Dalglish is still the KING, and will always be, regardless of this campaign. He has an ultimate respect as the club’s best ever player and a legend, and a person. That is why so many supporters feel so low seeing him fail this season. Yes, it hurts enormously. And we all hope for the best for the club, and for Kenny.
We have a few games left this season, all against the ‘beatable’ opposition. Also the FA cup. We can still end the season on a high note. If that doesn’t happen, I am not sure Kenny will be given another season and more money to spend.
The decision of sticking or twisting is with the owners, not with the press and I think, not even with the fans.
The owners may simply find it more financially sound to sack Kenny and appoint another manager to see if that another manager is able to make our flops play football, rather than get rid of the said flops with a huge loss, and spend more money on new players who, let’s face it, may also turn flops.
We can appeal to the last century’s events when Fergie was failing but was given time, and see where he is now. That was the last century though. We are now in 21st century, the things are different now on so many levels, and we can only sigh about it, but we have to face it.
Henry and co. bought this club because it was commercially appealing. If they see they lose the international fan base, can’t sell shirts, can’t attract sponsors, can’t find a naming right partner for the new ground, etc., because who wants to cough up for a midtable team, they may simply decide not to bother, and sell the club. And we don’t want the club to end up with some sort of new H&G…. we now have owners who seem decent people and sensible businessmen, and long may it continue.
Great article and utterly shocked at some of the comments above. Before the Carling Cup final you could count the amount of poor performances on one hand. We were playing some of the best football I have seen us play in years and had we gotten a bit more luck hitting the target and not the post or cross bar and opposition goal keepers having their game of the season against us we would be at worst 5th in the league. There are 3 domestic competitions and we have won one and in the semi final of another, anybody who thinks that’s not a good first full year return with their own players as he said himself “needs a reality check” the players have let Kenny down in the league because since the Arsenal game there has been nothing to play for, its that simple. It’s been heartbreaking and I would still like to see a bit more of a reaction from Kenny when it comes to tactics and substitutions but I fully trust that the team he puts out are the best ones available at that time and that he believes they are capable of getting a result. The game hasn’t changed it’s still 11v 11 on a field of grass and the team with the better players will normally get a positive result, that is unless they lack the mentality to get up for games that holds little in the way of rewards. British players will gel and bond better that a mixture of different cultures and creeds and have created a good foundation for the team to build on to provided the season ends on a more positive note than the one we are currently experiencing. Kenny Dalglish is our Alex Ferguson, he is as ruthless and as cunning the only difference being that he has missed out on the Sky Sports era of football news and presentation and even though Ferguson is about as thorny and stubborn as they come in relation to the media his record seems to have given him a rite of passage one that hasn’t been afforded to Dalglish or anyone else in that matter, imagine Kenny or anyone kicking out reporters during a press conference or refusing to speak to the BBC for years, no other manager would be allowed to get away with it and still be showered with praise by the media. Suarezgate may have been poorly handled but by Comolli and Ayre not by Kenny, his actions have ensured above all else that Suarez feels protected and loved by his manager and the fans and not hung out to dry, as he felt my Ajax when he was marginalised by the club after the biting incident. He has not been the same player since and I’m sure Ferguson was only well too aware that his frog march into the referees office with a confirmed liar was going to have the desired affect, it was Suarez after all who singlehandedly beat united to a pulp and provided Kuyt with his easiest hatrick of his career. He was a threat to be dealt with and that’s exactly what he did, and had LFC had some experience in dealing with the FA and had the FA not been so quick to throw the book at anyone other than their Captain the punishment would never have gotten as far as it did. Handshakes cancelled, cases adjourned, compare that to the treatment of arguably Liverpools best player in the last 12 months prior to his ban. And people wonder why we have a persecution complex…
Well said Joey!
Can someone change my name on the above post to this one thanks !
Firstly, Kenny Dalglish is a club legend and that will not change in my view no matter how this ends. He came to us in a time of need and helped bring the club together again after the disaster that was the previous regime and the installation of Hodgson as manager.
But one caveat in comparing Ferguson being given time to Dalglish: English clubs were banned from Europe between 1985 and 1990, so Manchester United could afford to give Ferguson more time. The modern game is centered around Champions League qualification and the financial rewards that it brings. This will be Liverpool’s third season in a row not to qualify for the competition.
With the investment made in the playing squad last summer, the team should not be out of the Champions League running with 7 games to go. I’m not saying we should be qualifying, but we should certainly be closer in terms of points to 4th than we are to 19th.
While luck has played its part, including losing Lucas and Suarez for differing lengths of the season, the outlay of 70 odd million on Carroll, Downing and Henderson is where the real doubt in the management should lie – whether that is Dalglish or Comolli or both. One thing this season has hopefully proved is that, in terms of value for money, the “buying British” policy is redundant in the modern English game.
Personally, I don’t believe we are far off being a team that can finish in the top 4 next season – but that means buying the right players for next season, not players that we hope will one day come good. Can we trust the current management team with these investment needs? I guess that is up to FSG to decide.
Dalglish’s ability to tactically react to how a game is going – now that is another debate in itself…
I enjoyed the article thanks. A few things puzzle me tho’ – what exactly is our tactical system of play, why did we buy the players we bought and how do they fit into this system? Anybody got any ideas, because I’m a bit baffled.
We seem to have have simply bought chance creators and the best players at mediocre English teams (Villa, Blackpool, Sunderland) and its difficult to see where they fit. We can’t tell them to, “Just go out and play lad, we know you can play” which were Jan Molby’s tactical instructions in the good old days.
What really saddens me is that threw away a world class manager who had a system that clearly worked, and who gradually sold to buy in order to source players to fit into that system. I’ve had the greatest respect for Kenny since the 70’s, and I hope he and Steve can turn it around. FSG are clearly not going to throw mega-bucks and mega-wages at the problem, so we need to learn how to work smarter and overachieve with what we have. We need to build a team that is better than the sum of its parts, not worse.
My gut feeling is that it will not work out. By working out I mean mounting a realistic title challenge and winning the CL – that is the bar that Rafa set. I have little interest in the FA Cup or League Cup: just froth.
Rafa still has it in spades and in my opinion we need to somehow ease him back in a manner that suits all. Otherwise I think we will continue to throw good money after bad in the hope that it works. It won’t.
‘You may worship Kenny to distraction. But why does this have do drag Liverpool down with him.’
Dragging us down? The man who PULLED US UP from the two lowest moments in our history and gave us everything, too much in anything, because he believes in LFC. Drag us down.
There’s some sort of ‘walk alone’ reference to be made here.
Can’t believe some of the comments above, give the KING time, he’ll turn it round, if anyone thinks he won’t clear out any players not up to the bar he set for himself then they’re just soft in the head, I remember too well all the mancs moaning about ferguson and how bad his team and tactics where, I thought Liverpool fans where above this kind of whinging – get behind the team, manager and club and the good times will return!!!
The Carling Cup is a sign of progress, nothing more. Progress is what we want to see though. The league results have been poor, no doubt about it. But its difficult to compete on 3 fronts. That’s why lesser clubs fuck off the cups. So we’ve suffered in the league. We’ve had players out at different times in the season. Also fringe players playing regularly, so that points to a need for squad investment.
In the league we have at times played well, played ok and more recently been shocking. I don’t think that the shocking games are the norm though. They have got criticism and its been deserved. They now need picking up.
That’s where the fans come in. We’re in the semi final of the FA Cup and some people are giving up for fucks sake!
Liverpool needs a lot of things to compete with the top sides in this league:
New stadium, bigger stronger squad, European football to get the better players in (got that next season). It needs a strong reliable manager who knows how to be successful. But success never happens overnight so, more than that right now, it needs someone who knows the club and can guide the players and fans in the same direction.
One thing it doesn’t need though is more moaning lightweights, crying because ‘they’ deserve better. This football club has a history full of lessons for any supporter that wants to walk away from it now that times are a bit rough. From St Etienne to Istanbul. So if you want to go, then go. Actually no, if you want to go, fuck off.
If we could see a game plan..If we could see a man capable of turning games around we would sleep easier in our beds
Kenny will know if, whether and when he has to go. Nobody cares more than him about the future of OUR club. That decision is in the safest of hands. IF he goes, he will play a big part in choosing his successor. On a totally unrelated note – as Mancini loses ground at Citeh, it becomes more and more likely that Rafa will have that job next season – from where he will knock Ferguson from his perch. How would we feel about that?
I can’t understand how so many people are blaming Kenny for the signings he has made. If the fault of the signings rests soley at his feet then what exactly has Damien Comolli been doing all this time? The Director of Football-Manager relationship worries me. It’s hard to know who signed who, or what agreement or lack of there is in terms of transfer strategy.
Its clear that Kenny wanted british players and therefore was limiting the remit of DC. IMO it is clear that KD pushed for these players, got them and they are now letting him down. The amount of fans that appear blind to this and make comments regarding Andy Carroll, saying idiotic things like “he was superb against Newcastle” wake up, he wasn’t.
Listen to the opinion of a professional journalist, a scouser, Tony Barrett.
There’s nothing about the Carroll signing that makes sense. Even if he was brilliant at what he does – which he clearly isn’t – then you still couldn’t justify paying £35 million for a forward without a turn of pace, with only basic skill and who struggles with the ball played into feet.
£35 million is what you pay for a top star, or at least someone who has special talent, not what you shell out for a target man.
Downing has no excuses. He has talent, he has extensive Premier League experience and in Andy Carroll he has a forward who should be ideal for his delivery from wide areas. But he’s failed to impose himself in any meaningful way and the growing feeling is that Liverpool are too big for him as Benitez argued when he was offered Downing on several occasions.
KD signed these players for a combined total of 55 million plus wages over 5 years thats close to 85 million pounds, WASTED, open your eyes please.
Objective view from a non LFC fan, who just happens to be a United fan, take it as you like;
I thought the appointment of KD was the correct appointment at the time. I know there is criticism about short time Roy Hodgson got but he wasn’t the right man for the job…in hindsight. I actually thought he was when appointed. I changed my mind, not due to his friendship with Sir Alex but because he saw LFC as they truly were at the time, a top 10 side and his talk matched that. Regardless if that was true or not, certain clubs should never talk of themselves like that. In the English game I believe LFC, Arsenal and United are those three. So any manager at any of those clubs who spoke of their team as mediocre side is in trouble and when Roy did so, he was always on the way out.
This now leads to KD and various support/frustrations of LFC fans. I think any consideration on removing him is very early, though the form you’re in and if it continues isn’t going to help him any. The fact is he was backed by the owners big in the summer and he spent big BUT the problem is, he won’t get that sort of money again (assumption). Therein lies the problem and the real questions;
– Do the players still believe in him? Be it in the sense, the key players support him and are not looking for moves elsewhere?
– Is KD able to extract more out of the current set of players? i.e. is it an issue of form and not class in certain cases?
– Will he be able to trade his way out, losing the dead weight and bringing players of better caliber?
– Is there enough talent in the youth set up to supplement the above?
And another key consideration is, we exist in a different time and age to the KD’s previous era and the era in which Sir Alex Ferguson got the time he needed. The media is 24/7 and everywhere you look. The pressure for knee jerk reactions is all the greater as a result. Commercial interests also influence football more than they did before.
And it’s one thing to demand change, WHAT is the alternative? Any new manager will want substantial investment as he seeks to put his own stamp on the club, investment (probably) that doesn’t exist. For those calling for change, what is the solution? Assuming the only investment you have is what you generate yourself.
Was’nt Fergie in his mid forties when he took over a United with no experience at Managing Top flight club, Kenny is 60 with experience of managing Liverpool as well as other Premiership sides, Can’t really compare the two, That said look at Moyes he’s been given 10 years and he’s won err…….. nothing, except off course couple of good seasons in the league and an FA cup final,
Great article and places a sense of perspective on the position we find ourselves in.
I do not subscribe to the hysteria of “sack the manager”, not because it is KD but because history shows it provides a positive short term gain but does not provide the longer term gains [almost like investing in the stock market…”ensure your investment is for a minimum of five years”]. Longevity has proven to be the formula for success; SAF, Wenger and yes Moyes prove the point.
I can understand the media and other fans taking the opportunity to put the boot in at every Liverpool failing but for supporters of our own club to publicly call for the head of KD is nothing short of duplicity – but football is opinions, so give them there day. Who do they think we could recruit? The two most successful managers in the UK are certainly not available and the two European galactic managers would not be interested without a 100M budget. As much as I admire Raffa and point to the issues he had to confront, I do believe that the time is not ready for him – so who?
The parallels you make with Fergusson are spot on. We can also point to the advantage we had over all other clubs with the 20 consecutive years in Europe and perhaps it was no coincidence that soon after our expulsion that SAF decided to move south and to “knock us of our perch”. I firmly believe that the European ban started to loosen the nuts on the wagon of our “well oiled machine”. Hillsborough 4 years later consumed all of our focus and energy – absolutely correctly – broke our manager and the Liverpool mould. We took our last breath to win the league in the early nineties but by then we were in freefall.
In the meantime MUFC have positioned themselves at the top of the hill and everybody else is challenging to knock them of their perch with only temporary success, never able to maintain ascendancy. It hurts like hell to say it but we must recognize their domestic success [I would challenge their record in Europe with the resources at their disposal] and yes they are about to make it 20 and leaving City running up the hill in every game.
KD and the club are doing everything to recover our position to at least begin to challenge for 4-3-2-1 but it will NOT happen overnight – we must accept it and support the club 100% without exception. Due to my job I live overseas and watch the games live on TV and yes it is painful, not only to watch the football but to feel the negativity from the crowd that is clearly getting to the players – 12th man?
Look across the Park and see the euphoria of reaching the SF and sitting above us, they are on a high because they have exceeded expectations. Perhaps we should learn to lower our expectations and accept we are not top four anymore, however, we do remain famous and have the commercial ability to re-join the elite.
First we must let the owners compete Phase 1 with KD at the helm and yes there will be mistakes along the way.
possibly one of the most balanced and well-written pieces i’ve read in a long time which places where we are into perspective..
It’s true the Media world and all those LFC haters want to see the King de-throned to add the final humiliation to what has been an almost unbearable few years for the club and it’s fans..
But we are LFC! Aren’t we meant to be different to other clubs and arguably the best fans in the world?
FSG need to stand strong, (that’s not to say ignorant with all the failings of the past year).. Kenny deserves our 100% unequivocal support. For crying out loud we all want success but we have to realise it ain’t gonna happen overnight..
If Kenny wasn’t upto it, believe you me, he would stand aside for the greater good.. He is a winner and he will be hurting more than you or I.. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the majority of the signings made have simply not been good enough both in quality and mentality.. Kenny has backed them now he must be ruthless and ship them out if they cannot handle the weight and expectation of the Shirt.
Yes we’re all peeved as we’ve not only blown so much dosh, but also possibly just let one of the best opportunities to regain our Champions League place slip through our hands..
But I would have no other man at the Helm through a Storm than the King himself..
Let’s Man-up as Fans, who knows the Players may do the same if the want to keep their shirts season!
Here is a poem for the Sky / talk sport generation.
Call for the head of King Kenny, if it gives you a semblance of glee, though be careful what you all wish for, in life, nothing is free.
Call for the head of King Kenny like you called for Rafa’s head too, you would probably have tried to lynch Paisley, hung drawn and quartered Shankly too.
Without them there is no more Liverpool, and you could all sleep easy in your beds, so be careful of what you all wish for, a life without the once mighty reds. Still calling for the head of King Kenny? Well go on then all if you all must, replace him with Jose Mourinho and watch everything crumble to dust.
Call for the head of King Kenny, you pay your money and have a right to complain, call for the head of King Kenny he’s out of touch with this new modern game.
Call for the head of King Kenny he’s is every so tactically naïve, Call for the head of King Kenny go ahead, if you do not believe.
Myself I prefer to support Liverpool and the player that we call the King, Every great club needs a leader and there is nobody better than him. Why do I support this King Kenny? Well, I’ve known him most of my like. I trust him with our club completely; he’s been there through trouble and strife.
Call for the head of King Kenny, phone talksport or sky news if you please. Call for the head of King Kenny, now who is being naïve, Call for the head of King Kenny, he’s forgotten more than you will ever know Call for the head of King Kenny, I think it’s time for you lot to go.
Try being a supporter of Liverpool, it really is such a great club, everyone supports one another, then has a laugh and a joke in the pub. Try being a supporter of Liverpool the clue is all there in the name, our fans normally support our manager it put’s other so called fans to shame.
Call for the head of King Kenny? I don’t think so, it’s not really my style. Call for the head of King Kenny, it lack class and is very juvenile. Call for the head of King Kenny, 12 months is long enough, Call for the head of King Kenny? not likely, he is, one of us,
If you agree with the spirit(or the poor spelling) of this comment or not, you gotta love the effort!
A great read, but this for me highlights the blind faith that a lot of older LFC fans have for Kenny because there experiences and joyous memories of watching an all conquering Liverpool are obviously heavily intertwined with Dalglish. He is a legend and will forever more be our King. Do I believe in this modern era of football he is the man to take us forward for the next 5-10 years, no i do not, in which case its just a matter of when he moves upstairs.
It`s not that we have blind faith, we know Kenny has flaws, but we are not Chelsea and i hate the Talksport / Sky shit. LFC are not media puppets; somethings in life are worth waiting for and at times you have to be patient. I know this is a difficult concept but Rome was not built in a day. It took from 1965 to 1977 to win he European cup. Chelsea have thrown over a billion at it and Man City probably will as well. We all want to be in the CL but thanks to Purslow and Roy destrying a lot of Rafa’s good work we are not at the moment ready.
I would have preferred for Rafa to have stayed and Kenny to have remained upstairs, however, Kenny achieved a lot at Blackburn as well s at LFC and he needs to be given time and money to spend if we are going to compete.
On a more serious note:
This season has shown that the Liverpool squad is very very thin, I doubt that going in to a season the team, never mind the squad, has so few experienced Liverpool players in their prime.
Reina, Skirtel, Agger, Enrique, Johnson, Lucas, Adam, Downing, Suarez are the only players between the ages of 24 and 30, that is not even a full team, out of these Agger and Johnson are injury prone and in terms of experience Adam has had only one full season in the prem having made the massive leap from Blackpool, it is also the first full year for Enrique, Downing and Suarez at Liverpool. That leaves Skirtel and Lucas (out for the season) as our two prime players with more than 1 year at LFC.
Players between the ages of 31 and 34 Carragher, Aurelio, Gerrard, Kuyt, Maxi, Bellamy. Lots of experience however Aurelio, Gerrard and Bellamy are injury prone, which leaves Maxi and Kuyt to complement Suarez and with Carragher we defend too deep and it affects results.
Flanagan 19, Shelvey,20, Kelly 21, Coates 21, Henderson 21, Carroll 23, Spearing 23; this is a very large group of young mainly English talent, add Reina 29, Skirtel 27, Enrique 26, Agger 27, Lucas 25 and Suarez 25 to this list and it gives you a squad of 13 with all positions covered that should grow as a group for the next 5 – 10 years.
In the reserves (next gen semi-finalists)
Defence: Sama, Wisdom, Robinson, Midfield: Coady, Suso, Sterling, Forwards: Engoo, Eccleston, Morgan. That’s another group of players between 17 and 21.
That’s a group of 9 players that will have been together for 2 to 3 years with European experience.
Over the next couple of years you would expect with the exception of Gerrard the older players to leave and the wage bill reduce dramatically because these are the clubs high earners.
Sponsorship + New signings
New kit and shirt sponsorship deals will increase revenue at a time when the wage bill has been slashed and there is very little interest to pay to banks, (allegedly). You would expect with money generated and the wage bill slashed the possibility to make some marque signings, normally these type of signings 2 or 3 per year will be of the Alonso / Suarez / Torres type that are around 22 to 23 years old when bought and potentially sold again 5 years on for double the money.
Good youth policy, pay top money to complement them, sounds like Moneyball.
Is Kenny the right man?
If you look at the squad of prime players, Kenny has not got a lot to work with and in many ways he has done exceptionally well to have won one cup and be in the semi- final of the other, Arsenal have 14 players in their prime, Chelsea 11 (+ Cole, Terry, Lampard, Drogba, Malouda), Spurs 12, Everton 11, Newcastle 17!!!, United 9 and City 15.
Everyone has been surprised by Newcastle but they have the most players between the ages of 24 and 30 of all the top 7 teams. Had Liverpool kept Aquilani and Mierless then you would have two more players in their prime in midfield that can score goals and have intelligent movement, something lacking this year. Add Ngog (23) upfront and you would have had more attacking options,
Selling and loaning these players saves £12 mil per year in wages and generated £16 mil in transfers, that’s £28 mil or about the same as CL qualification, had we kept these players were we nailed on CL qualifiers? Difficult to say; CL qualification without these players and it’s a £28 Mil jackpot, Not CL qualifiers with these players and you have lost an extra £28 mil. The question is do you put all your money in the Aqua, Mierless and Ngog basket or take the money and still have a punt?
Take the money and still have a put is the Moneyball answer.
For the punt to work, i.e to get 4th place you need all your prime players to play nearly every game and to play well in the league, what you do not need is long term injuries to Lucas, Agger, Johnson, you do not need Suarez banned for 8 games and all the crap that went with it, you need Carroll to start the season fully fit and firing on all cylinders and you need Henderson, Downing and Adam, to settle quick and hit the ground running instead of hitting the post. Even then, to break into the top 4 we have to be better than Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs or two out of the three and they all have squads better than ours because they have spent more money over a longer period building them.
What we can do is concentrate on the cups and get into Europe, which is exactly what we have done and if memory serves me well we are always shit in the league and put in dreadful performances the years we go on cup runs, we did in 2001 and in 2005 and it is what we are doing now, and just to round off the symmetry we were shit the first half of 85-86 and then went on a run to win a double in Kenny’s first season. Any takers on Kenny’s Liverpool not winning the cup double on his return? Didn’t think so
Al > then we pumped millions of investment into a new manager who is doing worse than the previous man,
doing worse? eh!?
Fair point. Conceded.
Was typing in a rush on my lunch break. Clearly I dont think kenny has a worse record or is a worse manager than Woy.
Just as a matter of interest i was looking back at our results from Rafa’s first season to see how we compared in 2005, we also lost an away game in March to Newcastle 1-0, this is the squad below, how do you think it compares to squad this season?
Scott Carson – – –
– Steve Finnan – – –
– Mauricio Pellegrino (81) – – –
– Sami Hyypia – – –
– Jamie Carragher – – –
– Sanz Luis Garcia – – –
– Igor Biscan – – –
– Vladimir Smicer Y (74) – – –
– Steven Gerrard Y – – –
– John Arne Riise – – –
– Milan Baros (87) – – –
– Anthony Le Tallec (82) – – –
– Jerzy Dudek – – –
– Antonio Nunez (75) – – –
– Stephen Warnock (88) – – –
– John Welsh
i then looked at our points total in 2005 after 31 games:
2005- 50 pts win percentage 48%,compared to now:
2012- 42 pts win percentage 35%.
Remember Rafa wasn’t handed 113 million pounds to spend on players, so you are comparing apples with oranges, and Rafa won a trophy that the top clubs are desperate to win every season, as opposed to the second rate Carling and FA cup. Its a brave new world people and we need to be in the Champions League or be left behind with our glorious past.
And one more point, I for one never called for Rafa’s head, I was aware of what a good manager we had and how lucky we were to have him. He was never afforded the opportunity Kenny has to work with stable ownership or handed a 100m war chest to transform the squad, he was always having to trade and juggle or buy Jermaine Pennat for 6m when he wanted to Alves for 12m, can you imagine what he would have done with the money Kenny wasted. The sad fact is Kenny was heavily backed in the transfer market and failed.
I’ll say it again Bob Paisely (remember him) said judge a manager on his judgement of players.
Great article, it’s important to keep perspective. Like many fans, though, while we desperately want KK to be successful, we have to recognise the mistakes made to date and ask whether he’s the man to take us to the next level. My view is he isn’t. He gave away Aqua and Meireles when he didn’t have to and chose Downing over Mata. You need a big, adaptable high quality squad to stay competitive on all fronts today. Game tactics have also been questionable too many times. For those asking who would be his replacement, that’s easy – Rafa. He had us consistently punching above our weight and took us very close to the title. We also took the CL for granted. 3 seasons out of it now…
Spot on, KD had huge success in the past but the landscape has now changed. Unquestionably Rafa is the better manager now, is out of work and loves the club. Is Kenny really the man for the next 5-10 years, I think not, Rafa is that man, he has the passion like Kenny but is a tactical genius, if Carragher and Gerrard don’t like it, tough. We need to look to the future and get back in the CL, and in the light of the past few years, those idiots who called for Rafa’s head can now see what we are missing. Can you imagine how well he would have spent 113 million. The most he got in one go was the funds to sign Torres and even then he was forced to sell Bellamy and then Crouch. The owners were always giving with one hand and taking with the other.
Abramovich’s obsession is the Champions League. It has been for the entirety of his reign at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea is the very definition of “sacking club.” Have they ever won the Champions League? Well, they did come mightily close when John Terry hilariously fell on his ass, but the answer is NO! He sacked a proven manager that won him the league and FA Cup double and replaced him with AVB, who in turn lasted just over half a season and with wretched results.
Hodgson was never trusted by any fan to “steady the ship” or to “stop the rot.” He is totally unambitious, has never managed at the top; he doesn’t even know what the top looks like. He brought his defeatist attitude to our club, a club with higher aspirations and that obviously didn’t sit well with us, the supporters of this ambitious club. “We’re in the top half, we’ll enjoy ninth for now.” I got sick in my mouth when those words left his mouth.
The main difference between them is the trust the supporters have in Kenny and their hugely divergent track records. Roy was happy to drag the club down (ENJOYING ninth, for fuck’s sake). Kenny bleeds Red and only wants what’s best for the club. Keep the trust in him and we will see brighter days. YNWA
Not really sure how @Eric is ‘spot on’.
“He gave away Aqua and Meireles when he didn’t have to…” £12m for Meireles I think, and pretty sure he’d fell out with the club over some sort of wage rise. I recall him sticking two fingers up to the bench. Can’t think why he went…
Aquilani – injury prone, didn’t like the physical stuff and again said to be more than happy to go. A massive gamble in the first place given his injury record (signed by Rafa who revisionism now says never made a mistake).
Also: “he chose Downing over Mata”. Did he really? Yes, Dalglish wanted Downing but Mata was never on. Wage wise the club doesn’t compete with Chelsea and didn’t have Champions League football to offer so what is that comment based on?
As for this consistent banging on about Rafa – he fell out with people at the club. The current MD wanted him to go. And for all the good Rafa did, and I loved him *when he was the manager* he made plenty of mistakes in the transfer market and with his tactics so I really don’t see the point in “imagine what he would do with 100m” comments.
I’d venture he’d face the same problems as any manager of Liverpool – we’re not able to lure the very top players.
Bear in mind also that he’d be expected to work in a structure with a director of football…
I just think we should get behind the current manager of Liverpool. If his position becomes untenable he will go.
The Mata comment is based something @sidlowe stated that Mata was open to a move to Anfield, we just liked Arsenal dragged are feet, the clause in his contract then expired and his value rose from a set 17M, he is on 80,000 a week which is around the same as Carroll.
I am behind the current manger but at times even you would have to admit you are very economic with the truth or your version of it. You obviously love Kenny and are protective towards him, I fully admire and respect that as I do you and your unwavering support for the club as a season ticket holder.
Rafa of course made mistakes in the transfer market, but at no point was he handed the kind of money Kenny got his hands last summer to spend all in one go and really shape the team in his image, He was constantly forced to balance buys with player sales. Remember this a forum and although I agree the statement “imagine how Rafa would have spent 110m” is not a constructive comment, in my opinion it rings true. He was consistently offered Downing(source tony barrett The Times) and refused on the basis of his mental fragility. Would he have signed any of those players last summer, no. And as a fan of over 30 years I remember how many big money signings we’ve made over the years and its not many, hence the frustration when the money is then wasted because for all the spin that this was somehow DC’s fault do you really believe that Kenny did not want and push for everyone of those players, and its this that causes doubt for me as it obviously did Bob Paisley as he said “judge a manager on his judgement of players” and on that basis there is reason to be worried.
I believed before that it was a mistake to let Rafa go and I firmly believe some lucky club will reap the benefits of his tactical genius. Maybe difficult for the old timers and scousers to take but maybe Rafa Benitez is the bigger name in European football management than Kenny Dalglish, its a game of opinions Robbo I’ve just read yours and this is mine.
PS I seem to remember a lot of people on #TAW telling all and sundry during the Suarez affair, the t shirts and handshakes “if kenny’s doing it I back him” and look how that worked out for the club.
I’m behind Kenny and lets hope the board back him and that he invests more wisely this summer, and remember we don’t all have to agree with you or go to Anfield every week to love this club.
You’ve got a different opinion to me, I get it…
A lot of people have a different opinion to you, just wish I had known before hand that I was intended to read the article, fawn over it and tell you how I agree with every point made. Now that’s clear I’ll know for next time.
STICK OR TWIST? A LESSON FROM HISTORY
Surely the lesson from history is that you don’t sack a 2 La Liga, UEFA and European Cup winning manager with tremendous tactical nous after finishing 6th and getting to the semi-final of the Europa League…?
We are being taught this lesson now and will be taught it for some considerable time.
So, the current MD doesn’t get along with Rafa? Wasn’t the current MD found wanting in the Suarez case? – completely pathetic and cowardly behaviour putting a statement on a website and not getting in front of the cameras straight away. Poor Kenny had to do it and it is not his job. Very weak indeed.
Tony Barrett’s assessment of the players is IMHO spot on, unfortunately.
Having read all the posts now it would seem like there is an even split of opinion, just unfortunate that quite a few fans take the view that if your not blindly supportive of everything the club does you can jog on and you won’t be missed, which is pretty pathetic.
Some of us believe Kenny is the future others don’t what cannot be disputed is the love and appreciation we all have for the greatest of all Liverpool players Kenny Dalglish, he is a god, no question, I however am an atheist.
Pathetic offering your opinions on Twitter then blocking people when they don’t agree, you and Jim boardman should do some growing up.
Just heard you on the podcast, really interesting and insightful points of view from someone within the stadium, great stuff, thanks guys.
KKKing KKKenny is doing a wonderful job – and what an eye for a player – Carroll was a steal at only £35 million!