IT’S ONLY a press conference. But as press conferences go, this was mightily impressive from Brendan Rodgers.
Can he handle the pressure? Deal with the expectations? Handle the egos? Is he experienced enough? Is he the right man?
Only time will tell – and it will be what happens on the football field that will determine many of the answers to those questions.
This was a couple of hours in front of cameras and recorders in the trophy room at Anfield, itself a burdening sight to behold to the wrong man.
Less than two years ago, Roy Hodgson was lowering expectations and talking about things being “out of his hands” in his very first press conference at Liverpool.
Despite the revisionism since, Hodgson did get a chance at Anfield – his downfall was his own making. But seeds of doubt about his suitability were planted the first time he tightened a Liverpool tie for the press.
Contrast that with Rodgers. Within a few questions, he started pulling up the weeds of negativity that have surrounded his appointment. He left everyone impressed.
Rodgers was no rabbit in the headlights. And it wasn’t an arrogant man, bristling at any question deemed awkward.
Press conferences do go wrong. This didn’t.
Rodgers was confident, forthright, yet not arrogant. He was happy to talk about his faults, he held up his hands about getting it wrong at Reading and he was understanding of the doubts in his ability from some supporters. He recognised he has to win over the fans and the players. That’s for the future. For now, he concentrated on winning over the media. Job done.
He talked about his “short career” – there was no fluff, no flannel. This is a straight-talking man. His comments about the owners were not out of the PR manual but honesty can often match spin and it did here. Like many fans, he was clearly not overly impressed by the owners’ recruitment process – the long list, the public approaches: “They were too honest trying to go through the front door,” he said.
He spoke of FSG’s lack of understanding of how things work in British football, and, by detailing how he’d shunned the first flash of leg from Liverpool, and how he’d made it clear that the owners’ ideas for a football management structure were not to his liking, he showed his strength of character. This is no patsy.
Rodgers may have been happy to walk to Liverpool to take the job on his terms but it was only then – on his terms. “You need to be a brave man to turn down Liverpool,” said Rodgers. You do. And he did.
Of course Rodgers will have prepared for the conference. Been briefed on what to expect. It’s a press conference after all.
But it’s part of the game. A much more important part of the game than it once was. Ask Harry ‘Teflon’ Redknapp.
His failings never seem to stick for many journalists because they like him (‘It’s ‘Arry, innit.’) He’s also messed up royally at times and not faced the media mirth many of his colleagues have faced.
Rodgers may well have been ‘just playing the game’. But the grin and the excitement in his eyes couldn’t be rehearsed. He’s buzzing to be here, he wants it, and as he said, he’ll ‘fight for his life’ for the club.
Of course he’s replaced Kenny Dalglish. And with that comes its own pressure. But even that was a question he fielded with grace.
“I will never replace Kenny Dalglish, that’s the reality of it,” he said.
“I can only be Brendan Rodgers and do the very best I can for the football club. I’m not here to jump above – this was a guy who was voted the best player in the history of Liverpool Football Club, who’s a legend of a manager here and a fantastic man.
“So there’s not a race for me, that’s a race I would lose. But for me, what I want to do is prove my worth and prove my honesty and commitment to Liverpool Football Club. History judges you as a manager, that’s the reality of it. So it won’t be now, it will be history – and I hope history will allow me to walk alongside some of the great managers here.”
So do we, Brendan. Welcome to Liverpool.
> You can download the press conference in full, and an interview with Brendan Rodgers afterwards, here: http://t.co/GePapzWG It’s also available on iTunes here: http://t.co/y0fdEiLm
Great piece and a great presser from BR. Before the hodge opened his mouth I was full of hope about the season to come but then he did and all that hope disappeared instantly. Total opposite this time. I was not too excited by the appointment but he won me over in that press conference, I hope he do the same for the players and the rest of the fans still on the fence. Good Luck Brendan, YNWA, not anymore you don’t.
We’ve been in relegation form from Jan to May, now we are appointing an inexperienced lower league manager and his back room staff =
BIG TROUBLE AHEAD FOR US REDS……
Seriously? Whether you turn out to be right or not, give the man a chance and say something positive. When Swansea wouldn’t let us have the ball at Anfield last year surely most of us looked on and dreamed of us playing like that. Well, now’s our chance. Might not work, but see it as an adventure that just might turn out to be brilliant…
Ditto the other comments. He was hugely impressive today, and the more I’ve read about him over the past few days the more upbeat I feel about it.
you suck man
Just as with Hodgson the buck stopped with the manager! Sadly the job at Liverpool had changed and Dalglish (for me) was not the man to take us forward. Liverpool haven’t won the title in 20+ years and we must rebuild the club and its values, starting with a new young up and coming manager who’ll produce football in his own image and in the true image of our club.
Brendan Rodgers was mightily impressive from start to finish. My favourite line was “I want to use this incredible support to make coming to Anfield the longest 90 minutes of an opponents life”. But in truth in true Jerry MacGuire fashion ‘he had me at hello’. After Klopp Rodgers was No2 on my list. Dortmund, Barcelona, Ajax all took chances on managers with records similar (in Klopps case) or no record at all in Guardiola and DeBoers cases’s and look what they achieved! What makes us any different? No I’m over the moon and my club has finally stepped into the 21st century.
Get a grip Tommy, give the man, and more importantly, the team, a chance. Some people just want to make a drama into a crisis, it doesn’t have to be.
Very impressed. He looks assured and confident in his ability. Good luck Brendan Rodgers!
Rafa was an inexperienced lower league manager when he joined Valencia. Did alright, didn’t he?
Naysayers will argue that Rafa should have stayed at Valencia..how they come to support this great club I have no idea. I too have been impressed by BR, but the real test is not meeting the press, it’s how the senior players respond. AVB (sic) came to Chelsea with a glowing record and rep, but “senior players” torpedoed him. We can only hope that the same ‘influences’ that agitated against Rafa are either removed or neutralized by complete, unmitigated support from the outset by the owners. So we have a fresh start, FSG have pushed the reset button, then leaned on it. Not the first time, and won’t be the last, so Welcome to LFC, Brendan, and may your stay be a long and happy one mate. Up the Saffrons!
For me those influences should be removed now, one in particular who is now over the hill and on a huge contract. Also has a huge xenophobic attitude as seen in his comments last year regarding having dinner with the wives and his wife not having to think of something in Spanish (and he wants to be LFC manager?)
Curious, just a left field question and speculating and what might or might not happen…
But I seem to recall a fair portion of LFC fans rail against Roy Hodgson when he talked in a respectful manner of Sir Alex Ferguson….Now BR might be smart enough to try and stay neutral when addressing him, he might also refer to him respectfully which some LFC fans might interpret him being deferential…just curious to hear how you guys think that might play out among the faithful?
In all fairness Crip, a lot of the ire aimed at RH wasn’t because he was respectful to Ferguson, (and I also expect Rodgers to be respectful, why ever not?) but because Ferguson had attacked Torres and Hodgson didn’t defend him. In fact, Hodgson didn’t say anything in Nando’s favour until some time later, which actually made him look worse. As long as Brendan can hold his own against the inevitable Ferguson bullying, the faithful will love him.
Crip, always interesting to read your views on here. Sometimes you sound quite reasonable for a wrong tint of red fan.
Answering your question: The last thing I (can’t respond for all) care about as a Liverpool supporter at the moment is how BR potentially addresses Mr.Ferguson.
However, given his natural sense of the press, of what to say and what not to say, on how to say it, etc., I think he won’t have any issues with that. Neither will we, the fans.
I for one have no problem with anyone talking about your long-serving manager with the respect he certainly deserves. It’s an active brown-nosing that we don’t like.
Valid point…to a degree. Certainly RH didn’t help himself on occasion while he was the manager and I do recall when Rooney asked for his move that RH was touting Torres as a potential target and replacement and at that moment I realised it was all over for him. RH was probably being honest in his assessment of where LFC were at that time but it was clear he didn’t “get” being LFC manager.
Still, that said, I believe there is a certain portion of LFC’s fans who have developed quite an unhealthy disdain for SAF that they froth at the mouth at the mere mention of his name and demand their manager shares this state of mind.
For example, Rafa and the reverence he is held in is an enigma to me and without getting into too much detail some of the zealotry support afforded to him appears to be because he was considered “man” enough to take SAF on directly. KD appears to draw a degree of that support as well, there was always a mischief to his words in relation to SAF that played well to LFC fans.
Just to be clear, I don’t have an issue with Rafa or KD taking such stances, I just feel LFC fans, or a certain portion of them demand that sort of character.
Always good to read your views as well, always appear to be able to separate yourself from the pack mentality. “Sometimes”?! Lets change that to “Most of the time” :)
As to your thoughts, as I have stated above, I think there is a certain portion of LFC fans who want a manager who will take SAF on verbally and any term of respect is considered tantamount to treachery.
I find your comments about “active brown-nosing” provoking, would I correctly infer from that, that you felt RH was doing so during his time as LFC manager?
As an aside a few observations about FSG and BR;
a) I find it interesting the owners now talking of a long term plan and not expecting immediate success. Given that KD was sacked for not achieving 4th place, was the demand for Champions League football by the FSG simply a premises at the time to give them grounds to remove KD given he wasn’t really their choice to take over? Were they so smart and savvy they gave KD the rope to hang himself? Or have they just re-calibrated their expectations?
b) Question I’ve not really seen posed by any LFC fan…who is advising them? It is widely acknowledge that the owners aren’t or rather weren’t football fans, so stands to reason they must on certain matters defer to “someone in the know” who they trust to give them an objective judgement? Who is this person or persons? They are businessmen so stands to reason they would have some “expert” to refer too? Or am I being too presumptuous and have they just run the club based on their own knowledge and judgement from day one?
c) Choice of manager is interesting and intriguing but I do wonder how much attention they have paid to BR’s record. Not to discredit anything he has achieved, it’s interesting to note and point out his success was made all the smoother for him as the two previous managers of Swansea (Martinez and Sousa) held the same basic philosophy of playing football and being comfortable on the ball and as a result the players that were available to him from day one were already attuned culturally to the football he wanted to play.
So by the time BR came in, a good 3 years of ground work had been done in his behalf, something I think he referred too as well in the past. (Not too aware of the style of football played under Kenny Jackett who was there before Martinez though the record books suggest they were fairly successful under his stewardship).
The point isn’t that it will take certain amount of time to achieve what he did but more how much of this was considered (or not) by the owners.
Crip the reason the reverence that Rafa is held in is a mystery to you is you’re not a LFC supporter the same way a lot of LFC supporters don’t understand why UTD fans don’t see how hypocritical and twisted Fergie is, example saying Suarez should never play for LFC again after refusing to evra’s hand while condoning Keane for doing the same thing years earlier. Don’t want to get into a debate regarding Suarez but something’s only an LFC supporter can understand so don’t trouble yourself
Fair play Gareth. I thought the answer to your question was inspirational. Simultaneously humble and ambitious. Now THAT’S Liverpool Football Club.
the following is Bill Shankly’s managerial career prior to arriving at Anfield:
Carlisle Utd – Division Three North
Grimsby Town – Division Three
Workington – Division Three North
Huddersfield – Division Two
look how we got on over the past 3 seasons with very experienced managers.
i’m excited about Rodgers’ appointment. i suppose you were expecting Guardiola….
First thoughts? Impressive. I liked him, seems to ‘fit’.
Good luck Brendan.
Admittedly I knew nothing about him, but that he managed a small (trophys/historically speaking otherwise Swans are boss) team that played good football. Wasn’t really too excited but did my research and it changed my mind and if that wasn’t enough the press conference he did was just down right perfect. I was hypnotized (maybe because I didn’t know him) and just wanted to hear more and listen to his ideas. He was realistic about goals and what he WANTS to do. Now we just have to support him (and by extension our team) and hope that he CAN be allowed to fulfil a vision. Come on Brendan ‘Duck Dogers’ Rogers. YNWA!
This could be the start of something special.
Looking foward to the future after hearing BR’s press conference and doing tremendous research on the man. Seems top class in the making…we shall see. Stay up reds!
It is amazing, really that the man’s first Liverpool press conference and interviews have been taken for quotations already..
As much as I wanted Rafa back, and was saddened and disappointed that FSG has not even considered contacting him, I am totally positive about Brendan Rodgers. It’s been an exciting day, and I can’t wait for the first friendlies to see the team in action.
The question I’d like to ask here, dear fellow reds, are you mentally prepared, after the years of negativity that has surrounded the club and intensified in the past few months, from the media, from the opposition fans, so.. Are you mentally prepared after all this to suddenly become ‘media darlings’? because I have a feeling that’s imminent.
We should get ready for that cultural shock.
So far Brendan has charmed and impressed the press and if not all fans, but almost everyone who had a chance to see or hear him talk earlier today.
He has already made friends at Anfield among support personnel (tea-lady, etc.) I expect him to win over players minds in the same swift manner. And I really, really hope that we see a different, more mobile, more clinical side next season. Results will come. Let’s just give him the support.
“I want to use the incredible support to make coming to Anfield the longest 90 minutes of an opponent’s life.” – Brendan Rodgers, 01/06/2012
Beautiful words. Let’s make it happen.
Great piece Gareth and great question at the end of the press conference to get Rodger’s fantastic quote about taking over from Dalglish. Great job.
TO me, it wasn’t the respect he showed Ferguson – no matter how much we (I) may dislike the man, you can’t do anything BUT respect what he’s achieved in the game – but the almost sychophantic way he went about displaying that respect.
The Torres situation was the icing in the cake, but it began in his first press conference when he pretty much apologised to his “good friend Sir Alex” for taking the Liverpool job and hoping that he’d still talk to him. I know it was meant to be humourous, but seriously, to apologize to the Man Utd manager just for taking the job in your very first press conference as Liverpool manager? He lost me right then and there!
Imagine how you would feel if Ferguson’s replacement asks for Mancini’s (or whoever’s) forgiveness for taking over at Old Trafford?
As to your other questions:
There have been a few fans on twitter and other social media forums questioning both why Kenny was sacked for not hitting 4th while Rodgers seems to have been set lower targets and also, more pertinently WHO is advising FSG (consensus rumour seems to be that it is/was David Dein)
His managerial track record has also been questioned although his long record of coaching seems to have assuaged a certain number of doubts on that score.
Personally, I’m still mad as hell at the way Kenny was dispatched but I’m also cautiously optimistic that Rodgers will turn out to be an astute hiring.
Please don’t reply to Crip, the piece will be full of his long, tedious replies criticizing Benitez (and any Liverpool fan who appreciated him) while singing the praises of Fergie.
Therein lies my concern, I don’t think RH addressed SAF any differently than he had prior to joining LFC. You only have to look back at his comments about SAF before he was appointed during his time at Fulham. I think the fact he was the LFC manager made fans view those same comments and opinions as RH subjugated to SAF in some form.
I do however understand why that wouldn’t be seen as being correct and RH was a little naive in that respect.
The Mancini example actually draws quite an interesting parallel, only in the reverse sense of how you pitched it. Mancini has been incredibly respectful of SAF during his tenure, so much so he even paused to toast SAF in the middle of a New Years day press conference which coincided with SAF’s birthday. There weren’t any public spats between the two in the title run in until the game at the Ethiad and even then it appears it was left behind on the pitch.
As to how I would feel if a new appointee were to, in humour “apologies” to manager of LFC or City, because they happened to be good friends…well I have to say, it wouldn’t bother me at all personally. My only concern would be his ability to do the job. That said, my opinion probably wouldn’t be shared by the vast portion of MUFC fans, who would probably react in the same manner as LFC fans.
An example in kind, Micheal Owen, I was glad we signed him even though strangely I never rated him as a player and I took to support him from when he signed for us. However a large portion of MUFC fans never did, I always find that kind of mentality beyond me. The same portion of fans detest the likes of Tezez, Ince etc as well. Personally I would prefer a United played to never played for one of our big rivals BUT if it should happen I don’t think less of him as a player. So long as when he was employed by us he gave everything on the pitch for the cause I’m good with it.
This article is worth reading for any LFC fan in relation to Rodgers;
Personally I think it was a good choice, a logical choice even. Any appointee is going to have some question marks against him, Rodger’s is his age and experience.
I do think it WAS a mistake by FSG not to interview Rafa, I don’t buy into reverence he is afforded by certain LFC fans however, regardless of the profile FSG had for the new manager, I think it was remiss of them to at the very least not to talk to him;
a) because he was the biggest and most experience name who wanted the job
b) he has managed the club before and it is his youth structure that is in practice now
c) he has developed a special affinity with the club
All the above ensure his opinion carry a certain weight that would have been worth tapping into even if they had no plans to appoint him.
The last section was me being super objective for Steve, I’m sure he’s got some love for me now.
I am sorry to say this …but if Liverpool think Rodgers is better than Benitez ,they are seriously in for a shock. If they were looking at long term project why not stick with Kenny for another season. And insteadof attracting world class players they want swansea players. Liverpool fc is gone they can’t never be champion let alone top 4 for long long time