ONE of the saddest times in the recent history of the club was the day that Kenny Dalglish became a divisive character to Liverpool fans. It’s hard to put your finger on the actual day – possibly the day Carroll signed or maybe Downing and Henderson but sometime over the course of the 2012 season some began to look at other dugouts with envy and expectation. It was a truly depressing period for those who grew up with Kenny, worshipped him and followed his every word with a nod or a smile. The thought of having to defend him to elements of a Liverpool fanbase seemed patently ridiculous but as the poor results mounted the murmurings became louder and Fenway stepped in.
Kenny Dalglish means the world to me, means the world to a great many of us and to see him dismissed a mere season into his second spell hurt. Hurt a lot. I’m not sure I’ll recover from the fact that he was sacked, SACKED, by Liverpool Football Club and sacked by the creators of Mork and Mindy but it’s just a stone in the road now and he’s back at L4.
I don’t mind being at odds with people as to the reason he went. I could see the argument and there are a lot of people for whom I have an enormous respect who thought that a change was a good idea. There was a logic involved, be it money, league position etc, but for me it was more about the timing and the treatment of a man who deserved better. No, it was the celebratory aspect by a few charmless nurks who can’t say his name without adding the words ‘100m’ with a smirk that galled and makes me want to rip scarves from necks. One utter fuck of a human being claimed that he ‘celebrated like Istanbul’ when the sword fell. Quite. These are not people who I would like in my life.
Again, the money is a perfectly reasonable argument although it does seem to overlook the fact that a quarter of that went on Suarez (sod off Hodge, you’re not claiming that one) and the improving Henderson. Carroll and Downing – fair enough. If some people add the transfer budget as a suffix to his name I’d like to add the following words – ‘first trophy in six years’ and ‘deserving more time as he dragged us through the worst time in our history and a bit of patience might have been nice’. Those who celebrated his going can just fuck off.
This antagonism towards Kenny baffled me until a younger fan made a good point. His argument was that Kenny wasn’t all things to Liverpool fans. I’d never considered that. I’m lucky enough to have seen him play, score for fun and just love doing it for the sheer pleasure of doing it in that shirt. I’m lucky enough to see his double and the 1988 side and experience the sheer joy and indefatigability of being a Liverpool fan.
Not everyone has.
For some Kenny Dalglish is a name in a book, a picture on a page, someone ‘important from the past’. He’s from my age, our age possibly, not everyone’s. I like Billy Liddell too and recognise his significance and genius but I can’t muster the same emotional attachment I have for Kenny. The same people who greeted the sacking with an ‘ah well’ before doing something other than going to the pub alone and staring saucer eyed at their phone and got hammered even though they don’t really drink may feel the same if future Liverpool manager Steven Gerrard is sacked. The turning on Dalglish could be a generational thing. Not a lack of love or admiration as such, more of a clinical detachment to someone they know about rather than experienced. ‘I love Kenny but…’ ‘Why don’t you support Kenny Dalglish FC then?’ ‘No one’s bigger than the club…’ etc, etc, etc.
These aren’t bad people (although they were to me in May 2012), they just have a different perspective and their Liverpool means something different to them.
The lads at The Anfield Wrap devoted a podcast to Kenny and a large percentage of them advocated replacing him but I’ll bet everything I have that every single one of them were saddened at the prospect. There were no gleeful songs once the end came – just respect and an underpinning melancholy that it had come to this. No one should wish ill of Kenny. No one.
What made this worse for us pro-Dalglish moaners was the immediate defence and lauding of Brendan Rodgers. Personally, there isn’t a correlation between having my LFC world rocked by Kenny being binned and Brendan’s shaky first months. He didn’t sack Kenny. His boss did. It’s okay to like both Kenny and Brendan. It’s okay to criticise either man without bringing up the other. It’s not a binary state of liking/dismissing one man simply because you like/dismiss his predecessor/successor. For my part I like Brendan when he talks less. I think he should do more on the pitch first. I like his current League position a lot. I have a more dogmatic view of FSG but that’s a goose of a different feather.
Anyway, Kenny’s coming back and that couldn’t make me and people like me happier. Some don’t seem to like it too much if my Twitter @’s are anything to go by but they’ve had their day. As yet his new role is yet to be announced. Ambassador? Youth team consultant? Maybe just a shrewd move to keep us snarlers on board for a while, who knows? The main thing is that he’s back and there’s a football man in a non-executive role at the club. Liverpool feels better knowing that he’s in there somewhere.
If that binary theory is true it’s now been quashed. Both men are at the club now. Brendan is his own man and won’t be pushed into doing things he doesn’t want to do so there’s no chance of a Pardew/Kinnear situation here. Back in 1985 Kenny had Bob up the corridor if he was needed. The same situation here maybe. He’s not the worst consigliere to have.
Kenny’s back. Brendan’s here too and doing well. Good. That’s that done. Now let’s stop pissing about and start winning things.