Eighteen months into his three-year contract, Brendan Rodgers still divides opinion among Liverpool fans. But what do other supporters think of the job he is doing at Anfield? We asked Football 365.com’s JOHN NICHOLSON to give an outsider’s perspective for The Anfield Wrap digital magazine.
MOST wisdom in football is delivered in hindsight. Once something has gone wrong, it’s easy to say the player that wasn’t picked or the tactics not deployed were the ones that would have made the difference. Similarly, everyone likes to think they made the right call on who was or wasn’t a good player or a good manager. Sometimes this is pretty easy but sometimes it’s almost impossible and nowhere is this truer than with Brendan Rodgers. The question many of us are wrestling with is this: Is he actually any good?
It’s quite easy to construct an argument to say he’s progressive, has a real vision and is steadily implementing it. But it’s equally easy to say that his self-belief outweighs his abilities.
It seems to me that no-one can quite make their mind up on Brendan either inside or outside the Liverpool fan diaspora. If Liverpool reach the top four this season, there will be a lot of Brendan fans coming out of the woodwork to nod sagely and say how they always thought his ideas and methods were top notch. Equally if it ends up as another sixth or seventh position, his critics will be legion and keen to tell us he was always over-rated and pretentious.
No-one really knows which way to jump yet primarily because Brendan seems to manage to have his head in the clouds and one foot in his mouth at the same time. Just when things are going well, he starts saying how well things are going and thus somehow jinxes the side into losing. Then he shuts up and the results are pretty good, though the heinous defensive lapses are always a cause for concern.
That’s not far off how i and most i know feel.
His reaction after the West Ham game spoke volumes. Fine, we’d just scored 9 goals in our last two games, but only six days previous we’d been dreadful at Hull and lived a charmed life for a good 15 minutes after the Hammers got a goal back, until Suarez made the game safe.
If it were me advising him (not that he’d listen, of course), i’d say a little less on the waxing lyrical when we’ve stuffed an abject Fulham or Norwich at home and a more measured, accurate appraisal of what we’ve all just witnessed.
I’d like to think us LFC fans aren’t stupid, after all.
Written by a “rafa head” i presume.
Written by Football 365.com’s John Nicholson, an “outsider”!
Well Nicholson is presented as providing an ‘outsider’ view so I’m presuming he’s not a Liverpool fan, but I completely take your point.
I must have missed all these instances of Rogers ‘putting his foot in his mouth’. Are we saying that praising his team on the back of good results that are then followed by a slip-up is a genuine case of him ‘jinxing’ his club and that this is something he should be criticised for? Seriously? Should he be saying how shite we are when we gub a team of Tottenham’s calibre in their own backyard?
Rogers strikes me a straightforward guy whom the fans of most other clubs would regard as being fairly astute and – so far at least – performing well. He’s inoffensive in the sense that he’s unlikely to rile opposition fans in the way that a Mourinho or a Ferguson or an Alladyce manage(d). And by EPL manager standards I’d say he’s something of an intellectual who thinks deeply about tactics, formations and blends. In other words, the sort of manager the clubs in Italy and Spain and Germany expect to have, but the type of manager who is regarded as something of weirdo in England because he talks about more than just ‘playing the channels’ and provides more than just the usual, cliched media fodder at every press conference.
He also seems to be highly-regarded by his peers, witness Redknapp asking Rogers to become his assistant if ‘Arry has got the national team job and his positive footballing philosophy is certainly more in tune with the majority of LFC fans I know, even amongst those who don’t necessarily think he’ll be successful.
And then there’s the Suarez situation. Could he have managed that dispute any better than he did? His insistence that the club was more important than any individual whilst never shutting the door completely on Suarez re-integrating was the sort of man-management trick Ferguson never mastered (Stam, Ince, Beckham all leaving whilst still in their prime and Rooney would have been next were it not for Fergie’s retirement).
We could yet finish 8th and if we did no doubt Rogers would struggle to retain the admirers he currently has, but if that came to pass it would simply be another entry in the ‘football wisdom delivered in hindsight’ compendium that Nicholson references in his opening paragraph. Right now, on Jan 7th 2014, what’s not to like?
Good stuff Brownie!
Brownie: I think you are quite correct especially, with regard to the handling of Suarez. Might I even add Rodgers’ ability to inspire the younger lads like Henderson, Sterling and Flanno? Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself but I think he has handled that aspect of his job with aplomb as well. Of course, the jury is still out until we see how much these youngsters do fulfill their potential.
The premise is all wrong isn’t it? If Brendan Rodgers ‘divides opinion’ – at least ‘inside the Liverpool fan diaspora’ – it must be along the lines of 95 v 5 per cent in favour.
The chimes with my experience, also. Not everyone is a fanboy, but firm detractors are pretty thin on the ground. I would say about 60% actively like Rodgers, 30% may have reservations but are at least willing to see how things play out, with 10% at most what you might call ‘anti-Rodgers’.
Seems like a incredibly poorly informed article, written perhaps by a troll.
Click bait. Each ad impression is £$€. A successful piece is not longer about accuracy or thought provoking discussion. It’s about how many dip-shits can you draw in with flame-bait.
I severely doubt that 10% of fans are anti Rodgers, probably not even 1%.
I’d say about 30% are laissez fairez and going along for the ride, with the rest actively appreciative of the job hes doing.
What’s a diaspora? I feel as though I’ve fled my homeland not knowing this.And somehow been forced to flee because I didn’t know what it meant.
We’re simple people you know (well,I’ll speak for myself here!)
But diaspora? I think you just answered your own question.Brendan speaks in riddles sometimes;in the manner of a pretentious prat trying to bamboozle people with special references that only the annnointed will understand and the rest won’t dare challenge for fear of ridicule.
You’ll just have to excuse me.I thought a false number 9 was a centre forward who put his shirt on upside down to fool opponents.I thought a reverse winger was an outside right who tackled his own full-back.
I’ve got a lot to learn here so please excuse me.
Anyway, despite Brendan over-egging things sometimes he’s doing ok.And I’m as happy as a pig in diaspora just now!
That say’s more about you than it says about Brendan.
“seems a bit pretentious” “overeggs things a bit”, but “hes doing ok”.
This would be a excellent example of a laissez fairez fan.
This would be an excellent example of “laissez-faire”.In other words we can’t do anything about it.We move on and accept the odd foibles but the bigger picture tells us that we are a lot further along the road than we were a year or two back.
This is not the time for nit picking.Why not just accept that we are moving in the right direction.Get behind The Club and the Team.That’s all we can do!
Yes mate, but just while you’re doing that, give the lad his due and say out loud that he is the manager that happens to be leading the improvement, rather than implying that it’s some kind of organic levelling up of Roy’s tenure. The bus isn’t steering itself into good weather.
Rather also weigh how good a job he’s doing by the insults he is attracting from the most obsessive LFC followers, the scum and the bitters. David Brent ranks alongside FSW as a good indicator that he’s pissing the right people off.
And another indicator? This site. When the replies are thin on the ground, something is going right..or rather someone is doing the right thing.
It’s not a bad article, but it feels 6-12 months too late. Most of the ‘issues’ John lists are problems that have not really surfaced at all this season. If anything Rodgers has been very careful to play down expectations this year whereas last season he was guilty of over-extending whenever we won a couple of games.
However, that’s simply an example of him learning to deal with the media at one of the biggest clubs.
On the subject of his media work he’s come on leaps and bounds and he seems to have struck up a great relationship with members of the press. I’m loathed to say it, but in this day and age that’s vital. A good example of this was his handling of the ludicrous Ferguson book criticism of Gerrard and Henderson. The three of them turned it into a running joke and the media lapped it up.
Liverpool fans are divided, but not as much as they were 12 or even 6 months ago. Only a moron would thing we haven’t moved in the right direction. The type of football we are playing is the best I’ve seen in years and our only limitations appear to be squad depth.
No one knows what the future will bring but the vast majority of Liverpool fans are behind their manager and those that aren’t either have their head in the sand or have bought into this rubbish about Rodgers talking like a middle manager. He was guilty of some of that in the early months, but that might actually be because he fits that age bracket. I’m a similar age and I sometimes talk with those middle management idioms when at work. You’ll find a lot of people of a certain age do. However, this is something I haven’t seen from him in a long time now despite many interviews. Proof that he’s adapting not only his tactical and playing style, but his media style as well.
On the subject of tactics, many criticised him early in his tenure that he was too obsessed with his philosophy. Once he realised he lacked the types of players needed for his style of play he adapted it and has continued to adapt as the time has gone by. Compare that with many managers out there and you’ll find people who are so inflexible it can cost them heavily. See the highly touted Andre Villas Boas (a man that most Liverpool fans wanted post Kenny) who despite all the evidence would not adapt his style of play when gaping holes were obvious to everyone around him.
Rodgers still makes mistakes and will make many more, but it’s the direction that matters and right now it’s going well. There is every chance Liverpool will finish 6th this year simply because of the bizarre closeness of the top teams, but we are (barring a massive collapse in the second half of the season) looking good for a marked improvement in terms of points and more importantly playing the kind of exciting and attacking football that actually makes paying nearly £50 a ticket worth it!
+1 for me too mate, nice one
Not convinced many never mind most wanted Andre Villas Boas post-Kenny
I appreciate that a guest has written a piece for TAW and therefore for the pleasure of us, it’s listeners and readers and it feels almost rude to criticise but then, if he’s gonna make personal insults about our manager “An odd-looking bloke, with a potato-shaped head and a slightly Hobbit-like appearance” in an article aimed at Liverpool fans then I feel I’m entitled to say my view on his article.
Nigel (in the comments above) made the most accurate point – (this article) “feels 6-12 months too late”. Jesus! The team’s winning every game at home and mostly with exciting football. Somehow Suarez is still here and looking like he’s never been happier. That in itself is a stroke of genius.
What are all these comments he’s been making? My impression is he’s managed the media and the spotlight quite well recently. I find him quite likable and interesting, and certainly passionate about bringing success. I don’t particularly give a fuck what other fans think of our manager – they all hate us anyway – but I do have friends / acquaintances who support other clubs telling me how they don’t feel Liverpool are a laughing stock anymore and how they have to hold their hand up and say ‘Liverpool look good’. This was unthinkable 12 months ago. When attitudes from fans of our rivals are giving us respect you know we’re / he’s doing something right.
So, for me, this article feels like it’s an accurate and true reflection of how our fans think of Rodgers but written by someone who’s been in a coma for a year.
Some spot-on responses already, but here’s my two pennies’ worth.
It reads like the author made his mind up after watching ‘Being Liverpool’ almost 18 months ago, and stuck with that opinion. Nothing wrong with that discussing it in the pub, we all do it; name a manager and we’ll all have our unshakable (often outdated) opinions on them. But we’re not writing articles focusing on the here-and-now, unlike the author. To do that you need to be pragmatic about the subject, and Rodgers is very much a pragmatist.
As mentioned by others, the diffusing of both Suarez wanting out in the summer, along with the handling of the bite in April, make him the right man for the job for me – honestly, could Kenny or Rafa have done a better job? He’s multilingual, which is not worth underestimating – certainly for the heights we’re aiming for, and clearly adapts where necessary. His decisions make sense, most of the time, whereas for the last few years it hasn’t always felt like that.
The irony is that he’s just accepted the charge from the FA for his comments after the City match, the only blip recently in his otherwise superb handling of the media this season, in my opinion.
A decent Rodgers chant wouldn’t go amiss by the way. In Brendan we trust.
This piece of typical of so much journalism in that it says absolutely nothing.
In summary… ‘He might be good’ then again ‘He might not be’. No new information, no new insight.
Brilliant. I feel so much richer for reading it.