MANY of you will not like this, writes MELISSA REDDY.
Some will scoff and spit at it. Quite a few won’t even finish reading it. These words won’t be fashionable, but they’re required at a stage when the vitriol coursing through popular opinion is continuously more venomous.
Brendan Rodgers. Type that name into your Twitter search bar and you’ll trip into a pile of fresh, steaming dog poo. And that’s underplaying it. The personal pellets hurled his way on a daily basis are utterly diseased. Mario Balotelli recently asked his social media attackers ‘what is wrong in your lives?’ in order to perpetuate this ugly cycle and it’s a pertinent question with the manager as well — why do so many feel the need to be so malicious towards him? ‘It’s only the keyboard warriors who resort to that,’ would probably be your likely response, but unfortunately you’d be wrong.
In the Paddock at Anfield, directly behind the dugout, I’ve heard shouts of: “Brendan, change it. And I don’t mean your wife.” It was followed by howls of: “Brendan, change it. And I don’t mean your teeth.” No way that escaped the manager’s ears. You know, the manager who will tell anyone that will listen how much of a privilege it is to work for this esteemed club with its esteemed support. Those aren’t empty, PR words either — the evidence is there for those who choose not to ignore it.
Elsewhere in the Main Stand, ahead of the game against Arsenal in December, two lads were discussing how “we’ll probably lose today, but we’ll be closer to seeing the back of that twat. That’s still a win”. Gobsmacked. That statement floored me like I was Jerome Boateng falling to worship at Leo Messi’s altar. Problematically, that kind of talk is not in isolation.
Nothing on this subject knocked me sicker though, than a conversation I walked past outside the Paisley Gates. It centered around how the only reason the captain of Liverpool, you know the one whose given 17 years of service and has often carried the club and city on his shoulders, was still being selected is because he rents his house out to the tactician.
Grown men with the filthiest garbage gargling in their mouths.
That is a shameful accusation to level at Rodgers, and how dare Steven Gerrard be insulted with such gutter speak? The outgoing skipper may no longer be the all-action hero, but honestly, that is a car crash of a opinion passed as fact. One which casually just slaughters one man’s principles and completely defaces the other’s contributions. Pull yourselves towards yourselves, please.
At a trendy Berry Street hangout in the city centre came another punchline: “Brendan can’t even manage his marriage, how can he manage this football club?”
DISGUST in Caps Lock.
Then, there was that embarrassing banner flown over Anfield. There’s not enough Fs, Bs, Ps, and Cs in my vocabulary for that.
You do not have to like Brendan Rodgers, you do not have to agree with every tactic he employs or the ‘outstanding’ term he chooses to use post-match. You should, however, have the decency to treat him in a manner that doesn’t mirror the droppings from an animal’s backside.
Too many people have made it personal, and so, I’m going to do the same.
Last year, the manager heard that a young employee at the club — not one in his sphere of Melwood — was undergoing life-changing surgery. The night before the patient-to-be was due into hospital to prepare for the operation, he received a phone call off Rodgers, who encouraged him to be brave and think not of the procedure, but of the betterment that would follow it. It touched him, and even now, the lad cannot fully articulate how much that gesture from the boss meant to him.
When Jordan Henderson’s dad was diagnosed with cancer before Christmas in 2013, he agonised for ages about how to break the news to the midfielder, eventually telling him shortly before starting treatment on his throat and tongue. After the emotional reveal to his son, Brian wanted to meet with the manager. “I went to speak to Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool, who was very understanding. He gave Jordan time off, and the people at Liverpool were amazing,” he explained.
Henderson too was appreciative of the support he received from the gaffer, telling the Independent: “He was so good to me and my family when my dad was having surgery and he doesn’t just manage players in a football sense, it’s more than that.”
Throwback to the times Raheem Sterling spent splashed across newspapers over accusations of assault rather than contract negotiations, and one of the primary people ensuring those indiscretions didn’t become a regular theme was Rodgers. “He helps me a lot with not just my football but if I need someone to talk to about off the field then he’s there for me. He’s helped me massively, especially on the pitch as well, so I have to give credit to him and thank him a lot,” admitted the attacker.
In Luis Suarez’s autobiography, Crossing the Line, the striker revealed how the 42-year-old inspired the squad during their title tilt last season by speaking to them in a language they all understood — the love of their mums. “Brendan Rodgers had been delivering very special team talks. He had contacted our mothers, one by one, and asked them to write something about their son. Before every game as we went on the run which saw us come so close to winning the title, he would spend the final few minutes before we went out reading what one of them had said in front of the whole team. The final word came not from the manager but a player’s mum.”
Philippe Coutinho detailed how that unconventional approach, both emotional and encouraging, fired himself and the team up.
In January this year, Rodgers sent a personal letter of condolence to a supporter whose grandfather had recently passed away. Joe, the recipient of the note, explained: “I couldn’t believe it at first. I took it straight to my dad to show him.
“We were both absolutely made up that such an important person for the club had thought about the family at this sad time. It was a great gesture on behalf of the manager and club that they took the time to write a letter at this busy period for the club.
“I’d like to thank them on behalf of the family as it means a lot to us. I would love to get the chance to personally thank Brendan Rodgers for making a hard time a little more bearable.”
Also at the start of the year, the manager read that Doncaster’s Dean Furman, whom he coached at Chelsea’s youth set-up, would be captaining South Africa at the Nations Cup. He asked me to pass on a message of congratulations to the midfielder, and spoke about how proud he was of his persistence.
Furman was in camp ahead of the tournament when I texted him to relay Rodgers’ support, and he said such words were both unexpected and the exact kind of affirmation and encouragement he was in need of.
Meanwhile, the manager has not forgotten the misery of being out of work — those seven months after being dismissed by Reading in 2009 ranking as one of the most painful experiences of his life, and so he makes a point of contacting every sacked boss to extend an invitation to Melwood as there are few things as depressing as being denied the thing your life revolves around.
Such examples are plentiful, and you probably want to know what they have to do with football, and that’s precisely the point — THERE IS NO NEED TO GET PERSONAL.
He may not be your cup of tea, or shot of Sambuca, but he’s a man who is the manager of the football club you purportedly support, and he’s determined to do his very best for Liverpool. Whether or not you feel his best is good enough for LFC, your argument should never descend into malicious attacks.
Brendan’s acts of kindness may not win points or trophies, but neither does the constant slander.
With all the point-and-laugh hysteria at Chelsea supporters for their laminated Gerrard posters, it’s just as plastic the way some of our own treat one of our own.
Stop it. Play the ball, not the manager.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda-Photo
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I support this view 100%
Melissa Reddy makes more sound sense talking about Liverpool Football Club than 99.9% of the boy-men who think they know it all.
FACT: Liverpool fans have relinquished the right to call themselves ‘the best fans’. They are now equal to, if not worse than, the Bitters, the Mancs, and the Plastics. Nobody inside the club — not any player or the manager or the Owner or the Tranger Committee — is responsible for that. The fans have done it to themselves, and Bill Shankly must be writhing in his grave.
I’m a devoted and loyal Liverpool FC fan, but I am no longer a supporter of a large portion of our fan base. I’m embarrassed to be associated with them. It may be that many other fans feel this way too, and that may be a contributing factor to the death of the atmosphere at Anfield.
The good news is that Liverpool FC will live on as it always has done, and the small-minded will be left behind.
CORRECTION: …the Transfer Committee…
I’ve touched on this myself recently about how ashamed I’ve become about our support.
Just to make it personal – I’ve been a season ticket holder for 26 years now and go European and FA cup games. Away days not so many now – but every now and again.
Respect, loyalty and support are three key elements I no longer associate with our lot.
We’re embarrassing ourselves and until some radical changes are made by the club it will just continue to get worse.
Sort the ticket prices out and get the people who want to create an atmosphere sat together and we can change all this around.. Drown out the gobshites.
I really believe (hope) it’s that simple.
This is brilliant Melissa. I think I could fall in love with you. In Brendan we trust.
DELUDED, anyone who supports this tripe is DELUDED..BR out…Judge him on his football.. Alrighty then
Crystal Palace (1-3)
Aston Villa (0-1)
Fantastic, NOT. BR out
But its not deluded or tripe. The main point of the article is not saying we should keep him in or keep him out.
It is saying that in having either view, it is extremely low to resort to any personal attack on him as a person, as the man does not deserve it.
If he had done something genuinely disrespectful to the club then he would perhaps deserve something in return.
But he has done nothing of the sort. All he has done is try his best to get the results we all want.
The article is more about having the attitude of a decent human being towards him instead of a verdict on the results he has overseen.
A point that has needed to be made for a long time. However, it’ll have little impact on those who need to hear it because they don’t support the manager and the team, they merely judge it. The fact they can’t appreciate the difference between supporting and judging explains why the atmosphere at Anfield is dying on its backside.
For all the criticism of Rodgers there is little doubt he has tried to buy into the Liverpool ethos one hundred per cent. He even continually refers to us as the best fans in the country when we clearly don’t deserve such praise. Just a quick look on the internet reveals a torrent of vitriol towards the manager and certain players and one has to question whether some fans literally misunderstand the meaning of the word ‘support’. You can identify flaws while being supportive, what it doesn’t allow you to do is assassinate someone’s character.
When I saw that plane fly over Anfield I knew the culture that had made Liverpool famous in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s was finally dead. Now we boo our own players, sit silently in our seats, hope for defeats to oust managers and slate players relentlessly over the web. We have become arrogant since we were told we were ‘the most knowledgeable supporters in football’, as if that means we can say anything without recourse. I can think of half a dozen grounds off the top of my head where the supporters truly deserve the compliment more the than we currently do.
The Liverpool fanbase has lost what made it great, I doubt we’ll ever regain it. RIP
I couldn’t agree more.Let’s give Rodgers a break.
We got FSG.We criticised Moores for not googling Hicks and Gillette.Do you think Rodgers googled FSG when he was about to be appointed Manager of Liverpool Football Club? I doubt it.But then again do you think that ManU googled the Glazers when they sold out?
A closer inspection of FSG would show an organisation that brought Boston Red Sox to some success after nearly 100 years in the wilderness .Forbes say they have an enviable blueprint for maximising success in terms of profit and sponsorship deals.
Boston Red Sox play in a league of 30 teams who then compete in the “World Series”Liverpool Football Club play in a competition of nearly 500 teams for a place in the “European Series.”
But why do Forbes rate this organisation so highly? Well, it’s simply because they limit their investment and maximise returns.
The philosophy of a Football Club existing to win things is a bit pie in the sky and probably ended after Kenny’s second spell.
ManU and the Glazers recognised the potential of the New Premier League and Hicks and Gillette probably did too. But the downturn in the World Financial Markets put paid to Hicks and Gillette.Now you’ve got “Financial Fair Play” and a handful of Clubs escape the “New” Rules;those who had some foresight;but we didn’t.
But we finish up with FSG (minimum outlay for maximum profit) and Brendan Rodgers??????
God help Shankly and Paisley if they’d have had to perform with this kind of organisation.
So, in short, it’s FSG’s fault, then?
That does not in the least sound like deflection and misdirection and blaming the Yanks. Not in the least.
And what’s with the ‘echo chamber’ effect of rallying around the idea that other LFC supporters, en masse, are somehow inferior, that they’re idiots, they’re too easily misled, etc.?
I don’t give a rat’s arse about Brendan’s appearance or his marital situation. Anyone who does and uses it to ‘support’ his or her judgment of the manager I have no time for.
Likewise, I don’t really care for folks who support their judgment of Rodgers as a manager of LFC with anecdotes about his private life, his mannerisms, his kindness, etc.
And sorry, if I’ve watched (and watched again) a match, and player X has not performed well, I am going to react negatively to BR describing his performance as “outstandin'”. If he says “we lacked that wee bit of quality in the final third” I am going to take offense, as that is NOT supporting your players, that’s insulting them. So, don’t call mediocre or so-so performances “outstandin'” and don’t ‘excuse’ our lack of goals by referring to your players as “lacking that wee bit of quality”. Whatever you happen to be wearing when you do, however new and improved and bright your teeth are, however slim or not you are, and whoever you’re sleeping with. I couldn’t care less about any of that.
As you’ve been so forthcoming in telling everyone what you don’t care less about I think it’s only fair I reciprocate. I don’t care less about telling those ‘supporters’ who persist with foulmouthed, abusive and personal attacks on our manager and players that they shame the Liverpool I grew up with. What some may see as freedom of speech others, including myself, consider a disregard of tradition, a tradition that set Liverpool fans apart from others. With the actions of some we are quickly slipping into the gutter with the type of fan I, and I’m sure many of us, don’t want to be associated with. Football is not exempt from society’s sense of morality, contrary to popular belief. If I had a grievance with a supermarket employee it wouldn’t be tolerated if I abuse them within earshot, questioning their fidelity and appearance. Why should I be allowed to treat any employee of Liverpool FC differently? Most of us have been taught how to treat others but somehow this basic understanding gets forgotten by some when they find themselves at a football match or in front of a keyboard. There is a right and a wrong way of being critical about people and their performances and most of us know where the dividing line is. Others, however, either don’t recognise the boundary or choose to ignore it and it’s to them I aim these remarks.
No doubt you’ll come back with what you believe to be a clever retort but guess what – I don’t care. I don’t pretend to speak for anyone but myself although I daresay there are others who are fed up with the unacceptable behaviour of some.
Grkstav, you have been one of the people routinely making ugly snide comments on Twitter about Brendan all season. So don’t change your tune on here and try to pretend you “don’t care.”
Yep. Agree 100%.
Well said Melissa. I’m not sure whether he’s the right man going forward but I want him to be. As the manager of our club he should be judged on the football, not the other nonsense.
I wonder if the managers age and lack of CV bring on this lack of respect. It is the first time we’ve had a manager that is younger (& is not Kenny Dalglish) than the ageing match going fan base. It wasn’t that long ago that Houllier & Rafa were worshipped.
Not to take anything away from your well constructed, well written piece, but it absolutely beggars belief that it needs to be said. I have lost faith, especially after the recent Hull defeat, but Rodgers has more than earned our trust and more importantly, our respect. That much should be an absolute given, we are Liverpool, and respect is intrinsic to us. Or at least to some of us.
“That much should be an absolute given, we are Liverpool, and respect is intrinsic to us. Or at least to some of us.”
Could you all be a bit more condescending and supercilious? If so, maybe you can do a little better.
“Rodgers has more than earned our trust and more importantly, our respect.”
Speak for yourself, mate. If he’s earned your trust and your respect, good for him and good for you. Don’t pretend that you can speak in the name of all supporters OR that you’re entitled to just declare anyone who disagrees with you as somehow not a proper Liverpool supporter.
Are you speaking for all of the supporters who don’t like to be spoken for? :D
It’s a sign of the times both in football and in society.
There’s no excuse.
I want Brendan Rodgers replaced because I think he’s a limited manager who won’t win big trophies at Anfield.
But any vitriol towards the man on a personal level is just bizarre. And wrong.
So… A very well written piece with a lot of sense spoken attracting no negative comments. Maybe you used too many big words for some of our “support”. Enjoyed that. Here’s to next season.
“Maybe you used too many big words for some of our “support”.”
Wow! Well, you sure showed those “some of our ‘support'”, didn’t ya?
Mate, you accuse others of being condescending take a look at some of the stuff you write. Some of its very good but have a word with yourself over this one please. Very few people on here try and speak for others. Much of this article about the crowd is spot on in my opinion.
Behave yourself. So there’s no room for an alternate view in your little world?
I am a Canadian Red, which is not to be confused with the colour of our flag or our countless hockey team’s jerseys. I grew up playing and do not count myself as more than a fan. I never hoped to play professionally, I don’t imagine coaching a team other than my son’s and I learned to love LFC through a friend, whom I love and respect immensely. He is a real football player and a real Englishman who happened to be born on the wrong side of the Atlantic. I hope to get to Anfield and I dream of watching my team winning. I also have learned to stop reading the garbage on the internet as soon as it sounds like I’m walking alone. I simply disregard anyone in the LFC world as an outsider if they don’t want the best for the team and the best for our family members. You don’t get to be a member of the LFC family by wearing the right jersey or being born closer to the pitch, you get be a member of the family by walking with the team, which is led by the manager followed by the team and followed at a distance by me. Perhaps my proximity allows me to have this simple philosophy, but alcohol a loud voice and a sharp tongue don’t make you more than a sad lonely bully. I trust in Brendan. I trust in LFC and if you don’t warrant that trust, you don’t belong in my family.
Thank you. Brilliant article. I couldn’t agree more. Wonderfully erudite.
I have slatted the manager a few times. And probably will again. But you are right. Great article. Hats off to you for making me see the light more clearly.
Many liverpool fans have lost the plot
I think they never understood the plot to begin with. They don’t even understand what ‘respect’ means so they have no capacity to express it.
Again, excellent insight, excellent article!
Yeah nice lad – doesn’t win trophies though Melissa does he ?
Pointless Article because it hasn’t won us a trophy ??
Pointless article? Pointless defending someone who doesn’t win trophies? – whichever you like, same result
EEErrrr! your nothing more than a BR apologist rarrr, blah blah blah… I can hear it now….. It’s sickens me to hear the vile rants aimed at Brendan, and the lads after even one loss.. I find it hard to understand how these same fools can claim to be in tune with Shanks and Paisly, The Liverpool Way and claiming themselves a part of the greatest fans in football…. There is nothing sycophantic in loving the club we all grew up with, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of to say you support all who are involved with the club, even when somethings they do, confuse the heck out of you….. I have had arguments online with such people, and honestly, I tire greatly of having to justify my love for this great club of ours to our own so called fans… Venom like you’ve never heard…. This year it seems to have hit an all time high, and honestly, it’s not only embarassing, it’s shameful……
I’m no apologist, I’m a fan.
[/b]There is nothing sycophantic in loving the club we all grew up with, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of to say you support all who are involved with the club, even when somethings they do, confuse the heck out of you…..[/b]
Even Ian Ayre?
Having criticism of people involved in the club doesn’t mean you aren’t a fan, this isn’t North Korea
If this was N.Korea, you’d be in a work camp now…..Ian Arye is percieved as someone who can’t get a deal done, but we forget, he can only do what he is authourised to… If the bigwigs say, “we will not go over this price for a player”, then there is absolutely nothing he can do about it, and calling for his head and having him replaced will not change the outcome of future deals…
Missed the point with the North Korea reference, but anyhow
Really? You seriously just gonna exempt Ian Ayre from any blame purely because you think he is only doing what he’s told? Okay, how about his complete lack of relevance in the football world, without any connection or pull in order to facilitate deals? Is that not his fault as well?
Or can we criticize the owners for appointing a man with no previous actual experience in the football circles to deal with football matters and unsurprisingly yielding terrible results? Coz we have to criticize someone at the club here, but according to you, if I criticize any of them I wouldn’t be a true fan, which is stupid
This is where the North Korea analogy comes in, in case you missed it, there’s obviously something blatantly wrong with what’s going on at the top yet people would still bow to whichever dictator NK has in power at the time like he is a god, and if I dare criticize any of them I’m apparently shameful
To me your approach is exactly the sycophantic one eyed self-righteous superfan attitude that satisfies nothing but your own inflated value of yourself as a fan, not actually trying to look at what’s going on at the club objectively. If the club is doing something wrong I believe fans can in a measured way criticize them, and it’d still be supporting
its sadly you and your likes that are embaressing, BR out..
the number 1 fan you think you are is nothing but a joke!
While I myself don’t believe he is the best man for the job going forward, I find it crazy that in most instances people are one end of the extreme or another when it comes to him, or that you have to be either black or white on the issue and there’s no grey areas
Like people who can’t suggest he isn’t the best man for the job without saying something personal or offensive about his character
Then there are those who can’t tolerate any criticism whatsoever of him
You can criticize a Liverpool manager or player without resorting to personal attacks. You are also entitled to think the current Liverpool manager isn’t the best man for the job long term without people shouting at your throats about it
And whatever you do, do not put everyone with whom you disagree in one category and proceed, along with like-minded folks, to call them names, put them down, declare them improper supporters, etc.
It isn’t something limited to just this club or in football, it happens everywhere, in politics with the left and right thing (particularly in the US), in religion, wherever
It’s some sick human condition that happens to most
Absolutely right, criticism is crucial to all sport, without it, there is no progress… Bit like most things in life, there’s a right way, and a wrong way.
It’s about time!
Bit awkward for Jim Boardman this eh? Especially this bit:
“Nothing on this subject knocked me sicker though, than a conversation I walked past outside the Paisley Gates. It centered around how the only reason the captain of Liverpool, you know the one whose given 17 years of service and has often carried the club and city on his shoulders, was still being selected is because he rents his house out to the tactician”.
Agree with every word in this excellent article.
I personally like the manager.
He deserves respect not some of the shit we hear from sections. So what his marriage failed, what has that got to do with his job?
Have a serious word with yourselves or go and join the idiots who support the likes of Newcastle.
To play devils advocate, we all say stupid shit sometimes without thinking, frustrated in the moment with throw away comments.
The Manager is an easy target. The thing is his comments although said in the moment are recorded and played over and over and soundbites taken to make headlines, media is not driven by clear and rational thinking but sensationalism.
The ‘outstanding’ comment, frustrated Me, because it was Hodgson- like, but what it really outlined was he was struggling to manage the pressure as reflected in his interviews and decisions.
Liverpool job is huge and need big balls to do it, touch of arrogance and humility, he has been leaning to much to the arrogant side as of late.
Brilliant, agree with every word
I was raised to respect the club and especially the managers position and judge at the end of a season,
Just how it was in my gaff but each to there own,
Tough season but we’ve had worse under more experienced men and I I’ve had the opinion all season that we were a Keeper (that’s sorted now)
And a few strikers away from being a really good outfit and I still believe that.
Spot on! Great post.
If Klopp wants to come to us then get rid of Brenda !! If not let her have a summer transfer sech to get the fans excited with ings and millner !?!
Well, he has given us probably the best season football in decades, and it looks like we are coming 5th this season – not what our ambition should target but what on paper should be our upper limit.
If you are standing next to a tosser in the grounds, please politely let him/her know.
So well put! I’m so tired of the sad excuses for supporters who spout personal vitriol.
Feel free to oppose him, but do it with the decorum befitting this proud club.
Personally, I see a manager who has succeeded from the moment Sturridge and Coutinho arrived – so long as he had Suarez or Sturridge available. Only when FSG short changed him, refusing to sanction Bony or another player that remotely fit the philosophy, did Rodgers falter.
Both Suarez and Gerrard praise him highly. And I value their opinion a lot more than some half-cocked internet creeps.
loved this article