SO it seems Liverpool Football Club have a new assistant manager — and it wasn’t who anyone was expecting.
Rumours, and a fair degree of hope, were suggesting a LFC legend would soon be gracing the dugout, or at least that a renowned assistant coach in football would be given the job.
Whispers, or a fair degree of cynicism, suggested someone from the academy would be promoted in what would essentially be a cost-cutting exercise, or an open attempt to undermine the manager.
What we have ended up with, rather interestingly, is something in between.
Unless everyone in the world is wrong, Sean O’Driscoll is going to be officially named the new assistant manager in the next couple of days. I am not going to even pretend I know what he is like as a coach because 15 minutes before starting this I thought he played outside centre for Ireland, but it is possible to try to read something into what the appointment means.
The first people who have, for want of a better expression, been ‘had off’ are the self-proclaimed ITKs who have been confidently proclaiming that the reason for the manager’s silence is that he is being replaced before the season starts. Well soz abar you, lads, but O’Driscoll is clearly an appointment to work with the manager next year. Quotes being dug up by real-life journalists who research these things include Rodgers waxing lyrical on our new coach. Here we go:
“Look at Sean O’Driscoll. He is one of the best coaches I have ever come across. He is working at Bristol City. He has never had a chance in the top flight. His teams were expressive, had movement, they were technical, but he will probably never get a chance at the higher level.”
Well now he does, although probably not the type of chance Brendan was referring to. His chance comes as an assistant to someone who clearly believes in him because he practices, in theory at least, the style of football our manager likes to play.
Doncaster Rovers under Sean O’Driscoll:
Of course there are some, myself to some extent included, who wanted a greater name replacing Colin Pascoe. Someone who would command instant respect from the players. Who could “put their medals on the table” as one assistant is infamously alleged to have said. Someone who would challenge the manager in a way that we had all decided Pascoe and Marsh didn’t.
Well we might not have the first one or two, but it seems very likely we have the last one. A customary glance at O’Driscoll’s experience shows someone experienced in leadership. Before taking charge of England U19s he managed Bournemouth for six years, Doncaster for five and Nottingham Forest, Bristol City and Crawley Town for shorter periods. Now this might not be football at Champions League level, but it also suggests we aren’t going to end up with someone behaving like Phil Neal to Rodgers’ Graham Taylor.
O’Driscoll, although seemingly ‘cut from the same cloth’ as Rodgers, will have his own ideas, his own views, and won’t be able to hold his tongue even if he wanted to. This move only makes sense for him if he has authority. If he truly feels he has a voice. As a strong No.2, it is a step forward in his career. As a background yes man, it is a step back. If he takes the role, it will be under the assurance that his opinions, and skills, are valued.
Time will tell if it’s a clever move for him. Time will also tell if it’s a clever move for Liverpool. But the more I think about it, the more it seems a clever move for Rodgers. The last thing he will have wanted is an assistant who was seen as primed to take over by supporters, media and possibly even players after every defeat. Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier offers a lesson from history. But he also won’t have wanted to start the season with his position seen as weak, surrounded by nominal promotions and hovering out-of-work managers.
So what of the sackings? I think too much was made of the Mike Marsh situation. An out-of-contract coach being moved on isn’t big news if you haven’t just been beaten 6-1 at Stoke. But the Pascoe removal was notable. The silence around the club on it meant the next appointment would be key in understanding the reason behind it. A ‘big name’ would hint at owners or administrators thinking more experience was needed, or ‘forcing’ an individual on the manager. This suggests it was all on Rodgers. That he felt the need for a change.
Read: O’DRISCOLL AT LIVERPOOL: CAN A NEW NO.2 REVIVE RODGERS?
Has he ‘thrown his coaches under the bus’ to save his position? We can only judge that if we know whether his position was truly under threat, something the leaks suggest was never the case. Maybe he just thought he needed a shake-up, new voices, fresh ideas. Many have suggested Rodgers needed to grow as a manager, that his inexperience was — and is — holding Liverpool back. Maybe growing as a manager is understanding what you are good at, and employing those who fill the gaps. Maybe experience is letting go of your friend who was fine for one stage of your career, but out of depth at another. Having the awareness to sack Pete Best and bring in Ringo Starr for the good of the band.
As always with football there are things we know and things we don’t, the rest of it is just guessing. But we can guess from this appointment that the manager has quietly strengthened his hand. That the owners, for the short term at least, are willing to get behind the manager and back him with appointments he wants. Whether this will work, time will tell. Results will be the judge of that. But, among the noise, gossip and people pretending they know more than they do, they always are.
Pics: PA Images
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Have to be honest here and say I’m totally underwhelmed by the appointment of SO’D. I believe we could have been much more ambitious with our backroom staff. The good thing it seems that he’s very much Rodgers appointment and not someone else’s. I just dont see how it could have worked if others appointed Rodgers team. SO’D has no Prem experience, has no CL experience, has no EL experience all at the age of 57. Is this what we want from our managerial team??
Let’s hope he proves to be a smash hit.
Couldn’t agree more. Tactically astute he may be but I just don’t see what experience he’ll be able to provide to Rodgers when we need to come from behind in an FA cup semi or away to United, Arsenal or Chelsea.
I think it’s kind of obvious that more experienced people are staying away because they don’t know if this is a 6 month, or 6 year, appointment.
he is BRents buddy just like Pascoe…Don’t expect O’Driscoll to rock the boat.
Why would anyone choose to work with someone they didn’t know, someone that was foisted upon them, and/or someone they might not get along with?
And would a dysfunctional managerial team be in the best interests of the club? I mean…just to appease the segment of the fanbase who want to see Rodgers lose his job?
I think we should have gone for Alonso as player-assistant manager. He wants to get into management eventually and would surely jump at the chance to learn the trade at a club he knows and loves. Alsonso has worked under the greatest coaches of the modern game (Rafa, Guardiola, Mourinho, Arragones, Del Bosque, etc) and was always a thinking man’s player anyway. In other words, he’d be a fountain of knowledge and experience.
As for on-field impact, he’d be our best player – by a distance – and in a position we are desperate to fill.
The only ‘downside’ I can think of would be Rodgers feeling threatened by him but frankly, after the shite served up last season, what Rodgers wants should be secondary, at best.
Good luck to O’Driscoll but he’s another inexperienced (at the top level) figure at the club.
It’d be interesting to see how long his contract is and what his performance targets are?
Right now I’d have O’Driscoll’s cat over Rodgers.
“Breathtaking. I shall call him… Mini-Me”Rodgers, Brendan
Intelligent and measured piece. Unfortunately not taken into account by those who have left comments so far.
So you’re happy with a guy who is almost 60 yet has no EPL or European experience to speak of?
Easier just to ignore the comments mate. They are made by people who don’t like BR full stop and have an agenda against him.
Just like those who had one against Rafa..
Just like those who would have one against a new fella..
O’Drsicoll is well qualified and has always had a good relationship with the players. Similar to BR and it’s a bonus that they know and respect one another, not a negative..!!
Pray tell what makes SOD “qualified” to be Liverpool’s assistant manager
Anything will do, anything at all.
What makes you qualified to say otherwise??
Pathetic response. Answering a question with a question always shows who the morons are.
If you’re going to go down that route, not a single one of us are qualified to have any opinion on anything football related as none of us work in that industry. See how easy that was? Stupid cunt.
Probably his professional coaching badges and FIFA pro licenses …
“FIFA pro licenses” < That tells me you have no idea what you are talking about. There is a single pro licence and it is from UEFA, not FIFA, and it is singular, not plural.
Also, you are saying just because someone has coaching badges that automatically means they are qualified to be assistant manager at a club like Liverpool? You see us on a par with League Two teams? Do you see what a twat that makes you?
Ah, the lowering of expectation continues. Awesome.
The fact the he has been in professional football all his life both as a player,coach and manager.
But I guess that counts for nothing because most of us can do that cant we! Those coaching badges and employment in footie are also dead easy to come by.
Give the lad a chance.
In football all his life and been a failure everywhere he’s been. Achieved nothing. But that makes him qualified to be out no. 2. Super.
Seriously, player-assistant manager? I try and just read comments and except most of them are pretty poor but your idea just highlights how bad most of them are. The reasons this wouldn’t work are endless.
I don’t hate Rodgers at all. Yet I still wonder why an assistant with no experience managing/assisting/coaching in the Prem or indeed any top league in Europe should be our no1 choice. Could we not have appointed someone with experience at the level we will be competing? He has no experience of CL or EL either.
Do your own research..
I fucking hate our fans at times, what a bunch of impatient, whining, know-all crybabies.
Its fucking simple. You do not know more about football than Brendan Rodgers. You are not an expert, you are a fan. You have opinions but so does everyone. Learn some fucking humility and have the good grace to wait to assess an appointment (player, manager or backroom staff) until they’ve had at least a fucking day in the job, you arrogant bunch of twats. Here endeth the rant.
John, great article, deserves a better response than a bunch of internet know-all’s simply using it as a soapbox to air their all-too-well-voiced views, despite none of them having taken the time to read it.
Finally a comment I agree with. Well done.
Don’t judge so quick. BR not so expierence as manager and made a lot of judgment errors and his two friends did not help a bit. Maybe SOD will bring calmness as it is also needed on the playing field that is why I value the signing of James Milner.
It’s disappointing to see how many ‘fans’ are jumping to condemn the man before he’s even been appointed. Do you even know anything about him?
Seems to know exactly what he’s talking about to me and built a strong promotion winning side with a tiny budget at Doncaster.
Read the article below.
The points he makes about negativity around clubs sound familiar don’t they?