With some fans fearing what’s next after the departure of Michael Edwards from Liverpool, is the future as bleak as some make it seem?


I FIND it really interesting reading people’s reactions whenever a big event happens.

I’m particularly interested in the way people project their own outlook on life into their methods of digesting news.

By that token, and with the news that Michael Edwards is set to step down as Liverpool’s sporting director at the end of the season, it seems there are a lot of people who are projecting some serious concerns about their own futures onto their football club.

I don’t say that to throw shade at anybody or force some kind of unwanted episodes of introspection within those with said concerns, the future can seem like a scary place with everything going on in the world.

However, as much as I love that we live in a world where we have as much information as we want at our fingertips, I do think sometimes the extent of the information that’s out there can be counterproductive to the cause we’re all in this for.

Many years back this kind of news probably wouldn’t even reach the surface at football clubs, never mind invite such a spate of doom-mongering around a fella whose first proper public words directed towards supporters were an open letter confirming his eventual departure.

Liverpool's Director of Football Michael Edwards and Commercial Director Billy Hogan during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and Leicester City at Anfield

It of course says a lot about the work that has been done by Edwards during his time at Liverpool, and he’s received praise in abundance for that. But it’s easy to forget, as I often have myself, that there is a team behind all these moves and that actually the man leading the way is merely the face of the operation.

It’s strange to think that given at one point he was anything but the face. Neil Ashton, formerly of the Daily Mail, once described him as “a new breed” that “sits in air-conditioned offices, cutting up videos from matches all over the world and burying their heads in the stats”, while mourning the loss of “good football men” from the sport.

Opinions about Edwards such as the above have all but flipped since, but really credit should go to the entire structure up and down the club that has allowed his talents to come to the fore. That includes those above him and around him, and of course the players on the pitch who have gone out and won the things that make him look so good.

None of this happens by magic, and none of these people behind the scenes are actual magicians – they just leave it to Jurgen Klopp and his footballers to produce the moments of wonder.

As Edwards says in his open letter, his plan was always to cap his stay on Merseyside at 10 years. A decade is a long time in football, and in that time he has overseen several different iterations of sides and even eras at the club. This current period has been by far the most successful and he’ll feel like all his work has been building up to this. To paraphrase Jamie Carragher, it’s better to go out on top.

Julian Ward has been a part of the team that has helped make their sporting director look so good at what he does, and I’m sure he has the knowledge to fill the role perfectly and then the other roles left behind can be filled by similar progression.

Liverpool's Director of Football Michael Edwards

All of this is to say that one brick being removed from this fortress won’t see things come crumbling down in the way so many fear. The reason Liverpool have been able to be successful is that there’s been a long-term plan in place, with constant desire to improve, and a policy of hiring the people with the best knowledge to get them there.

Those foundations aren’t built on sand anymore, though many of us clearly bear the scars of when that has been the case in the past.

Bring out all the cliches about football going in cycles and so on, but while I believe The Reds aren’t at the peak of their particular curve anymore for one reason or another, that’s more to do with how high the bar was set at said peak than it is to do with some sort of fall from grace.

That won’t be what follows this particular period because we still have so many of those great minds and people with the club’s best interests at heart.

We’re often guilty as supporters of not being able to see the wood for the trees, but if we look back we’ll be able to see just how green our forest has been for so long.

One move won’t change that. Not anymore.

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