The early stages of Roy Hodgson’s tenure have been extremely underwhelming, but there are more than a few mitigating factors. The on-going ownership saga can be nothing other than a distraction for all concerned and he’s been forced to downgrade from Argentina’s skipper to a Juventus bit-part in a crucial area of the field. True, results and performances could and should have been better, yet at the time Hodgson was the logical appointment and moving forward he remains a vastly experienced and astute manager to improve fortunes, given the circumstances.
Sunday’s embarrassing defeat to Blackpool was greeted by a cacophony of boos from the usually understanding Anfield crowd and there were audible chants for the reinstatement of Kenny Dalglish back into the managerial hot seat. I for one, cannot see the logic in their wishes.
Dalglish’s reappointment appears one more of sentiment than sense. When he initially took over the reins from Joe Fagan in 1985, the club had finished second in the league and appeared in that ill-fated European Cup final. The tradition of the bootroom was intrinsic to the club’s success, and Dalglish merely had to take over the baton and carry on the continuity of a proven formula which had worked for the best part of twenty years. In five full seasons, Dalglish hoisted an enviable three league titles and two FA Cups, but coming into the current regime is worlds apart from when the Scot first came into the post.
As Steve McMahon once put it, “all we did in training was play 5-a-side.” That is a far cry from the sports science driven scene of physicians and pro-zone, who have long since replaced the Subbuteo board kept in a dusty cupboard. The collection of British Isles born and bred players that made up the majority of Dalglish’s squad back then have been replaced by a gathering of nationalities from all parts, many of whom may not appreciate the standing and status of a man largely revered on these shores but not necessarily further afield, and certainly not by a gathering of American money-men, whoever they end up being.
Prior to his short and indifferent spells with Newcastle and Celtic, Dalglish’s last significant contribution was the 1995 title with Blackburn. It was an admirable achievement even given Jack Walker’s millions, but that was 15 years ago, and his modus operandi of a rigid 4-4-2, two wingers supplying two frontmen has been obsolete for some time. This is a different game altogether, and one which Dalglish might not be compatible with.
The list of managerial appointments made to appease the natives does not make good reading. Of the most recent examples, Howard Kendall returned to almost take Everton down, Kevin Keegan found there was no way to beat the Boardroom, and the less said about his replacement – Alan Shearer – the better.
Kenny Dalglish will forever be held in the highest esteem by all at Liverpool FC as a great player, but moreover as a great patron of this establishment. Bringing him back may repair the bond between the team and the terrace, but what really matters is how Liverpool fair on that pitch, and Dalglish is not the man for the job.
In today’s cynical footballing world of billionaire owners and baby Bentley’s, there is little scope for sentimental values, and that is why King Kenny should not be re-coronated to his throne.