For fans such as myself last week’s removal of Tom Hicks and George Gillett was of huge importance. Football had almost taken a backseat compared to the future of Liverpool FC – under a huge debt mountain that would eventually have threatened it’s existence.
Despite all the off field court-room battles, nail-biting, and ultimately victory the reds remained in a perilous league state.
Rafa’s constant battles with the owners saw him lose his job in the summer, and the board scoured the world’s top managers – saw that none of them wanted to come to a penniless club – and took Roy Hodgson on. A nice man apparently, a man the media liked (as Broughton remarked at the time) who had just took Fulham all the way to defeat in the Europa League.
If Liverpool hadn’t been run in the summer by Tom Hicks and George Gillett, then quite simply Roy Hodgson would not be in charge at Anfield presently. Top managers do not arrive at clubs with sell to buy policy’s.
Some fans believed that last season’s 7th placed finish was a massive underachievement at the club – our suggestion was that maybe Benitez had overachieved for his previous 5 years. 17 months ago when Liverpool finished 2nd with 86 points, having lost only 2 games in that campaign – many of us looked at our squad and were amazed at our points haul.
The demolition of Real Madrid and Man Utd within a week didn’t quite fit with the quality of the players on the pitch.
Skip forward less than a year and a half and many of those players are still playing at Anfield.
Liverpool do indeed have many average players. Torres is indeed off form, or potentially worse – shocked by the lack of ambition at Anfield, and the aging Gerrard is unfortunately a shadow of his former self. In 2008/09 he contributed with over 20 goals for the club. Unfortunately for Gerrard – that looks unlikely to be a feat he will ever match again. However it is abundantly clear that Liverpool are much much better than a team that has won one game in 8. And even that one victory was by the skin of the teeth.
Roy has two major problems in the eyes of Liverpool fans.
1. Many fans didn’t want him in the first place. Certainly a glance over his CV, his Premiership record at Blackburn and Fulham, proves that he does not have the ability to compete in the Premier League.
2. Many fans also see him as the man Hicks and Gillett installed at Anfield. A man brought in to say Yes when Rafa would have said No. He does, effectively, remain tainted by the previous regime.
I’ll admit I didn’t want him in the summer. I’d read his CV and was underwhelmed. Even Fulham’s league campaign this season now seems to have improved without him. But like many fans I realised that there were bigger issues at the club. Now those issues have been resolved our focus once again is 100% on the pitch at Liverpool.
The football this season has been dire. Shockingly bad. Second half of the game against Arsenal aside – there has not been any acceptable football played under Hodgson.
The football is bland and defensive. However it is a strange form of defensive in the fact that we are leaking goals left right and centre. Liverpool, normally with the ability to control midfield at the very least, now look overrun and weak.
Liverpool need a manager the players can look up to and the fans unite behind. Roy Hodgson does not fit either of those categories.
Mid-season isn’t a great time to find great managers. Martin O’Neill is not a great manager. He is not a Liverpool manager.
The reds may indeed have to wait for next summer to decide upon their future direction.
Until then, Hodgson must be relieved of his job and someone with an association to better times at Anfield needs to be in.
I’ll admit I didn’t want Dalglish to take the job over permanently. I didn’t want his excellent record in our history to be stained by being appointed by Hicks and Gillett. However they have left. To restore unity and to have a manager who has been there and done it (with two different English clubs) in charge till the end of the season is now vital.
The £3M compensation Hodgson would receive will be a bitter financial blow, but it is equivalent to the amount that finishing 6 Premier League places higher confers.
It’s time for the Liverpool board to correct an awful decision in the summer and appoint Dalglish as first team manager until the end of the season.