One of the general rules in life is to never go back.
They say it about boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, workplaces, politics – even the Big Brother house could all fall in to this category. Because as much as memory may fade to focus only on the positive it is never as good.
In the history of football this is even more apt – men with great records on the field and off it, returning older and wiser before realising, often too late, that they should have let their records stand. Clearly there have been the odd enjoyable reunions – but the general theme is that once your time is called you should move on.
After last weeks’ severance between the Liverpool board and Rafa Benitez – the reds are now faced with a managerial conundrum. Unlike in years gone by, the managers job at Anfield is now a poisoned chalice.
The club is for sale (albeit at a ridiculous £800M). The club is heavily in debt (to the tune of £400M). As the past two years have proven the club is no longer one that competes for the best players in teh world – but is now a club that sells players to help fund a staggering £40M interest bill per year. The owners are vilified by the clubs millions of fans for broken promises, wasted millions and downright mistruth’s about their ‘proud custodianship’ of the great Anfield club.
Fans groups are at war with the owners – threatening to hit them hard in the pockets. The customers are reaching the end of their tether.
With each gaffe from the owners there has been an equal measure of PR spinning. The PR men at Anfield are amongst the hardest workers in the business. When they aren’t bending the ear of selected journalists with their ‘leaked’ stories from inside the club they are considering how best to balance the bad news with the good.
Yesterday saw the release of the new away kit – brought forward 2 days because yesterday was also the day the club announced a 7% rise in season ticket prices.
The embarrassment of Tom Hicks sitting in front of his log fire publically telling Rick Parry to resign was attempted to be balanced by the introduction of Christian Purslow – a Liverpool fan they said – a man of the people.
Ultimately Purslow’s arrival may have had more to do with his contacts book – Tom Hicks Jnr for one, and then one of his close friends – Stephen Hester – the chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland – the bank that is greedily gorging on the £40M interest per year.
And so on to the return of the King – Kenny Dalglish was brought in to the club as ambassador of the LFC youth academy – his arrival perfectly timed to make us gloss over the fact that there had been no money for players for two years.
In today’s Times Tony Barrett makes the suggestion that Kenny is considering throwing his name in to the hat for the managers job – a suggestion that has been in play amongst fans even before Rafa was kicked out.
My advice to Kenny would be – think wisely, and think again.
My schooldays were spent idolising Kenny Dalglish. On the school playing field I was him. When playing football I even attempted to copy the way he ran. His domestic managerial record at Liverpool was fantastic – and he remains Liverpool’s most succesful manager (in terms of win %). However Liverpool were a very different club a quarter of a century ago. Kenny inherited a fine team and did buy well – although he was competing at the top of the market. When he left, the reds were a team on the slide.
I remain of the opinion that the next Liverpool manager will hold one of the shortest reigns in the clubs history. For many fans the next boss, whoever it may be, will be a ‘Yes’ man for the board. At a time of such vehement opposition to the clubs owners, the Chelsea supporting chairman, the managing director and other faceless members of the board it would be a mistake for Kenny to be the man to be seen as the cuddly face of these individuals.
King Kenny Dalglish was arguably Liverpool’s greatest player and was an excellent manager more than 2 decades ago. For him to come back now would not only destroy some of the magic but would cause much navel-gazing amongst Liverpool fans.
The only beneficiaries of the appointment would be the club’s owners and the Liverpool PR machine. It would buy them more time to run the club in to the ground.