As we know, Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish was sacked last night along with members of his back room team – just a short 18 months since his arrival. Fenway Sports Group, headed by J. Henry in Boston, felt that a meagre 8th place finish, albeit a Carling Cup victory, was unsatisfactory and decisions had to be made.
I stated a few months ago that Dalglish shouldn’t be sacked, particularly if you are to invest so much into him. We saw towards the end of the season that Liverpool could actually play half-decent football despite blowing between £100-140 million on new acquisitions. Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez began to find some consistency between them – a partnership that could blossom next year. However that won’t be overseen by the Liverpool great that is ‘King’ Kenny.
Whoever follows the steps of Kenny, will have a big task on their hands. Not just because it is Liverpool, but instead it is a Liverpool club that could potentially be teetering towards years of ambiguity and misfortune. Another season of mediocre football and poor achievements could see some of the larger names leave the club – which they have every right to do so. And unless European football is secured again, replacing these big names could be more difficult than first presumed.
Kenny Dalgish was previously in-charge at Newcastle United, after the Kevin Keegan ‘entertainers’ era. And despite finishing 2nd, he was sacked the following year after finishing in 13th place – prompting the loss of the likes of Les Ferdinand, Peter Beardsley and Lee Clark, players that were essentially never replaced. The following appointment at that time was crucial with Ruud Gullit taking the helm, and unfortunately the club has never been the same, with mainly mid-table finishes all the club had to show for since.
Rumours are rife that Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is the favourite to secure the Anfield hot-seat. To be fair, he has never been at a ‘big’ club but that isn’t to say he won’t be able to manage it. If indeed Martinez does take over, it could be a promising thing. Decent football under a very stringent budget at Wigan have led some quarters to believe that he was always destined for greater things. And lets not forget that Brendan Rodgers is probably thanking Martinez for the way he left Swansea – it was actually him that initiated the possession game ethos seen at the Liberty Stadium.
However if Martinez, or whoever replaces Dalglish, fails to invigorate a true sleeping giant of the game, unfortunately Liverpool could be facing a long hard road back to being amongst the highest echelons of European football, and taking off my Geordie-bias glasses, that would be a true shame. And as for Kenny himself, despite his failings in NE1 – I have utmost respect for a true legend of the game and his failings this season shouldn’t sour the name he had earned himself at Liverpool.
It would be a sad day if Liverpool ever become associated with the likes of Nottingham Forest or Aston Villa. Clubs that once were giants of the game – clubs that will unlikely ever be the same.