I wrote about a week ago that my personal choice for the next Liverpool manager was Rafa Benitez and I would stand by that regardless of the other potential candidates. From various polls across a number of sites it would also appear that around 60-70% of Liverpool fans would agree with me. However, at of the time this article is being written Brendan Rodgers had edged slightly ahead of Spaniard Roberto Martinez as the favourite [Editor: With Rodgers now all but officially confirmed].
FSG were placed in a very difficult situation. The short-list that was muted contained perhaps 2-3 that would whet the appetite of most Reds fans, but the rest – the above mentioned included – were not exactly popular amongst most of us and understandably so. This isn’t about disrespecting what are no doubt talented young managers with potential; this is about finding an experienced pro with a proven track-record, so we’re allowed to feel some slight trepidation when Brendan Rodgers jumped ahead of Martinez as odds on favourite.
Because no matter which of these two ended up managing us, they were signing up to a managerial position which couldn’t be more difficult. On the one hand, we’ll be moving on to our 4th manager in little over 2 years – something practically unheard of at this club but we’ll be appointing a man with little experience at any level, nevermind the top level, so they will have an almost impossible job of convincing fans and every move, every substitution, every transfer rumour and move will be scrutinized for some indication of whether they are doing a good job.
However, the situation just got more difficult because they will be following on from the clubs’ most legendary man, and a man that many will still feel should have been given more time. So regardless of which of the two men was appointed, they would constantly be marked against their predecessor and judged even more harshly. Much like Hodgson was more harshly scrutinized at every step after stepping in to Rafa Benitez’s still warm managerial hot seat, Rodgers or Martinez would have been taking over from King Kenny and will feel the heat instantly.
Not only that, but whoever was chosen ahead of the overwhelming fan favourite Rafa Benitez, the fans will be looking down upon them from the stands thinking ‘Rafa wouldn’t have done that’. When a player is signed and he isn’t believed to be Liverpool quality, people will begin to say ‘Rafa wouldn’t have signed him; he’d have spent that money better, etc.’, so the pressure is looking to become three-fold by the time the new man is put in place and should the leading candidate for the DoF position end up getting the job, then they will also have the massively intimidating figure of Louis van Gaal breathing down their necks and that alone is something I’m sure none of us would wish on anybody.
There was only really one way that FSG couldn’t completely lose and that would have been to appoint Benitez, as out of the blue as that would probably seem, but even then there would be that 30% of fans that are vehemently against his appointment and never really accepted him to begin with.
While my personal jury is still out on FSG, I really feel for them with this decision they’re currently about to make because it really seems like there really weren’t any right decisions, only varying degrees of ‘less wrong’ and unless they appoint Pep Guardiola (and even then, there’d be some who’d rather have had Jose Mourinho!), they just wouldn’t be able to please us all.
So regardless of who the man is when that very eagerly awaited press conference is staged, it would be wrong to not get fully behind him, despite our reservations and who knows, in 12 months time we may be unashamedly praising FSG for their genius and foresight and hailing our new manager as the next Red messiah!
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