I’M not going to deny it. I was one of the many clamouring for the return of Rafa Benitez to Anfield. When it became clear though that his messianic return was never going to happen, I began looking at the other names that were being mentioned.
When most of the dust created by the media had settled, it looked like our long list of candidates had been whittled down to just two names.
I was never really keen on Martinez, and as for this other guy, this Brendan Rodgers of Swansea, I, like many other Liverpool fans, hardly knew a thing about the man.
So why all the fuss then about the manager of mid-table Swansea? I needed to do some research, especially since the appointment of Martinez was beginning to look less and less likely.
It’s been a while now since BR’s ascension to the Liverpool hot seat, and the reality of this unexpected appointment has I think finally settled in. And after taking the time to digest all that Brendan Rogers could potentially bring to the managerial table, I must say I’m rather optimistic.
We’ve all probably read BR’s philosophy on football several times over by now, and so I’m not going to go into that again (other than to say “I’m sold”). The real reason I’m optimistic though is because for the first time in the longest time, LFC finally has a manager who the owners believe in and support.
Ever since Gillett and Hicks took over in 2007, this has not been the case. The club’s previous owners may have pretended to have Rafa’s back, but the tension between owners and manager was evident to all who took more than just a cursory glance at the club’s then crumbling facade.
Roy Hodgson was later appointed to replace Rafa after the Spaniard was sacked, and while he was brought in by the previous owners, he did not get to work under them very long (thank goodness for that) as the new owners took over from the two cowboys shortly after.
Roy never really won over the Liverpool fans though, but more importantly, he did not win over the new owners either. His defensive tactics and unattractive brand of football, coupled with poor results, left both owners and fans disgruntled. Again, Liverpool found itself in a situation where manager and owners were at a state of disequilibrium.
Our next appointment was Kenny Dalglish, but while he was asked to do the job by the new owners themselves, this was done at a desperate time and on short notice when the club needed a drastic and immediate change in its philosophy on the pitch.
It’s safe to say, on hindsight especially, that King Kenny (bless him) was never part of FSG’s long term plans. We all know now what the owners want in a manager (youth, ambition, a scientific approach to the game, etc), and we all know about the extensive search they conducted for King Kenny’s successor.
The fact that we’ve appointed our first choice candidate in Brendan Rodgers, and also that so much thought went into the decision, has me convinced that at long last, LFC has a manager that the club will fully back.
I cannot emphasise enough how important I feel this is for the long term future of the club. Part of my own footballing philosophy is that continuity is perhaps the most important ingredient you need if you are to build a successful football club.
I am of the firm believe that many good managers who have failed in the short term and who were replaced quickly would have eventually gone on to be successes if they had been allowed the years required to develop a sustainable system or structure behind the team.
I also believe that the cost of managing a successful side decreases significantly once such a system has been established, simply because replacing one or two aging players within a well-established system is far easier and cheaper than creating an entire system from scratch.
Continuity therefore levels the playing field for teams with less financial muscle, and gives cash rich teams (like Manchester United, which has had continuity since 1986) a huge competitive advantage.
Continuity isn’t possible though if the manager and the owners aren’t on the same page. I’m therefore extremely pleased then that John Henry went through such pains to make sure he was well and truly comfortable with the person he eventually appointed.
Here’s hoping that both owners and fans give continuity a chance, even if things don’t start perfectly for our new young manager. Good luck to you, Brendan Rodgers. You’ll have my full support.
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