THE principle owner of Liverpool Football Club, John W. Henry, has spoken out on why Kenny Dalglish lost his job at the end of last season, insisting that the Suarez affair had nothing to do with the King’s departure and that even winning the F.A. Cup would not have prolonged his reign at the Anfield helm.
The American is insistent that the decision to replace Dalglish with Brendan Rodgers was based solely on Liverpool’s terrible league form in the first half of 2012.
The consequence of this was an eighth place finish in the Premier League, 37 points behind winners, Manchester City – the club’s worst finish since 1994. In an interview given to the Liverpool Echo, Henry stated:
“The FA Cup would not have made any difference had he won it. For us we were 17th over the second half of the season and Liverpool should not be in that position.
“I don’t place the blame on Kenny and Steve [Clarke] – but I think it was obvious to every Liverpool fan that something was wrong and something needed to be done in the current circumstances.
“We had a very poor second half to the season last year. I think that you could say the response to Kenny and Steve [from the players] was lacking. The play was lacking so that entered into our considerations.”
Henry was keen to stress the great work initially done by Dalglish on his return to the top job; restoring stability, identity and pride to the Anfield club after a very stressful period in its history.
“When I first discussed with Kenny making a change before he took the job, he spoke about that if he ever were to take it and we danced around it, we discussed what role he would take at some point,” Henry added.
“He did say that if it was the manager’s job, he would only do it until we had the right young man to come in for the long term. We spoke about two or three times before he actually took the job.
“There were a lot of different directions and he unified the club internally and externally. He did an incredible job of getting us all on the same page.”
Dalglish was roundly and somewhat unfairly criticised by the mainstream media and others over his handling of the Luis Suarez affair, with Alex Ferguson recently suggesting that that had had something to do with his eventual dismissal. However, Ferguson’s effort to stir the pot was casually squashed by Henry as he confirmed what most already knew; the two situations were not linked in any way.
“That (the Suarez situation) did not really play a part,” Henry said. “Basically that did not come into it, and we have been into the factors why.
“No one man is bigger than the club and no one issue is going to determine the long term viability of the club.”
You can catch Neil on Twitter @Neil1980 or on his blog http://itsallinthegameblog.wordpress.com/
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