Take Colin Pascoe for example. I imagine the more serious Liverpool fans will know who this man is, those who look deeper, beyond the instant pizzazz of new signings, gossip columns, and often inane phone-ins mainly full of callers offering such enthralling opinion as ‘I thought……err, ….Luis Suarez played well tonight’, while the ever excellent Ian St. John struggles to keep himself awake.
While the name Colin Pascoe may not currently be a feature of Anfield folklore, he certainly shares a few common attributes with some already highly successful members of it. Club legends Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan, Ronnie Moran, Phil Thompson and Sammy Lee have all performed the role currently inhabited by Pascoe, who’s biggest personal honour as a player was being named in the Football League’s Fourth Division PFA Team of the Year in 1987.
In the blaze of publicity surrounding the appointment of Brendan Rodgers as Manager, his Assistant, Mr Pascoe has settled into his role almost unnoticed. The former Swansea, Sunderland and Blackpool midfielder has followed Rodgers from Swansea to try and help Liverpool back to the elite of the English game.
Pascoe’s full circle has taken him from his Swansea debut on his 18th birthday, at Anfield, against Bob Paisley’s Liverpool machine who swept the Swans aside by three goals to nil. Pascoe’s professional debut probably went largely unnoticed by many Reds inside the stadium as they enjoyed another display of dominance from their team. Pascoe reminisced about his debut with Liverpoolfc.com and informed them that “What I remember most about the game is chasing the ball!”
How coincidental that 29 years after his playing debut, Pascoe is back at the scene, trying to implement similar strategies to those he faced on that day, thought out by manager Bob Paisley, ex-assistant to Bill Shankly, and absorbed by the likes of Sammy Lee (future Assistant to Rafa Benitez), who scored Liverpool’s second goal.
“I’ve always thought of Liverpool of being a team who pass and move the ball, and make the opposition work hard to get anything. When teams to come to Anfield, they need to really earn anything they get.”
Improving Liverpool’s home form is a necessity if a successful first season at the helm is to be had, and passing and moving the opposition into submission is something that will go a long way to helping to make Anfield a fortress once more.
It is difficult to assess from outside the specific roles of the back room staff. Rodgers, a modern specimen of coach and manager, appears to be in control of most happenings on the playing side of things, but nevertheless, a reliable, trustworthy assistant who contributes his own thoughts is essential to all successful set-ups. It is widely regarded that the break-up of the Rafa Benitez – Pako Ayestaran partnership heavily contributed to the fall from grace experienced by Benitez.
Backroom staff lead unusual careers at times and often pledge their allegiances to an individual manager rather than any specific team, or can be hired and fired at the drop of a hat depending on the various powers that be at any given club. However, I’m sure we would all love to see Rodgers, Pascoe and Mike Marsh (newly appointed to First Team duties), along with the rest of the Liverpool bench, celebrating upturns in Liverpool’s performances and fortunes for many years to come.