I’ll never forget those words, of our former manager Rafael Benitez.
I was still stood around in Athens airport when I read the back page of the Daily Mirror the morning after our Champions League (remember that?) final defeat to AC Milan in 2007.
That press conference would go on to play a big part of the club’s history as Benitez’ relationship with the cancerous, poisonous owners would never be healed and would ultimately end in both warring factions leaving the club in completely different circumstances.
But the next week is an important time for our football club. We need to be wildly different from the way things are normally done. We need to be decisive. We need action. We need to get it spot on.
Do we keep Dalglish as manager or do we make changes?
This needs to be dealt with and dealt with now. The rumours discussing the future of Kenny have been going on for a few weeks now, with some suggesting that he would be leaving after the Swansea game. I will hasten to add that none of these rumours came from a source of any credibility.
However, it is interesting to note that Kenny headed to Boston straight after that match on Sunday for talks with owner John W Henry. “Showdown talks” and “crisis talks” are terms that have reared their ugly head. The way I see it is that they are doing what goes on at every club, they are having an end of season meeting to discuss the last 9 months and how to move forward in the next 3 months in regard to transfer strategy.
And we now need to do one thing or the other with Kenny: either back him or sack him. I don’t mean that literally, I don’t want to see Dalglish sacked and would sooner he leave on his own terms if he’s to leave. But what I mean is that we have a massively important summer ahead of us (again) and if we get it wrong (again) then we are in danger of, on the pitch at any rate, becoming “just another football team.”
I am actually fairly heartened that the club seem to be resolving the issue of the manager’s future within days of the end of the season as opposed to leaving it for 2 or 3 weeks. It is essential that we get to work on our transfer strategy right away. Arsenal have been busy, as have Chelsea. Seeing as these are the teams we are directly competing with, it is of paramount importance that we are ready to go with regards to our targets. Especially as this is a tournament summer, where millions of pounds can be added to a price tag for the sake of one or two good performances. Additionally, our season begins early with Europa League qualifiers against the likes of FC Dog and Duck in early August. We need to mobilise now, not in a few weeks.
And of course, we need to decide who to lead us. Despite the Carling Cup win it’s not unfair to say that 2011/2012 was a hugely forgettable season. We won one trophy, should have been two, but the FA Cup final loss leaves a real bitter taste in the mouth when trying to analyse the season objectively. Just six home wins in the league tells you everything you need to know about the league campaign. Simply not good enough.
Should that cost Dalglish his job? I can accept arguments either way. If we can attract an established manager (for example, my number one choice if Dalglish was to leave would be Borussia Dortmund’s Juergen Klopp, although the Tony Pulis cap has to go) with a good track record then there’s an argument to be made in favour of change.
However, considering we are constantly linked with the likes of Roberto Martinez (and that’s not a slight on Martinez, he’s done a remarkable job at Wigan, but who’s to say he’d do a remarkable job at Liverpool when he didn’t think he was ready for the Aston Villa job last summer?) then I am more on the side of sticking with what we have. We have a good approach to games. We might not score enough goals and some of the performances since the Arsenal game in early March have been very poor, but we are positive in our approach and play some decent football.
Is that enough? Probably not, and it would not surprise me if Kenny is no longer manager by the end of this week following these Boston talks. But if that’s the case, then at least we are finding out about this now and not in 3 weeks time when our potential targets, both managerial and players, might well have disappeared into the ether.
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