View from the Kop

So What’s ‘Plan B’, FSG?

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SO the blueprint which was drawn up to steadily build up a successful Liverpool FC over a number of years has been balled up and thrown in the waste paper bin.

The dethroning of King Kenny proves again that there are no long term strategies when it comes to the management level of top flight football.

Plan A was given 16 turbulent months; now what we all are anxious to see is what FSG will have in store for plan B.

From the time of writing we have been strongly linked with Roberto Martinez who put the feelers out on his twitter account asking his followers if they want him to stay at Wigan. What followed was a flurry of Reds requesting him to stay put. Having sat in on one or two of his press conferences I found the Latics boss to be an engaging, forward thinking strategist one who is obviously a talented manager but what concerns most of us is that his only Premier League experience is keeping Dave Whelan’s side afloat in the top league which is the limit of their ambitions.

John Henry and co have found themselves in a position where there next move is crucial to their standing in the hearts and minds of Kopites. Parting company with the biggest legend the club have needed to be done in a sensitive delicate fashion. Only a few know what was said in the meeting in Boston: did Kenny go over on his own accord to discuss his future? Or was he summonsed? If it was the latter which I suspect, it was a clear show of intent and ruthlessness by the ownership. The official line from Henry justifies the talk that he was pushed was summed up in a pragmatic but respectful way: “He [Dalglish] is in many ways the heart and soul of the club (but) our job is to identify and recruit the right person to take this club forward”.

But is Martinez the man to do this or what about others who we have been linked with such as Chelsea flop Andre Villas Boaz? This is a man who comes across a few degrees colder than the Wigan man, the Portuguese native never really had a grip on the Chelsea dressing room, albeit a petulant self-serving one at that. He has pedigree – leading FC Porto to the UEFA Cup – and youth on his side but does he fit a side which badly needs unity and direction with self belief hemorrhaging from the side and players unsure where their futures lie.
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Bright young up and coming managers like Brendan Rogers and Paul Lambert have done admirable things at their newly promoted clubs, demonstrating tactical aptitude coupled with strong work ethic, finishing the year comfortably in mid-table. As the next few seasons pass and should their reputations grow, Swansea and Norwich will struggle to keep hold of the pair. Rogers has shown admirable loyalty to the Swans by rejecting our advances, but is it more likely that managers are hesitant to risk their reputations at a club which is fast developing a reputation for hiring and firing?

Whoever gets the nod will certainly be aware that over the last 2 years the club has regressed in reputation. As fans we sneer at clubs like Chelsea and Real Madrid notorious for their trigger happy custodians but I fear that we are in danger of following this trend. Long term planning for short term goals is the way our owners seem to work and I understand that when there is large investment patience and loyalty is severely tested when it does not show value.

What will happen next will be another series of upheavals. The owners have rejected Steve Clarke’s request to leave – this will surely bring complications as the new man will certainly want to have his own people around him which may leave the Scottish coach in the wilderness. With Dalglish gone and Gerrard and Carragher in their twilight years the club’s identity is slowly on the wane. The new man needs to be strong enough to filter his personality through the club like his predecessor did when he lifted us from our post-Hodgson stupor, for him to do this he needs the most precious and rare commodity in football: TIME. Investment is all well and good but if it is not nurtured over a number of years every year will be the same with a clamour to build it up and break it back down with every new manager wanting his own players, staff etc thus further diluting the aura of this great club.

I do hope that next time FSG will find the man to lead us on a long term basis or at least be allowed to honour his contract, this consistency should eventually give us the time to build the club back to where we belong.

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I've been following the Reds ever since I set eyes on the majestic sight that is the Kop in full voice with flags aloft, albeit from the television with my dad as a 5 year old in my hometown of Dublin! He would tell me about the Irish contingent, the likes of Heighway, Whelan, Beglin and Houghton, he is a Leeds fan due to his hero Johnny Giles but I had to go against the grain on this one, his 3 year old grandson will not be afforded the same opportunity!
I completed a Higher National Diploma in Print Journalism back in Dublin where I briefly worked for the Irish Independent on a placement, covering Rugby, obituaries (including the great John Charles) and some sub editing. I then made the short journey to Liverpool, where I currently reside to undertake International Journalism at John Moores University. Some will say that over the years I have picked up a Jan Molbyesque native twang but I'm not so sure!
I was also lucky enough to have worked for the socialist publication "Morning Star" covering the Reds at Anfield which allowed me gain access to the press box and press conferences, I covered about 10 games and loved every minute of it!
I am excited to be joining the team at live4liverpool.com. From what I have seen so far the standard of articles have been first class, I hope to contribute to this by publishing pieces which create opinion and debate.


  • Neil Patterson says:

    Decent blog, highlighting the crassness of the decision taken by FSG to sack Dalglish. We are now back at square 1 actually in a worse position than last summer. Stability is key, cut-throat owners with no patience will get us nowhere.Those who think there is a masterplan are deluded, the plan, as far as I can tell is to win, as to how to do this, FSG are in the dark. Next appointment must be spot on or our great club could be in serious bother.

  • Ste says:

    The strategy was/is sound, the mistake was hiring Dalglish on a permanent basis, which a lot of fans called for, Dalglish then proceeded to waste millions and milions of pounds on crap, and was clueless about tactics, and produced the worst Liverpool showing for 50 years, we could not afford to let Dalglish continue and waste more millions and relegate the club to the Championship.

    Sad, but the truth hurts, stop living in the past.

    • frank says:

      Well said, with due respect to kenny he should take complete responsibility for this poor display. In many games our team selection looked clueless and team selection was by far the worst i’ve seen in a decade; for me this was the right decision; to succeed you need to be ruthless and away from emotion and focus on the objective, what exactly FSG did.

  • Ste says:

    Re: With Dalglish gone and Gerrard and Carragher in their twilight years the club’s identity is slowly on the wane.

    No one man is Liverpool Football Club, Carragher is now a liabilty when he plays, he could never pass a ball and both he and Gerrard are way past their prime.
    Stop living in the past, we need to build for the future.

    • stan howard says:

      Gerrard past his prime He could walk into any team now including Barcelona.

      • hemanta says:

        with all due respect to our legendary captain, a couple of years ago yes he could have walked into any team but now things are different.I’ll add this too, I feel liverpool will be better off if we start planning for team without gerrard because his attack has reduced and we all know he is not a holding mid, so unless he changes his playing style if we are playing him as attacking mid then he becomes a liability. you cannot hope of wonder strike every game, you have to be consistent.

  • J75J says:

    Chelsea wouldn’t let Steve Clarke leave he his respected as a coach.
    My be Clarke is Plan B!
    Michael Laudrup has said he is interested in the job worth an interview.

  • stan howard says:


  • paul.philosophy says:

    A none story really, or should I say an attempt to manipulate a storm in a tea cup.

    The business plan is still in tact, just a change of personal. I’d get some basic business model conceptual understanding before you take a leap of faith based on assumption.

    You can debate all you want about the so called rights and wrongs of Kenny going or staying, but that has not changed the business plan…

    Please write a well research piece that gives us factual nuggents to tempt our thinking…

  • Nigel says:

    Martinez had a storming end to the season at Wigan. But that’s the only reason we are considering him really. The pros are he gets the best out of a squad- they were only 9pts behind us. The cons- can he attract better calibre players of he is successful in getting lfc back to champs league and beyond? Will our squad believe in him? Look up to him etc? Cos kenneth is a legend and this didn’t happen last season for him. I’d much rather play it safe and get rafa back as we can’t affor to lose more ground on our rivals. He loves lfc, is tactically astute. Can attract better players. Is strict cos he won’t take results like last season. Understands premier league and European football and can alter game plans to suit. Beaten Barcelona, inter Milan on their own patch. Finished 2nd 2007. Scored more goals than united ghat season. Restructured yourh academy. If hicks and Gillette provided transfer funds instead of selling to buy he wouldn’t have had to sign dross like jovanovic, voronin, degen etc. he may have got dani alves from sevilla, David villa from Valencia etc etc. he would definitely be ambitious in transfer market once we got back up the table- jovetic munain players like that. Not diame etc. Even though he got sacked by last regime the pros for Benitez far out way the cons.

    • hemanta says:

      he wasted talents, sure he laid foundation to youths but he never nourtured them, his best youngesters were ngog, stearing. he spoiled the likes of gonzalez kwell, babel. apart of few players his purchase were questionable particularly if you compare the need of club at that time. the biggest of them being selling alonso and buying an already injured aquaman costing club 25 mil in that cash crunch time and thus messing up lfc’s any chance of gaining ground. And lets not forget the funds of degen, kean, babel and the co. he is a good tactician but he relied too much to single striker torres, I hardly saw him play with two out and out striker. instead bought striker and turned them into average wingers.

  • OoO says:

    Plan A was to get LFC back into the CL as soon as possible. Kenny failed this, now another manager will get a chance.

    Same plan, different manager.

  • Brendan says:

    On the surface it seems as if FSG are now looking for Plan B, in reality they are actually moving away from it. The new owners never wanted Dalglish from the start. They wanted to start from square one with a young owner that could lead us to the future. However when Kenny came in and did what he did, they had no choice as every loss would’ve had fans calling for the King.

    While it may be backwards thinking, it reality, FSG are now moving to Plan A

  • Michael says:

    The lowest risk,tested and proven manager is Rafa. Why would FSG at least not even talk to him? Who is in their ear because although they appear to be decent owners they still know nothing about football. Whats done is done but now we can’t afford another episode of managerial musical chairs next summer. Surely Rafa has to be our best and safest bet. He knows and loves our club, and has achieved all of what they are looking for already. He’s world class, he’s available and most importantly he wants to come.

    If they don’t even consider him serious questions need to be asked of them, and they better have a bloody good answer.

    • OoO says:

      FSG already hired one former LFC manager/favorite and it backfired on them, I don’t see them doing it again.

  • CraqueBrito says:

    I liked the article, and disagree with people who says sacking Dalglish was a mistake. Not one supporter wanted Hodgson here. Old, old fashioned, mid-table manager that seemed to sum up our old owners’ philosophy towards the club. That he could barely maintain us mid-table said a lot too, but we, true Liverpool supporters, could never accept this diminished expectation.
    Then came Dalglish to save us, and that he did. It was the best football period we played in the last 3 seasons. And for that he was appointed for the next three years. Then came Carroll 35m, Adam 8m, Downing 20m, Henderson 16+m, Enrique 7m… and any intelligent football watching supporter (that does not include FSG, mind you) thought: “Say whaaaat? What the flying f*ck?” But since we’re Liverpool supporters, we said: “Fine, thank you.” And obviously sh*t happened. And for that, Dalglish HAD to be sacked. How could they trust a man who wasted 100+m with the restructuring of our club? They figured out, and rightly so, that Dalglish was a motivator, one whose status gave us the confidence to succeed in that brief period but wasn’t suited, after 10 years off-football fields, to instill new ideas and a progressive way of thinking to this institution, like they wanted. Instead we were not going forward AND losing our status as a respected and traditional club. Could we continue doing so? No, we couldn’t.
    It’s better we save KD to being the legend he is, and appoint a new manager with new ideas and a real project to bring this club to where it should have been all along.
    Enter AVB! Renewed hope! All supporters unite in joy of glorious expectation! And we have a long period of continued progress, backed by a patient FSG, that culminates with the 13/14 PL title.
    I believe. YNWA.

  • Aiready 46yrs England have fail to win worlcup it’s after 44 yrs Mcity have at least won the EPL more than 20yrs Liverpool fans are still waiting to win the EPL trophy whereas MrOwner wanted to catch all in the 18months keep cool you have been a bit so hurry Mr Henry to knock the spots off

  • getreal says:

    Usual doom and gloom article. How do you know the real reason why they sacked Dalglish. Just because they publically stated it was because of the league results. No doubt that played a part but I reckon his relationship with the media and the Suarez affair had a lot to do with it. LFC were playing some good football but sometimes they looked like they lacked ideas and weren’t clinical not only in front of goals but in passing. Also as individual players apart from a few they looked very uncomfortable in possession and would rashly pass like they were scared to take on players. Personally I think we would have improved next season with Dalglish (Fergie took 5 yrs to win the league) but also I’d welcome a change. A younger manager with new ideas and someone that doesn’t make me cringe in post match interviews. It was becoming embarrassing being an LFC supporter and I think this is the main thing Fenway picked up on. As a global brand which is the main thing they’re interested in, the image was becoming tarnished. Dalglish will always be a legend and I’ll miss his celebrations everytime we scored but we need to look on the bright side and be optimistic!

  • Ynwa says:

    The plan B ? Plain and simple Benitez. FSG are mad not to even consider Rafa Benitez. I still believe he is the only one who can lead us back to the glory years. Forget Martinez and AVB , install Rafa back where he belongs.
    I’m fast losing hope in this FSG thing, where citeh go strength to strength and Chelsea/ united similar , we continue to linger with owners with small budget and lack of conviction with ideas to move the club forward.
    God help us.

  • LD says:

    There is no Plan B.
    There is a long list of candidates.
    I think FSG are looking, but I do not believe they will get, or will be abe to entice one of the special managers. Pep or Maurinio ……
    We have to be realistic. Liverpool are no longer the force they use to be.
    We will either get a manager that will disappoint us all in terms of credit, or we will get Rafa or Capello. I would be pleased with both of them, well rather then than an unknown who cannot draw the interest from new talent.

    • OoO says:

      There is no plan B because we’re still on plan A. Get Liverpool FC back into the Champions League.

  • JJ says:

    Sorry I can’t see it’s plan b Dalglish didn’t perform and comoloi Dalglish were given the trust to buy players and messed up. Fsg will stick to the plan but being in a manager / director of football that meets plan A and performs better then 47 % games won

  • M. says:

    Had it been Jan ’11, Rafa would have been a very good choice; but after KK experience, I doubt the Yanks (for that matter, most others) ‘ll go back to an X boss. Also, I think, Rafa’s last contract clauses ‘ll not be taken well. In ’08, the then Yanks were in desperate situation & Rafa could get utmost power.

    I think, after Rafa & KK experience, FSG is revisiting the scope of Manager’s KPI & rightly so. The new structure that FSG is planning, I think it best fits with a Manager like AVB. He himself is comfortable with a Director Football & works with a specialist group of support staff. He uses lots of modern technologies & must have improved his Man-management skills. Tactically he is an astute Manager & already has managed 2 big clubs; most importantly as Coach, Assistant Manager & Manager, in Porto, Chelsea, Inter & Porto, he has won many trophies.

    Winning is a habit, a mentality & AVB has that in him. Martinez, Rogers or Lambert might be good Managers, might go for a successful career in future, but for the time being, they are big fish in small pond, whose success is avoid relegation & inspiration is to finish in top half.

  • Red says:

    Villas-Boas is already distancing himself – he says he wants “more time to decide his future”, which is code language for “I’m waiting for a better offer but might get back to you if nothing comes up!

  • PAUL says:


    • OoO says:

      Everyone knows that the Glazer family hasn’t won a thing since buying Man U.

      Brits and football don’t really mix either.

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