Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Hodgson exorcism, commenced

Let's be honest, Roy Hodgson's Liverpool career was probably never going to be a really long one. After steering Fulham to the Europa League final last year, his stock was as high as it was ever likely to be and given the traumatic last six months of the Rafa Benitez, then-Anfield execs Martin Broughton and Christian Purslow thought the controlled, effective manner of Hodgson would present a stark, much needed contrast to the mayhem that characterised the final, Hitler's bunker-style days of Benitez.

Unfortunately Hodgson wasn't so much handicapped from day one but never had any legs to stand on: by the club's impending sale, by player - and especially fan - resistance to his preferred style of play, by a lack of funds to buy "Liverpool quality" players, by Fernando Torres' inability to recapture his consistent excellent form of seasons past ... the list goes on. It was a matter of time before Roy was given his cards. His appalling away record - about as appealing as rat sorbet - brought with him from the Cottagers, must have counted against him nearly as much as the protests. It probably also didn't help that many middling Scouse efforts, Roy chose to announce them as their "best performances yet" which meant his credibility both in the dressing room and with The Kop began to waver early in the season.

It's also no surprise that Kenny Dalglish replaces him. "Our Ken" has been angling for a return to managing the Anfield mob for months now. By sniffing around like a beagle on heat, strategically-not-denying-interest and at times actively promoting it like a poor vaudevillian, he's excited the fans dreaming of a end to the tenures of Rafa and Roy. False hope, probably, but hope is a saleable asset in sports. When approached to help in the search for the new Liverpool boss, Dalglish made sure his name was top of the list. His return shouldn't inspire blind confidence in the Mersey faithful though, as his last spell as manager - though successful - ended twenty years ago and he hasn't managed for ten years. He does, however, remain a Liverpool icon and as such perhaps the board had that in mind when dismissing Hodgson in time for Dalglish to make his second manaagerial bow for Liverpool against Manchester United, rallying fans and players alike for their FA Cup clash against their great rivals.

Dalglish returns as caretaker manager, the man thrown to the Premier League wolves to save the Scouser's season. If he gets Torres, Gerrard etc back into touch then, given his status as a club legend, there's every chance he will have secured himself the position for the foxreseeable future.

The first step on Liverpool's new path to glory is on Sunday as they take on United in the FA Cup, a path sure to be long and eventful.

No comments:

Post a Comment