LFC must move on, Kenny the right option

Kenny DalglishDebates about whether or not Rafael Benítez should still be Liverpool manager will rage on for as long as there is anything to use as proof for one side or other of the argument. He’s gone, but the debate about him hasn’t. And now there’s a debate about whether his replacement should be the last manager to win the league for Liverpool, Kenny Dalglish.

With Benitez, his performance for Inter will be used as proof he wasn’t good enough. Inter fans themselves won’t expect a repeat of the treble that Jose Mourinho left them with; Mourinho himself wouldn’t have expected to repeat the feat if he’d stayed. Expectations will be reasonable. But the usual elements of the English media and the hardcore extreme critics of Benítez amongst the Liverpool support will use it as proof of how poor he is.

A week ago, as we waited the official announcement of the news we knew was on its way, it became clear that next season was going to be no better than this when it came to the quality of internet and phone-in debate. Whatever Benítez was doing in his new job, if he took one, back in the Premier League every single Liverpool result would be used as proof that Rafa should have been sacked a long time ago, or that the club should have fought tooth and nail to keep him.

Those with points of view somewhere in the middle would have been found rocking quietly in a corner somewhere, peeping through fingers at the site of the last of the family silver being loaded onto trucks headed to the airport for a BA flight to the USA, stopping off at RBS and Midocean Partners on the way.

This article isn’t here to defend or to attack Benítez. He’s gone, he won’t be coming back – other than to make offers for players or staff he knows the club would struggle to refuse – and Liverpool fans have to move on too.

The extremists will never change their minds, but those who only became extreme in their own views the longer the extremists raged at them have to step back and consider whether it’s more important to defend their reputation for being right about Rafa, or more important to try and defend their club from the massive dangers it faces.

Criticism of the board has to be seen as that – criticism of the board, not a defence of Rafa. Praise for the next manager has to be seen as that – praise for the new boss not criticism of the old.

But that is far, far easier to say than it is to do.

By the time Houllier left, few people actually felt he should have stayed. The people who’d been critical of the outsider and foreigner from day one were glad to see him gone, and immediately set about complaining about the new outsider and foreigner. On the whole the early critics of Rafa’s were not fans of Houllier’s either.

This won’t be the case for the new manager. Last Wednesday morning it was impossible to say what the true split of fans was in terms of thinking Rafa should stay or go. The split would have been far more obvious, however, if you’d worded the question more along the lines of “Can we carry on like this?” Nobody felt it was right to carry on like we were; the difference of opinion was what should be removed first. But whatever the fans wanted, it was never going to be their decision.

The reason it could never be the fans’ decision was because the fans were so divided.

It was next-to-impossible for the club to sack the manager in the winter of discontent in 2007-08. By 2010 the new board could see that the supporters would just continue to argue amongst themselves if they sacked the manager or not. Instead of ‘Rafa must stay/go’ it would become ‘Rafa should/shouldn’t have gone’.

The point isn’t so much about whether they made the right decision. The point is they knew they could make any decision they wanted to without really worrying too much about the fallout.

And that is the most dangerous aspect of what has gone on for the past year.

Although fans didn’t have the power to do everything they’d like, they felt like they had power two years ago. Differences were put aside to allow one, large, powerful voice to send a message to the owners.

The power of that voice was still strong just over a year ago. Not as strong as it could be, but strong enough to see Benítez given a new contract and Parry let go in the name of trying to make things look a little rosier to the lenders. The picture they tried to portray was one that had the manager the fans wanted in place for five more years. To keep him happy, the CEO he’d clashed with so many times was replaced by a temporary one who could speak Spanish, negotiate transfer deals quickly and would hold the fort until a permanent CEO was appointed. Fans were about as happy as they could be with all the other concerns hanging over the club.

By the time the season ended it was hard for the manager’s critics to justify much of their criticism; a strong finish had left them in second place after the club’s first serious title challenge in years and Alex Ferguson really had been rattled, to the extent of having to call on Sam Allardyce to pretend to be upset. Liverpool didn’t win the league, but they nearly did. And they hammered the Mancs too in the process. Make no bones about it, Ferguson was worried. He knew he was going to lose his best player and here were Liverpool closing the gap.

He needn’t have worried though. Liverpool would widen the gap themselves, leaving it far wider than it had been for some time. A long, long list of factors can be put forward as having played a part, and although Benítez has gone a large part of that list didn’t go with him.

Unfortunately, despite the critics he had in this country, Benítez was one of the finest coaches in Europe but he will not be replaced by a coach in the same class. Before the critics interject, Benítez was one of those coaches that big club will pay big money to hire.

Could anyone imagine Manchester United or Chelsea head-hunting Roy Hodgson if they needed a new manager this summer? Would Real Madrid or Inter Milan try to persuade Randy Lerner to let them speak to Martin O’Neill? Liverpool are looking at coaches the big clubs wouldn’t even think of approaching. And unless Liverpool want to stop being described as a big club this is one of the most vital summers in years.

To put it simply, Liverpool can’t afford a top coach. So it’s time to gamble. Either it’s time to see if one of those coaches not on the A-list can become a top, world-class coach, or it’s time to look at the only other option open to us.

Kenny Dalglish.

Kenny was an A-list coach, and then over time he stepped away from coaching. But he has made it clear he desperately wants the Liverpool job. He made it clear after seeing the list of candidates. He won’t have made that decision without first talking to people who are good, knowledgeable, football people.

The board asked him to help find a successor. He did; himself. But he’s too modest to say it.

But surely he’s the best option on the table.

He’s no more of a gamble (due to his time away from the game) than any of the others (due to their inexperience at the levels Liverpool aim to be at).

He knows which young players are showing promise, he knows which first team members are disruptive and need to be moved on. He knows which players are best to sacrifice if funds need to be raised.

And he’s a hell of a diplomat.

If he has problems with the board, he’ll talk them round and he won’t sulk if he doesn’t manage it. He’ll also have much more patience from fans. It would take some effort to spread false rumours about Kenny that put him in a bad light, too much for anyone to even try.

And people are worried that failure could ruin his legendary status. That people would lose their respect for him and that it would be too much to bear to see Kenny’s reputation in shatters.

Yet that should be the most compelling reason to push for him to get the job.

First of all, who’s to say he’ll fail?

Secondly, whose reputation is it? It’s not ours, it’s his. And he wants to put it on the line, he wants to risk it. He could spend the rest of his life sitting in the director’s box and enjoying the corporate dinners. But he’s spent a year up there, taking it all in, working it all out, getting it all sorted out in his own head.  He wants to dig his tracksuit out and get back to where he belongs.

He wouldn’t ask if he didn’t think he could do it.

And if Kenny thinks he can do it, it’s the least the club can do for him. And the least the fans can do for him is to push for his appointment and get right behind him.

27 thoughts on “LFC must move on, Kenny the right option”

  1. I was worried about givin Kenny the managers job at first, But now that the dust is settled, I cannot think of anyone better for the job, he is LFC through and through and his appointment would bring the fans back together in the common goal of success for LFC. There will be no pressure from me, my expectations wont be as high as the beginning of last season, so The King cantake it in the knowledge that he will have 99% backing of the fans. Also Kenny will always be a LFC legend, no matter what, but if he is successful he will be a god to us. Come LFC give it to Kenny Daglish and give us back some pride in the club. YNWA

  2. The Board have absolutely no choice but to give it to Kenny – Not to do so will create an impossible situation for any other choice – the fans will go ballistic and the Yanks wont know what hit them. This is King Kenny were talking about – they absolutely idolise him and they will not toerate his not getting the job if he wants it. Purslow – we know you graduated in the top uk and us universities but if you cant see this then your as thick and your qualifications are worthless

  3. LFC is split at the moment, no thanks to Owners and no thanks to Rafa. There are anti-Rafa group and pro-Rafa group. There is also a danger of losing our top players like Stevie G and Torres. We need a manager who has the charisma and respect from everyone. Especially we need a manager who is respected by the all the players, inother word who can win the dressing room. This is the very first thing we neeed to address before thinking about the fottballing issue. To win the dressing room, Hiddick or Morhino may be can do that but they are already out of equation. Hodgson may be he brought the Fulam to europa final but I don’t think he has charisma or record to win the dressing room. So there is only one person left and we don’t need to spen a sing;e cent to get him, he is one and only King Kenny. To those pro-rafa group instead of demonstrate for the Rafa who is already gone they should move on and demonstrate for the King Kenny to become the LFC manager AGAIN!. YNWA

  4. Well, you’ve changed my mind about getting Kenny in as manager. I wasn’t for it before, because of reasons you’ve mentioned (long time out, reputation, etc) but you’ve swung me!

  5. Totally agree with the article. Hodgson? Why go out for burgers when you have steak at home? Could the website(together with other fan sites) not start a campaign to put pressure on the owners to give him the job?

  6. I’d die if they give the job to Woy hodgon over the king. The king will get us back to where we belong sit tight get new owners in then watch us go

  7. I have to agree with this article. Roy Hodgson’s managerial career is on a par (perhaps slighltly worse) than Steve McClaren’s – possibly the worst England manager I can remember (If we forget Graham Taylor). One Europa cup final really shouldn’t make you a candiate for the LFC job. Kenny Dalglish is shrewd enough to turn Liverpool around.

  8. I’ve got nothing against Roy Hodgson and think he has done well this year but I think that Kenny would bring back some of the values that we (the club) seem to have lost in recent years.

    He may have been away from management but such is his passion for the club that he wouldn’t put himself forward if he had the slightest doubt about his ability or if he felt there was someone else more qualified.

    Under Kenny it may take a while (and new owners) to generate the system that produced the successes of the past but I do believe he would recreate the “Liverpool way”.

    The board once made the mistake of accepting his resignation, lets hope that they don’t compound it by refusing him now.

  9. Kenny Dalglish is the best choice for several reasons. We all know that he is 110% commited to Liverpool. He was the last manager to win for us in England. He knows topflight and will be able to deal with the presure. Last but not least there is a fair chance that Kenny Dalglish will be the reason for key players to stay at Liverpool.

    As of now their are players who for sure are considering their future in Liverpool. Think of Gerrard who is akready a legend himself. Why should he not consider playing for Real Madrid for 3-4 years? He can and will always return to Liverpool as an alltime hero. But what if Gerrard had a chance to play for the perhaps alltime greatest Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish. I am certain (and hopefull) that Stevie’s choice would be to stay.

    Kenny Dalglish is hands down the best choice. This is troubled times for Liverpool and one can argue that Kenny Dalglish will be the one taking a chance – not the other way around.

  10. Kenny must be given the job. What is the delay? Let him get his transfer deals in action immediatey. Hodgson is not a man to inpsire Liverpool to glory. He is probably not as good as Houllier or Benitez.

    Get Kenny in charge ASAP. The fans need hope, they need to dream again of returning old glories. Kenny with an ex-Liverpool back room staff like Nicol, McMahon or Rush can make those dreams come true.

  11. Totally agree with Kenny Dalglish as a temporary option for the Reds but I am so afraid that in such a case, the Yankees will have an additional advantage. One of our greatest idols, King Kenny himself, will be one of their employees ! Of course, he will have to stay silent against their destructive role on club’s finances. He will have to face & control the wrath of all Reds opposed to the duo of clowns. How is he going to manage in such a frustrating period of Liverpool’s history? Although I’m really fond of the “King”, I would vote for Hodgson, at least until a new owners scheme appeared and things become more calm.

  12. I’m very glad to see every fan on here wants Kenny back.

    I was also initially skeptical but the more I looked at the list of names being lined up the more I knew Kenny was better than them.

    However I’m not sure the board will want a manager as powerful as Kenny. They have just managed release the hold that Rafa had over them. The fan power behind Kenny would be even fiercer again.

    With the demand for Dalglish growing I would expect Purslow to attempt to move quicker than he has been and attempt to sign Hodgson as soon as he can.

  13. Juan, I agree with your post. I think for those reasons the club will be reticent to make Kenny manager. Of course it’s for those exact reasons we want him to be manager.

    IF Kenny gets it, I think it’s important that everyone is realistic about expectations. I’m sure Liverpool fans in the main will be but I hope that the media will too. Most probably they won’t. Anyway, to hell with the media but I hope there is transparency at board room level and a new set of promises are not broken like they were with Rafa.

    BTW, anyone seen Rafa has donated £96k to the Hillsborough foundation. Top man. Don’t give a proverbial what some will say, top man.

  14. I’ve got to say that out of all the choices available, Kenny really is the only one that makes sense. But with that said I don’t think he has any hope of being a success without a change in ownership.

    Please do not assume I am advocating for a rich Russian or Arab. We just need someone who wants to own the club because they love the club. Until the culture of greed is replaced by the culture of football at Anfield we are doomed to fail.

  15. @ Martin – yes, the £96,000 gesture from Rafa was outstanding.

    In terms of getting Kenny in as manager, something that won’t do any harm is to spend a minute signing this petition: “Reinstate Kenny Dalglish as manager of Liverpool Football Club” http://bit.ly/b7LTCX

    Sign it (if you agree of course) and pass it on.

  16. the king has got to return for the sake of the club.Lets face it who else could pull the club back together get the players playing the way they should be and restore the confidence back into the players that benitez has ruined,who wouldnt play or sighn for and respect king KENNY with the track record hes got,I dont even know why there is talk about anyone else when we have already got the right man on board

  17. Agreed Martin and Jim – the £££ gesture from Rafa shows what a top guy the club has lost.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to wake up tomorrow morning and see Hodgson installed as manager, his press conference done and dusted since 4am and Hodgson presenting 2 new signings by 11am. They are the lengths I think Purslow will go to stop the Kenny movement.

    @Martin – Would you not consider frequenting the forums anymore, we could do with more opinions

  18. That’s one of the best articles I’ve read on the subject. Look, I think if (when?) Roy Hodgson is appointed, I’ll support him, knowing it’s just a short-term thing for a season or two. But it would be nowhere near as good for the club as a Dalglish re-appointment. Remember the good vibes we all felt when Kenny was made club ambassador a year or so ago? Making him manager again would be bigger by far…

  19. I was behind Kenny as soon s I heard Rafa might be leaving. Answer me these:

    Who will the players listen to: Kenny.

    Who will the fans listen to: Kenny.

    Who will the media listen to: Kenny.

    Who will the next manager listen to: Kenny.

    Who will the board listen to: Not Kenny.

    Tom Hicks plays poker and if the sale still isn’t underway and they might be around longer – they might use Kenny against us, just as we want to use Kenny against them.

  20. Jim,

    Completely agree with your comments about Dalglish.

    I sense your like me in that you get sick of certain comments from some Liverpool fans which almost achieve cliche status within one week of discussing an LFC related topic.

    Two of these have fell into this bracket in particularly over the last fortnight:-

    ‘He’s been out the game ten years and will have lost his touch’.


    ‘He’s a club legend, let’s just leave him be so his reputation remains in tact’. 

    I feel nauseous whenever I hear it. Similar to the nausea I felt when Rafa backers complained of a lack of transfer funds (although I know you disagree with that).

    You summed it up perfectly, I’d rather take a gamble on Kenny’s so called lack of touch with the modern game than a manager who hasn’t proved his worth at a club the stature of Liverpool. 

    A big reason for my personal support of Kenny’s appointment is the Torres / Gerrard factor. Who are they more likely to stick around for? Kenny Dalglish – club icon, legend and a man of upmost integrity and respect within the club – or Roy Hodgson? 

    Sure, some people might say, we don’t want to appoint a manager just for the sake of keeping unsettled players, but this factor encapsulates the stabilising effect Dalglish could have on playing matters while the club deals with de-stabilising ownership issues.

    Kenny Dalglish, in my eyes, is the ‘common sense’ appointment. And I believe that the fans would feel, like they did with Rafa, that they have someone in a senior position who has the long term interests of the club at heart.

    One thing that does concern me though is this: if Kenny isn’t given the job, does that make his position untenable? Would he – being the man he is – want to stick around a work within the same Walls as a manager who knows he wanted the job? Can’t see it.

    I also believe that the board’s choice could possibly reveal their true agenda. Appoint a club legend adored by the fans in a position where he can see the vision of the club financially, and someone who may lift the lid on this, or appoint a quiet dignified club in the twilight of his career who is used to working with tight transfer budgets?

    One thing is for sure, it’s a massive appointment, the footballing abyss is too close for comfort. A stable safe bet is required, and like you say, Dalglish is just the man.   

  21. It should be a no-brainer.

    We are extremely fortunate that we have someone like Dalglish who wants the job. Unbelievably fortunate given the circumstances.

    People should not lose sight of the big problems LFC has, and in many respects choice of manager is almost irrelevant. Irrelevant except possibly in the case of Dalglish.

    Regardless of whether Dalglish has lost touch etc, he’s Liverpool through and through, he knows all about the ‘Liverpool Way’ and he’s got an amazing amount of respect inside and outside of the club. He’s the outstanding candidate who can pull the club together, and give people hope. Given the scale of LFC’s problems, I think these are the main reasons we should embrace Dalglish – regardless of any success on the pitch he might or might not have in the short to medium term.

  22. @ Jim – thanks for highlighting the petition but I actually signed it about 5 minutes after getting home from work last night! 195th to be precise.

    Regarding the Mirror – Do you think if he’s for the chop Purslow would fight harder to keep Maddock than he did to keep Benitez?

    @Juan – Regarding the forum to be honest I grew a bit tired of discussing matters LFC for a while. I still lurked all the major sites during this time but felt a bit sick about talking about them if that makes any sense.

    Assume all the usual suspects are still on there? And what about Texas_Dawg – surely he hasn’t the audacity to remain after all his nonsense about Hicks wanting to stay long term and his buddy getting sacked for swearing at a Liverpool fan?!

  23. @ Martin I know what you mean. I tend to lose the will to post for spells. On this forum it tends to be generally 5 or 10 of us posting with the odd newcomer from time to time. I don’t really bother with other forums like Rawk etc, one even consumes up too many hours for me.

    Texas_Dawg has rarely frequented the site. With Hicks financial affairs in disarray Im not sure TD had enough fight in him to argue Hicks case.

    He did drop in a few weeks back when speculation over Rafa was intensifying. I think he wanted to stick his oar in and condemn Rafa one last time before he was sacked.

  24. Martin – I get the feeling Purslow wouldn’t get the same kind of help from Brian Reade in getting his points over!

    Ant – Just to add to what you said about Kenny being more likely to persuade Torres and Gerrard to stay, even if their minds were already made up I feel he’d be far better at persuading the biggest names we can afford (let’s not go there) to come here in their place. He’s not just a legend to Liverpool fans, he’s a European legend, one of the great names that football people talk about. Hodgson and O’Neill aren’t.

  25. Jofrad has beaten me too it. This article is by Ben Thornley of the daily post aslisted by Jofrad is exactly the scenario i fear Liverpool will follow. Read this article and give some genuine reasons it isnt true.


    Its nice to see though that the local papers arent sitting on the fence at long last and will stand up for the club and hold HICKS+GILLETT to account. Seriously consider renewing your season ticket after reading this, and at the very least avoid spending your money on LFC merchandise to purchase”debt reduction” for HICKS+GILLETT.

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