June 2012 Archives
Whatever happens in the future, May 2012 will go down as one of the most memorable months in the modern history of Liverpool Football Club.
After losing an FA Cup Final to Chelsea and finishing 8th in a hugely disappointing season in the Premier League, John Henry and Tom Werner decided to dispense of Kenny Dalglish. Even a Carling Cup and three visits to Wembley (the first since 1996) could not save the 'King' from losing his seat on the Anfield throne. Whilst there was uproar and anger from many supporters, the search for the new manager left them with plenty of questions as to who would be a worthy appointment.
Within hours of Dalglish's sacking, the fanciful names of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola were suggested, alongside the lesser lights of Roberto Martinez and Paul Lambert. Meanwhile, some fans dreamed of a return for Rafael Benitez, the man who memorably masterminded the red's fifth European Cup win. The names of Andre Villas-Boas and Jurgen Klopp were also mentioned, and even Frank De Boer and Didier Deschamps as FSG looked to cast their ambitious net far and wide over Europe's elite.
However, their bait did not seem to be of taste to many with some turning their nose up at what Liverpool tried to offer them. Instead the net was reeled in closer to home and when Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan called Sky Sports News to tell the world that his manager Martinez had been approached, the reaction was far from welcoming.
Many fans felt underwhelmed at the prospect and although it was far from guaranteed, many questioned Fenway Sports Group and their vision for the future.
Was this the level of manager Liverpool FC were considering? With no disrespect to Martinez who has done a great job keeping Wigan in the top flight, the step up was viewed by many as too great a task for him to take on.
But what about Brendan Rodgers? Again, some fans were filled with trepidation at the thought of appointing a "novice" who had just come through his first season in the big league relatively unscathed with his Swansea City side. However, it seemed that these two candidates fitted the apparent criteria of "young, fresh and vibrant."
Amongst the chaos and confusion of the whole managerial search, social media was in meltdown. Twitter, with its thousands of supposed "in the know" characters and restless fanatics, shared their thoughts on a situation which threatened to spiral out of control. Add to the speculation of possible Director's of Football, Communications, and Sporting Director's, it was enough to send any head west.
However, just when it looked like the club were all set to appoint bookies' favourtie Martinez, all eyes at Anfield were focused on Rodgers and from there it was no way back. Yes he may have dealt Reds officials a blow by rejecting their intial offer, but when he eventually accepted, after insisting on no Director of Football, the chase was over and left a chairman in Lancashire with egg on his face.
No doubt the doom-mongers and nay-sayers will lambast Liverpool for only appointing a 'flavour of the month' manager and talk of the huge task that lies ahead. But it is important that Rodgers is given time by fans and those in higher authority at the club to get things right. A top four finish may be a tall order in his first season in charge although it is not impossible provided he is given the funds to add to a squad that showed glimpses of quality, yet lacked real class in parts last season.
Add to the fact that a long season begins in earnest with a Europa League Qualifier on August 2nd, he will need to assemble a squad that is big enough to cope with the bumpy ride ahead.
The first press conference was encouraging, with Rodgers vowing to defend the "principles of this great club which is about offensive, creative football, with tactical discipline." It will be interesting to see whether his style will be an instant success with a squad which lacked clinical attacking edge.
As one era ended in May 2012, a new one has begun on the first day of June 2012. Liverpool fans everywhere will be hoping that Brendan Rodgers is about to take the club back to the promised lands of Champions League football, and eventually retain their place amongst England's elite.