Friday, 2 July 2010

Roy Hodgson, Liverpool Manager

As had been rumoured for a couple of days, Roy Hodgson was announced today to be the new Liverpool manager. I'm still not entirely happy about the sacking of Benitez, but I was reading a post on Phil McNulty's blog on BBC Sport, which I usually read because, despite being an Evertonian, he's usually got some sensible and intelligent views on football.


It's hard for me to really add anything that McNulty hasn't said. As much as some Liverpool fans would like a superstar manager (myself included, at the time Rafa was booted out), the fact is that the last thing the club needs right now is some sort of prima donna manager causing more issues off the pitch, and demanding money we don't have. Hodgson has at least shown with Fulham that he can do fantastic things with a tight budget, and that's what we really need at Liverpool. There was no way that a club in the state Liverpool is in right now, both for money and for uncertainty in the boardroom, would ever attract someone like Mourinho or one of the other top-class managers in the world. It wasn't ever going to happen, and Hodgson is still a perfectly reasonable guy to settle for.

The first thing he really needs to do is convince the likes of Gerrard, Torres and Mascherano to stay. Especially Torres, just because we're completely fucked if he leaves. Lucas can do at least an alright job as a holding midfield player (no, I'm serious, he's young and he's not that bad) if Mascherano goes, and I think if he can stay fit Aquilani might not do a bad job at replacing Gerrard, who is getting old anyway. However if Torres leaves we're really struggling for options in attack. We'll get a fuckload of money for him, but it's difficult to buy players of that sort of quality, regardless of financial status. Our hopes for not utterly diving next season rely on Hodgson being able to keep the key players. The extent of that sort of damage isn't something that's really going to be certain until the transfer window closes in August.

The thing is, even if Torres and co leave the club, I think Hodgson is well placed to at least do an acceptable job without him. We might fall out of Europe, but I think he can at least keep us from imploding altogether and sinking in the same sort of spectacular fashion as clubs like Leeds United, and to a lesser extent (because they were never that big to start with) Charlton. I'm still unsure with Hodgson as a manager from the point of view that he's never won anything at a major level, but stability is important right now, and I think he can give that.

The alternative option would have been Dalglish, and I'm still not entirely sure how I feel with regards to that. My Dad doesn't seem to rate him particularly highly as a manager, but from my point of view he did win things with Liverpool, and he then went on to win a league title with Blackburn, which to this day is still the only Premier League title won by a team outside of the current top three teams. To be really cynical, I think part of it is so the board keep at least some sort of control over the manager. Half the issues they had with Benitez ultimately stemmed from the fact that he had a huge amount of backing from the fans. There's not much you can do when the fans are behind the manager, and I think Benitez exploited that quite a bit. For a legend like Dalglish taking charge, it would be amplified tenfold. The board wouldn't own the club any more - Dalglish would.

(I'm not a fan of the matching neckties)

I think the current consolation is that the initial chaos is at least over. Now that England are out of the World Cup I was fearing I wouldn't have anything football related to take my mind off the turmoil at Liverpool, but the majority of the turmoil seems to be quelled for the time being. Plus I'm led to believe that Hodgson is well-versed in Arabic, so maybe we could have some wealthy Arab investors please?

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