Sunday, January 02, 2011

Kenny Dalglish's short-term appointment is ideal for Liverpool - so long as the board make the right decision on his successor

Recent reports that Kenny Dalglish is set to be appointed as an interim manager has been greeted with jubilation by most Liverpool supporters. 

The Reds’ defeat at the hands of Wolverhampton Wanderers and the post-match comments about “fans becoming supporters” pushed most Liverpool supporters over the edge with Roy Hodgson, with one poll suggesting around 95 percent of supporters want the former Fulham boss removed from his position.

Hodgson’s comments, and the fans reaction to them, didn’t go down well with Liverpool owners the Fenway Sports Group (FSG, formerly NESV) either, with principle owner John W Henry and club chairman Tom Werner now believed to be prepared to relieve Hodgson of his duties and give Dalglish the job until a long-term replacement can be found.

Since arriving at Anfield in October FSG have strived to win the affection of the Anfield faithful and removing Hodgson and replacing him with a club legend such as Kenny Dalglish will do doubt win them favour with those on the Kop.

The appointment of Dalglish would be by no means a sure-fire route to success and FSG’s reluctance to appoint the Scot earlier shows just how big a risk they consider it to be. But regardless of how much impact Dalglish can have on results at least the fans and players would be in support of the manager and, most importantly for the owners, backing the club.

Dalglish has a record that Hodgson could only dream of, having won no less than four league titles and two FA Cups during his time with Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers, whilst also adding a Scottish League Cup to his collection during his time at Celtic.

Hodgson can also be envious of Dalglish’s relationship with the Liverpool supporters. Not only is Kenny seen as the clubs biggest living legend for all he contributed on the pitch as a player and manager, his work off the pitch – particularly as a pillar of support for the whole city following the Hillsborough disaster – has ensured that his stock on Merseyside will always be high.

Some have stated his time out of management will work against him, but it is naive to suggest Dalglish hasn’t been keeping a close eye on the way in which tactics and training have changed since his last managerial job.

Indeed, Dalglish spends considerable amounts of time in his role within the club with the academy setup, watching some of the best and brightest players in the country being progressed through the system and hopefully on to the first team in years to come.

To Liverpool supporters Dalglish offers everything Hodgson doesn’t. He’s ambitious, respected by everyone involved with the club and comes with a reputation as a manager which is considered to be suited to what is a still prestigious job as the manager of Liverpool Football Club.

The problem with appointing Dalglish is that the pressure on the board to find the correct man for the job in the summer is increased considerably. If a new man comes in and has a bad start then the spectre of Kenny Dalglish, who will likely be offered a major role at the club following his time in charge, is looming over them, with a constant reminder off the past glories supporters are used to and the expectations they have.

Thankfully FSG are known for their calm and calculated decisions, an decision will likely be made working closely with Dalglish and director of football strategy Damien Comolli to ensure the best possible candidate for the job is selected to take the club forward.

Whoever comes in the board will have to be sure that they are the right man for the job. The mistakes of last summer must not be made again this year, otherwise the Kop may once again be heard chanting the name of Kenny Dalglish as the legendary status of the Scot once again puts pressure on the incumbent Liverpool manager.

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