Football

Managerial rivalries not dead yet

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Dalglish and Wenger have had their spats. (©GettyImages)
Dalglish and Wenger have had their spats. (©GettyImages).

Each season is an unfolding story, and the plot only becomes richer when managers show their human nature, but the modern tactician often fails to ignite any excitement inside the neutral.

Being polite and well-mannered is no bad thing in football, and Roberto Martinez, for example, has won many admirers for the way he conducts himself both with fellow professionals and the press.

However, GMF has grown frustrated at the lack of managerial backstories in today's game, with feuds and mind games seemingly put to one side in favour of congratulatory backslapping.

But the return of Kenny Dalglish into the world of management has provided us with hope that rivalries can be reignited and festering feuds can once again come to the fore.

Dalglish's press conferences can arguably be regarded as the most entertaining in English football at the present time, with the prickly Liverpool boss seemingly having to respond to some sort of controversy every time he sits in front of gathered journalists.

It is hard to guess what Dalglish will say next, and his assertion on Monday that points are of a relative low importance to his club baffled and resonated in equal measure.

One point Dalglish did make that was perfectly clear, however, is that Arsene Wenger should face sanction from the Football Association after claiming that Luis Suarez dived to win a penalty against Arsenal.

"He never said that to me," Dalglish explained. "He [Wenger] said it was a fantastic performance by us and that they were fortunate to win.

"I am sure the FA will look into that and take him to task for it. If you can't comment on the position of England manager, then you can't comment on someone else's player, can you?"

Dalglish certainly has a point, but one could fairly assume that any anti-Wenger comments made by the Scot are fuelled by personal feelings rather than professional opinion.

The Reds boss was quite clearly seen to tell his Arsenal counterpart to 'p*** off' after the latter acted in a somewhat unsporting manner after Liverpool sneaked a last-gasp draw at the Emirates Stadium last season.

Whether or not Dalglish's comments were based on any personal issue with Wenger remains to be seen, but the Liverpool manager got GMF all misty eyed about managerial tête-à-têtes from years gone by.

As the Premier League has progressed and its main protagonists have mellowed with age, genuinely fierce feuds between managers appear to be on the wane.

Kevin Keegan's on air breakdown could be considered as the height of the managerial feud in the Premier League era while, in more recent years, Sir Alex Ferguson also attracted the ire of Rafa Benitez.

However, since the departure of the temperamental Spaniard, the English top-flight has been bereft of a personality unafraid to speak his mind when regarding his contemporaries.

Dalglish, though, could take on this mantle having seemingly grown more tetchy since his return to the dugout, and with Liverpool in direct competition domestically with more teams than ever before.

There has also been evidence in recent weeks to suggest the modern media trained managers are also prone to losing their respective heads when the going gets tough.

'Respect' is very much a buzz word in football at this present time, and managers are expected to uphold these ideals as standard bearers for their clubs.

It is unrealistic, though, not to expect managers to express the same emotions as those in the stands or on the pitch - and supporters appreciate their man in the hot-seat to displaying passion.

Alan Pardew and Martin O'Neill demonstrated earlier this month how much supremacy in the north east means to them, as the Newcastle and Sunderland bosses tussled on the sideline at St James' Park.

There was also an altercation between Martin Jol and Mark Hughes as the latter took exception to the former attempting to pat him on the head after an encounter between Fulham and Queens Park Rangers.

This led Jol to comment that 'perhaps he doesn't like me' - something which Hughes did not confirm or deny.

Heart on sleeve management is an undervalued commodity at the present time although, of course, it is not a prerequisite for a person being qualified to take charge of a team.

However, clashes between managers add extra intrigue in an era where players are castigated for earning too much money and often seem devoid of any personality.

Will the Premier League return to its 90s heyday when Ferguson led Keegan to lose his mind in such dramatic fashion? Probably not. But GMF would love it.

Topics:
Football
Premier League
Liverpool
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