I have refrained from writing about the exit of Kenny Dalglish from Liverpool until now as I wanted to be totally engulfed by the storm and sample the range of emotions emanating from fellow Reds before attempting to make sense of the end of season cull at Anfield.
Dalglish had just completed what some deemed a ‘disappointing’ league campaign by leading Liverpool to their first trophy since 2006. The fabled Scotsman guided Liverpool to their first Wembley visits since the white suit parade of 1996.
He successfully plotted the downfall of several of the Premier League big guns and city rivals Everton at a Wembley semi-final. His decision to let Andy Carroll loose on Chelsea in the FA Cup final almost paid off.
Dalglish’s Liverpool played with a spark and verve that was reminiscent of the good old days, but the Anfield men lost to the likes of Roy Hodgson's West Bromwich Albion, Queens Park Rangers, Fulham, Wigan Athletic, and Swansea City - games in which nothing less than 15 points would have been acceptable in the past.
The day Steven Gerrard was named captain and four Liverpool players were deemed to be good enough for Hodgson’s Euro 2012 squad, Fenway Sports Group made an executive decision to terminate the contract of Liverpool’s greatest player. Kenny Dalglish had spent 20 long years waiting to return to the Anfield. His latest reign lasted one full season and a bit.
Even the most vociferous critic amongst the fans would have thought that another season or even a run till Christmas would have allowed for enough time for Kenny’s team to settle and begin their ascent up the Premier League table.
Despite the names of Andre Villas-Boas, Frank Rijkaard, Roberto Martinez, Paul Lambert and Brendan Rodgers being thrown into the bullring I believe it will be the experience and tactical acumen of a Fabio Capello or Rafael Benitez who will be handed the reins and asked to steady the ship.
Jamie Carragher will most likely be offered a coaching slot in an attempt to appease fans. Those with big dreams may think that Liverpool still have the clout to attract a manager of the calibre of Josep Guardiola but John Barnes made an interesting point in an interview with Richard Keys and Andy Gray on talkSPORT.
With candidates queuing up for the Anfield hotseat Barnes has insisted that the allure of Anfield is not as it once was. He said: “If Liverpool could get Jose Mourinho that would be fantastic, but that’s not going to happen.
“Realistically no big name manager is going to risk their reputation at Liverpool.”
FSG need to hurry up with the appointment of a saviour. The established guard may not consider that they have the time or be in the mood to be part of a new dawn and don’t be surprised to see if a few big names decide to move on sample pastures new.
A memo to the new manager: You can win a cup, any cup, and bask in the adoration of millions of global fans as you soak up the glory at Wembley – the national stadium of stadiums. But not finish fourth and you will be out on your backside.
Jamie Carragher was at the launch of Euro 2012 by ITV Sport. Carragher related the conversation he had with Kenny after the FSG decision to split ties: "I spoke to him just before he was getting on his flight and asked: 'is it Kenny now or gaffer?'. He said 'it is Kenny now.'
"I am sorry to see him go, but that is football.
"It is a sad day for him, but we respect the owners decision and we have to look forward now.
"I will be fully committed to whoever the manager is."
If the Americans are really as shrewd as made out then they will immediately propel Jamie Carragher into the number two position. Football is now purely dictated by money and FSG’s decision would have been primarily based on protecting and raising the value of their vast investment.
Fourth is fourth and silverware is nothing. Despite the decision FSG didn’t waste time awing over Kenny’s accomplishments and the website became inundated with tribute pieces. It’s business, not personal.
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