07 June 2010

Who's Next?

I reckon it's safe to contemplate who I'd like to replace Rafa. Something I never thought I'd end up doing. This isn't a true wish list; I'm trying to be realistic with these three names, but I'm still probably aiming too high. Writing about anything Liverpool these days is not helped by my natural pessimism. Nonetheless, I've seen all three mooted at some point by actual media outlets over the last few days. Of course, we've also seen the likes of O'Neill (sigh), Hughes (Manc), Redknapp (S*n columnist), and Eriksson (please kill me) similarly mentioned.

So anyway. I'd go for one of Manuel Pellegrini, Michael Laudrup, or Slaven Bilic.

Pellegrini's record at Villarreal and Madrid speaks for itself. Villarreal's a tiny club that only became a La Liga fixture in the last ten years. Now they routinely finish in the top half. In Pellegrini's first season, they finished third, qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in the club's history. The next season, they narrowly lost to Arsenal in the semi-finals of the competition after beating Benfica (who ultimately knocked out defending champions Liverpool), Rangers, and Inter. The club never finished lower than seventh under Pellegrini (3rd, 7th, 5th, 2nd, 5th). Then came Perez and Madrid. I'm sure I don't have to go over last season in La Liga – one Sid Lowe rightfully called "fucking barbaric." Despite leading Real to its highest points total ever, he was fired a few weeks ago. Finishing second and going out of the CL in the first knockout round (as usual) just won't satisfy Florentino (are you listening, Mourinho?).

Laudrup was a brilliant player, schooled in the Ajax academy, who did surprisingly well with Getafe only to resign after one season. He doesn't have a ton of experience, but his teams played aesthetically-pleasing attacking football – something many Liverpool fans are clamoring for. It's also worth noting he played a key part in Agger's development while at Brøndby. But he spent less than a year in his last two jobs – Getafe and Spartak Moscow – and hasn't taken a new gig since being sacked by Spartak in April 2009. Which is weird.

And Bilic, despite being a shade over 40 with a short resumé (as well as a former Evertonian), is a personal favorite of mine, simply for being outrageous. A man who sent England into hysterics during Euro 2008 qualification while chain-smoking on the sidelines is a man after my own heart. Plus, it's not as if the blue half of Merseyside remembers his playing days fondly. The Liverpool job, even with the situation the club's in, is probably too much too soon for Slaven, but I've got a soft spot for the psycho. He has a tremendous record with Croatia, and I'm almost positive his contract runs out after the World Cup. Compensation prices matter, which is why I'm contemplating three men Liverpool wouldn't have to pay for.

Obviously, I like my foreign managers more than the Brits on offer. But if we're limited to them Isles, I'd plump for Roy Hodgson. Which is ultimately what I expect to happen. That and I still question why any of the above three – let alone "bigger" names – would take the job when it's seemingly a semi-permanent one.

Once again, the sooner Hicks and Gillett sell up, the better.

16 comments :

Anonymous said...

"Once again, the sooner Hicks and Gillett sell up, the better."

To me, that's everything. LFC has been seen as a difficult post for a while. The fans have very high standards and expectations despite clearly having lower budgets. And now the budget issue has gone nuclear with seemingly little to no transfer funds for the near future. On top of that you are looking at our best 4 players possibly leaving the team. (Gerrard, Torres, Masch, Benny) Why anyone would take the job is a mystery to me.

Speaking of ownership issues, any reason you haven't mentioned the SOS supporters union? They've announced a fan ownership scheme and could really use support right now. Membership has been skyrocketing as of late and I think your opinion, one way or another, would be appreciated.

-jp2

nate said...

I've mentioned Spirit of Shankly a few times, and I've been a member for a couple of months. I've linked them on the sidebar and in a few recent posts, including the first 'Benitez sacked' post.

But I don't know enough about the fan ownership scheme – and I read all their materials on it so far – nor do I have any feel for the feasibility. In theory it's a great idea, but we need to see more on it.

Philip said...

Are you not going to comment on the reports that Gerrard will go to Real Madrid, or that Torres and Mascherano might leave over the summer?

nate said...

What's to comment on? We've all seen the rumors, but no one knows anything for sure, and we won't learn anything until after the World Cup. I'm obviously afraid of all three leaving, and I'd reckon Masch is the most likeliest to depart.

I hate transfer speculation during normal seasons. I'm not bothering with this stuff until something looks like happening.

CSD said...

Good grief, guys. Give nate a break.

Although, I don't understand why you haven't commented on the true question of the ages and that is, if you were a piano would you rather be varnished or lacquered?

Noel said...

Lacquered is clearly the way to go. Why, any other answer pretty much disqualifies one from having an opinion on anything, least of all LFC.

In any case, though I personally put Pellegrini near the top of any managerial wish list, realistic or otherwise, for me it all comes down to the penultimate paragraph and a real doubt that anybody better than Sven is going to scramble for the position.

I know a lot of LFC fans, when there was talk of Rafa potentially heading to Madrid, wrote it off as pure nonsense. "Why," they said, "would a smart man like Rafa head to Perez' madhouse after first hand experience in this dysfunctional situation?"

I tend to think the same holds true for Perez, who's just spent a year in the madhouse. Trade Perez, Marca, and almost no chance of long term employment for H&G, the Daily Fail, and almost no chance of long term employment? Either way might not see him controlling transfers, but at least in Spain there was money to be spent.

I don't think he's honestly any more realistic than the golden Guus getting airlifted in. Though I'd be happy to see Pellegrini brought in with full control over transfers plus a £20 million kitty and the majority of anything gained through sales to be put back into the squad.

Yeah, that's not gonna happen.

Noel said...

...and clearly one of those Perezezez should be a Pellegrini.

Also, assuming the worst, at least a manager chain smoking on the pitch would provide some form of entertainment value.

nate said...

1) I don't care about the finish of the piano as long as there's at least three people who can play it.

2) I'd rather Hodgson or even Hughes than Eriksson, and I'm almost positive both are more likely. Seriously, Svennis???

steven. said...

the Sven link is laughable but Billic? now THAT would be a pure stroke of genius .. good call nate, he didn't even cross my radar but having a chain smoking, foul mouthed, ill tempered manager is exactly what we need after our stoic Spaniard ..

i might sound sarcastic (as per usual) but i'm being dead serious .. inspired choice ..

aredthing said...

Bilic or Hodgson?

I'd like to see a foul mouthed, brashful, full-of-hair-dryer-treatment gaffer for once..

If I was a piano, can I not be varnished or lacquered?

Anonymous said...

Didn't mean to lay the stress on Nate with the questioning. I'm a constant reader, love the site, but somehow missed the SOS references you made in the past.

As a frustrated/depressed supporter, I feel there is very little we can do about the tumor owners. So I've encouraged all my friend-fans to join SOS. It's something, and it's something I think will be benefit the club.

I don't care about any rumors regarding players though speculation is interesting based on Rafa/owners. But it's silly season and should be treated as such. In fact, I'm taking a break from the footy since it depresses me heavily. (Liverpool, my bum left knee) I want to be fresh for every game of the WC.

nate said...

I didn't take it personally, JP, no worries. In fact, you're partly right. I'm writing more on Twitter because it's easier, and that's where I've done the vast majority of promoting SoS. In fact, I think the only links I have to them on this site are in the aforementioned post and on the sidebar.

And I've done the same as you IRL. Tried to get all I can to join SoS, because it's one of the few things we can do.

Besides, I'm not opposed to having others encourage people to join SoS. Say it often – the more the merrier – and I'll probably mention them more often because your comments made me actually look into what I've written.

But yeah, player rumors are still "news non grata" around the parts unless there's something concrete.

nate said...

More tangibly, there's a good thread on RAWK about what else we can do – hit them in the pocketbook.

It's less noticeable as Americans/outside of England, but there are still ways.

I haven't bought club merchandise in a while because of the tumors. I canceled by e-Season ticket recently as well. And those are the only two ways the club gets money from me.

If you "need" to buy things (ie: have kids or are just obsessed), look into HJC or SoS shirts, or even into fake kits like bornprosper, etc.

Starve the pocketbook.

And if you're so inclined, RAWK also has details on letter-writing campaigns to the banks and sponsors. Similar worked for ousting Steven Cohen.

McrRed said...

Hi Nate,
there is some behind the scenes action afoot to try and do something about the situation with the Owners/Leeches.

A couple of actions will help:

join SOS (it's only a tenner and the swell in membership they've experienced will help their credibility in talking to the banks about challenges to the owners' loan renewals)

write to sponsors (see RAWK or Kopblog for some suggestions)
I'll post a copy of an open letter (that can be sent with a personal statement) below if that's all right(?)

As we witness the decline and potential ruin of our great club the time for sitting on the fence has ended. There isn't a lot we can do but adding your voice to the many and writing is the best strategy for ridding our club of this cancer.

McrRed said...

For those who've not yet come across it, WellRed Magazine has a free edition with some good articles on the current situation and it's precursors:

http://bit.ly/ap4SQR

McrRed said...

OhYouBeauty and Kopblog are the two sources of sanity that have kept me going through the madness...

This is from the latter, with apologies for the lengthy cut & paste job (it's a good read in and of itself) but please add your thoughts and send on:

EDIT: well that was too long to post so have a look at Kopblog posts 218 & 81 for information on adding your voices to the campaign:


http://www.thisisanfield.com/kopblog/?comments_popup=949#comment-47785

Apologies for the mini-hijack of the blog, Nate, but you did say:

"Once again, the sooner Hicks and Gillett sell up, the better."

and whilst they are still around it won't matter which manager we get because they'll have nothing to work with as our club is asset-stripped from around their ankles!


Let's keep up the good work both sides of the pond.