08 January 2011

Long Live the King

"Dalglish told me that we're the ones who make people's dreams come true. The fans can't play, so they live their dreams through us." - Fernando Torres

Dalglish in, Hodgson out. Finally. It's been a long, long wait.

It goes without saying, but from here on out, I'm done on the Hodgson vitriol. I apologize to those who thought it offensive and out-of-control over the last few months. I am irrational, petty, and quick to overreact. Thankfully, it's over now. He's a nice guy, it didn't work out. Time to move on as soon as possible.

But I can't help cite a few statistics as a requiem.

• Premier League win percentage:
Roy Hodgson: 35%
Rafa Benitez: 55%
Gerard Houllier: 49%
Roy Evans: 47%
Graeme Souness: 41%

• One league away win in 10 attempts, scoring only seven goals in the process.

• Goal difference of -3 after 20 games.

• 4 points above the relegation zone after 20 games.

• Liverpool hasn't been 12th place or lower after January since the team was relegated in 1953-54. That was the last season Liverpool had 9 or more losses after 20 games.

This is why Roy Hodgson's leaving by "mutual consent." Not because of FSG's itchy trigger finger. Not because of fan power. Not because of the 'shit squad left by the nasty Spaniard.' Cold hard stats, cold hard reality, and massively poor results. That's why he's leaving.

And yes, this is the outcome I'd hoped for.

The comparisons to Kevin Keegan and Newcastle are facile and wrong-headed. Yes, Dalglish hasn't managed in more than a decade, but his record at Liverpool, Blackburn, and even Newcastle was light years better than Keegan's with the Geordies, Fulham, England, and Manchester City. Dalglish has won the league title four times, with two separate clubs. Keegan finished runner-up twice, and won Division One (the current Championship) twice. Liverpool's current squad, despite the recent trouble, is far better than the relegated Newcastle team.

Many have written about the bind this puts FSG in. What happens if Dalglish isn't successful? What happens if he's "too successful?" First, even out of the hot-seat as long as he's been, I doubt he'll replicate the horrendous results we've seen so far this season. The respect from players he's rightfully earned and resulting morale boost should be enough to raise form. And that's not even considering tactics; it's hard to suggest what Liverpool's style will look like because of Kenny's extended sabbatical, but I doubt we'll see so many players out of positions; rigid, antiquated tactics; and a complete refusal to press higher up the pitch. If Dalglish does well this season, excellent, give him the job for as long as he wants. FSG are here for the long-term; they will get the chance to hire "their manager" in time.

This is a brilliant, brilliant day. I can't remember the last time football made me so happy. Which is how sport should be.

And just in time for a trip to Manchester. Adds a bit of luster back onto that match-up.


The Commish said...

Nice quote from Nando...now its time for him to return to form...

Son of Anonymous said...

If there's one thing FSG have shown in all this, is that they most certainly don't have an "itchy trigger finger". Phil Thompson is wagging his finger at the supporters for turning on Hodgson, but if Roy had crashed out with attacking, clever or gutsy football (like you see from, say, Blackpool or Newcastle - dare to dream!), he'd have gotten some of that famous Anfield support he pined for. No results, no improvement, no spirit...you're walking alone, Roy.

neelannair said...

You'll probably have to do a rehash of your ManUtd write-up, Though the team is still the same.

I'm waiting to see if he has any interesting tactics. 10 years is a long time in football. hehe.

Anonymous said...

I agree, love the quote.

In some ways, I understand Thompson's views on the fans, we did turn on Roy and turn quickly. Nate has shown the stats, and from a purely business standpoint, I believe getting rid of Roy made sense. Even though Roy did have a point to his argument that he really didn't have very much time. In that respect I do feel for him.

I can stand some poor results. I can stand poor tactics--for a time. It does take time to get to know new players. I can even stand ego, which Roy has plenty of.

What I can't stand is his passing the blame. He blamed the fans, he blamed the players, he blamed Rafa, and he blamed the fans--again! That's what I can't stand.

Jason said...

I don't mean to defend Roy because in the end he did a terrible job and the team quit on him... but here was a guy who walked into a club in ruins, taking a job that no one else wanted. I can't hate the guy.

That said, I'm totally on the board with him being gone and forgotten.

As for Kenny, I'm not expecting a miracle. This team is what it is. That said, "what it is" is a team too talented to be fighting relegation. If he can at least get them to play with some fire for the rest of the season I'll be happy. With the squad we have, we can be upper mid-table and maybe make some noise in the Europa leauge if there was maximum effort.

Then in the summer, we look for the right manager and see what kind of vision NESV has.