Finally, after months of speculation, John Henry has given Kenny Dalglish the Liverpool manager’s job permanently. He couldn’t have timed it any better. Since Kenny took over I believed it was just a formality that he would get the job, although initially I thought it would be best to confirm this in the summer. However, with European qualification now in our hands and our last home game against Tottenham on Sunday, it will give the team extra impetus. It is ingenious timing and truly deserved. The King is back.
There is someone else who deserves a mention though. Steve Clarke epitomises the role of unsung hero. Quietly going about his business behind the scenes, he has injected some tempo into the training regime and has undoubtedly played a massive part in the team’s good run. This is the man who Mourinho fought to keep at Chelsea, ultimately signing his own death warrant in the process. When Scolari was in the hot seat and Zola tempted Clarke to West Ham, not only did Scolari beg him to stay, but after he left, Chelsea’s form dipped and the manager was subsequently sacked. The man is clearly a top coach and has earned the respect of some of the biggest names in football.
You can’t underestimate how valuable a good number two is to a manager. Just like in life where, to quote an old saying, ‘behind every great man, there’s a great woman’ it’s true for football managers and their assistants. All the great managers had loyal assistants working alongside them. And when they did have to cope on their own they struggled. When Brian Clough moved to Leeds without the long serving Peter Taylor he failed. After Rafa Benitez parted ways with Paco Ayestarán Liverpool failed to win a trophy. And when Alex Ferguson failed to replace both Brian Kidd and Steve McClaren at Manchester United they finished the season empty-handed.
It was a superb decision by Kenny to appoint Steve Clark when he took charge. They are both Scottish. And whilst a lot has been said about the Liverpool team historically having a home grown, Scouse presence; over the years there has been a history of Scotsmen at the club during our most successful years.
There is a great chemistry between Dalglish and Clarke and they are both integral to future success but it’s inevitable that Kenny will receive most of the plaudits. He’s already a legend at the club for what he’s done on and off the pitch. He’s possibly one of only three men who are more revered than Steven Gerrard. The other two, Shankly and Paisley, are both dead now, but they made the club great.
Kenny Dalglish and Liverpool go together like bread and butter. Liverpool’s bread and butter was always the league title. Can Kenny take the club to our 19th title? Let’s not get carried away but if anyone can, he can.