The lowest point of the season under Hodgson, for me actually came during a moment of joy. This one moment emphasised how bad things had become at the club I love.
Never mind the home losses to Blackpool, Northampton and Wolves. Never mind the heavy defeats away to Newcastle and Blackburn. And never mind the under-performing stars such as Cole and Torres. For me, when we beat Bolton and I saw Roy Hodgson and Sammy Lee jumping around, hugging each other on the touch line, I stopped celebrating our win and started swearing at the telly. Sure, they should have been happy that we had won. But to celebrate as if we had won the league when we had merely managed to scrape a win against Bolton put the situation at the club into perspective. When did beating mid-table sides become good enough for Liverpool Football Club?
I know we had been going through a bad time and I was as glad as anyone for the three points but any hope of gaining momentum and going on a successful run was quickly dashed the following game. Why? Because the management weren’t giving the players anything to live up to. The standards had slipped. Whenever I heard pre-match interviews where Hodgson said things like “Of course we will try to win and we want to win but we are facing a good team” I cringed. The negative vibes were being transmitted to the players before a ball had even been kicked and when the team did go behind they looked dejected. Worse still, they looked devoid of any ideas about how to get back into the game. Only Stevie looked like he might inspire something. The manager certainly didn’t.
The fact is, Inter Milan were the biggest club Hodgson had managed before he came to Liverpool. And they weren’t very good when he was in charge!
It was only a matter of time before Hodgson left and I think it was a really smart move by the owners to get rid of him before the game against United. If players like Torres had raised their game and we had beat United it would have been difficult to sack him. And if we lost we would have been out of another cup. By getting rid of him just before the cup tie it inspires the fans and gives the players a boost. Also, by getting Kenny in until the end of the season, it gives them a chance to see if it works out and make a decision with Kenny whether he stays in charge or they get someone else in.
It’s obviously going to be tough for Kenny to lead us to victory at Old Trafford. It’s always a tough place to go and get a result. But I think he will at least try to get the team playing attacking football, he’ll demand more from the players and he’ll command their respect..
Towards the end of Hodgson’s tenure I was dreading each game. I usually used football as an escape from life but the past few weeks I was using life as an escape from football. Now the club can move on and all the fans will be behind Kenny.