Here’s the thing – I don’t hate Roy Hodgson. I don’t even blame him for where we are. On the contrary, I have respect for him and I wish him well.
Ok, I’ve said it. But I’ll tell you why I feel this way. Roy Hodgson is a man with great integrity and should be respected for whatever he has achieved with other, albeit ‘smaller’ clubs. Like every professional his dream would have been to be at the pinnacle of a premier organization. Please tell me, how could he refuse an offer from Liverpool Football Club? 99.9% managers in the world would not be able to do that and I don’t blame Roy to be in that majority. Like in Godfather, he got an offer he could not refuse; I am talking more about prestige than financials.
Initially, he did most things right. Held on to Torres and Reina, had a great qualifying run to Europa group stages, signed Joe Cole (I know how Joe is playing now, but please raise your hands whoever thought he was not a signing that made us feel happy at that time), the first PL game was good too. Things were not looking too bad. But then Mascher said he wanted to leave and refused to play the Man City game and it was more or less downwards from there. Torres never really fired inspite of the rests from Europa and the leverage that was given to him except the Chelsea game (we all have our opinion about why he played well in that game).
Having said that, in my humble opinion, Roy was not the right choice. But the choice wasn’t made by Roy himself. After a certain point in time, he started feeling the pressure and things were always on a slippery slope. Even when he said that the fans weren’t behind him, he wasn’t entirely lying, was he? To have been selected over King Kenny was never going to be an achievement for him, but something that we would always hold against him. He said things he shouldn’t have, but that was mostly pressure. I am not defending any of Roy’s tactics or statements. Just saying that he wasn’t the right man but his appointment was not made by him.
Roy has been a good manager over ’35 years’ (36th wasn’t as good). He is a good man, an elderly gentleman. He wore the liverbird on his chest (on the pocket of his jacket) and I’d bloody well say – Good Luck Roy! He took up a dream job. Too bad it didn’t work out for him or, more unfortunately, for us.
I hear people saying that had Kenny been the manager from the beginning of the season, we would have been #3 in the table. I differ. I think we would have been on top of the table. Pro-rating points would tell you something, but the magic in football would tell you we would have been better than table toppers. We dropped a lot of points at the beginning of the season and although it is easy to blame Roy Hodgson, I would rather blame people who put him there – Misters Martin Broughton and Christian Purslow.
These gentlemen were to decide a manager who would take LFC into the next era. A manager who would build on what Rafa did until the penultimate year of his managerial stint and better it. A manager who would not only guide Liverpool Football Club into the Champions League but also take us to the top of the Premier League. Or, just select a manager who would help LFC maintain a decent position in the top 6/7 of the table and hold on to the period that sees ownership change hands. With Roy’s achievements I doubt he was the first category and with a reported £3 million severance package, I doubt he was second either.
These gentlemen wrote exit clauses into two of our star players’ contracts. I don’t want to add to the conspiracy theory but one of those star players actually went away to a club that one of these two gentlemen supports for the exact amount of money that his exit clause warranted. That apart, I never heard about exit clauses except here. Reportedly, one of them gave Roy a ‘cull-list’ which included Lucas Leiva, one of the better performers this year.
Mr. Broughton was presumably an RBS appointment made in Apr’10 primarily to overlook the sale of the club. With 3 seats out of 5 in the board, a sale could have been agreed anytime as far as it protected RBS’s exposure which was about £300m. Also of note is the fact that beyond 15th October, the club would have become an RBS property and having incurred a 9 point penalty (debatable, of course) by the PL board, the perceived value of the club could have fallen below the £300m mark – not something that Mr Broughton’s appointment was supposed to have achieved. In all, to sell the club for £300m in the second week of October 2010 would have been the bare minimum that Mr Broughton was required to do. I am not going to give him credit for achieving the bare minimum.
Joe Cole’s signing is another case in point. When current owners aren’t supporting the management with the money in transfer market, there are cheaper players bought. Not players on free transfer with exorbitant salaries. Signing him for £90,000 is akin to a huge signing fee but paying it in weekly installments where obviously most of it would be paid by the next owners. Roy Hodson admitted that Joe might not have been his choice. It’s anyone’s guess whose choice it was. One of the above two ‘gentlemen’ is a finance professional, the other a Chelsea fan.
The one and only good thing that these guys have done is find us owners like NESV and more specifically Mr John W Henry. My only complaint from NESV and it’s employees is that Joe Januszewski should have written that email in April/May/June 2010.