No end to our journey to hell? Just days after finishing a lowly 7th, no one was riding on a highway of hope. It was a tumultuous season, but as majority of Liverpool fans would agree, then manager Rafael Benitez deserved a last crack of the whip.
No, we weren’t going to be spared though. Amongst us Liverpool fans there was a growing feeling of angst and an air of inevitability that Rafa’s head was on the chopping block. Summer wouldn’t let us rest easy as our fears were confirmed. Barely days after, on 3 June 2010, it was announced that Liverpool have parted ways with their revered Champions League winning coach.
It was an utterly cruel end to his six-year spell in charge at Liverpool. Rafa, then holidaying in Sardinia, had nothing but fond memories of his emotional time at Liverpool.
He said: “It is very sad for me to announce that I will no longer be manager of Liverpool FC. I would like to thank all of the staff and players for their efforts.
“I’ll always keep in my heart the good times I’ve had here, the strong and loyal support of the fans in the tough times and the love from Liverpool. I have no words to thank you enough for all these years and I am very proud to say that I was your manager.
“Thank you so much once more and always remember: You’ll never walk alone.”
Hundreds of Liverpool supporters congregated outside Anfield in protest against the current plight and demise of our club. Words weren’t heard, sorrows weren’t drowned.. and what was to follow was more anguish and despair.
A month later, the Liverpool board ascertained that Roy Hodgson was the man to take up the mantle of leading the five-time Champions of Europe.
“This is the biggest job in club football and I’m honoured to be taking on Britain’s most successful football club,” said Hodgson.
The appointment was met with huge skepticism. Some welcomed the change with cautious optimism, some lambasted the club’s hierarchy for overlooking other candidates held in higher esteem in the footballing world.
However, dishing out pre-mature criticism to the new boss was not on the agenda. We all sought answers, prayed for patience, and had renewed hope that Hodgson could usher in a new era.
Our summer signings of Paul Konchesky, Brad Jones, Milan Jovanovic, and in particular Raul Meireles and Joe Cole sought to recorrect what went horribly wrong in Rafa’s fatal season.
Cole’s career at Merseyside came to an unfortunate halt, when on the opening day of the season, he was sent off for a reckless tackle on Koscielny. Nevertheless, the Reds managed a creditable 1-1 draw against the Gunners, with Reina making a rare fumble to ensure the spoils were even on that afternoon.
But soon the Reds’ season began to spin out of control as Roy Hodgson failed to steady a rapidly sinking ship…
In Part 2: The stark possibility of relegation? Our courtroom battles, the welcome of John Henry and FSG. Stay tuned.
This article was also posted on my Liverpool blog. Visit it here.