Posts tagged: hodgson

You’ll Never Walk Alone, But It’s Time To Walk Away

By , January 6, 2011 6:39 pm

This article will also appear on Well Red Magazine

Where Did It All Go Wrong For Roy Hodgson?

There’s not much more that can be said in regard to Roy Hodgson and Liverpool. At least from the point of view of the fans and the writers that know and understand Liverpool Football Club well. For those outside of it, however, perhaps they need to hear it all again. It seems that in spite of facts, statistics, and obvious fan revolts, the media continue to believe in Roy Hodgson and feel, most of all, that he has been treated completely unfairly by those who love the club he is in charge of. What is unfair is the treatment those around the club have received and the constant notifications of how we don’t know what we are talking about. Oh that’s right, fans have only been eating, sleeping, and breathing the club since most were too young to even totally understand the game. But hell, what do they know?

It’s bad enough that the fans have had to live through the poor results, and even worse, the awful performances this season without being told how disastrous the squad is or that it’s really none of Hodgson’s fault that the club is in the mess it’s in. It’s Benitez’s fault of course. Why didn’t I think of that? It has to be Benitez. He’s the one that took Liverpool from an underachieving top four team to two Champion’s League finals (winning one), consistent top four finishes, and runners up just two years ago. It must have been all those dreadful players he bought and managed so atrociously to achieve those accomplishments, all of which weren’t good enough at the time, but Hodgson’s current record of seven wins in 20 games is of course by far the better record. I abhor using sarcasm to make a point, but it seems that the media has left us with little else since they refuse to look at the facts.

Here’s a fact for you, reported following what was another disastrous defeat to Blackburn. Kenny Dalglish has won more trophies than Hodgson has won away games in all his time managing English sides. While this kind of statement may be superfluous, it’s certainly a very glaring observation about the lack of success Hodgson has had, not just at Liverpool, but also anywhere in his career. The fact he hasn’t won any major trophies should be proof enough that he was never good enough for Liverpool. Whatever the media decide their opinion is about Benitez, one thing you can’t discount is the trophies he’s won, in a much shorter-lived career than Hodgson.

For those who tuned in to the Blackburn game yesterday, many of whom must have watched on TV because the traveling support barely attended (I wonder why?), they would have noticed two things. First, the staggeringly abominable performance churned out by the team on the pitch. Although, even before seeing that, some might have noticed that the lineup was altered quite a bit to the previous game against Bolton. To the nascent viewer (the English media in particular when it comes to Liverpool), this wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary, but to those who watched the much improved performance against Bolton, it begs the question of why mess with a system that worked quite well a few days earlier? That game involved one of the better performances of the season, and just happened to have Gerrard in the middle, and Agger at the back. The team pressed higher and Agger was in the opposition half attacking more often than not. Subsequently, he was once again left on the bench against Blackburn, perhaps he was deemed “too offensive.”

The second thing one may have noticed watching the dross against Blackburn was the vomit-inducing rhetoric spewed forth from the commentators. Throughout the match, as Liverpool played worse and worse, and Hodgson looked his usually clueless self on the sideline, they continued to back him. They believed it was all down to the disaster Benitez left in his wake over the summer, and that none of the current tactics, players, or system out on the pitch was at all because of Hodgson. And even more damaging was their refusal to point out his mistakes in the past, most notably with his time at Blackburn, where he did a Benitez by leaving the team in such poor shape that the following manager was left with a relegation battle. Only difference is, Hodgson isn’t blamed for that failure like Benitez is being blamed for Liverpool’s. All that was mentioned was that he led Blackburn to 6th place. What also wasn’t mentioned is the fact that Fulham are now in a terrible state since his departure. Surely it must be his fault, as Liverpool’s failings are Benitez’s? The media doesn’t seem to think so.

The British media have accepted Roy Hodgson’s dopey nice-guy act as genuine, and therefore he remains untouchable despite his obvious deficiencies as a football manager. The constant lowering of expectations hasn’t helped, and for some reason the media keep buying into it. After the Wolves defeat, he cynically said, “If fans are going to expect to [beat the bottom-of the league team] that’s very dangerous. If they’re going to do that they’re going to be in for a lot of disappointments.” Hodgson clearly lives his life in disappointment by never approaching anything with positive intentions and expectations. He may choose to live his life in this manner, but Liverpool fans want, and deserve, better.

For all the comments surrounding the current Liverpool manager, with many that could be construed as nasty or derisive, I don’t think anyone believes he’s an evil man. He’s just a man who blindly believes in himself, despite the outward results proving he’s not up to the position of manager at a club like Liverpool. At the end of the day, I hope he moves on from Liverpool with a deeper understanding of the game and takes the (harsh) lessons he’s had to learn in his short time in charge to better himself as a manager. For all the fans’ disappointment and anger vented toward Hodgson throughout the first half of the season, we can only wish the man well. And for all his obvious inadequacies as a manager, his glaring negativity and nigh on spiteful reactions to criticism and his own team’s fans, it’s only right to remind him that he’ll never walk alone, but perhaps now it’s time to just walk away.

The Blame Game

By , December 31, 2010 12:50 pm

Hodgson Can't Help But Blame Everyone Else For Liverpool's Woes

I think a lot of Liverpool supporters went to sleep following the abhorrent loss to Wolves at home with one phrase swimming through their confused heads; “He must go now, surely.”

‘He’ refers to Liverpool’s morose and often oblivious manager, Roy Hodgson, a man that came to Liverpool on the back of some decent results for a mid table team. Did the fans want him? Not really. Did the fans force themselves to continue to support their club despite a defective ownership regime and a new manager they didn’t particularly prefer? Yes, absolutely.

But rather than wake up to A) a resounding resignation from Hodgson following his abject failure at the helm of Liverpool Football Club or B) A resolution from the club’s new owners, NESV, to rid the club of its poor performing manager in time to salvage what’s left of the season, fans awoke to finger pointing. And this wasn’t just any old finger pointing that Hodgson has done in the past, like calling out the poor performances of players, blaming his predecessor for all the players at his disposal (blaming his predecessor for pretty much everything that’s gone wrong since he took over, come to that), or blaming the owners for not providing him enough funds to buy useful players. No. This blame was now being shifted to the fans.

In his own misdirected hostility, Hodgson now finds that the source of his managerial ineptitude lies at the feet of the people that pay their hard earned money to watch the team they love. What Liverpool may have lacked for a number of years on the pitch in terms of trophies, they have never lacked in the all out support that the fans give them. While other clubs bay for blood as early as a few games into the season, Liverpool fans have patiently watched their team get worse with each game and yet still not call for the manager’s head wholly and completely. Until now that is.

“Ever since I came here the famous Anfield support hasn’t really been there,” Hodgson noted after the loss to Wolves. Since the fans never wanted him in the first place, and Hodgson has now secured this to be Liverpool’s worst start to the season since they were relegated in 1954, it’s hard to understand why he feels he hasn’t seen enough support. The fundamental point he’s missing is that respect and support is earned, not just given because you show up and claim to be a successful manager. So far as I’ve seen from his past, he has had no real success when it comes to managing at the highest level and winning a number of trophies. No offense to the Swedish league and the Swiss national team, but managing there is not what I consider great achievements in the world of football, and I think Liverpool fans agree.

Many in the media, as well as Hodgson, have constantly used the lack of quality in the side as an excuse for the poor performances, mainly blaming Benitez for below par buys. While this reason can’t be completely discarded, it’s hard to believe that a majority of the players that played in the season securing second place with only two losses is not capable of playing any better than they are currently this season. Although a few of those quality players have left (Alonso, Mascherano), Hodgson deemed it appropriate to bring in players he felt suitable for the club, while also discarding some valuable players at his disposable (Insua, Aquilani). With the exception of Meireles, the dross he’s brought in has only added to the shortcomings Liverpool needed to address, not make worse. There is no doubt the team needed rebuilding after a 7th placed finish, but to get rid of quality players and bring in aging ones was not the way to go. Those decisions must solely rest on Hodgson’s shoulders, despite how much blame he wants to lay on Benitez and even Christian Purslow.

The players most definitely have some responsibility in the way the current season has unraveled, but it’s not the players who make the team selection, or decide the tactics. Both of these football fundamentals have been so abstract and lacking any kind of masterful thought, that it’s a wonder the team’s done as well as they have. Playing Kuyt on the left, Meireles on the right, with no thought for pace or wide play was not the way to win at home against Wolves. Leaving out an improved Maxi and a fit-again Agger only compounded the bizarre team selection. Hodgson is not lacking enough quality to be consistently dropping points the way he has. But even putting results to one side, this system is not how Liverpool play. Deep, long balls searching for one of the best strikers in the world, and, as Hodgson seems to have forgotten, works magic with the ball at his feet, is never going to score you goals. The woeful tactics Hodgson has imposed must be something he can take blame for, if nothing else.

Oh how I wished that Hodgson would stop singing the song of blame about everyone else being responsible for Liverpool’s shambolic state. Instead, I dreamt of him belting out Led Zeppelin’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” before signing his resignation with immediate effect. But alas, it was only a dream and reality wreaked its ugly head in my face as I awoke to the news that he was not only still in charge, but chastising the fans for their lack of support. Face it Roy, it is nobody’s fault but yours that Liverpool are where they are, and the sooner you face that reality and move on from the club, the sooner you might just gain the support of its fans.

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