Posts tagged: sacked

Kenny Dalglish: A Breakup of the Worst Kind

By , May 17, 2012 10:45 am

Disappointed. Saddened. Confused. Surprised. All these emotions and more were felt immediately following the news that Kenny Dalglish had been sacked by Liverpool Football Club. While the fans can’t seem to agree on anything these days, I imagine a great majority felt the same way I did. Whether the decision proves to be the correct one remains to be seen. But right now, it just feels like an agonizing, soul-crushing breakup.

Goodbye, Kenny. Thanks For Everything, Always And Forever

You know the kind I’m talking about. Where there are lots of wonderful things about the other person, things you adore and wouldn’t change for the world. Such as Kenny’s undying love and affection for Liverpool, the institution, and the fans. His passion and electric smile on view every time Liverpool scored a goal. His pure outpouring of emotion when Liverpool reached and subsequently won the Carling Cup final. And most of all, the way you just knew that he, of all people on the planet, understood the fabric of the club like no one else. Since his arrival in the late 1970′s, the process of weaving the club’s DNA into his own had begun. And it continues to this day despite his unfortunate dismissal.

But with the good in someone you love, there are also a handful of things you find difficult to understand, and even dislike. While I believed in Kenny throughout the season, there’s no denying the league position was not good enough. Sometimes his tactics seemed strange. His substitutions would come too late, or not come at all. His squad selection was often baffling as several players were off-form, but still chosen ahead of others who had more to offer. And while I appreciated his surly demeanor with the press, the press obviously did not. And so the smearing began and continued throughout the season, culminating with the crescendo that was the Suarez/Evra debacle.

Despite all this, I trusted Kenny to get things right. And sporadically throughout the league campaign, and 99% of the time in the cups, he did get it right. Many forget that he was working with a team that had several new players, several young players, and that he lost his best central midfielder for almost the entire season with no suitable replacement. The woodwork, lack of clinical finishing, and lengthy suspensions and other injuries affecting the other world class quality in the team all lead to a dismaying league campaign to say the least. But anyone that doesn’t think Liverpool often didn’t get what they deserved based on their overall play throughout the season, wasn’t actually watching the games. In many cases, it was small margins between winning and losing, which can almost be worse and infinitely more frustrating than overall dire displays and performances. While the old saying goes “the buck stops with the manager,” I think the players should take a sizable amount of responsibility for the results in the league. After all, Kenny couldn’t run out onto the pitch and score goals for them, as much as we all would have loved to have seen that.

Like a breakup, sometimes you know when it is time to call it quits. Other times, you feel in your heart it deserves one last go before throwing it all in. I felt the latter. My head understood the reasons for dismissing Dalglish, but my heart believed he had more to offer. Another chance, a bit more time, and things would turn around. And if not, then you would at least know for sure it was time to part ways, however painful that may be.

FSG didn’t see things quite the same way I did. They operated with their minds, and their wallets, in performing a cold, calculated separation as soon as the season ended. Their hearts were not involved and how could we expect them to be? They may know business, but they don’t know enough about Liverpool Football Club to truly understand what a breakup of this magnitude would do to the fans of this great institution.

As with any breakup with someone you still love despite knowing they just aren’t right for you deep inside, it hurts to see them go. You start to think about how you’ll never spend the afternoon with them, share an inside joke, or lie next to them at night. As a loyal and emotional Liverpool fan, it hurts to think of how I won’t get to see Kenny’s goal celebrations, his beaming smile, and utter unbridled elation at seeing his team succeed while putting an arm around their shoulder when they fail.

Other clubs, other fans, and the media will never understand what Kenny Dalglish means to Liverpool and to Liverpool fans. The breakup might be best for our future, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. And to read Dalglish’s own gracious words describing how he wants the fans to be happy with whoever their new manager is, just makes it hurt even more. Because you know he means it. He loves us, perhaps like no other manager can possibly do, so he can truly let us go and wish us only the best.

I hope all fans, no matter if they were for or against Dalglish’s sacking, can understand what the man gave to this team, not just in the distant past, but in the more recent past as well. He united the club after a period of great turmoil and disillusion. He brought us a trophy, three trips to Wembley, and some of the best performances individually and collectively that we’ve seen in years. But more than anything, Dalglish deserves the best in his future just as he wishes that on us. We may never be together as we once were, but Liverpool and its fans will always love Dalglish. I just hope he knows that.

Women And Football: The Legacy Of Andy Gray

By , January 25, 2011 3:55 pm

I think it goes without saying that the decision to dismiss Andy Gray from Sky following his remarks regarding a female linesman was correct. The fact that he and his co-commentator, supposedly refined journalist Richard Keys, decided to have a dig about the young female referee was pretty shocking to the football world as a whole, and not just the women. It may be an exaggeration to say that their behavior sets women in sports back 50 years, but it might not be far off. Fortunately for the women in football today, there are enough people in power to not let two big-headed presenters get the best of all those women that have worked so hard to get where they are in such a male dominated arena.

The Smug Ones - Andy Gray And Richard Keys Mug For The Camera

I can pretty much guarantee that when 25-year-old Sian Massey took to the pitch at Molineux Stadium, she never envisioned herself becoming the catalyst for the sacking of one of Sky Sports’ most well known commentators. I imagine that she woke up that morning, ate a healthy breakfast in preparation for the game, had a cup of tea to relax, and then proceeded to go about her business on the field as an official for the match. Ninety minutes later and she was most likely headed home, feeling very confident in the fact that she did a fine job officiating a big Premier League contest. And to her dismay and bemusement, she awoke the next morning to find her name branded all over the print, online, and television media. Not for her laudable performance as an official, but because she is a woman, and according to Keys and Gray, women don’t know enough about football to be anywhere near it.

Understandably the chain of events that followed, first the suspension of Keys and Gray followed swiftly with Gray’s sacking, had very little to do with her in the end. She was merely the focal point for a couple of over-the-hill chauvinists who believe they are living in the 1950s, a time when it was perfectly acceptable to chastise women all in the name of being manly. And what makes the whole situation even more comical is that Keys and Gray, who are not well liked by many viewers, are often questioned about their knowledge of the offside rule. Something they ignorantly believed Massey was incapable of knowing simply because of her gender.

Kenny Dalglish, whose own daughter works in the field of football as a presenter, first on Sky Sports and now on ESPN, claimed he didn’t even know a woman was officiating until after the second half began. As the whole situation gathered momentum, the Liverpool boss was then questioned about his thoughts on the matter. Ever the intelligent diplomat, Dalglish simply replied, “I don’t know what Sky’s attitude is towards women, but certainly for me if you’re good at your job I don’t think your gender should be a restraint. If they’re there, then fine. As I said, I didn’t even realize until the second half that there was a woman running the line. It didn’t bother me in any way, shape, or form. The most important thing is how they see and interpret the laws of the game. The fact that we never knew tells you something. And, by the way, I never noticed if it was a guy on this side either.”

Dalglish has since poked fun at the situation by asking the press before his press conference, “Is it OK for a lady to be here? It doesn’t affect Sky?” His daughter Kelly followed suite and supplied her own quick-witted response to the inanity of Keys and Gray’s comments. She said on Twitter: “Phew am exhausted. Just read about something called ‘the offside rule.’ Too much for my tiny brain. Must be damaged from nail polish fumes.”

I can say as a woman who has played, watched, and analyzes football that I’ve never understood some men’s obsessions with constantly wanting to remind women of their inferiority. Many men, such as Keys and Gray, take some kind of pleasure in making others feel subordinate. Anyone with an ounce of self-confidence knows that the best way to make themselves feel better about their own self-image is not to degrade, but to enhance. With Keys and Gray, it seems a clear case of projecting their own inferior lack of knowledge onto someone else.

In all honesty, despite the prevalence of men like Richard and Andy in the world and especially the world of sports, I’ve rarely come across such antiquated attitudes in my personal life. As a kid, I played on official league teams with all girls, but spent the rest of my time playing with the boys. They always picked me for games and I was often one of the first to play. Was this because I was a girl? Was it because I wasn’t a boy? Or was it simply because I could play and no one gave a toss what I was as long as I contributed to the game?

This being the twenty-first century, I assumed people would be able to notice that one person can do anything just as good as another, no matter what their gender, race, or beliefs are. Perhaps it was naive of me to think that Keys and Gray’s sexist opinions were a thing of the past. I can only hope, along with the rest of the intelligent football community, that with Gray now out of the game for the foreseeable future, it will send a message that such behavior is unacceptable. That, and maybe Sian Massey can become a shining example of just what women can do in football when given the chance, despite what some people might say about them.

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.

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