Liverpool blog: A thank you to the king
I have made no secret of the fact that I thought a change was needed, but that does not mean I have anything other than the greatest of respect for Dalglish.
June 8th, 2012
A month ago, on this very site, I wrote that it might be the best thing for Liverpool if Kenny Dalglish were replaced as manager. I couldn’t see the long term plan, and I could’t accept a season in which we finished looking like a considerably worse team than we started as a sign of progress, no matter how much I enjoyed the Carling Cup success.
Much has been written since Dalglish was unceremoniously hauled to Boston and relieved of his duties, and even more since Brendan Rodgers was plucked from Swansea as his replacement. A lot of it has spoken of cautious optimism that Rodgers may well be the man with the right long term vision for the club, some has argued that Dalglish should never have been sacked in the first place.
For this piece, however, I thought it appropriate to take some time out and say thank you to Dalglish, a man who shall forever be known as The King. I have made no secret of the fact that I thought a change was needed, but that does not mean I have anything other than the greatest of respect for Dalglish. Unlike those who spend far too much of their day on Twitter would have you believe, the two are not mutually exclusive.
Setting aside the work he did during his first spell at the club, the numerous league and European titles as a player and a manager, the selfless and much documented actions in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster, Dalglish deserves thanks and respect for the past eighteen months. When he was called from his holiday in early January 2011, the club was at a low ebb. Liverpool fans had learned first hand how there wasn’t an expectation that Roy Hodgson couldn’t lower (and then fail to meet) while the new ownership were met with understandable caution after the debacle of the Hicks and Gillett era.
The club needed a stabalising figure on the pitch, someone to stop what seemed an inexorable slide and the fanbase needed to be united, having been torn asunder through the reign of the two cowboys. In one fell swoop both problems were solved by the arrival of Dalglish. Both the style of football and the results soon improved and off the pitch the fans had a man they could once again get behind.
That he was also the man to end the club’s six year wait for a trophy also seemed fitting. The Carling Cup may not be held in much reverence today, and a penalty shoot-out victory over Cardiff City was hardly a convincing way to clinch it, but try telling any Liverpool fan that it meant nothing to see their side once again lift silverware towards the sky. The league form may have faltered, the FA Cup may have ended in a whimper, but that day in March will live in the memory; Dalglish with a winner’s medal around his neck once more.
It should not be underestimated how far Liverpool had fallen in the latter days of the Hicks and Gillet era, and the job that faced Dalglish was a huge one. In the long run it may not have worked out as he, and many of the fans, would have wished, but for saving us from the depths, once again the King deserves our thanks.
Words by Simon Furnivall, follow him on Twitter @sfurnivall