“King” Kenny takes over at Liverpool after a decade outside football management. He is celebrated in football as one of the all time great players. He is revered inside the club for his service and loyalty. The bond with supporters was strengthened by his dignity and leadership during the period of the Heisel stadium disaster in 1985
Liverpool Football Club parted company with Roy Hodgson [8th January 2011] and announced that Dalglish has taken over as an interim manager. The overwhelming reaction (from fans) has been positive. The reaction outside the club has been more reserved, and coupled with a view that Hodgson was removed precipitously, albeit after a poor start to his brief time at Liverpool .
The club announcement read:
“We are delighted that Kenny Dalglish has agreed to step in and manage the team for Sunday’s FA Cup tie at Old Trafford and for the remainder of the season. Kenny was not just a legendary footballer, he was the third of our three most successful managers – three giants. We are extraordinarily fortunate and grateful that he has decided to step in during the middle of this season.”
One commentator suggested that the new owners had been influenced by evidence of widespread disenchantment to their manager in the local culture, in which Liverpool the city, and Liverpool the football club are strongly and closely connected.
Manchester United v Liverpool
He faces touch challenges, starting with his first game against bitter rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford one day after his appointment. MUFC top the table, and if anything appear to be coming to a higher peak of performance. Liverpool have to improve or plunge further into mid table mediocrity. Without a change of manager, a win would have been considered unlikely.
Why should his enviable reputation be at risk?
It has been suggested that he risks his enviable reputation through taking on the challenge of the Managership. The issue was discussed this morning on Garry Richardson’s BBC 5 Live radio programme.
Noting the reactions to his appointment in and outside Liverpool, I am inclined towards the following view: It will take a great deal to shake his reputation inside the Liverpool culture. This is based both on both achievement (respect) and symbolic reverence that transcends forthcoming results. Outside the club, the achievements are less powerfully recalled, and the reverence even less so.