First things first. What Kenny Dalglish did for Liverpool, both the club and the city, during the unspeakably tragic, sorrowful and desolate days of 1989 has deservedly guaranteed him a place in this region’s affections forever. Red or Blue? It matters not. Or at least it shouldn’t.

He was the glue that kept a city’s crumbling emotional edifice together, he somehow – somehow – carried and personified and cradled and shouldered the grief felt by 96 families, 96 mums and dads and brothers and sisters whose families were torn apart.

In a pre-Diana time when things were done differently, he did what was necessary very quietly, very beautifully and with the minimum of public acknowledgment. He didn’t do it for publicity – he did it because it was right.

The word ‘King’ falls a considerable distance short when considering the man’s emotional strength, courage and importance during that time.

We all know that in the end it took its toll – like it would anyone else – as he resigned his Anfield position in February 1991, haggard and weathered and dragged down by the pressure he was under on and off the field.

He was worn out. He was cried out. Go and look it up on Youtube – he looks older then than he does now.

But what that demonstrates is just how genuine Dalglish’s own grief was; it underlines the scale of the man’s integrity, the depth of his humanity.

So despite the shock of his resignation, Liverpool’s fans at the time could safely assume that Dalglish’s legacy and reputation were carved into the hardest stone. His prestige was immovable, his image irreplaceable.

Ah, not quite.

The past 18 months have slowly, bit by bit, inch by inch, chipped away at the granite of Dalglish’s reputation. It has been painful to watch. Dalglish has been raging against the dying of the light, against the media, against referees and fictional foes at the FA.

He has been raging in the face of common sense (Evra/Suarez) and he has been raging against anyone who does not buy into Liverpool Football club with the same passionate fervour as himself. And it has not been pretty.

Dalglish’s press conferences had become almost farcical within weeks of him getting the job full-time. Fully reasonable, legitimate and well constructed questions were huffed, puffed and rebuffed. Dalglish appeared to think he could operate like he had once done at Anfield when the press pack was a fraction of the size of today’s.

This is not the time to debate the rights and wrongs relating to the explosion in media outlets. But that is not going to change anytime soon. And no-one bothered to tell Kenny that. Every manager in the Premier League has to speak to the media – it’s as much a part of the job as putting the cones out and trying to keep a straight face when Steve Kean is about.

Yet Kenny’s default answer has been no. He has been uncooperative, pig-headed and plain obstructive for no other reason than he thought he could. That set a tone that has helped nobody.

Some of you reading this will say “good, the media are this, that and the other” and there is an element of truth in this. But Kenny’s reluctance to help himself and to help rehabilitate Liverpool’s reputation (the T-shirts, dear God the T-shirts) highlights that he has become a man either incapable or unwilling to manage within the parameters of the modern game.

As time has gone on – and the likes of Carroll, Henderson and Downing have turned into the high-cash flops every pub expert had safely assumed they would – Dalglish has looked increasingly out of step.

We need more luck, we need more respect from officials, people need to respect our Carling Cup win. We need, we need, we need.

The bottom line is that Dalglish came back – was brought back – because Liverpool’s fans and hierachy bought into the idea that he had the Midas touch. He could simply Dalglish Liverpool to victory, to the top four, to glory. Yet results this season have shown that has not been the case and watching Dalglish trying to find the answers has been painful to all those who love football.

So the news that he has been sacked should please the club’s fans because nobody wants to see Dalglish, a Giant of Merseyside, reduced to what we have seen in recent times.

Dalglish has been Elvis bursting out of his jumpsuit, he’s been Sinatra requiring cue cards, he’s been Ali getting a late-career pasting by no-marks he would once have shrugged off before brushing his teeth in the morning.

Do not be miserable that he is gone. Be thankful that he went before the Dalglish that deserved to be remembered was replaced by the Dalglish that would have been.

11 Responses to “Don’t lament Kenny’s sacking”

  1. Completely disagree on the point about his treatment of the media. Whilst it’s true that he handled the Suarez affair very badly (which is very easy to say in retrospect) I don’t see what relevance it has that he was cagey with the media, if anything it contributed to his reputation rather than detracting from it because he gave reasonable, logical answers rather than the PR bollocks that premier league managers constantly wheel out. Regardless, why is the answers he gave to the media regarded as important? It’s a very strange way to judge his success.

    And I do lament his sacking, because he should have been given far more time. Ironically, he has been sacked because Liverpool are desperately trying to get back to their past glories, and he was unable to provide that in one season – yet the success of the past was built on strong, stable management. In the struggle to regain that former strength, we’ve abandoned one of the principles that got us there in the first place. Whether someone will come in and do a great job is yet to be seen, but it is sad to see that Liverpool Football Club has sacrificed that principle.

  2. Only agree with a small part of The Above – The Media who now have to Fill 24 hour satuartion coverage of Quotes,Opinions on everything ,Everbody + his dog ! So Kenny wouldnt play The game with them – Sir Alex doesnt either But gets away with it ? If the new owners Dont get it right by xmas They will feel the anger of the Fans after this Betrayl.

  3. Roy McCarthy

    Any sane person (ie, most people without blind allegiances) don’t need to see the Suarez affair was handled badly in retrospect, Phil. They knew it as the whole ghastly thing was unfolding. He was sacked because he didn’t give his results hungry firm the results. Go to bed with capitalists, you gotta roll over and be shafted by them too. That’s the game. You buy your way to victory. We all know this to be true, but some with nostalgia and blind faith hang on to the romance of it all. If you want romance, follow Marine FC, don’t follow a business. And don’t talk to me about ‘feeling the anger of the fans’. Please. You’re not important. Sad, but true. Chinese fans are.

  4. TopCat

    I realise I am probably in the minority here but I agree with the piece. In my mind things were only going to get worse and we’d be in an even deeper hole by Christmas. A brave and controversial decision by FSG; but one I feel is right. Time to be realistic and make the changes that will reinvigorate the club from top to bottom.

  5. Robin Surtees

    Surely Dalglish didn’t lose his job because he refused to cooperate with the press, Mark E Smith made a career out of doing that! But by not cooperating he turned people who should know better against him, The Manchester Guardian is particularly vitriolic in it’s attacks on L.F.C.
    It’s too early to say if Carroll and Downing, both in the England squad, have failed. Henderson is a young player, burdened with a large price tag, who will probably come good.
    I’m sad but not surprised that Kenny has gone. The first part of your article beautifully eulogises the importance of him to Liverpool, he’s the best player I’ve ever seen pull on a red shirt. However in this time of instant everything there is no time. Many of the fans who called for his return were the ones who hammered the nails in his coffin as they moaned every time Downing, Carroll, Adam or Henderson mislaid a pass. Just as they had with Lucas.
    As it is I’ve given up my season ticket for next year. I first started watching Liverpool in 1977, stopped in the ’80’s because of the appalling racism in football grounds, started again in the Souness years and stopped again now because £700 a year is too much to pay to hear people moaning.

  6. Robin, the point is not so much that he didn’t cooperate with the media boys (I highly doubt FSG cited that today as a reason for his departure) but it is/was indicative of Kenny’s refusal/reluctance to embrace all areas of the modern manager’s job. It showed him to be off the pace – and he was off the pace in other areas too. You will have to take it from me that he was awful, terrible – the worst around by miles. The most ironic aspect is he was preaching to the converted – I can practically name, out of a room of 45 people, those who aren’t Liverpool fans – but he wasted that legacy by effectively being so bad. Whether you choose to admit it or not, Liverpool’s prestige has taken a battering over the last 10 months and KD, as much as it pains me to say it, has to take the lion’s share of the blame. As I say, the man’s a legend and growing up in the 80s means the image of him in a Crown Paints shirt is the overwhelming memory I’ve got of football at that time. Add in his Hillsborough work and he deserves to be remembered as a Lion yet he was heading for Donkey status and that’s why I’m glad he has gone.

  7. Robin Surtees

    I know, I know, but as a one time punk I can only admire people who refuse to play the game. Maybe he was failed by people who could have more easily done the ‘modern manager’s job’ whilst he concentrated on managing and making us all laugh with his interviews on a Saturday night. I reckon his players quite liked him, but will see what comes out on TwitterFaceSpaceBook in the next few days or seconds.
    Maybe ‘ridiculous immortality’ is what faces us all rather than immortality.

  8. David

    I think this is a disgrace. You are just gloating, I don;t give a damn what you think about his football acumen because you clearly know very little. To write a a piece like this when a man who has done so much for this city has lost his job today just stinks. The king will remain the king because its about more than just football. Get back to writing your hack reviews of chain restaurents, or daft articles about people talking on trains. And I don;t appreciate the ‘ironic’ invoking of the hillsborough tragedy either.

  9. JD Moran

    A quote from a recent piece on this site:

    “We rarely ‘do football’ on SevenStreets, for a number of reasons. Firstly, because we just don’t follow it that much (is Ian Rush still playing?). Secondly, because it makes normally level-headed commenters, Tweeters and Facebookers into goggle-eyed, mouth-foaming mentalists. And we don’t have time for that.”

    I guess that may be proved to be the case in the aftermath of this article.

  10. Paddy Mc

    This was a good and measured article. Dalglish’s conduct following Hillsborough was of the highest calibre and this should never be forgotten. However, his dismal league record and attitude in press conferences were just 2 of the many reasons for him to be removed from his position.

    It is sad but true. To suggest otherwise is letting his iconic status gloss over the fact that he was found wanting this season. Unfortunately, the statistics do not lie and the league campaign was an omnishambles.

    I believe that he has retained his reputation at this point and wish him well for the future.

  11. Red Mick

    The original article was dignified and accurate. The comments from Paul, Topcat, Robin Surtees, Crab and Paddy Mc, all appear to demonstrate that, sad as it is, the ‘King’ had lost his crown. His reputation would have been further tarnished, if the recent form continued into next season and that would not have been in any red’s interest.

    FSG had backed him financially and the results were disappointing (at best). You cannot continue to blame bad luck and hitting the woodwork for the demise. Eventually it must be accepted that it is as a result of poor finishing and, contrary to Kenny’s claims, every keeper did not have the game of their life at Anfield, last season. They normally made a few routine saves with the occasional showstopper. This happens at most games at every club and to claim otherwise is somewhat disingenuous. To be fair, against Arsenal and WBA, the reds deserved to win but at most other games, the result was, ordinarily, justified.

    Robin Surtees is right, in that sections of the crowd have not helped by their vociferous criticism, at home games, of any misplaced pass by Downing, Adam or Henderson. Downing is not a midfield hard-man, he was not bought to fly into 50/50 challenges. He does, however, have some skill. It was well hidden for long spells but it is there. Henderson will be a player but he needs to start in centre-mid and not wide. Kenny should have noticed this, as most fans were aware of it. Adam can hit a pass but he is slow. So was Alonso, who is undeniably a much better player, but he still lacked any great pace.

    Carroll is proving to be an asset to the team. He is not the donkey, that some clowns have sought to claim. I genuinely believe that if you play to his strengths, he will score regularly. There is no player better in the air in the division, as his ‘beasting’ of Terry in the FA Cup final displayed to all. I would suggest that he could form an credible partnership with Suarez.

    Here’s hoping for a sound appointment (I don’t know who, myself) and a better season in 2012/13. Good luck Kenny.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.