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xerxes

Dalglish the football manager

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So how great a manager was he?

 

I am fortunate to have seen most of the games he played for us as a player, and many of the games he managed. His status as an LFC icon for everything he has contributed to the club is indisputable, but as a manager, where does he fit in?

 

His roll call of honours won is staggering:

 

Football League First Division (3): 1985–86, 1987–88, 1989–90

FA Cup (2): 1985–86, 1988–89

League Cup (1): 2011–12

Super Cup (1): 1985–86

FA Charity Shield (4): 1986,[87] 1988,[88] 1989,[89] 1990[90]

Yet through no fault of his own, he was never able to test himself against the best of Europe, nor did he have the distraction of European football in his domestic campaigns. Many look back fondly at his side, yet once the Euro ban was lifted we did nothing upon our return.

I am a great believer that results speak for themselves, he won those titles as manager. Yes he inherited a great side and club, but few players in history have stepped up from the ranks so spectacularly successfully. I think that one of his great strengths was an unparalleled understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the squad he inherited, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the players in the north west in particular, and the first division generally.

 

That knowledge endured at Blackburn, where he showed he could build a side as well as keep a successful one rolling, where he became only the fourth football manager in history to lead two different clubs to top-flight league championships, after Tom Watson, Herbert Chapman and Brian Clough. To replace the well oiled coaching machine at Melwood, this time he brought in Ray Harford, an inspired choice and the perfect foil for him. When he left his job was done, his achievement at Blackburn in winning the league as great as anything he achieved at Anfield.

 

Newcastle was regarded by some as a failure, but a second place finish was no disgrace. What did change was that his knowledge of players as a player had run its course, and his unrivalled knowledge of the North West football scene was of less use in the North East. Importing the lies of Barnes and Rush was as predictable as it was flawed. Nonetheless, his reign there compares favourably with pretty much everything that has gone since.

 

His move to Celtic was a big mistake. His knowledge of Scottish football was minimal, and his hired hand, Barnesey had even less. Pretty much his only signal error of judgement, which isn’t bad for a football manager.

 

It is surprising how little retrospective analysis there has been of his Second Coming. During the dark days of G&H he was first tight lipped, and then a trusted adviser and friend to the controversial Christian Purslow. His role in Benitez’ departure, and Hodgson’s appointment and departure, can best be described as ambiguous. But neither Purslow or Kenny are ever telling.

 

Despite, or perhaps because of, his legendary status his return was a massive risk. But he surprised us all, and I suspect himself, with how the feel-good factor and the sense of unity made for a joyous and successful second half of the season.

 

In retrospect it was that summer which was the pivotal point. His gift of togetherness and LFC identity had been given. Job done. But the reasons against him taking the job were still there. He had been out of the front line for a decade. He had no coaching staff. He had no scouting team. He had no men on the ground, playing for other teams, managing and coaching other teams, socialising with players, and no international contacts to draw upon. Then there was Ayre, a man seemingly simultaneously in awe of, and suspicious of, a man who had more football experience in one breath, than he had in a lifetime, and a DOF in Comolli who could barely muster that. All the ingredients which had made him a success first time around and at Blackburn were absent, bar his unifying presence, which was not going to last forever. At Blackburn he had Jack Walker, at Newcastle Freddie Shepherd, both towering figures, around him at Anfield there was no-one.

 

The smart move would have been a glorious summer exit, reputation and dignity intact. Instead predictably uncertain transfer moves quickly undermined him, and as the KK factor waned after Christmas ( but lasting long enough for him to win the LC) so he cut an increasingly forlorn figure at press conferences as the side ran out of steam with little evidence that he knew how to start the fires burning again.

 

His subsequent appointment as a non -exec Board Director would have been far better at the end of his half season caretaker-ship, but history will show that he won a Cup despite everything, reiterating his status as a cup winning legend.

 

His honours per season record is astonishing as a manager, a record which I think receives insufficient attention as his Hillsborough and Charity work, rightly, occupy public approval. Only Whiskeynose can trump him domestically, Sir Bob might have won more if he had stayed longer, that's a pretty thin list!

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Kenny's team of the late 80's not being in the European cup was a massive shame as it deprived the sport of what could have been ine of the great rivalries. That great Milan side vs Liverpool

 

Loved to have seen this game

 

------------------Galli

Tassoti-Costacurta-Barasi-Maldini

 

Donadoni-Anceloti-Rijkaard-Colombo

 

-------Gullit

---------Van Basten

 

Vs

 

-----------Grobbelar

Nicol--Hansen--Lawro--Ablett

 

Houghton-McMahon-Whelan/Molby--Barnes

 

------Beardsley

---------Rush/Aldridge

 

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Football League First Division (3): 1985–86, 1987–88, 1989–90

FA Cup (2): 1985–86, 1988–89

League Cup (1): 2011–12

 

I'd say even Brendan would settle for these.

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Discarded ruthlessly by FSG for having the nerve to win trophies instead of chasing the Champions League money.

When KK was sacked I was surprised at how little backlash there was after a trophy winning season.

 

As well as being one of a handful of managers to have won the title with different clubs, his feat in winning honours in two different spells with a club is rare too. I think history will be kind to that second spell, and KK is a stickler for winning things.

 

However I do think that the ingredients which had contributed to his success first time around were absent second time around. He had no established coaching and scouting team around him, and no trusty second lieutenants like Terry Mac or Ray Harford. Playing the junior party to Ayre and Comolli was always going to be combustible too.

 

The league run in that year was abject, his interviews reduced to “we’re going to have to work harder”, but that wasn’t working either. I also suspect that he knew that Carroll was going to be an albatross around his head too.

 

But he remains our last honours winning manager, and may hold that distinction for a while yet.

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When KK was sacked I was surprised at how little backlash there was

 

 

Neil G and I held our ends up.

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When KK was sacked I was surprised at how little backlash there was after a trophy winning season.

 

As well as being one of a handful of managers to have won the title with different clubs, his feat in winning honours in two different spells with a club is rare too. I think history will be kind to that second spell, and KK is a stickler for winning things.

 

However I do think that the ingredients which had contributed to his success first time around were absent second time around. He had no established coaching and scouting team around him, and no trusty second lieutenants like Terry Mac or Ray Harford. Playing the junior party to Ayre and Comolli was always going to be combustible too.

 

The league run in that year was abject, his interviews reduced to “we’re going to have to work harder”, but that wasn’t working either. I also suspect that he knew that Carroll was going to be an albatross around his head too.

 

But he remains our last honours winning manager, and may hold that distinction for a while yet.

 

I had no problem with him prioritising the cups over the league.   

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I had no problem with him prioritising the cups over the league.

It was a pragmatic move. Managers records are defined by silverware, and KK took his chance.

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Not so pragmatic when you finish closer to relegation than you do to the top four with 50+ million of new strikers at your disposal.

 

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Kenny didn't prioritise anything over anything else. He'll have wanted top four just as much as he wanted to win the cups. He never got the chance to manage us in the European Cup the first time round, so he'd have been desperate to have a crack at the CL.

 

The players' confidence and motivation in the league was shot to bits after the defeat to Arsenal and the manner of it, and Kenny was never able to properly pick them back up off the floor. That defeat encapsulated our whole season in the league up to that point: dominating the play, creating lots of chances, not being able to convert them, getting hit with a late sucker punch and not getting the result our play deserved. If we'd won that game I'm convinced we'd have finished a lot closer to the top four, although that might not have been enough to save Kenny's job.

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Not so pragmatic when you finish closer to relegation than you do to the top four with 50+ million of new strikers at your disposal.

Like Neil, I don't think he prioritised the cup over the league.

 

I do think that KK, was and is a winner, and like Maureen, knows how to win competitions.

 

He had what it takes to win the LC, and did it. It's a rare skill.

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He was obviously a great manager in the past and I don't think he was too shabby the second time around either.  Really unlucky to lose the job after getting us to 2 cup finals.  Henderson is a great signing looking back at it now as obviously was Suarez.  I didn't want to see him go and think he deserved another season.  Things have worked out for the better though.  I think Brendan has done a better job than Kenny could have done.

 

I don't know if he prioritised the cups but the club needed a trophy as we hadn't won anything for a while so whatever his decision was I don't think any could argue against him.

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Kenny didn't prioritise anything over anything else. He'll have wanted top four just as much as he wanted to win the cups. He never got the chance to manage us in the European Cup the first time round, so he'd have been desperate to have a crack at the CL.

 

The players' confidence and motivation in the league was shot to bits after the defeat to Arsenal and the manner of it, and Kenny was never able to properly pick them back up off the floor. That defeat encapsulated our whole season in the league up to that point: dominating the play, creating lots of chances, not being able to convert them, getting hit with a late sucker punch and not getting the result our play deserved. If we'd won that game I'm convinced we'd have finished a lot closer to the top four, although that might not have been enough to save Kenny's job.

 

I agree with this, just to add though I think the Suarez ban didn't help either and had a big negative impact on our season.

 

It's clear that the owners always wanted a young, up and coming manager though  and explains why FSG (to me at least) seemed reluctant to give him the job past the initial 5/6 month period.

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I agree with this, just to add though I think the Suarez ban didn't help either and had a big negative impact on our season.

 

It's clear that the owners always wanted a young, up and coming manager though  and explains why FSG (to me at least) seemed reluctant to give him the job past the initial 5/6 month period.

If that was what FSG wanted, why did they offer him a permanent post? Maybe they felt they couldn't prick the post appointment KK feel good bubble?

 

My take is that there was much bad blood between Ayre and Dalglish. I think that Dalglish was appalled by the incompetence within our club during the Evra affair, and felt let down. I think that Ayre and FSG were alarmed at Dalglish's relaxed approach to the Suarez T shirt demo by the players. I think that Ayre found KK difficult to manage, and that KK had little regard for such an inexperienced boss.

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If that was what FSG wanted, why did they offer him a permanent post? Maybe they felt they couldn't prick the post appointment KK feel good bubble?My take is that there was much bad blood between Ayre and Dalglish. I think that Dalglish was appalled by the incompetence within our club during the Evra affair, and felt let down. I think that Ayre and FSG were alarmed at Dalglish's relaxed approach to the Suarez T shirt demo by the players. I think that Ayre found KK difficult to manage, and that KK had little regard for such an inexperienced boss.

I think you're probably right.

 

FSG felt pressured to bring in Kenny after the Hodgson debacle but he didn't fit the 'profile' so they bided their time until they could push him out without too much protest.

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FSG felt pressured to bring in Kenny after the Hodgson debacle but he didn't fit the 'profile' so they bided their time until they could push him out without too much protest.

As good a summary as I have seen.

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If that was what FSG wanted, why did they offer him a permanent post? Maybe they felt they couldn't prick the post appointment KK feel good bubble?

 

My take is that there was much bad blood between Ayre and Dalglish. I think that Dalglish was appalled by the incompetence within our club during the Evra affair, and felt let down. I think that Ayre and FSG were alarmed at Dalglish's relaxed approach to the Suarez T shirt demo by the players. I think that Ayre found KK difficult to manage, and that KK had little regard for such an inexperienced boss.

 

Yeah I think that's what it was. Kenny wanted the job and the majority of fans wanted him here. FSG couldn't really ignore that. 

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Good posts by Xerxes and Andrew in this thread.  When he left the first time, I was heartbroken.  When he left the hot seat the second time, the overwhelming emotion was relief. 

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He was obviously a great manager in the past and I don't think he was too shabby the second time around either.  Really unlucky to lose the job after getting us to 2 cup finals.  Henderson is a great signing looking back at it now as obviously was Suarez.  I didn't want to see him go and think he deserved another season.  Things have worked out for the better though.  I think Brendan has done a better job than Kenny could have done.

 

I don't know if he prioritised the cups but the club needed a trophy as we hadn't won anything for a while so whatever his decision was I don't think any could argue against him.

 

Until Brendan has some Silverware to show,I disagree.

We were also magnificent in Kenny's first 4/5 months back in the job.Not as consistent as we were last season but equally breathtaking at times.

 

His reign oversaw the signings of Suarez and Henderson and we actually made a bit of a profit despite the Carroll cock up. Carroll was injured during Kenny's best spell of football too.

Doesnt get the credit for the way he re-stabilised the club after Hodgson and the Yanks appalling time at the club.

He was never my favourite manager but he was no mug either and I feel he gets disrespected far too much for not being as stylish as Rodgers teams yet he has trophies to back him up.

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By sacking him when they did, perversely, FSG gave KK a dignified exit. Few mangers are sacked with silverware on the table at the end of the season. KK can rightly look back on the Second Coming as a success.

 

I agree with Vlad that the galvanising impact of KK's return is quickly being forgotten.

 

But in the medium term it was going to need more than memories and sentiment to reposition the club. His track record here before was one that would have been impossible to emulate.

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Until Brendan has some Silverware to show,I disagree.

We were also magnificent in Kenny's first 4/5 months back in the job.Not as consistent as we were last season but equally breathtaking at times.

 

His reign oversaw the signings of Suarez and Henderson and we actually made a bit of a profit despite the Carroll cock up. Carroll was injured during Kenny's best spell of football too.

Doesnt get the credit for the way he re-stabilised the club after Hodgson and the Yanks appalling time at the club.

He was never my favourite manager but he was no mug either and I feel he gets disrespected far too much for not being as stylish as Rodgers teams yet he has trophies to back him up.

 

Rodgers has done a much better job than Kenny did the second time around. It's not even up for debate. What he won in the 80's has no bearing when saying that giving Rodgers the job was a good choice. 

 

Winning a league cup and finishing eight on 52 points isnt as good as finishing second on 80 odd points either.

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Winning a league cup and finishing eight on 52 points isnt as good as finishing second on 80 odd points either.

 

Neither is it directly comparable. In Rodgers first full season we finished seventh on 61 points but didn't win a cup.

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Guest Numero Veinticinco

Neither is it directly comparable. In Rodgers first full season we finished seventh on 61 points but didn't win a cup.

We did, but he took over a side that scored next to fuck all points in the second half of the season, then lost most of its top scorers. It took Rodgers half a season to reverse the decline.

 

I think the Job Rodgers is DOING is better. At least at this point in the rebuild.

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