It is no surprise to see the name of Mark Hughes heading the sack race to be the first Premier League managerial casualty of the season after the dreadful start to the season his QPR side has made.
However, it is Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers who was overwhelmingly and amusingly voted the Premier League’s “Naffest Gaffer” of the month award for September by readers of the popular news and gossip website, thesackrace.com.
Rodgers was named the new Liverpool manager at the beginning of June after the Reds American owners sacked previous manager and Liverpool legend, Kenny Dalglish. He arrived after earning a big reputation at Swansea who he had guided to promotion to the Premier League via the Play-offs at the end of the 2010/11 Championship season and who more than adapted to life in their first season in the top flight, eventually finishing 11th and gaining many plaudits along the way. In theory, the Northern Irishman’s football philosophy is one that is akin to that of Liverpool’s traditional style, with passing and possession the major hallmarks of a “Rodgers team”.
His philosophy was quickly adopted in South Wales, with Swansea becoming one of the most attractive to watch in the Championship and later, Premier League. He won the Championship Manager of the Month award in February 2011 and followed that up with the Premier League Manager of the Month with Swansea in January this year and somewhat fittingly, his last game in charge at the Liberty Stadium was a 1-0 victory over Liverpool.
Not long after arriving at Anfield, it soon became very clear that Rodgers had the intention of dismantling the squad that Dalglish had put together. Andy Carroll and Charlie Adam have both been casualties whilst Jordan Henderson is likely be next out of the exit door after he is yet to start a league game this season along with Stewart Downing who has only one Premier League start to his name. That is over £60 million of “talent” that has arrived at the club in the past 18 months that Rodgers has either got rid of, or has no plans to play!
It is always very important to make an impression on arrival in a new management post, but to jump in with both feet without looking around is a recipe for disaster, and it could be that Rodgers blazing his trail straight down Disaster High Street right now.
Just one win in seven league games is all the Reds have to show so far this season, the worst start to a campaign in over 100 years by the club and to make matters worse, they lost their opening home game in the Europa League game against Udinese.
Whilst the pressure is mounting on Rodgers and football fans may have voted him the “Naffest Gaffer” of the month, but it is unlikely that he will be going anywhere soon. The club’s owners, New England Sports Ventures (NESV), have put their necks on the line in making this latest managerial change and their reputation is also at stake and they will be all too aware of how the Liverpool faithful turned on the club’s previous owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
It could be a turbulent season for Rodgers and NESV but it is perhaps time for some Liverpool fans to realise that past glories do not guarantee success in the future. There’s no doubting the club’s global appeal and fan base and equally, neither does that offer a divine right to be winning domestic and European silverware.
A period a patience is the only solution. Reds supporters must put their egos to one side (it’s going to be 23 years and counting since the last league title) and accept that they are currently no better than a mid-table team and in doing so, trust the owners and Brendan Rodgers to turn things around. When NESV acquired the Boston Red Sox in 2002, the famous Baseball team hadn’t won a World Series for 84 years, however, by 2004, that wait had ended. There’s no guarantee that recipe for recovery will be replicated on Merseyside but one thing is for sure, time is the only factor now as another managerial change this season will only set them back further…