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A Red Carpet for King Kenny?


A Red Carpet for King Kenny?

The cries of ‘all hail King Kenny’ have rung out over the red half of Merseyside quicker than the flickering on of UV strip lights at opening time of Sun Solar in Sefton – but I’m not that convinced. And I’m a Liverpool fan.

There. I feel like I’ve sworn in front of a priest, or arrived at an away game with my team’s shirt on and found out the tickets a ‘mate’ has sorted out for me are for seats in the home end. I can’t knock Dalglish’s record at Liverpool, winning eight league titles as a player, then manager between 1977 and 1991 – and maybe it’s because I cemented my real love for the club after his reign had ended – but I can’t help thinking that all this time the club has been in a slow decline we’ve been living too much in the past. And I’m not sure the revisit of ‘King Kenny’ helps us move forward. 

I’m not going to knock the fact he is an Anfield legend. He was back then, and he still is now. But for a man whose last foray into management was at Celtic in 1999, where as Director of Football he recommended John Barnes for the role of head coach and then had to replace him when Barnes was sacked just eight months on – I’m just not that sure. Dalglish left Celtic in acrimonious circumstances, his contract terminated when Martin O’Neill took over as manager. 

I had always understood that Dalglish didn’t really want to get back into management: that chapter had closed and that he was more than happy advising the club in a non-official role behind the scenes. But when the Kop calls for you to return and the club you love – and who loves you and wants you back – I suppose it’s hard to refuse. A decision with the head or the heart? Undoubtedly the heart, but then Dalglish always had more than most in this department. 

One thing he will do is motivate and incentivise the players. This man knows all about success at the club – in fact for the majority of his time as a serious participator in the club’s affairs he knew nothing else. And getting the spirit back into the football club is something that I think Roy Hodgson struggled with. We don’t have the best team, so deal with it. What should a manager do when faced with a side that might not match the technical ability or have a dressing room full of superstar names akin to Chelsea or either of the two Manchester sides? Use what he does have, fire them up and get them to perform to the very best level they can.

Is Dalglish our long-term solution? No. But you can expect a change in mood at the club and with the players. This man has a stage presence. How long the performance will last remains to be seen. 

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