Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughA word of warning regards Rodgers - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough A word of warning regards Rodgers - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

A word of warning regards Rodgers

Despite yesterday’s confident prediction that the Liverpool managerial saga had plenty of twists yet to turn, it would now appear that Brendan Rodgers is bound for the Anfield dugout. Coincidentally, now that that sentence has been written, some manner of misfortune will occur to prevent it from happening. Regardless, we plough on.

The general reaction to the move has been positive with praise for Rodgers’ style of football and Liverpool’s willingness to allow a young and upcoming manager the reins at one of the country’s biggest clubs coming in for particular exaltation.

Doubtless, Swansea’s first season in the Premier League was supremely impressive where they racked up wonderful victories against the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City playing neat, attractive and enterprising football. His ability to bring together a squad of players with very little Premier League experience and give them the confidence to play the brand of football they did (in England of all countries) was hugely inspiring and provides a model for other clubs of a similar ilk to follow.

However, whilst all of these accolades and success cannot be denied and have (perhaps prematurely) earned him a rightful ‘big’ job, now it is time for the word of caution from a fan of a football club who has previously employed the man.

As a fan of the one club to sack Rodgers in his managerial career, Reading (feel free to note this for future ‘biased’ comments), this will hopefully prove to be a pertinent observation of the nature of the success the man has achieved.

Upon taking over at Reading, Rodgers was widely approved of by Reading fans as the right choice due to his football philosophy and links to the club. He ended up being dismissed by the club just six months into his reign as results did not match expectations of the outlay he spent on players and the fact the squad had finished 3rd the season before he took charge. Furthermore, his characteristic huge belief in himself, a positive when things are going well, came across almost as arrogance to Reading fans when results did not improve after a rightful honeymoon period of allowing him to settle in at the club and impose his philosophy. Note many Reading fans mockily referring to his relationship with Jose Mourinho, his “big watch” and his “big book of tactics”.

Some six months after leaving Reading, Rodgers arrived at the Liberty Stadium and within 12 months had got the Swans promoted to the Premier League, ironically beating Reading in the Play-Off Final at Wembley, playing along the way in a manner leading to the club being affectionately dubbed “Swansea-lona”

The key reason, in this observer’s opinion, for his success at Swansea compared to his failure at Reading was the ingrained style of football at the respective clubs garnered from previous managers. Whilst Swansea had developed a passing style under the likes of Roberto Martinez and Paulo Sousa before Rodgers (and so had the players who could take on board the Northern Irishman’s philosophy more easily and evolve), Reading were used to a more percentages-based game built on wing-play under Steve Coppell and later re-discovered successfully by Brian McDermott.

The fact that Rodgers failed at Reading can be put down to a combination of not having the players to implement his style of football resulting in poor performances and results, a resultant deterioration in his relationship with the fans and an ultimately justified decision to dismiss him. His time at Reading does not make him a bad manager, merely one that benefits hugely from having players capable of playing his way and a similar football philosophy already established at a club.

Arguably, in the form of Pepe Reina and Daniel Agger at the very least, he has this but he’ll need time at Liverpool to implement his philosophy to become successful. He is no Roy Hodgson, who’s defensive mentality did little to ender him to Liverpool fans, so that should give him more of a period of grace but it remains to be seen if his success at Swansea can be transformed into similar achievements at Liverpool and in what timeframe he will be given to do it in by the owners and the fans.



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