Please read - thanks
Posted by PhaseOfPlay on February 14, 2013, 12:22:36 AM
Aside from Royhendo - I split this out because it's a brilliant piece of writing. Hopefully it makes people think.
PhaseofPlay - I'd echo the comments above about your posts - i've found them vastly informative and it's clear that you, like Rodgers, are a disciple of cutting edge football techniques.
My worry with Rodgers though is that he is too bound into the philosophy to acknowledge its errors.
After all, new techniques, tactics and stratgies in the 50's were found to be outdated and with inherent weaknesses over thee next 20 years. The same thing happened in 60's, 70's, 80's and so on.
So my question is - do you think we will look back in 20 years at anything Rodgers is trying to coach into our team now and regret or are you 100% behind everything that is written in the coaching manuals?
I have my own concerns about Rodgers, and I've expressed them in some threads (I think we should play three defenders against direct 4-4-2 teams, for example - and I remember an interview with Roy Evans in 2000, I think, where he was asked about his use of 3-5-2, and he said that they tried it twice under Souness, but Souness didn't like it and abandoned it, and he always thought it was a shame, because they had the players for it - I feel sometimes that Rodgers might be the same way. I also think if we play a four man defence that a diamond 4-4-2 would suit our players better without sacrificing his principles of play). My issue is mainly with the posters with barely hidden agendas trying to justify those agendas but not having the knowledge to back it up, and talking like they have a wealth of experience in the game to be able to say "I just don't think he'll do it". It just boggles my mind, not as someone who coaches, but as a more than 30 year supporter. I was there for the good times. I remember hating Rangers because they wouldn't let Souness go. I remember feeling like something was lost when he resigned. I remember delighting in the news that Evans would get the job. I remember thinking I could one day be good enough to play like an Evans player. I remember being suspicious of Houllier. I remember being angry about Evans leaving and Houllier getting sole responsibility. I remember stepping back, giving the man a chance, and seeing in 99-2000 that there was a style of play he was trying to get to. I remember 2001, and loving it. I remember getting home from a game to the news that he'd been taken into hospital. I remember the shock that surrounded the team for a week after that. I remember Roma. I remember being proud of the fans at the reception he got, and the big bear hug from Capello that said "this man is respected in the game".
I remember the final two seasons. I remember some fans turning on him in a way I never saw fans turn on a Liverpool manager before. I remember the league cup final and the joy it brought, and against United too. I remember the sluggishness of 03-04, and the tired relief at getting 4th. I remember having the wind knocked out of my sails when he was sacked. I remember thinking "there's only two other managers we should be looking at to replace him". I remember being happy we got Rafa (my personal coaching role model). I remember 2005, and everything being possible. I remember not minding that we were 3-0 down and looking like we lost it, because we had a man with a plan and we'd be back there soon enough. I remember walking on a cloud for 6 months. I remember the league challenge. I remember thinking Keane could be a good buy, and I remember being impressed that Rafa wasn't afraid to cut his losses on a player who didn't fit. I remember H&G. I remember Rafa looking like a broken man. I remember a team being booed for drawing a game. I remember fans turning on Rafa like they did on Houllier. I remember being intrigued by Hodgson. I was fortunate to have colleagues who had been around him, and their words were encouraging but prophetic - steady and unspectacular, but solid methods. I remember thinking we won't get Rafa 2, but we might get Houllier 2. I remember being disappointed not so much in the performances, but the manner of his bearing. The impression that he was a careerist, and Liverpool was a step to the England job. I remember him going, and being relieved, not because he went, but because the Owl comparisons didn't sit well with me.
I remember the joy at the King returning. I remember the football we played, and the positivity it brought. I remember Suarez scoring what might be the most important goal of Liverpool's recent history (debut goal). I remember the start of the new season - we had the form of champions for 6 months, we'd carry that on. I remember Meireles with the finger, I remember sub-par performances, and the loss of the flow we had in 2011. I remember the moans and the groans. I remember the haunted look on Kenny's face at times. I remember the cups. I remember the inconsistency. I remember the season ending and hoping that we got some fresh faces in for the new season, and Kenny kicking it back into gear. I remember shedding a tear when he was sacked. I remember the dance around Martinez. I remember Rodgers having the balls to say "Thanks, but no thanks". I remember him getting the job. I remember thinking that he would be good for the players, and they would respond to him. I remember thinking that we would be playing a style of football that would be the envy of clubs if he was given the chance. Not because of coaching manuals, but because he has a passion and a vision, and men of passion and vision in professional football are too few. Most want to retain their status quo. I remember thinking that the football he got us playing would get the fans behind him. I remember thinking "we used to be the most cultured fans in the world, he'll get the support because we'll all see what he's trying to do and how it will take time". And today I remembered that that faith was misplaced. We don't have those fans anymore. We have some of them. Others want everything to be instant, successful, and if it's not, dump the man in charge and move on. They won't say this overtly, but it drips from every sentence they type in pseudo-realism. And for me that's a shame.
To answer your question - I have much respect for Clarke. I thought Kenny and Clarke would get it right given time, but that hard decisions would have to be made about certain players. I have much respect for Rodgers, but hard questions still have to be asked of certain players, while some concerns are legitimate about his learning curve. The coaching manual only tells you so much. To be a good coach, you have to be out on the field, getting things across to players, and discarding stuff that doesn't work. There are plenty of theorists, but without practical experience, their opinions are more fitting for blogs. I don't have a blog. I did my learning on the field. As did Rodgers. I know where he's come from, and how much he has dedicated to being the best coach he can be. He is not a charlatan, but he is cast as one. He is not an unclothed Emperor, but he is cast as one. If this was year 3 of his contract, there would be valid criticisms, and I am sure I would support a lot of them. But 7 months into a season is way too early for the knives to be drawn. Especially for a manager trying to implement a difficult style of play without the players throughout to do so, and with the limitations of two transfer windows per year to contend with. People might say he should be pragmatic, but these are probably the very same people who thought Houllier should be playing a more expansive type of football. Rodgers is certainly an idealist, but I applaud that. I want young kids to look at Liverpool playing and say "I want to play like that. I want to be good enough for a Rodgers team". Just like I did when I watched Roy Evans' teams play. It's not enough, for me, to just win trophies. We could be a great cup team and do that (and that's not a criticism of Kenny. I'm talking long-term, over the next ten years). I want a Liverpool team to be like the greatest ones - a team that wins, but shows other teams, coaches and players the way the game should be played. We've missed that for two decades. Rodgers is a man who can bring that. He needs improvements. I certainly won't deny that. But if people are already damning his reign 7 months into the job where we are looking at very discrete moments that could have changed our season, then I don't know the Liverpool fanbase anymore. Maybe I'm too old now. Maybe I'm overqualified to be a supporter these days. Or maybe I just prefer fans to talk about the issues without agendas (and I have some great conversations with the likes of Vulmea, Dan A, Al555, and more, where we don't agree, but those guys clearly want what's best for the club, and they clearly will give Rodgers some time).
Rodgers has some learning to do. But 7 months is not enough time to judge whether he is learning or not. There are clear signs of what he is looking to achieve; there are clear deficiencies that need to be addressed. But that's the point. We can all see the problems, and I'm sure Rodgers and the staff can, too. But he can't do anything about them right now - he doesn't have the training time, and he doesn't have a transfer window. If, at this point next season we are still having these conversations, then THAT will be the time to express concerns. Right now, though, we should be supporting, enjoying the progress, and looking at the games with insight, not agendas.
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