The Return of the King…

My first love in football will always be St Johnstone…but being of a certain age there are memories of big matches in Europe that have followed me through my life and it was those matches that drew me to support Liverpool FC from a young age, a tie that has gone unbroken for 30 odd years now. Through the highs of European Cup victories to the lows of the Hillsborough and Hysel disasters I have watched Liverpool and adopted them as my ‘English’ team.

After all the pain of being a Liverpool supporter in the last 6 months as Roy Hodgson did his best to turn the club into a carbon copy of the Fulham side he left behind at last some sense has arrived at Anfield.

This glorious morning, Liverpool Football Club finally parted company with a mistaken appointment and put in its place the return of Kenny Dalglish as team manager until the end of the season. Who knows what the plan is after that, A former St Johnstone manager Owen Coyle is readily mentioned as a permanent replacement but I would imagine that the job is Kenny’s to keep if things start to become stable and the team climb the table away from the relegation zone above which they currently sit.

Kenny’s reign will start again tomorrow at Old Trafford against Fergie’s Manchester United side in the FA Cup….its not an impossible task, it probably would have been if Roy had not left, but the whole mood of the fans has lifted today and hopefully some of that will rub off on the players tomorrow when they see the reception Kenny gets from the travelling support.

It won’t be the end of the world to lose tomorrow, all the fans want to see is a club back on the right track and irrespective of the final score as long as there is some signs of a change of attitude then sorting out the league position will surely be the main aim over the months to come.

Here is this morning’s full statement by the club.

Liverpool FC confirmed today that manager Roy Hodgson has left the club by mutual consent.

Principal Owner John Henry commented: “We are grateful for Roy’s efforts over the past six months, but both parties thought it in the best interests of the club that he stand down from his position as team manager. We wish him all the best for the future.”

Roy Hodgson said: ”Being asked to manage Liverpool Football Club was a great privilege. Any manager would be honoured to manage a club with such an incredible history, such embedded tradition and such an amazing set of fans. Liverpool is one of the great clubs in world football. I have, however, found the last few months some of the most challenging of my career. I am very sad not to have been able to put my stamp on the squad, to be given the time to bring new players into the club in this transfer window and to have been able to be part of the rebuilding process at Liverpool. The club has some great, world-class players, with whom it has been a pleasure to work and I wish the entire squad well for the rest of the season. I thank those with whom I have built up a close working relationship at the club for their loyalty and support during very testing times, and finally of course to the Liverpool fans, your passion and dedication to the club will see Liverpool at the top of the game once more.”

Club legend Kenny Dalglish will assume control of team matters for Sunday’s third round FA Cup tie against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Henry added: “We are delighted that Kenny Dalglish has agreed to step in and manage the team for Sunday’s FA Cup tie at Old Trafford and for the remainder of the season.

“Kenny was not just a legendary footballer, he was the third of our three most successful managers – three giants. We are extraordinarily fortunate and grateful that he has decided to step in during the middle of this season.”

Chairman Tom Werner said: ”No one who cares for this great club has been happy with the way this season has unfolded and we have examined options and considered at length what is best for us going forward. Kenny will bring considerable experience to the position and provide management and leadership for the rest of the season.”

Already in some corners there is sniping about Kenny’s return…Kenny is no quitter where Liverpool are concerned as anyone who takes the time to read his book about the club will know. Yes he was the manager and yes he did walk away from the job after winning honours but if you read his views on the turmoil that engulfed him following the loss of life at Hillsborough then you would probably defy anyone to be so close to that grief on such a scale and not be affected by it. Kenny was deeply affected and he walked away for all the right reasons, and now he is coming back to help out the club when it needs him most.

The fans will be buzzing for the weeks ahead, hopefully the new owners of the club will allow Kenny to strengthen the squad during the January window and more hopefully those who are currently playing for the club will find their passion for the job at hand and start to turn this season around.

Liverpool is too big a club to be in this position, today they re-appointed the very man who knows how to turn it all round and who has the fans onside from day one. For many of us the smiles on our faces will hopefully be there more often as we follow his efforts in the weeks ahead.

Long live the King!!!