Kevin Palmer: Brendan Rodgers' reign was doomed once he became a figure of derision
Published 05/10/2015 | 09:52
Once the man charged with being the public face of Liverpool Football Club had been reincarnated a figure of fun by the football world, the club’s owners knew they had to end the farce.
While it was easy to feel a pang of sympathy for Brendan Rodgers as the weeks of speculation that he was on the brink of being sacked by Liverpool came to an end with confirmation of his departure at 6.30pm on Sunday evening, this story has been brewing for many days and weeks and months.
The final act seemed like an especially brutal slaying of a man who has given his all to his challenge at Anfield, but we have no need to feel sorry for a manager who has been given more than enough time to piece together a winning team.
His claim last Thursday that this was another season of rebuilding may have been the final note of confirmation the Fenway Sports Group (FSG) that own Liverpool needed to pull the trigger on Rodgers, yet they must have known for some time now that they had backed the wrong candidate when they considered who should lead the club into this season.
Blatantly, Rodgers should have gone after last May after a catalogue of nightmares in the season that finished with a 6-1 drubbing at Stoke. That was the tipping point, not the events of the first few weeks of this season.
Instead, FSG opted to stick with their fumbling tactician for another eight Premier League games, merely delaying the payment of around £10m that he will now be entitled to claim as compensation for what is left on over three years of his contract. It is a handsome reward for failure.
As they did with Rafael Benitez, Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish in recent years, Liverpool’s owners are now footing the bill for another lavish managerial pay-off, but they only have themselves to blame.
This hugely under qualified tactician who has never won a major trophy in his career should never have been given the honour of becoming Liverpool manager in the first place and while masterful striker Luis Suarez so nearly carried his team to Premier League title glory in 2014, such a triumph would merely have seen the coronation of an illegitimate new King of the Kop.
We all agree that the coach who was given big break in the game by Alan Pardew during his days at Reading boss did a decent job at Swansea, but he was not ready for a club of Liverpool’s gravitas when the call came for him to follow in the footsteps of Shankly, Paisley, Fagan and the rest.
In truth, he bluffed his way through three years at Anfield and when he suggested last month that there was unnecessary hysteria around the club as the clamour for his removal gathered momentum, it turned out to be a desperate and final ploy to silence his critics that was doomed to failure.
The decision to sack Rodgers was made long before Sunday’s Merseyside derby, with sources telling Independent.ie that the discussions over his future were first floated by FSG chiefs following the lamentable performances against Manchester United at Old Trafford as far back as September 12th.
It fell to FSG president Mike Gordon to confirm to Rodgers that his time as Liverpool boss was over in what must have been a difficult telephone conversation at the club’s Melwood training ground, with the club’s owners deciding the time had come to jettison the caricature who has lost any respect he had built up over the last couple of years.
In many ways, the image we all have of Rodgers is something of a mirage as when you meet this complex character in person, he is relaxed to the point that you can warm to him.
Stick a camera in front of his face and the glossy, fake personality he believed he needed to be to fill the role of Liverpool manager clicked into gear.
Brendan the quote machine was hard to like, with reference to the Liverpool’s great history included in every press briefing, along with comments hailing the character of his squad despite their often-blatant lack of that quality on a weekly basis.
His public utterances has become as annoying as they were embarrassing and Liverpool’s owners could not stand for it any more. None of us could put up with it any more, let's be honest.
FSG sacked Liverpool icon Dalglish back in 2012 when they were not satisfied with the public image the dour Scot was serving up for their club and as Rodgers continued stay become something of an embarrassment, it was inevitable that his time would soon be up.
This is the era of social media and the presence of as if the creation of parody Twitter account entitled @DeludedBrendan was not bad enough for the image of the Liverpool boss, the fact that a massive 313,000 people have followed a comedy news feed that sells merchandise poking fun at their hero publishes hilarious comments and that are meant to look as if they have been orated by Rodgers.
The account’s most recent Tweet on the night of his sacking was a brilliant example of why the image of Rodgers the fool has usurped his status as a respect the tactician, which he established when he was named Manager of the Year a couple of seasons back:
Some called him Brenda, others The Brodge. Man Utd fans had online campaigns for him to stay. This was not what Liverpool needed and FSG knew that.
Liverpool fans have slowly turned against Rodgers en-mass in the last 17 months to when his own paymasters realised there was no reviving the image of their hugely unpopular manager, he had to go.
Cruel, brutal and cutting though it may be, the final analysis on Rodgers must be that this ambitious, bubbly and arrogant manager will be remembered as figure who was out of his depth at a club grand as Liverpool.
His paymasters have taken longer to work that out than most of us, but at last the joke is over.
BRENDAN RODGERS RECORD AT LIVERPOOL
Win percentage: 52 per cent
Cup finals: 0
Best Premier League finish: 2nd (2013/14)
Premier League goals scored in 2013/14: 101
Premier League goals scored in 2014/15: 52
Biggest fee paid: £32.5million for Christian Benteke to Aston Villa (2015)
Biggest fee received: £75million for Luis Suarez from Barcelona (2014)
Best winning streak: 11 (2013/14, halted by Chelsea at Anfield)
Total transfer spending (estimated): £292million
Total transfer income (estimated): £200million