Saturday 24 March 2018

Brendan Rodgers' family tells of shock over end of Liverpool reign

'We knew he was under pressure but he should have got more time'

Brendan Rodgers had his contract as Liverpool manager terminated
Brendan Rodgers had his contract as Liverpool manager terminated

Cate McCurry

The family of sacked Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers have told of their shock and sadness at the manager's Anfield exit.

The damp weather seemed to match the mood in the picturesque coastal village of Carnlough yesterday as the news that Brendan Rodgers had been given the boot by the Reds began to sink in.

Rodgers had been under pressure for some time and was eventually shown the door just hours after Liverpool drew 1-1 with Merseyside rivals Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday.

Rodgers has spoken of his disappointment at being dismissed. The Carnlough man has been able to rely on his home village for moral support since he took up the helm at Anfield in 2012.

Kieran McMullan

The Co Antrim man's cousin, Kieran McMullan, who lives near the home Rodgers grew up in, said the family was bitterly disappointed at the exit.

"None of us saw it coming, not even his brother Declan who was in complete shock when we heard the news with everyone else," the 50-year-old added.

"I didn't really expect it because he got a victory last week and I thought he was turning a corner.

"I don't think it was fair and it was a shock for all of us.

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"Our family was shocked, we knew he was under pressure but we didn't think this would happen. He should have got to Christmas. One of his brothers was at Sunday's match and he couldn't believe it either.

"He's done well there and at the other clubs. But getting sacked is nothing new to him, so he will dust himself down and I don't think he'll be short of offers. He's not a bad coach, he was very close to winning the league. He'll bounce back from this.

"The family are very proud of him, he's a nice man and so down to earth; there's no airs or graces with him.

"There's plenty of support here and he'll probably come back soon for a family reunion. The family are disappointed but we all know how it goes. It's all driven by money. He definitely won't be signing on, either."

Jurgen Klopp is seen as the ideal fit at Liverpool

Rodgers' time was up and his post at Liverpool came to a crashing end as he was delivered the "disappointing news" over the phone.

Contenders for the post include Carlo Ancelotti, Frank de Boer and Walter Mazzarri, with Jurgen Klopp the bookmakers' favourite.

As the waves crashed into Carnlough harbour yesterday, punters were still coming to terms with the huge loss.

Rodgers' brother Declan joined dozens of locals at The Waterfall bar on Sunday to celebrate a birthday, but the joyous occasion turned sombre after the news broke.

Johnny Mulholland, manager of the bar, said: "The whole village was in absolute disbelief. When the news came out we were astounded.

"We had an inkling but were not sure, and when it was released that was it. I think he will take a six-month rest and be back again - he proved himself as a Premier League manager the first two seasons.

"He might go into Scotland and manage there. He won't disappear overnight, but the break will do him good. He's not scared of the big challenge."

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Liverpool to unveil 'dream' candidate Jurgen Klopp by end of week

The straight shooter who never grew up 

Jason McAteer: Only surprise about Brendan Rodgers' sacking was Liverpool's timing 

Many punters believed it was a "knee-jerk" reaction by owners Fenway Sport Group to sack Rodgers, and that he deserved more time to grow his team.

"Everyone thought this shouldn't be happening but we wouldn't allow it to dampen our evening," Mr Mulholland added.

"The whole thing just dropped. It's a shock to the village.

"It brought a lot tourism here because people wanted to know where he comes from, small things like that, because he was Liverpool manager. You could point out to where he lived and grew up and plenty of people came here just for that.

"The village always got behind him for big matches, it's a small village and we all got into it. People who never watched football before now watch Liverpool just to see how he got on.

"Brendan would be home a couple of times a year for his parents' anniversaries. He's a private man but if someone wanted his autograph he would make himself available.

"I don't think he deserves the criticism he got. He built that team, he lost players and money, but that couldn't be helped."

Belfast Telegraph

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