An Open Letter to Liverpool Owner John W Henry

COS contributor Rob the Red pens a letter to Anfield owner.

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Dear Mr Henry,

I am writing to you as a concerned life-long Liverpool fan. I wish to discuss with you the issue of the current team manager, Mr Roy Hodgson.

It is clear that Mr Hodgson is taking the club BACKWARDS, the victory over Chelsea was of course a highlight, but was the exception to rule of his tenure as manager.  It has been the ONLY good premiership performance under Mr Hodgson.

On the field
In truth, WBA & Bolton were hugely unlucky with refereeing decisions in their defeats, our draw with Sunderland relied on a very controversial referring call as well. We narrowly won at home against an average Blackburn side and the defeats by NorthamptonBlackpool were simply humiliating. 

It is not only results but also performances which have been woeful.  Our defeats haven’t been the sort of defeats that can happen to anyone, we’ve looked lifeless, out of ideas, players at odds with what is being asked of them, no passion, no pride, no creativity… at times it has looked like we have been playing 70+ minutes of desperate defence, with 10-15-20 minutes of OK play… this is acceptable away at Barcelona in the Champions League… but NOT at Wigan & Stoke in the Premiership! This all stems from the manager, his chosen tactics, coaching methods and attitude.

On the subject of attitude, Mr Hodgson has displayed a terrible attitude of late, often praising poor & unacceptable performances… I know the manager has to try to protect his players from unfair criticism, but he should not protect them from deserved criticism. The great Bill Shankly, of whom I am sure you have heard a lot recently, would have lambasted his players after virtually every game this season.

Player Unrest
Much has been said about the futures of our main stars, Daniel Agger is a hugely talented and popular defender, he should be a walk-in to our first 11 whenever fit, but when fit has been totally overlooked by a manager looking to play a far more primitive, un-entertaining and yes, less effective style of play.  Fernando Torres has of course been struggling with injury but his body language clearly shows he is unhappy. Pepe Reina, normally a rock for the fans on-and-off the field has been making worrying statements, not fully retracted, that he might not stick around too long, and then there is the Glen Johnson saga, which shows COMPLETE managerial incompetence.  I think it’s clear that an over-the-hill nobody, brought in by Hodgson and put in charge of training our squad has NOT gone down well. Mr Kelly needs to go with Hodgson!

Bizarre Critisism of Rafa Benitez
Firstly, I will say that yes, Rafa was not perfect and did make mistakes… however… I find Mr Hodgson’s critisism’s bizarre in the  least.

Mr Hodgson publically stated that Benitez had left him a squad that had too many bad players… this is open to debate… however… I have a question for Mr Hodgson

Who is the bad manager… the one who buys bad players, and takes them to 2nd in the Premiership, just 4pts from the title… OR… the manager who inherits them, plays these same players and gets his ass handed to him by Blackpool & Northampton?

Who is the bad manager? the one who’s CV boasts some Swedish & Danish pub-league titles… or the one with the Champions League, UEFA Cup, FA Cup & La Liga titles?

Who is the bad manager? the one who buys Lucas… who was amazing against Chelsea, then poor against Stoke… or the one who buys old-man Poulsen, clearly, and seriously the worst player to ever wear the red of Liverpool. “People who live in glass houses….”

You cannot claim “well they’re not his players” when you admit that, so far this season…
Ngog & Torres have scored goals, Reina has kept us in games, Lucas has had his moments, Skrtel & Kygrakos have looked solid..  ALL RAFA SIGNINGS… and ROY’s men? Konchesky & Meireles have been average at best… Cole has flopped, Wilson has been unused, save for an ill fated cup outing, I wont go into Poulsen‘s form again…

You can point to a lack of funds… but really? we bought Konchesky for far too much money and Fulham got 2 youngsters and spent the difference on Salgado, a better, higher profile player!  He also failed to spend £10m of the Mascherano money as, basically, no-one would sign for him.  He sniffs around “sunday league” players like Carlton Cole, who, if I saw him sign for Liverpool I think I’d shoot myself. 

The Real Roy Hodgson
So how do you judge Roy Hodgson’s credentials? do you say that he was LMA Manager of 2010? that he took lowly Fulham to the Europa final? or that he was chiefly responsible for getting Blackburn Rovers relegated?

Well how about this… aside from clubs in minor leagues, in countries where they still look up and point at planes… he has managed 3 English clubs, 2 Italians & 2 swiss. NEVER WINNING A SINGLE TROPHY, NOTHING!

He also managed Switzerland, doing OK, and the Finns, failing to qualify for a tourniment.

In short, he has been managing since the 1970’s and won NO MAJOR TROPHIES EVER!

I have read that you are a man who believes in statistics, I have some for you.

  • Roy Hodgson’s career win ratio is a shade over 43%…
  • Man Utd’s 24 wins in 2000/2001 is the LEAST by a title winner in the 21st Century… (24 wins in 38 games = 63%)
  • So Roy Hodgson’s career PROVES he will NEVER win the title with LFC.
  • In fact: his only managerial stint ANYWHERE with the required win % was his 2nd spell at Inter, as caretaker.. and the 66% win ratio came in only 3 games… hardly a 38 game season.

in fact… the aforementioned Utd title winning total of 2000-2001 was 1 win and 6 pts LESS than we achieved in 2008-2009, under the manager Mr Hodgson seems to think so little of.

Judge Him
You know when you get a bad loser… they get beat and say “best of 3” then go 2-0 down and say “best of 5”??,… well, after a disasterous start Mr Hodgson asked to be judged after 8-10 games… we were in a very bad way after 8-10 games, now he says he is a “28-55 game man” so when we reach May, and we’re 17th, will he say “you know what, after 2-3 seasons we’ll have an idea of how I’m doing” pull the other one Roy!

I can only come to the conclusion that if Mr Hodgson remains, the club will continue to stagnate, we will win-a-few, lose-a-few, our TOP players will go, we won’t be able to attract new TOP players, the football will continue to be dull and unadventurous.

Left Behind
You recently commented that NESV would not look to spend big to provide a quick fix, and I am puzzled that the reason you gave for this was the impending “Financial Fair Play” rules, but surely, if you have an ageing, inadequate squad and you are a couple of years away from new spending limits… you spend BIG, and you do it NOW! 

Manchester City may be an extreme example, but they, like you, know the rules are coming, the difference is that when the new rules kick-in, they will have a young squad of 25 top players, plus 2,3,5,10? young talents out on loan, (they will effectively stock-pile) the young talents can later provide a new player to the squad, without coming out of the current season’s funds… or can be sold for good money to supplement their funds.  The trick is, get the money into the club BEFORE the rules begin… spend it after.

Let it never be said I bring a problem without offering a suggestion of how to fix it!
Ask for the BEST managers in the world and what will people say? The “Special One“? well he is at Real, and I think pigs will fly before we’re poaching him from there.  How about Wenger? perfect for your youth-ideas.. but again.. not a cat-in-hells chance.

Guus Hiddink? possibly the only TOP drawer PROVEN manager who is NOT in a TOP job.  But recent comments about his own age, and a track record of seeing contracts through make him unlikely.

Martin O’Neill? maybe? a good manager, gets the best out of players, proven record working with English youth… but not really a WORLD level name.

Frank Rijkaard? made a name for himself at Barcelona, attractive style of play, big name which can draw top players… but a nightmare time at Galatasaray recently.

Kenny? the fans would love it, but… don’t be sentimental, a legend he may be.. but NO management in years, and his last two jobs were failures.

Politically difficult, after the events which took place during Hicks & Gillett’s reign… but consider…

Jurgen Klinsmann.  A bright, young manager, with attacking/flair football style, and if you ask those in the know… they’ll tell you that the transformation of the German national team from a group over over-the-hill and average players (like our squad) to a youthful, vibrant, exciting team who will surely be one of the favourites at Euro 2012 & World Cup 2014 is more down to Klinsmann than current boss Jochim Low 

Yours Sincerely

Rob the Red

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