The word ‘legend’ gets used far too often in football these days, often to people not as deserving of it as some of their predecessors.
There is one man who is undeniably worthy of the title, a true club legend in every sense of the word, a man who epitomises the club and its values and a man who would go to hell and back to the sake of the red shirt.
I am of course referring to the one and only, ‘King’ Kenny Dalglish. Few men can say they have had the impact on a club and a city as much as Kenny has on Liverpool. Only Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley would be worthy of challenging that title.
With Rafael Benitez leaving, it has left the club in a tricky position. Never in the club’s history has a manager been relieved of his duties without a replacement waiting in the wings.
Or at least that’s the way it looks on the surface. Roy Hodgson’s name has been repeatedly thrown around as a replacement after an impressive spell at Fulham but the man Liverpool needs so desperately may already be at the club.
Kenny Dalglish has done it all, as a player and as a manager. During his playing career he racked up 118 goals in 335 appearances for The Reds while he helped win an incredible six league titles, three European cups, a FA Cup, four League Cups, five Charity Shields and a European Super Cup.
His managerial career is just as remarkable. Beginning in the 1985/86 season, as Liverpool player-manager, Kenny guided the team to the club’s first league/FA Cup double, a further two league titles, another FA Cup and two Charity Shields, all in the space of just five seasons.
Kenny’s time as Liverpool was hit by tragedy in the form of the Hillsborough Disaster on April 15 1989 claiming the lives of 96 supporters. Kenny’s support to the victim’s families and the dignity in which he handled the matter won him many supporters throughout Liverpool and a continued respect still remains.
Hillsborough took its toll on Kenny resulting in him taking a break from management citing ‘health issues’ in 1991. Surprisingly though he left management for only for eight months, after which he returned as manager of then second-division side Blackburn Rovers. By 1995 he had taken Blackburn from a side in struggling in the second-division to eventual Premier League champions within three seasons, a feat unlikely to be repeated in the future.
He subsequently went on to manage Newcastle from 1996-99 and Celtic in 1999/00. However he wasn’t as successful at these clubs as his pervious ones gaining runners-up spots in both the English and Scottish premierships respectively.
Kenny has experience most managers can only dream of; having witnesses both sides of the game at the highest level as a player and a manager.
Given Liverpool’s situation there couldn’t be a better man for the job. Not only would it give the club and the fans a huge boost by having him back at the helm but the fact that he truly does have the know-how to turn the clubs fortunes around.
It must be remembered that Kenny is an idol to a large majority of people at our club; he is the player than the current squad would have seen growing up and looked on at with admiration in their youth, the man who probably adorned the walls of their bedrooms.
Not only would Kenny be the man to convince key players to stay such as Torres and Mascherano, but his very presence as manager would encourage players like Gerrard and Carragher to get back to their best and reignite their belief in team.
People may say that the club is in too much of a state and that Kenny taking over may mar his reputation and that he has been out of management too long to do the job effectively.
At the end of the day the game hasn’t changed that much it’s still 11 v 11, the players are still human and require the same motivation and drive as they did 20 years ago. Kenny’s time at Blackburn shows that he can cope with overhauling a squad if necessary as well as having a great record of uncovering and nurturing young players.
If the Liverpool board had a checklist of for qualities required in a new manager, Kenny would tick every single box; he loves the club and the city, has played and managed at the highest level, knows the club inside out and maybe most importantly, he knows what it means to play for LFC.
I’m sure Kenny himself would take the job in a flash if he was offered it and I’m sure every right-thinking supporter in the land would not object to the decision.
He has given so much to Liverpool Football Club and asked for little in return and he can still offer so much more.
Long live The King.