It was right for everybody that Rafa Benitez left – for him and for Liverpool *Football Club.
There just comes a stage in every manager’s career when the board says, ‘You’ve been good for the club but we feel it would be best if you go.’
Sometimes it works the same way for a manager – ‘I’ve done my time. There’s no animosity but it’s time to have a go somewhere else.’
When it was clear Rafa was going, Christian Purslow asked me to get involved in the selection process for the next manager.
“I’ll help in any way I possibly can,” I told Christian. They drew up a list, asked me to come and meet the candidates and then let them decide who the manager should be.
In mid-June, I had to let them know my real views. I wanted the job. I couldn’t miss the opportunity.
One day, I was in a meeting with Christian and the chairman, Martin Broughton, and I formally put my name forward.
“We don’t want you, Kenny,” came the reply from Christian and the chairman. Fine.They explained they had different plans for me, a position with greater longevity.
“We want you for a role at the club that would be for longer than the tenure of the manager,” the board told me. The job focused on player *development. It wasn’t management, though.
Martin Broughton made that *abundantly clear. People have asked me whether I was disappointed, and of course I was. I passionately wanted the job. But I would have been more disappointed if I hadn’t put my name forward. I love Liverpool so deeply I felt almost an obligation to apply.
This was about helping Liverpool more than reviving my management career. If another club came in and asked me to be their manager, I honestly don’t know how I’d react.
Liverpool’s my home. There was no self-glory attached to my application. I did feel I had unfinished business with the job, though, since my previous tenure was aborted in 1991.
But I was enjoying myself with the Academy, going in, helping the kids and attending matches at Anfield.
I usually find it difficult to promote myself. That’s not my nature.
Liverpool were experiencing hard times and I wanted to help.
If I hadn’t expressed an interest, people might have thought, ‘Well, if Kenny Dalglish doesn’t want to help, there must be big *problems at Liverpool.’
When the news of my application emerged, the Liverpool punters were more favourable than not. That was reassuring.
Maybe I didn’t make the wisest decision in the world in going for it.
By expressing my ambition for the job, the board might think that complicated life for Roy Hodgson. They needn’t have feared. I fully respect Roy, a man I’ve known for a long, long time, ever since he was in Sweden, at Halmstads and Malmo, and he visited Melwood with Bobby Houghton. We struck up a friendship.
Roy’s a very honourable and decent person, and very experienced in football. He has his beliefs in how the team should be set up, but when he arrived at Liverpool, he will have known that he had to make one or two adjustments to his system, because the individuals are different at Liverpool.
No manager can just impose their style. It’s all right having a system but players dictate how it is played.
When Roy came in, I knew *Liverpool would be committed and well *organised. He’s the type of guy players enjoy working for.
He’s very honest in the way he handles players, and he speaks very well. He’ll get a great deal of respect from the players as well as the fans.
Roy must know he has walked into a world of uncertainty at Anfield, and until Liverpool are sold, the situation won’t settle down.
Even then, people always feel *uncertain when they have a new employer. What decisions will the new buyer make? Will he keep people? Will he want his own men in? Roy understands the situation.
At his press conference, he was asked how he would cope when a new owner arrives.
His answer was very good: “I’m the same as everybody else. If I’m getting results, I’ve got a better chance of keeping my job.”
Roy knows I’ll help him in any way I canhim I I can. *Liverpool Football Club are much more important than I am, or Roy Hodgson, *Christian Purslow or Martin Broughton.
I’ve put aside any resentment I felt about not being considered for the manager’s job.
I’m focusing on the bigger picture, which is Liverpool Football Club. Roy has no problem with me being here.
I have never undermined a manager. When I was given the Liverpool manager’s job in 1985, I had the best guy ever as my ally to consult.
Bob Paisley wasn’t a threat. He was 100 per cent on my side, and I knew that.
I’ll be the same for Roy if he wants it. What matters is Liverpool fighting their way back up to where they belong.
Liverpool will always be special in my eyes but they must take care.
They are in danger of missing out on the support of a young generation, who’ve been brought up watching the Premier League on Sky.
At the moment, the kids go to Anfield because of their dads and the players. That’s the attraction.
But that can’t last forever. Liverpool have to win some silverware or lose a generation.
Whatever happens, the club can always count on my support.
He also showed support for OUR NO 9