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Article:Post Rafa

Many of you will remember that I thought it was time for Rafa to leave and thankfully, he has done so. But I really don’t understand the blind faith of the “In Rafa We Trust” brigade. Of course we should support our manager within reason, but when the manager makes a statement “promising” 4th position and the last Champion’s League place … and then the same manager gives us only 7th place, then surely the manager IS responsible isn’t he? Surely the buck must stop with him?

I just wonder how the “In Rafa We Trust” blind faith brigade would have reacted if Rafa had stayed and we had lost the likes of Stevie, Torres and Carra? Would their blind faith have remained as the proceeds from these sales were part channelled into servicing our debts and part channelled into mediocre replacements?

Don’t get me wrong, I am glad we had Rafa as our manager. After Gerard Houllier’s last few years we all needed someone fresh and someone to inspire us…. and inspire us Rafa did with what must surely be our greatest victory ever – Istanbul. How can we also regret having someone who brought us a second Champions League final in 3 years, or who gave us that fantastic FA Cup victory?

I just think he stayed for 2 years too long – and yes, that even takes into account our second placed finish last year that as far as I’m concerned, was a “fluke”. Yes I know how many goals we scored last season but we clearly ran out of ideas with way too many draws. The title was there for the taking as the other three teams out of the then “big four” couldn’t string together a title-winning run of games either. In my opinion, Rafa’s tactics killed off our chances of finally raising that Premiership trophy.

But that’s all in the past. Rafa has gone now so what next?

I think there’s a lot of cause for excitement and optimism now. It wouldn’t surprise me if a buyer has already been found for the club – but that there are complexities with any such arrangements such as any deal being reliant on Benitez leaving, the right managerial replacement being found and our key players staying at the club. Even IF a buyer hasn’t been found, it is clearly crucial that we get the next manager right and that our key players remain.

I have received a lot of emails asking for my opinion on who our next manager should be. Firstly, I think we need to go back to basics and to the grass roots of English football – and for me, we need a British manager at the helm. The exceptions to that rule would have been Mourinho and Hiddink – but they are both accounted for.

I very much respect Roy Hodgson and what he has achieved on the Continent and with Fulham, but I’m just not sure he’s who Liverpool needs right now. Has he got the hunger needed for our top job? Can he command the respect of our top players? I’m not saying I will be disappointed if he DOES get the job, but for me there are better candidates out there.

I believe it is a 3-horse race for the top job. By that, I mean that any of the following 3 candidates could all do a great job for us:

Jan. 14, 2010 - 05344654 date 13 01 2010 Copyright imago BPI Liverpool Global Ambassador Kenny Dalglish PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxFRAxNEDxESPxSWExPOLxCHNxJPN men Football England FA Cup Cup Cup tie 2009 Liverpool Portrait Vdig xsk 2010 vertical premiumd Football.

1. “King” Kenny Dalglish

Friends have intimated that Kenny would jump at the chance. “Unfinished business” and the chance to lead his beloved Reds again might be too tempting to turn down. Clearly, he would have the support of the fans and the club and is the one man who could be guaranteed to bring stability back to the playing side of the club. This stability is just what the club needs whether a buyer has been found or is still being sought. I don’t buy into the theory that he’s been away from the game too long – when you’ve got the talent, then it doesn’t go away. At 61, he’s still relatively young enough for the position but only he can answer if he himself is up to the demands of the job

2. Harry Redknapp

Sure, Harry is no spring chicken anymore but he would clearly love to finally get his hands on the reigns of a top 4 club – although ironically of course, that’s exactly where he is now! The current Spurs boss only has a year left on his contract and he is rumoured to have fallen out with the top brass at the North London club. Yes, Harry would have to turn his back on Champion’s League football next season, but how many more chances will he get to manage a club like Liverpool? Other than Kenny Dalglish, Harry is the one manager who would certainly command the respect of the dressing room and for me, he’s one of the few bosses who could convince Stevie to see his career out with us. On a final note, Harry is a success story in the transfer market and surely the board will give serious consideration to a manager who is probably the best bet to spend wisely with what little funds are available.

Apr. 25, 2010 - United Kingdom - Football - Aston Villa v Birmingham City Barclays Premier League - Villa Park - 25/4/10..Martin O'Neill - Aston Villa manager.

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