Sorry that it's a mess.
Dave Prentice: Liverpool FC boss Roy Hodgson’s failure to communicate
ONE of the more recent ‘pearls of wisdom’ to have been introduced into top level football is that when a manager ‘loses the dressing room’ his job will shortly follow.
It’s total nonsense. Premier League footballers are subject to the same mood swings as all of us.
Actually, witnessing the behaviour of Mario Balotelli and El Hadji Diouf recently, top flight footballers are probably flakier than most.
Managers fall in and out with players all the time.
Everton striker Duncan Ferguson was sent home from training in October 2003 after delivering a few “home truths” to his manager.
The pair almost came to blows and he was sent home in disgrace, his career seemingly in tatters.
Two months later he was back in the squad, scoring at Old Trafford. He had the armband back on his bicep by February and the following season he reinvented himself as a Champions League place clinching supersub.
Carlos Tevez fell out of love with the Manchester City hierarchy, Wayne Rooney was disaffected at Old Trafford.
Now they’re both fighting it out for the title.
And David Beckham was bombed out by Fabio Capello – until he won over the Real Madrid manager at club and later country level.
The evidence is clear. If you ‘lose the dressing room’, you can win it back again.
But losing the fans is different.
Once a bond is broken between a fanbase and a boss it becomes almost impossible to repair.
Which is why Wednesday night’s sarcastic chants at Anfield were so hurtful – and so significant.
Reds fans don’t turn on their managers. They never have done.
Even Graeme Souness, who lost an FA Cup tie to Bristol City, oversaw a Goodison derby humiliation and brought players like Istvan Kozma and Paul Stewart to Anfield – then sold his story to The Sun – never received abuse from the terraces.
That may have been partly due to his stature as a phenomenal former player and captain of the side, but the fact remained the fans didn’t turn on him.
The parallels between Souness’ final season and Hodgson’s first are many.
For Bristol City, read Northampton Town.
For home defeats by Sheffield United and Norwich, read Blackpool and Wolves.
For Julian Dicks read the hapless Paul Konchesky.
And while the eminently decent Roy Hodgson hasn’t sold an interview to The Sun, he doesn’t have the previous as a magnificent midfield general either.
You could sense the frustration welling up on the Kop in midweek.
The fans wanted to express their frustration at the performance and the manager, but they didn’t want to undermine their club.
So they did the only thing they felt comfortable with.
They didn’t chant “Hodgson Out!” they didn’t sing “You Don’t Know What You’re Doing!” They resorted to gallows humour.
But while the delivery was different, the message remained the same – the fans have lost faith, if they ever had any, in their manager.
And I believe that’s an irretrievable situation.
The reasons for their faithlessness had just been paraded in front of them.
Liverpool didn’t just lose to the Premier League’s bottom club on Wednesday, they meekly surrendered.
The match statistics were appalling.
Wolves, a bottom of the table team who had snatched a 1-0 lead at Anfield, went on to enjoy more second half possession than the side chasing the match.
Corners are usually a reliable guide to which team is pressing for goal the most.
Wolves led 4-2 at half-time.
Was there a second half cavalry charge from the Reds?
No. Wolves added four more unanswered corners in the second period.
Perhaps most tellingly of all, Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina had more touches of the ball than Liverpool centre-forward Fernando Torres.
The Reds fans took note – and while they will be back at Anfield on Saturday, for an infinitely tougher test than a visit of Wolves, and they will get behind their team, the first hint of any setback will see them turning on their manager again.
It’s been a problem in the making ever since Hodgson arrived at Anfield.
“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.”
It’s a famous film line, spoken by a man who refused to sacrifice his dignity.
And life has replicated art at Anfield, with Roy Hodgson cast in the role of Cool Hand Luke.
Regardless of the results on the pitch – and they have been damning enough – it is Hodgson’s inability to connect with the fans off it which caused concern right from the outset.
It seems like whenever Hodgson speaks, his courteous unwillingness to cause offence is doing just that – amongst his own supporters.
Fans were dismayed when the Reds boss allowed Alex Ferguson to accuse Fernando Torres of diving.
That the charge was patently absurd wasn’t the point.
Allowing your fiercest rivals to wrongly point the finger at one of your own was seen as an affront.
Fans were irritated when the Reds boss tried to tell them they hadn’t seen their side soundly beaten in a Merseyside derby, but had instead been the victims of an undeserved mugging.
Liverpool fans know their football – and they don’t like being taken for fools.
And that irritation turned to anger when the Reds boss appeared to publicly accept that Fernando Torres could soon be targeted by Manchester United.
“I am not naive enough to believe that there won’t be any danger and we will never lose a player like Torres. I understand these things can happen. I don’t believe we will lose him,” said Hodgson.
All very honest. All very candid. All very non-confrontational.
But not what any Liverpool fan wanted to hear.
Contrast that statement to Rafael Benitez’s reaction to suggestions Barcelona may target Javier Mascherano the summer before last.
The then Reds boss cut short a family holiday to rage: “Mascherano has no price. Barcelona could not afford to match his value to Liverpool Football Club. We do not want to sell – not even for 50million euros.”
Rafael Benitez, a manager with a faltering command of English language, connected with his supporters.
His famous “Fact” press conference might have jarred, but it underlined an unwillingness to kow tow to Manchester United. Roy Hodgson has never demonstrated that defiance – other than to chastise dissenting fans for failing to support their team on Wednesday night.
That simply underlined that the Reds boss has lost his supporters. And I can’t see a situation where he can win them back.
Read More http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-fc/liverpool-fc-news/2010/12/31/dave-prentice-liverpool-fc-boss-roy-hodgson-s-failure-to-communicate-100252-27911306/6/#ixzz19ebryJDz