Tony Barrett - The Times
Roy Hodgson has apologised to Liverpool fans for questioning their support, but his contrition has come too late to safeguard his future as manager after the club’s owner, Fenway Sports Group (FSG), determined that he is not the man to take the club forward.
Though Hodgson is only six months into the three-year contract he signed last summer, he will be ousted as soon as a high-calibre replacement can be identified and recruited.
The 63-year-old has made it clear that he will not tender his resignation despite presiding over Liverpool’s worst start to a season for 57 years and his relationship with the club’s supporters breaking down, so FSG will effectively take the decision out of his hands by actively targeting his successor.
Should the right man become available Hodgson’s departure will be confirmed before the end of the season, although FSG will continue to bide its time in a bid to ensure that the problems facing the club are not exacerbated by any short-term decisions, as was the case last summer after the removal of Rafael Benítez.
Hodgson was in damage-limitation mode yesterday, apologising to supporters for his assertion that they had failed to back him. But his remorse appeared to cut little ice, with an online petition calling for his immediate dismissal attracting more than 11,000 signatories and demanding “a manager of greater quality”.
Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday was a setback too far for both fans and owners in a season in which embarrassing results have become a regular occurrence.
Hodgson attempted to build bridges before today’s home match against Bolton Wanderers. “It is a cliché but we do need time, patience and support, and the support from our fans at this club is of vital importance because that is what has made the club great through the years,” he said yesterday.
“We need that support and we need them [the supporters] to get behind us because things aren’t going well.”