I'm still a little hazy as to what the 'plan' is in terms of the club as a whole, and I still have huge concerns about that, but we're talking about Brendan Rodgers here, so:
1. I know very little about Rodgers beyond what Iíve been reading, so I can only go on appearances (and Iím talking strictly about the man here, not the structures and people around him, whatever they end up being).
to be an ambitious man who lives, breathes and eats football to the point where he was travelling around Europe in his twenties studying the game while his wife was at home minding the child. That illustrates both a love of the game and a thirst for success that already reminds me of two men in the history of this club who have my limitless respect, one of whom once told a story about taking his wife to see Rochdale reserves on her birthday and the other who spent part of his honeymoon talking football with the innovator of computer analysis. He appears
eager to learn yet at the same time has a singular vision on how the game should be played, and why. And that vision appears
, on the surface at least, to be one geared both towards winning and also quality football. Meanwhile, Iíd like to think that we, as Liverpool supporters, might identify with some of his philosophies on life, such as the following: ďI used to help dad paint and decorate to earn pocket money. He installed in me the value of a hard day's work. He believes that leads to success in whatever you do. He's right. He'd work from dawn to dusk to ensure his young family had everything. I think you can see his philosophies in my team.Ē
So itís certainly an interesting appointment, and potentially forward-thinking as well. Loopy? I donít think so. I think itís a calculated gamble on a manís character and abilities, and leaving aside the risks associated with his appointment (and they are admittedly many), those characteristics and abilities are really very impressiveÖor so it would appear
2. Unless everything goes completely belly-up, I suspect that heíll get 18 months to 2 years at the very least. I donít think failure to get a top-4 finish in 2012/13 will necessarily see him sacked. As long as his team shows progress towards achieving that goal, he should be fine. As for the fans, if the team plays the kind of stuff that Swansea regularly did last season, it will be a real help in terms of filling some of the biggest shoes imaginable. Whether he enjoys success or not, however, is not solely dependent on his own talents but also on many factors outside of his control (e.g. the people appointed around him, transfer budgets, the support of his employers, etc). In that sense, we really are heading into the unknown.
3. Looking forward to: seeing his vision and tactical set-up implemented, seeing how he gets the best out of the players at his disposal and, hopefully, some effective, attacking football as well.
Concerned about: in terms of Rodgers, just the usual concerns about someone managing a team at a certain level for the first time Ė ability to handle the spotlight of the media and supporters at a club that elicits worldwide interest (some, like Hodgson, wilt under it), ability to handle the egos of players earning £100,000+ per week in some cases, ability to meet expectations, etc. He may well meet all of these requirements with something to spare, but we simply donít know right now.
Another concern, maybe my biggest, is how the club is going to be run from here on out and how he will fit into that. I look at how the club handled the Suarez saga (effectively placing Kenny centre stage while the owners said absolutely nothing) and I shudder at the prospect of the same thing potentially happening to Rodgers. Again, it could be fine, but there is so much uncertainty at the moment.
4. Success and failure are relative terms which depend on your viewpoint. For example, some would say that Rafa failed because he didnít win a League title, while others would suggest that it was always unrealistic given the relative resources and starting points of our main rivals. And as you progress, the bar gets raised higher and higher. Me, I think that Rafa was a success in almost everything he did and was undone by having no support within the club. And my gut-feeling right now is that if Brendan Rodgers is given the right level of support from those around and above him (and thatís by no means a safe bet right now) and is given enough funds to go about implementing his vision effectively (and Iím not talking City-levels of cash here), then, honestly? Gut-feeling? I donít think heíll leave Liverpool F.C. having Ďfailed,í under my definition of the term at least.