25 Aug 2011

Kenny Dalglish and the return of the 'Liverpool Way' - Part 2

In the second part of this two-part article, Guest writer Ryan McCarthy continues to explore the influence and ideological impact of club legend Kenny Dalglish since his return to the managerial hotseat at Liverpool Football Club.

Read part 1 here

These days it has become common practice for television cameras to zero in on Dalglish for his reaction when Liverpool score, which is usually arms rising to the heavens; a smile as wide as the Mersey; caught up in the infectious unbridled, childlike joy of the moment. No matter how predictable that reaction though, it betrays the iron behind the smile that has allowed tough decisions to be made when necessary.

When faced with the departure of Fernando Torres before the transfer deadline it was Dalglish who sanctioned the move and took the decision to spend £35 million on Andy Carroll. It is Dalglish who, in the face of criticism for paying big fees for British talent, has entered the marketplace with a clearly defined plan – to buy British, to buy young and create a British core at the club again. He is willing to be judged on his plan, and by the huge cheques signed in order to implement that plan.

Dalglish’s overhaul of the squad has focused on sales as well as purchases, and this part of his plan has often been overlooked. Dalglish has consistently praised the effort in training and the professionalism of those players out of the first team, such as Joe Cole, and he's also said he will be perfectly happy to welcome back players on loan, such as Aquilani. During pre-season he focused on giving time to players that were clearly not part of his first team plans, such as Poulsen, Insua, Cole and Aquilani, speaking of his duty to ensure that all players were fit for the season ahead.

All players trained as one squad at Melwood, no players were excluded or asked to train with the reserves or youth team. Dalglish’s respect for every professional under his management has ensured that even at a time of unprecedented squad overhaul, stories of unrest or dissatisfaction have been practically non-existent. Departing players have left with a dignified silence, mirroring the respect that has been shown to them by Dalglish.

Dalglish has also not shied away from the toughest of decisions. He decided to promote Steve Clarke and recruit a new first team coach and give Pep Segura more responsibility as Reserve Team manager. Then, long-time Liverpool servant Sammy Lee was let go and John McMahon, brother of Steve, Dalglish’s first ever signing as Liverpool manager was relieved of his post. Managers of top clubs live or die by their decisions and in this respect Dalglish has also displayed his ruthless streak.

Such is the focus on a club in this day and age that even clips of the youth teams games often end up on You Tube. One cursory glance at the highlights of the U18s 7-0 win over Preston sees Dalglish on the sideline in his red club training jacket, speaking to Mike Marsh, U18s manager. You get the feeling that Dalglish knows as much about young players such as Brad Smith or David Moli as he does the first team players. He also gives the impression that when we wakes up in the morning his first thoughts are about Liverpool FC, and in the same way, when his head hits the pillow he’s planning for the next day. It feels, once again, as if the manager knows everyone from tea lady to Chairman.

The reconnect with the people who pay good money to see the team has been the most vital. Overseas supporters are just as important to the future of a club as the local support in the modern age, but the Scousers stood on the Kop are vital when it comes to maintaining the local soul of the club.

Dalglish has not been afraid to promote from within, with Jack Robinson, Conor Coady, Raheem Sterling and Andre Wisdom all tasting life with the first team squad. Dalglish’s message to the fans has been that Liverpool has young talent the equal of any other club and he won’t be afraid to use it. The inferiority complex supporters have felt for a while about our youth system has been dispelled.

Dalglish spoke of the need for hard work and unity almost from the first moment he was appointed manager and no-one has worked harder than Dalglish to lead the way. He has overhauled the first-team coaching and playing staff with a clearly defined plan; he has treated players and fans with respect; he has reconnected with the Liverpool Way and his dealings with the press have been first class. Dalglish is managing the club from top to bottom and painting it in the reddest shade of Shankly’s red.

It is no exaggeration to say that Dalglish has given Liverpool fans back their club; and the return to the Liverpool Way of doing things reminds us that now is the time for the fans to offer patience and support whilst King Kenny works hard to re-establish Liverpool as a force in domestic and European football.

Ryan McCarthy

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  1. great article.not the usual rubbish we read

  2. This is by a country mile,quite simply the best piece I have read on this site, congratulations.Positivity breeds positivity.... pass the word on to your co.writers. JFT 96  YNWA.

  3. I hope that after reading this some fans will stop thinking they know better. KK knows his stuff. Stop pointing the finger till you have seen the results.

  4. Great article. This is what I have been waiting for. The return of the King.

  5. Thanks for commenting Pio. 

  6. Thanks for the response Red September.  Liverpool fans have every reason to be positive for now and for the future. 

  7. Thanks for the comment MB, just think a bit of positivity for what Kenny is trying to achieve wouldn't go amiss, he is in the very early stages of his work.  

  8. Thanks for the comment papa, it's good to have the King back. JFT96.

  9. Excellent article. I just felt a teardrop in my eye. Love it!

  10. Thanks for the comment BP, I've cried over Liverpool myself in the last twelve months!! Nice to be smiling like Kenny again.

  11. JK, you have done something very nice with your blog. I know that you were getting dispondant around the time of Hodgson's sacking, and I know that you were getting a lot of negative comments. But the blog has returned, and the last few posts have been well-writen and the sentiment has been very positive. Yu are obviously still determined to make your feelings clear about poor sportsmanship and the hardening soul of professional football, which you have every right to do - its your blog. But having some guest writers has been a great idea, and the blog feels less of a one-man campaign now. I like the heated disagreement, but it got nasty on all sides just before you took a break. Welcome back, its looking good, and I check it almost daily. Thanks

  12. Thanks for reading them and leaving a comment Dixie.