Tag Archives: kenny dalglish

Whatever happened to the player-manager?

Player-managers, eh? Whatever happened to them? They seem like an enormously rare thing now, don’t they? I mean I hardly expect Sir Alex Ferguson to put on his old boots and join Wazza and Ferdinand in Man United’s starting eleven. And the thoughts of José Mourinho becoming a Real Madrid galactico player would be entertaining to say the least. I doubt he’d still be “special”. But they were a glorious thing of the past.

Current Liverpool manager “King” Kenny Dalglish is held in the highest regard by the Anfield faithful. A phenomenal player in his day, in 1985 he was appointed player-manager and Liverpool’s success continued. His Liverpool team-mate Graeme Souness was also quite the player – and quite the manager. He wasn’t half bad at both. He won win three titles and three league cups in that role with Glasgow Rangers before he departed to manage Liverpool in 1991 – taking over from King Kenny.

King Kenny: Nevermind the player-manager, whatever happened to those old-school football caps.

Chelsea have a history of player-managers too. Ruud Gullit was the Blues’ player-manager bringing his self-described “sexy football” to Stamford Bridge – earning him an FA Cup winners medal in 1997. He was sacked by Chelsea’s then-owner Ken Bates in 1998. Bates further displayed his fetish for player-managers when he appointed Gianluca Vialli straight after Gullit’s dismissal. The Italian played only another year as player-manager but won the 2000 FA Cup as manager. And Chelsea legend Dennis Wise. He famously guided Millwall to the FA Cup Final in 2005 as player-manager. The result didn’t exactly go his way but what an achievement.

Other great player managers include Trevor Francis at Sheffield Wednesday in the early to mid 1990’s and Gordon Strachan at Coventry City. Not all great players became great player-managers however – ask Bobby Charlton and his forgettable tenure at Preston North End.

But it is a very rare thing these days. And something I’d personally love to see more of. I could picture Jamie Carragher being Liverpool’s player-manager. Or the same role for Carles Puyol at Barcelona. Or Rino Gattuso at AC Milan. Or even, dare I say it, Roy Hodgson at West Brom. Okay, scrap the last one. Football is changing. No doubt about it. But there are some old-school things about the beautiful game I never want to see die out. This is definitely one of them.

The best (and worst) of 2010/2011

Well, the football season is coming to a close. Unless you follow the MLS or the Airtricity League, of course. Let’s look at some of the best and worst of the past nine months.

1. The return of the King: OK, Roy Hodgson was never the right choice for the Liverpool job, in my opinion. Liverpool had won only one league game between the start of the season and the end of October. They were within eye-shot of the relegation places. Oh dear. Goodbye Hodgson. Hello…who? Mourinho? Rijkaard? Hiddink? No no…a club legend that hasn’t managed a club since 2000: Kenny Dalglish. The result? Great football, great league results and a respectable league finish in the higher half of the table. Long live the King.

2. Pep’s Barça kills José’s Real: Last November as blogged, I missed the opportunity to watch Cast play a reformation gig in Liverpool’s o2 Academy in order to watch el clásico in a bar across the street. The result was a match that will go down in history for a long time. Barcelona beat Real Madrid 5-0 at the Camp Nou. To Madridistas this was unthinkable given they have The Special One as coach.  To culés (Barça fans) this was a result that will be talked about for decades to come. I love Cast, but I’m glad I missed them to witness this.

3. Ibra’s kung-fu celebration: When most players win Serie A, they celebrate…sing, cheer, dance. Not Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He’s tried to roundhouse kick team-mate Antonio Cassano.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/6GOy3ScY_Kw" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
4. A city united with trophies: For years at Old Trafford, Manchester United fans flew a flag showing the amount of years Man City had gone without winning a trophy, updating it every year. Not any more. The same day United had won the Premier League was the same day City won the FA Cup. I’d say the bars around central Manchester had a busy one.

5. Bibotelli: Speaking of City, who can forget this moment of genius from Mario Balotelli? At least Edin Dzeko seen the funny side of it.

6. The return of Dortmund: Bayern Munich have long been the dominating team in the Bundesliga. This season they were ten whole points behind winners Borussia Dortmund. Jurgen Klopp’s men have had a remarkable season winning every game except for their five losses and six draws. And they won it well playing fantastic football. So much so that Dortmund had the 2nd highest average attendance in world football this season, just behind Barcelona.

7. The good, the bad & the ugly: The season seen some memorable finishes. Like this: a good goal. Or this: a spectacular own goal. And I don’t know how this wasn’t a goal.