Bad Management: Roy Hodgson at Liverpool

Bad Management

Last time on Bad Management we looked at how David Moyes flopped spectacularly at Manchester United but today’s subject arguably did even worse at their rivals Liverpool. Yes, its time to reflect upon the disastrous reign of Roy Hodgson at Liverpool in all its glory. Hodgson’s England reign could easily be discussed in this column but if you compare it to his time at Liverpool that 2-1 loss to Iceland doesn’t look that bad. Well, all right, it still looks pretty bad but let’s delve into just what went wrong when Roy rocked up at Anfield.

It’s important to remember that when Roy Hodgson came into the Liverpool job, he was not the joke that he is now, in fa, t he was quite the opposite. Hodgson had worked wonders at Fulham leading them to the UEFA Cup Final and picking up the manager of the year award for the 2009/10 season. Hodgson had also secured a 7th placed finish for Fulham in 2008/09, their highest Premier League finish to date. Hodgson had extensive experience managing across the globe and while he had a few dodgy patches, mainly his spell at Blackburn, Hodgson was seen as a safe pair of hands when he was appointed in July 2010, a time at which Liverpool was in the process of being sold. Hodgson however did not prove to be a very safe pair of hands at all.

Long time manager Rafa Benitez had just left the club and despite a decline at the end of his reign, he had still brought Liverpool some major silverware during his six year stint. Reactions to the appointment of Hodgson were mixed. While he had done well at Fulham and had extensive experience across the globe, he had never succeeded at a top club. Bizarrely Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish apparently wanted the job back, 19 years after he had left, but given he hadn’t managed in a decade Hodgson was chosen instead. Given that King Kenny was in the dugout by January I think its pretty clear how Roy’s reign went down.

We’ll start off with the transfers Hodgson made and its pretty grim reading. Roy’s signings are more or less a who’s who of terrible Liverpool players. Jonjo Shelvey, Paul Konchesky, Christian Poulsen, Brad Jones and an over the hill Joe Cole were all signed during the summer of 2010 and they pretty much all backfired. Hodgson showed just how na├»ve he was in the transfer market. In fairness Liverpool did sign Andy Carroll shortly after Roy left, so it could’ve been worse.

So with the back drop of a poor transfer window and a general uncertainty around Liverpool, it was looking like Hodgson already had a job on his hands to make Liverpool competitive. So after successfully qualifying for the Europa League Liverpool faced Arsenal on the opening day. A 1-1 draw at Anfield is actually a lot better than it sounds, considering Joe Cole got sent off on his debut. Javier Mascherano handed in a transfer request after the game, not ideal preparation, and Liverpool lost 3-0 to Manchester City. A 1-0 home win against West Brom capped off the month. Now it goes really down hill.

In September Liverpool took two points from a possible nine and this left Liverpool in the relegation zone. A loss to Northampton in the League Cup only made things worse. Before the home game against Blackpool on October 3rd Hodgson went on a bit of a rant. He called himself one of the ‘most respected coaches in the world’ and was insulted that people believed he couldn’t manage big players, even though he hadn’t ever managed big players. Naturally after this rant Liverpool lost 2-1 to Blackpool at home and Hodgson declarer that his side were in a relegation battle. Roy may as well have started wearing a Manchester United shirt to matches, because he was public enemy number one.

The rest of October wasn’t so bad, even though speculation was rife Hodgson would be sacked, as Liverpool took six points from nine. At the beginning of the next month they managed to beat reigning champions Chelsea 2-0, one of the only highlights of Roy’s tenure. Hodgson even received the public backing of the ownership as well, so you knew he wasn’t long for the job. In the remaining matches in November Liverpool only took four points from twelve, so the pressure was right back on Roy.

December was again a mixed bag as it looked increasingly obvious that Hodgson was in way over his head managing a side like Liverpool. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a 3-1 loss to Blackburn at the turn of the year. The fan base was sick and tired of Hodgson as he left by mutual consent on the 8th of January. King Kenny came in to replace him.

I think its pretty obvious, especially if you look at his career, that Roy Hodgson does not succeed at high profile jobs. Sort of explains his England reign, but that’s for another time. Roy didn’t treat Liverpool like a big club, speaking about relegation after seven games, and cannot be entrusted with a large transfer budget. He bought Paul Konchesky, that really sums his signings up. So Roy goes down as the worst Liverpool manager in a long while but if you have got any particularly bad managerial spells that should be featured, let us know.