Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Brendan Rodgers checked out!

Oh the interlull before the storm, they say! Only this time, there was a storm just before the interlull.

It was quite an eventful day in English Premier League last week. Manchester City destroyed Newcastle United with 6 goals, 5 of which came from a certain Sergio Aguero. Chelsea lost timidly (again). Arsenal defeated Manchester United 3-0 in what is now being described as one of the most eye-catching games in recent times (United fans won't agree, but that's the way it goes right). And then the most shocking of them all - Brendan Rodgers fired as Liverpool manager. The official statement says he left Liverpool as if to mean it was his decision, but truth be told - he was fired. The Liverpool piece got me thinking. Not in the right way though. It got me thinking about this brutal phase in Football where result means everything. 

Brendan Rodgers fired by Liverpool

Liverpool has been anything but exceptional in recent years. And in the one year where they were very close to the title, someone 'slipped' and they lost their way and finished second. That was also Luis Suarez's last year with Liverpool who was pivotal in Liverpool finishing second. Post-Suarez era has been average for Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers, in my opinion, did his best to make his team play an attacking mode of football but failed. He bought in many players on a premium who failed to deliver on the ground. Daniel Sturridge's injury didn't help his cause either. And add to that the saga involving Raheem Sterling, they already had a mess on their hands. To that effect, I am not shocked by Rodgers' firing.

What I found astounding was that it happened in the middle of a season and that too after buying players for millions! I don't understand the mentality of the owners and I don't have the information that they are privy to, to make such a decision. But as a football fan, it was nothing but rash. Maybe it wasn't anything to do with Rodgers but the availability of Klopp that triggered this decision. Even in that case, it was unprofessional on their part. Now Klopp has the responsibility to correct this mess and that too, quickly. I am a big fan of Klopp but I doubt Liverpool will even finish in the top 4 this season. In that regard, the owners have messed up the season for Liverpool.

Every football club needs two things - more or less - one is success and the second is stability. Running after one of them will diminish focus from the other. Take Manchester United's case for instance - sacking of David Moyes meant they were ready to compromise stability for success. Same applies to Chelsea and Manchester City, who regularly chop and change their managers. Now take Arsenal's case - stability is of paramount importance and due to the cost involved in the construction of the Emirates Stadium, they were forced to compromise success (winning the league) for more stability (consecutive top 4 finish for 18th time). Now that everything has been paid off, Arsenal can finally focus on success and stability, until Wenger decides to step down.

Speaking of Arsene Wenger, he expressed disappointment for Rodgers and rightfully so. Rodgers wasn't a bad manager, nor was he unsuccessful. After all, its been 25 years since Liverpool last won the league. If Rodgers can be termed unsuccessful, so are the rest of the managers. 

Football has become more professional and more 'corporate' in these times. Everything is analysed in terms of money that comes in and money that goes out. The transfer fees of some players is more than the prize money of winning the league. As absurd as it sounds, it is primarily because of infuse of advertising money and TV rights in the game. Advertisers pay money for returns and not necessarily for the love of the game. But they fail to realize that the product, on which they are pumping money, is losing in the long term. It will soon become impractical to invest in Football. This bubble will burst one day. Advertisers will find another product. Only Football fans stand to suffer.

I don't think there's any reason for Brendan Rodgers to feel embarrassed about the whole incident. He is, after all, a victim of the "corporatization" of football. David Moyes was one such victim too. Rodgers will now have to dig deep and start all over again. I reckon he will get a mid-table team in Europe to manage and he will do wonders to that team, the same way he did to Swansea City.

Adios Rodgers.

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