After last nights defeat at Old Trafford against their most hated rivals Liverpool fans awoke today to read some surprising news. Roy Hodgson, only appointed in July, is seemingly about to be replaced by Martin O’Neill who left Aston Villa on the eve of the new season. The story is a little shocking. Roy Hodgson was appointed as the man to steer the club through troubled waters, in the short term, and towards calmer waters, in the long term. It was presumed his experience would ensure short term stability despite all the off the field problems and long term growth, thanks to his acumen and expertise.
A disappointing start to the season, Liverpool are closer to the relegation positions than they are to a European position, have resulted in Hodgson being under pressure far sooner than anybody might have originally anticipated. Nobody was expecting an easy road and Hodgson has been on the unfortunate side of late goals – Arsenal / Pepe Reina’s mistake in the 90th minute and Berbatov’s 3rd goal to win the match – but suggestions that he might lose his job do seem somehwat untoward.
Perhaps the result of an impatient press or the manifestation of genuine disappointment from the Liverpool board in light of the results he produced, either way, the Liverpool fans know Martin O’Neill would be a decent replacement. The Northern Irishman has often been linked with Manchester United as the eventual replacement for Sir Alex Ferguson. O’Neill has had success at Leicester City, Celtic and Aston Villa. The syle of football he has asked his players to use has often been derided, considered too simple and archaic.
O’Neill would be available to start the job immediately, he is not on gardening leave from Aston Villa after leaving in August, but Liverpool are in a precarious state off the field and it is not quite clear who at this moment would have the authority to change the manager. The two American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, are in the middle of a protracted sale of the club. Changing manager now would not make selling the club any easier. In fact the costs associated with changing a manager – compensation for the outgoing coach and his staff and a new contract for the incoming coach and his staff – are very likely to make Liverpool less likely to change coach. With huge financial obligations, considering the club is in so much debt, the club is not in a position to be spending millions uneccesarily.