Kenny Dalgliesh made his return to Liverpool Football Club this month – musch to the delight of the fans. Here we explore how this homecoming of sorts has been influenced by the need for well played PR in the beautiful game.
As a life long supporter of Liverpool Football Club, last weeks announcement that Kenny Dalgliesh would be the new caretaker manager of the ailing club was music to my ears – even if it was ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.
Hailed by many fans as ‘King Kenny’ thanks to his impressive 12 year stint at the club where he won no less than 7 league and 3 European titles, his return to the club almost 20 years after his shock resignation, has proved to be a popular decision amongst the KOP regulars.
The former Celtic and Liverpool player is preceded by the unfortunate Roy Hodgson, who left the club at the start of the year, after a failure to turn the fortunes of the ailing club around and win the support of fans.
In theory Hodgson is not a bad manager at all with over 35 years of managerial experience in the game, managing sixteen teams in eight different countries – so why did he fail at Liverpool?
From lack of support from Liverpool’s reviled former American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillet to a squad failing to perform at the best of their abilities, a whole subs bench full of reasons have been given for his failings.
Yet, an interesting point was raised in response to Henry Winter’s recent article in the Daily Telegraph which blamed Hodgson’s undoing on his woeful PR skills – proving that once again PR has a significant part to play even in the beautiful game.
Looking back on Roy’s reign with this in mind, it is clear now that the PR surrounding his tenure was less than complimentary. Famed for being a politician in his play it safe conference speeches, he failed to ignite any of the passion and rally cries that Liverpool fans have characteristically sought in the speeches of their managers.
At the heart of it all Hodgson as one Guardian sports blog suggests, is simply a nice industry man, with a series of modest achievements, which have done little to stir the imagination of the headline hungry media and so his talents have gone unnoticed and unappreciated by the fans.
And this is where King Kenny differs – he is a PR dream. A captain fantastic-o for the story greedy sports pages. With a glorious career behind him and an unprecedented amount of support from the fans, his return to the club has well and truly found the back of the net – hogging the headlines of all the major sports pages.
Welcomed by fans with open arms, he is the prodigal son returned and despite the fact that he is facing one of the toughest challenges of any football manager and what is more has to do so under the constant scrutiny of the media all eagerly awaiting him to fail – he seems optimistically upbeat about his return.
Kenny understands Liverpool and with fans becoming incresingly disheartned by the clubs economical decision making processes – this is all that they want. They want a manager who is as passionate about the team and as driven to winning games (no matter who they are against) as they are.
The appointment of Kenny, will have no doubt won sway with the fans and in a deftly played PR move, faith (albeit only a glimmer) has been restored in Liverpool’s management again.
Whilst Kenny and the fans are realistic that this is just a short term solution, I think we are all relieved that the King is back on his Kop throne.