Hodgson can still emerge with credit
I’m feeling a little like He-Man trapped under a rock, but I hope to hurl it away with a timely show of strength.
It’s hard to focus on the meaningless world of sport when the country is being led into oblivion by an insufferable bunch of morons who, quite frankly, would be of more use right now as organ donors.
So, as a type, I have no idea where I’m going. Much like Ireland, I suppose. The Celtic Tiger has emerged as Cringer. No Battlecat, I tells ya. Now there was a feline you could rely on.
Aha! What about this?
Maybe we can take some heart from two other proud old-timers that refused to go quietly into the night and are now showing beansprouts (whatever) of recovery.
I refer, of course, to Liverpool FC and Roy Hodgson.
Roy asked to be judged in 10 games and when that turned out to be 900 minutes of utter drivel, he said judge me at the end of the season.
Well, I’m not waiting to the end of the season, mainly because I’ll probably be a hunter-gatherer by then, living hand to mouth and wearing a loin cloth just like He-Man’s. Enduring image, I know.
I thought Hodgson was the right man for the job when he replaced Rafa Benitez. It was also right that the Spaniard left because root and branch reform was needed and that meant a change of ownership (primarily) and management. That said, he brought a lot to the club and suffered from unjust and disproportionate abuse from a jingoistic British media.
Hodgson, I figured, was the man to steady the ship until new owners were found, but was probably destined to walk the plank after they arrived.
That, it seems, is not the case, yet. Unless NESV are more dishonest than a bunch of speed-dating Fianna Fáilers (can you imagine that amount of spoofing crammed into 60 seconds?), it looks like he’ll get a chance to spend a bit of their cash in January. Sort of.
It’s an area, along with his public relations and man management, in which he has been found wanting during his brief tenure.
Christian Poulsen, he insisted, was not a replacement for Javier Mascherano (though he clearly was), but he hasn’t even looked like an adequate back-up for Jay ‘I’ll never really make it’ Spearing. Paul Konchesky, like Poulsen and Hodgson, is another aged journeyman and was hardly an inspirational addition when he arrived to replace young left-back Emiliano Insua.
The re-signing of ‘sick-note’ Fabio Aurelio and the contract extension for Jamie Carragher were two baffling moves on Hodgson’s part, while he also appears ready to let Dani Pacheco leave the club, despite the young Spaniard being one of the tidiest looking players in the squad, let alone the reserves.
It is hard to tally this sort of transfer policy with the vision of the new owners, who have repeatedly pointed to investing in the future and backing young talent, while shunning expensive short-term contracts for players nearing the end of their careers.
That’s where Damien Comolli comes in, I suppose. It is inconceivable that the newly appointed director of football strategy was brought in to merely give Hodgson the thumbs up on his decisions, but will Hodgson be given a say at all? And if not, does he care?
His predecessor wouldn’t have stood for it, but Hodgson might just be happy enough to coast along with this one in the twilight of his career and work with what he’s given. Afterall, it’s a box office job and it’s bound to boost the ol’ pension fund.
With no discernible gameplan, he’s managed to keep them treading water after a disastrous start. If Comolli earns his wages in January by securing four or five talented additions, and given the inconsistency of all around them, top six is possibility and top four isn’t unthinkable as long as they stay in touch between now and then.
Finishing above Benitez, would represent an unmitigated success for the Englishman, though there are a whole host of reasons why we should not compare the two seasons.
However, it’s unlikely to be enough to keep him there. The owners’ desire for youth and vigour stretches beyond the playing squad and while they’re happy for Roy to keep the bench warm for now, he’ll need to make way for young blood who aims higher than “famous” wins over Bolton.
Nevertheless, unlike Ireland, he might emerge with some credit. Maybe he could come help us then. Hell, even €5m for the 30-year-old Poulsen is better than the deal we’re getting now. I’d much rather He-Man, though. He’d sort this lot right out.