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The worst possible thing a manager on the hot seat can do is turn against the very people that decide his job. Not the fans, not the players and not the owners. It’s the media.
Contrary to the romantic notion we have about the sport and ourselves, this is business, and public opinion is influenced and manifested through the work of the media. The understanding the world has of any club is by the way they are portrayed through publications, both tabloids and legitimate works.
It is ever so important that to maintain job security in this profession, you ensure that the media has got your back. The only way to do that is answer every single question with banal and inconclusive sentences that offer nothing in terms of content and even less into your own psyche. Dalglish is deviating from this.
In just this past month, Dalglish has made two errors, one concerning his youth players and the club's current sponsors:
You can measure it by how the club has progressed and where it is, from the first team to the kids. Off the pitch, especially, the club is a lot stronger than what it was. You go off the pitch and see how much money we are getting through sponsorship and kit deals.
Harmless enough, and actually very optimistic when read at face value. However, this is how the headline greets a reader: “Liverpool Just as Important as Premier League Points, Says Kenny Dalglish, ahead of Merseyside Derby”
Another short quote reads like this:
“We have got a problem winning games in the league. We have to educate ourselves and maybe we have to not play the lovely football that we have been." Asked whether that meant he was considering deploying a more direct style of play, he replied cryptically "maybe we have to change our philosophies a wee bit" and declined to elaborate.
And the headline: “Kenny Dalglish says Liverpool need to Change Their Philosophy”
Both of these quotes read without any pre-existing notion of their context are exactly the kind of talk you want to hear from the manager. But we all read them with the headline in mind, bringing us back to a sense of uncertainty and unrest in each quote.
The media is a very powerful force. If you give them too much they will always turn it against you. The more Dalglish comes under fire, the deeper he will dig that hole until it’s too deep to climb out.