Liverpool Can Learn From Newcastle United's Mistakes After Hodgson Exit
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Watching events unfold at Anfield over the last few weeks brought a sense of deja vu for me, as the treatment of Roy Hodgson is almost identical to the treatment Sam Allardyce received during his ill-fated six-month spell on Tyneside.
Hodgson arrived at Anfield with one of the best reputations in the English game after turning Fulham from relegation-threatened side into the final of the UEFA Cup in just two-and-a-half years.
Allardyce arrived at United touted as a future England boss after taking Bolton from the middle of the Championship and turning them into a tough hard working side and also made it to Europe.
Both were fairly popular at first—Hodgson was inheriting a side which had so badly under-performed during Rafa Benitez's final season; Allardyce was taking over from Glenn Roeder and targeted a Champions League return.
The first big problem for both managers came when the men who brought them to the club left. Allardyce was appointed by exiting United chairmen Freddy Shepard, while Hodgson was appointed by the hated Bill Hicks and George Gillet.
Current United chairmen Ashley admitted he considered sacking Allardyce immediately after taking over, but decided instead to give him a chance to prove himself.
Were Liverpool right to sack Hodgson?
Liverpool's new owner's had an immediate decision to make with Hodgson already beginning to feel the pressure when they arrived, but like Ashley, they rightly backed their manager to get it right.
In the end, however, the one thing that appeared to seal both men's fate was an apparent lack of understanding of the jobs they had.
"Big Sam" was often criticised by United fans for his poor style of football as they grew restless of watching the long ball tactics employed by Allardyce, while Hodgson's lack of respect shown to the Kop fans and his poor choice of words after games played a key factor in his exit.
Both received stick from fans for their signings with Allardyce allowing tough tackling captain Scott Parker to leave and bringing in injury-plagued Mark Viduka along with flops such as Geremi.
At Anfield, Hodgson allowed Alberto Aquilani to leave and bring in players like Paul Konchesky and Christian Poulsen, who have so far struggled to settle.
Newcastle was heavily critisied by the press for sacking Allardyce with the club comfortably in mid table at the time, and with a history of managers much worse than that of Liverpool, it was no surprise Liverpool's was more accepted.
Wil 'King Kenny' get the job permanently?
But the similarities between the two does not finish there—the reaction of both owners has been almost identical with the return of "The Messiah" at Newcastle and "King Kenny" at Liverpool.
The return of Kevin Keegan at United proved to be doomed after Dennis Wise's appointment as director of football undermined him, and with Kenny Daglish appointed on a six-month emergency deal, I wonder how he will cope working alongside controversial Damien Comolli, who was so heavily criticised during his spell at Spurs.
Both are old school managers: Keegan had been out of the game for three years and appeared a jaded different character to the one who first achieved so much at United, while Kenny has been out of the game for over a decade since his disappointing spell at Newcastle United.
Michael Owen, who of course has a history with both sides, claimed Liverpool was a side in transition and that they were too dependent on two star players (Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres). At the risk of angering any Liverpool fan reading, at times this season, it certainly appeared to be the case.
Newcastle's decision to look back for success proved to be their downfall as the club entered free fall ending up with the embarrassment of relegation.
Could it happen at Anfield? I don't believe they would have been relegated under Hodgson, and I do expect "King Kenny" to at least secure the club's status in the Premier League.
My worry is beyond this season. Kevin Keegan's man management inspired his side to safety during his six months at the club and Kenny's history with the club will surely inspire the same reaction.
But what happens in the summer? If he does well, fans will be calling for a permanent appointment. But will he be able to carry the momentum of the first six months into the long term.
With 18 championships, it is a shame to see Liverpool where they are now, but hopefully they will not go as low as United did!
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