Liverpool FC: The 5 Worst Transfers of the Hodgson Era
In this, the last installment in my series of the five worst transfers under each manager between the two reigns of King Kenny, I look at the wheelings and dealings of Roy Hodgson.
I feel there is little need for me to detail Hodgson's time at the club, as it is very recent and likely still fresh in the memory of all Liverpool fans. Not wanted to invoke any more nightmares onto my fellow reds who, I'm sure, suffered like I did during his reign. Quite simply, he should never have been hired, he wasn't up to the job, and he was rightfully fired. And on that note, on with the list.
Hope you enjoy.
5. Brad Jones
Why was he signed? Liverpool already had an excellent backup keeper in Diego Cavalieri. And with a plethora of quality young keepers on the books, the signing of Brad Jones made sense only in the mind of Roy Hodgson who forked out £2.3 million for a the Middlesbrough stopper.
Supposedly the logic behind the move was that Jones counted as a "home-grown" player, as he had been on the books of Middlesbrough for nine years prior to his move to Liverpool. Given that Liverpool already had a wealth of quality home-grown players, it seemed like a very strange signing. Especially given that in those nine years Jones spent at Middlesbrough he made only 59 appearances and was only ever first team keeper for short spells, the longest of which was five months immediately prior to his joining Liverpool.
To date, Jones has made only two appearances for Liverpool, and spent two months out on loan at Derby. I'm sure, when he tells his grandchildren about his time at Liverpool he will likely forget to mention the first appearance, the shameful Carling Cup elimination at the hands of Northampton, and instead focus on the second that saw him keep a clean sheet in a Europa League game against Utrecht.
With the recent signing of Brazilian keeper Doni, brought in to serve the role Jones was brought for last summer—that of primary backup to the incumbent Pepe Reina—and the ownership by Liverpool of talented young keepers Peter Gulacsi and Martin Hansen, I think it's safe that say that barring an injury crisis, the scale of which would generally only be seen in an armed conflict, Brad Jones will never play for Liverpool again.
4. Christian Poulsen
There once was player called Christian Poulsen who played a key role in Sevilla's 2007 UEFA Cup triumph. The same Poulsen had previously been a stalwart for Schalke, FC Copenhagen and Holbaek. That same Poulsen was widely regarded as one of the top pure defensive midfielders in European football. A tidy passer, a solid tackler, a hard worker and an non-stop runner in the midfield. That was the description I heard so many times come from the mouths and pens of some of European footballs most respected experts.
The mighty Juventus were so impressed by that Poulsen, they splashed out almost £10 million to bring him from Seville to Turin in the summer of 2008. Despite the fact they already had Momo Sissoko on their books, they felt they couldn't enjoy success until they signed that Poulsen.
So sign him they did, and then something very strange happened. That Poulsen became thisPoulsen. Now I can't be sure what happened exactly, perhaps the real Poulsen decided he'd had enough of football and moved home to Denmark to build canoes and sent a doppelgänger to Turin as his replacement.
Perhaps he broke a mirror and was cursed. Or perhaps he was foolish enough to cross Chuck Norris, prompting the only man God fears to roundhouse kick the hapless Dane and knock the footballing ability out of him. I really don't know. What I do know is that the Poulsen who played for Juventus was a shadow of the man who patrolled the midfield so well for Schalke and Sevilla.
One man who didn't know that, was Roy Hodgson. Good old Hodgson decided that Poulsen was the man to replace the soon to depart Javier Mascherano in the defensive midfield role for Liverpool and splashed out £4.5 million to bring him to Merseyside. Now it has been known to happen where a player has a poor spell at a club, moves on to a new one with a new manager reinvigorates him and makes him the player he originally was.
Well, it certainly didn't happen here. Poulsen lost his place to Lucas Leiva and never came close to getting it back.
He did experience a mini-revival when Kenny Dalglish took over and turned in solid performances away to Blackpool, away to Wolves and at home to Fulham in the weeks following Dalglish's return to the club. It didn't last, though, and he spent the rest of the season hoping at best to make the bench.
Liverpool have tried to sell him this summer, a couple of teams seem interest, but Poulsen doesn't want to leave. He says he wants to prove himself. I say nobody else will give him the £60,000 a week that Hodgson handed him.
3. Joe Cole
In 2007, Joe Cole was arguably the most in-form English player in the Premier League. He was a key player for Chelsea and a star performer for England. He was in the form of his career.
In 2010, Cole was coming off two poor seasons, had lost his place in both the Chelsea and England teams and had not had his contract renewed by his club and was therefore a free agent.
Harry Redknapp of Spurs was the first manager to show interest in his former West Ham protege and was widely expected to sign him. In one of the shocking moves of that transfer window, Roy Hodgson convinced Cole to leave London and move north. Liverpool fans were delighted by the move, especially after a glowing endorsement of Cole by club captain Steven Gerrard, who compared him to the world's greatest player, Lionel Messi. Gerrard even went as far as too say that Cole was better than Messi in some aspects. High praise indeed.
Cole's career at Liverpool did not start well. He was sent off very early in his debut on the opening day of the season in a game against Arsenal and he never really recovered from the disappointment. The resulting suspension, injuries, poor performances and a change in management meant that Cole never really got a prolonged run in the team, although truth be told, when he was given opportunities he failed to take them.
Cole now looks set to leave Liverpool after only one year at the club. Spurs and QPR are his most likely destinations, although I can't see how he would get a game at Spurs with Lennon, Modric, Bale and Van Der Vaart filling the positions he is capable of playing. Modric may yet leave Spurs, but if Redknapp attempts to replace his best player with Cole, there may be a second riot in the Tottenham area quite soon.
If there are two things we have learned from the Cole transfer they are as follows:
1. If Harry Redknapp is the first manager to show interest, let him have the player.
2. It appears quite possible that Steven Gerrard doesn't know who Lionel Messi is.
2. Paul Konchesky
"One of the very best leftbacks in the league and certainly deserving of a place in the England set up."
Those were the words used to describe Paul Konchesky when Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson unveiled him to the media during a press conference at Liverpool's training ground, Melwood.
Looking back on that statement, I really can't help but wonder exactly what planet Hodgson descended to Earth from. And more importantly, I wonder when his people are coming back to get him!
For £3.5 million Liverpool got themselves arguably the worst player in the history of Liverpool Football Club. In fact, no arguments shall be heard on the subject.
Worse than Sean Dundee.
Worse than Thorben The Awful.
Worse than Erik Meijer! "He wasn't that bad," I hear you say. Yes, he was.
So awful in fact that when we sent him on loan to Nottingham Forest, their fans hated him too! He wasn't even good enough for, no disrespect intended, a championship team!
He's gone now thankfully. And I am pleased to report that my nightmares about his defending have almost subsided. Leicester City paid an "undisclosed fee" to take him to the Walkers Stadium. I would suggest that the reason it was undisclosed is that perhaps it may have been us, who paid them, to take him away.
Or maybe they paid us in bags of cheese and onion crisps!
Awful. And I didn't even mention his mother and her carry on!
The Moment of Suspense!
I know some people are currently reading this and thinking, who could be worse than Konchesky? Some others may be thinking, those are all of Hodgson's bad signings?
So who could it be? Who is the worst transfer of the Roy Hodgson era?
1. Roy Hodgson
The man himself! We paid for him so he counts as a transfer in my book!
Give yourself a pat on the back if you guessed correctly that Roy Hodgson is my pick as the worst transfer of his own era in charge of Liverpool.
Roy Hodgson was brought from Fulham, and Liverpool paid something in the region of £1.5 million to 3 million for pleasure of his managerial expertise.
Surely he will go down as the worst manager in club history. If not the worst, he's certainly in the top three.
He is only the third man in the history of Liverpool Football Club to be sacked from the manager's position following Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez (don't let that "mutual consent" nonsense fool you, both were sacked). His sacking, in contrast to Houllier who was here for six years, and Benitez who was also here for six years, came after just over six months in the job. He was appointed on July 1st 2010, and dismissed on January the 8th 2011. That gives him a reign of only 192 days.
By my count, that's 193 days too long.
He oversaw 31 competitive games for Liverpool, winning 13, drawing nine and losing nine.
I'm sure Hodgson is a nice man, and in fairness to him, he is a capable manager at a small club with limited ambition. But he had no place at Liverpool. When a Liverpool manager refers to an opponents as "formidable opposition" they are generally referring to a top-six Premier League team, or a top European opponent.
Hodgson used that term to refer to Northampton. In a home match. That shows Hodgson's small club mentality in my opinion, and the resulting embarrassment in the game that followed sums up his time at the club.
And thus I bring to an end my series of articles on the worst transfers from the eras of each Liverpool manager who took charge during the time between when the King left, and when he returned.
I would just like to say that I know some people will wonder why Milan Jovanovic wasn't on this list, and the reason for his omission is that while Hodgson technically signed him, it was Rafa Benitez who pursued him, enticed him to the club and offered him a ridiculous contract.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this article, I can't say I've enjoyed some of the moments from Hodgson's reign that I've relived while writing it.
As always, thanks for reading and feel free to leave you comments.
For those who have not read the other articles in the series and are interested in doing so, feel free to follow the links:
Benitez - http://bleacherreport.com/articles/786388-liverpool-fc-the-5-worst-transfers-of-the-rafa-benitez-era