In Michael Calvin’s new book, ‘Living On The Volcano: The Secrets of Surviving as a Football Manager’ we are made privy to some of the emotions that Brendan Rodgers has kept cooped up inside during the last four years and how it changes my perception of him.
I am ashamed to say that many Liverpool fans have treated Rodgers with ill regard and contempt since his failure to replicate the successes of the 2013/2014 season when the Reds finished second in the league scoring over a hundred goals on the way.
“I’ve been through probably the most traumatic four years of my life,” he said.
“I lost my mum. I lost my dad. I split up from the woman I loved for 23 years. I had a court case, two Old Bailey trials over six weeks with my son who was charged with sexual assault, which was an absolute disgrace.”
The very fact that I was, until today, totally unaware of his horrible personal experiences other than his divorce from his wife is indicative of the character of the man. He made no huge fuss over any of it but rather got on with a job that he receives so much flak from for doing what he loves. It pains me to think that I was among those calling for the dismissal of a man that has suffered so much, without thinking about the man himself.
“Yet professionally, here and at Swansea, these have been the best four years of my life. Something has to come from within. You have to put the professional and personal to each side. It’s about being happy of course, but the owners have paid me to do a job, so I will do the job.
“There’s a story about Jimmy Sirrel at Notts County which has stuck with me since I was a young coach. His wife, Cathy, died late on the Friday night, but he came in on the Saturday.
“Nothing was said. He got on with his job, he did his job. Team played the game, won the game. Normally after every game, him and his wife would sit at a little table and have a glass. Then they’d go.
“This Saturday night he quickly popped into the bar. Someone asked about his wife, and he said, ‘She died last night’. He’d lost the woman of his life, his right hand, but he still came in and did his job. Makes you think, doesn’t it?”
This season offers an opportunity for Rodgers to show his critics that he is in fact a quality manager and I strongly back him to do so. In his first season at Liverpool the Northern Irishman showed a tactical disposition that was inflexible and was often he cause for the team to lose. However, two seasons later he has over-corrected and in the semi-final defeat to Aston Villa he used two different formations.
Last season was all about the money that was wasted on signings that were destined to fail. This season is likely to be all about only well spent on signings destined to succeed. His decision to bring on Emre Can perfectly reflects my prediction that that German is the way to go as far as Liverpool’s holding midfield is concerned. The decision changed the destiny of the game with more dominance in the midfield becoming possible.
As far as I am concerned Brendan Rodgers is the manager of Liverpool Football Club and is thus entitled to my full support and nothing less. This season is about Liverpool obtaining Champions League Football and I firmly believe that Brendan Rodgers is the man to take us there.
Rodgers speaks a lot about character and gets stick for it but the fact that he wishes to emulate Jimmy Sirrel is very much an indication of his character. I think it is about time that we cut Rodgers some slack. Obviously the owners believe in him so even if we don’t it is our job as the supporters of Liverpool Football Club, and human beings really, to show the man our support.
In Brendan Rodgers I Trust.