Thursday 12 December 2019

John Giles: No place for nice guys like Rodgers in Ancelotti in club management

Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers
Carlo Ancelotti

No football manager has ever built a successful legacy at a club by being all things to all men. The coach is doing something wrong if he doesn't offend somebody most of the time.

Carlo Ancelotti and Brendan Rodgers are two great examples of the principle at work.

The difference between Ancelotti and Rodgers is that the Italian has no interest in building a legacy at any of the clubs he has worked at, least of all Real Madrid, the latest to show him the door.

Rodgers desperately wants his place in history alongside Bill Shankly and all the other Anfield greats and he has not yet realised that if you are an arm around the shoulders kind of manager, that will never happen.

All the great managers had a ruthless streak as I've said many times before and a big element of their willingness to do anything to win was the fact that they were very poorly paid.


Stan Culis ended up penniless. Bill Shankly died in a public ward and Bill Nicholson never had the money to move out of the tiny house he lived in, despite the enormous success he and all of these men brought to their respective clubs.

Don Revie's salary when he left Leeds was £15,000 a year, nothing compared to the money he generated when he was at Elland Road.

That, at least, has been put right and managers are now being paid well; still not in the same class as the best players but well enough to make Ancelotti a very wealthy man indeed.

Ancelotti has reached an acceptance of his place in the scheme of things. He's the best there is at going into a dysfunctional big club, steadying nerves and then winning something.

He does it everywhere he goes and I believe he can achieve that simply because he puts his arm around everyone, tells them what they want to hear and brings them onside - at least in the short term.

It's when the root problems which make the club dysfunctional in the first place reassert themselves that a man like Ancelotti cannot cope and let's be honest, doesn't show any interest in trying to. I think he reached an accommodation with this a long time ago and accepts his lot. He will never leave a legacy at a club because he will never be there long enough to cause fundamental change.

Rodgers wants to put his arm around everyone as well but he doesn't have the CV Ancelotti has built up so he looks weak and very vulnerable at the moment. Rodgers spent the season telling us how wonderful it all is at Anfield. The players, the staff, the fans, the directors, the owners? They're all great. Everything is wonderful.

But we know it's anything but wonderful. It's not going very well for John Henry and his pals, is it?

They are talking tough on Raheem Sterling, like they did with Luis Suarez, but will they give Rodgers the circumstances he needs to create a team which can make the best of Sterling's talents? Will they disband the committee? I doubt it.

Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United all have managers who demand control of their club's transfer dealings and surprise, surprise, all of them are doing better than Liverpool and Rodgers.

I feel sorry for Rodgers. He so desperately wants to be a manager of consequence and the manager of Liverpool but he has to drop the nice guy persona and start shouting the odds.

He has gone so far in the other direction, however, that I'm not sure he can change horses now and pitch himself as a hard man. Funnily enough, I think he will survive the summer as Liverpool manager, even if he looked like a beaten man after that awful performance against Stoke.

I think he has plenty of good qualities as a manager and I think we have seen him do promising things when he had some stability and some decent players.

But if he doesn't put his foot down and tell his employers that he will only continue if they give him the power he needs, we will be back in the same place by Christmas and Liverpool will then be looking for a new manager.

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