Liverpool owner John W Henry has admitted that Kenny Dalglish would have been sacked even if the club had won the FA Cup last season.
Dalglish parted ways with the club four days after a disappointing campaign which saw the Reds finish eighth in the Premier League. Following their triumph in the Carling Cup, the club reached the final of the FA Cup, with reports circulating that Dalglish’s position hinged on Liverpool’s success against Chelsea at Wembley.
The Blues claimed a 2-1 victory in the decider, but Henry insists that particular result had little impact on Fenway Sports Group’s decision to axe their manager.
“The FA Cup would not have made any difference had he won it, no, no,” Henry is quoted as saying in the English press. “For us, we were 17th over the second half of the season and Liverpool should not be in that position. I don’t place the blame on Kenny and assistant Steve Clarke but I think it was obvious to every fan that something was wrong and something needed to be done.”
Last week, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson claimed the ongoing controversy surrounding Liverpool striker Luis Suarez cost Dalglish his job. However, Henry moved to clarify the club’s position over Dalglish’s tenure.
“That Suarez situation did not really play a part,” Henry said. “It did not come into play. No one man is bigger than the club and no one issue is going to determine the long-term viability of the club. We had a very poor second half to the season last year. You could say the response to Kenny and Steve from the players was lacking, the play was lacking, so that entered into our considerations.”
Despite replacing Dalglish with Brendan Rodgers, Henry still paid tribute to the efforts of the club legend. “When I first discussed making a change before he took the job, we danced around it and discussed what role he would take at some point. He did say that if it was the manager’s job, he would only do it until we had the right young man to come in for the long term. We spoke two or three times before he actually took the job.
“Kenny was always saying no one man is bigger than the club. Everyone knows what it meant when he came back, how he did right the ship and brought all the disparate elements back together. There were a lot of different directions and he unified the club internally and externally – he did an incredible job of getting us all on the same page,” he said.