Monday, November 08, 2010

Dear Paul...

Hi Paul,

I just wanted to tell you that I thought your last article, "We're All Right, We're All Wrong", made for rather sour reading. As you know, I respect your writings on Liverpool deeply, but this piece seemed like 50% justification of your earlier criticisms of Hodgson and 50% grudging praise for a job well done against Chelsea. Now I am just as guilty as you when it comes to prior criticism of Hodgson--but I don't make a career out of writing on LFC. The truth is that you are right: there are still question marks against RH. However, in the last few games he's done a lot to lift the gloom, and we should consider the possibility that the manager's position at LFC was the job he was waiting for in order to show his true worth. After all, sometimes unlikely things like that do happen. Who would have ever dreamed what lay in the future when Bill Shankly took over an underperforming second division club in 1959? At this juncture the kind thing to do would be not to write about Hodgson at all until perhaps half the season has gone. It certainly looks like he's beginning to communicate his ideas in an effective way to the players. Is it possible that a style of coaching which always managed to punch above its weight at smaller clubs might be becoming more imaginative and expansive at a big club like Liverpool? It's at least possible (if not, perhaps, very likely). Shouldn't you begin to consider the possibility that Hodgson might actually achieve success with LFC, and last far beyond the present season? Fourth position and a cup win would be considered a major success, and perhaps this is not beyond Hodgson and his team. I don't say he will achieve this, but while he's winning games against top opposition we should at least consider it as a possibility and give undiluted praise when praise is due. In the end--and for whatever reasons--RB has gone and it's fairly pointless to keep looking back. If Hodgson, in the long run, proves himself unable to match Liverpool's ambitions, then I'm sure the new owners will move him on. However, we should not see this as an inevitable, foregone conclusion: a subtext that most of your recent articles seem to promote.

Regards, John Wallen