Little Sympathy For Sacked Liverpool Boss in South Wales

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Fraser Watson on why Swansea City fans would have had little sympathy with Brendan Rodgers on Sunday night.

sympathyIt was the story that dominated Monday’s back pages.

Swansea fans barely had time to draw breath from the 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, while others were reflecting on a tight Merseyside derby and Arsenal’s resounding win over Manchester United, when news broke that Brendan Rodgers had been sacked as manager of Liverpool.

And for the Jack Army, the story was of particular interest. Of course it was Rodgers who left the Liberty Stadium for Anfield back in June 2012, claiming the opportunity was too big to turn down.

Just short of three and a half years later, and the Northern Irishman has been relieved of his duties to mixed reviews at Liverpool. Some saw him as the architect of a magical title challenge in the 2013/2014 season, where the club eventually finished second behind Manchester City, while others paid good riddance to an individual they felt had completely lost his way.

In truth, the demise of Rodgers is sad one in the context of British football. Here is a young and home-grown coach, a clear student of the game, who temporarily at least, appeared to have galvanised a sleeping giant of European football.

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The loss of key players, issues with transfers and contract negotiations, and a seemingly constant altering of direction and philosophy since then have cost him dear. As a result, a British boss again finds himself placed on the shelf in favour of a foreign manager.

However, you would be hard pushed to find members of the Swansea City faithful ready to express sympathy.

Rodgers’ achievements at Swansea, in getting promoted to the Premier League and then keeping his side there against all the odds, have forever etched him a favourable place in the club’s history.

The manner in which he left, less so.

Like one of his predecessors, Roberto Martinez, Rodgers repeatedly re-iterated his desire to finish what he started in Swansea. He even seemed to rebuff Liverpool’s original advances, but a second approach, not to mention better financial offer, turned his head.

When he did part company with the club, he inevitably took his coaching staff with him, but Swansea Chairman Huw Jenkins moved to protect against a player raid by forming an agreement by where Rodgers could not sign anyone from his former club for 12 months.

But Rodgers knew of a loophole which he immediately exploited, bidding £15 million for Joe Allen and triggering a release clause, leaving Swansea powerless to block the move.

Stories have also emerged this week of Liverpool owners preventing Rodgers from bidding for Ashley Williams, citing his age. Their loss, not to mention extreme naivety, has been Swansea’s gain.

Of course, Rodgers is hardly alone in being a manager (or player) to have once gone back on his word, or to have headed for the exit door after signing a new contract. Such behaviour is part and parcel of the cut throat world of modern day football.

But by the same token, it is rare these days to find football fans ready to forgive and forget.

And while his contribution to the club in recent times should always be acknowledged, chances are, there were precious few in Swansea weeping tears for Brendan Rodgers on Sunday evening.

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