Getting a managerial appointment right is difficult. A number of things went in our favour when we landed Brendan Rodgers, not least the market for managers in England. The days when a club the size of Liverpool would recruit a manager from Swansea, as they did with Brendan in 2012, are gone.
The era when Arsenal would risk a manager from Grampus Eight, as they did with Wenger, or Manchester United would take someone from Aberdeen, as with Ferguson, even now seem bizarre.
It’s relatively easy to get a short-term boost from a managerial appointment which would take the pressure off board and even players, but football has a habit of bringing reality to the fore quickly. A defeat or two can make years of forward planning difficult to achieve.
I like the strategy of appointing a caretaker if you lose a manager midseason. This buys you time to test the market before appointing an available and familiar name. We have had a few caretakers in our time: Kenny Dalglish won the League Cup, while Frank Connor managed to retire undefeated before handing the reigns to Luigi.
Kenny took over a decent, if poorly managed, squad, while Frank steadied the ship after Liam Brady’s ill-fated tenure ended. Their task was straightforward, get the players pulling in the same direction. If you limit the caretaker’s remit to this, he should do OK.
Had we appointed a permanent replacement in the weeks after John Barnes ‘resigned’ we would have missed out on Martin O’Neill and all that followed. Taking your time can pay.
I’m also open to the idea of a director of football. There is no right or wrong policy on this subject. Changing a manager is the biggest upheaval a club will face (a normal club, anyway). Often the coaches and scouts go too, but if you have a director of football controlling recruitment strategy, for example, you recruit a coach to match the existing strategy. You also don’t need to start scouting players for different roles from scratch.
If we were sitting with a youth coach in charge of the first team right now I’d be doing my best ‘Calm down’ routine. A decision rushed, or worse, a decision made because you are terrified to visit Celtic Park in three weeks, would be the worst of all worlds. Take your medicine at Celtic Park but get it right for June.