Having sacked 'King' Kenny, the board of Liverpool F.C are apparently casting their net far and wide, such names as Fabio Capello, Pep Guardiola, Andre Villas-Boas, Didier Deschamps, Roberto Martinez and Mick McCarthy are under consideration, okay I lied about Mick McCarthy but the short list is as intriguing as it is disappointing.
Intriguing because of the sheer quality of achievements of Capello and Guardiola at club level, the prospect of Villas-Boas being given a second chance in England and the chance to see whether Deschamps and Martinez can cope with the demands of what is still one of the biggest clubs in England and beyond. Disappointing because yet again it seems that there is a shortage of English (or even British) managers who are to be considered for this job. It's hardly surprising though given that an English manager has yet to win the English Premier League in twenty years, that the last English manager to win a European trophy was Joe Fagan back in 1984 and that only two of the last twenty one FA Cup winning managers was English (Joe Royle and Harry Redknapp). Alex Ferguson of course has dominated English football for most of the past twenty odd years but he's not likely to be offered the job at Anfield is he!
Do we, English club supporters and supporters of English clubs, care anymore about the nationality of our managers any more than we care about the nationality of our players? I suspect no is the answer for the majority of supporters, passport football (as it was once described by Arsene Wenger) is not something we consciously play - until of course we gnash our teeth when our national teams are publicly undressed every couple of years in major tournaments as the 'golden' generation becomes ever more tarnished with old age and there is little sign of improvement among the next (silver?) generation. As for ownership of the clubs themselves, well half the English Premier League clubs are controlled by foreign owners/investors.
English football, well the top division anyway, is now a world brand, although even the Championship features in the Top Five most watched leagues in the world. The last twenty years has seen the game of the people go worldwide, we are finally seeing the realisation of that early 1980's dream that English football (or at least the upper echelons) would become a global enterprise, all that is missing are the franchises moving clubs around, as in the NFL, but that is something that I suspect even the modern cosmopolitan English supporter would baulk at. Cricket and both codes of rugby may have embraced the addition of a nickname to their county/club names but I suspect there would be resistance to a club called the Bolton Blunderers or the Stoke Stalagmites.
Anyway back to Liverpool and their search for a manager. I was listening to a discussion on the radio the night before Kenny Dalglish was sacked and the consensus was that they aren't that far away from being a 'Top Four' club, but then that has been the general consensus for most of the last twenty odd years. The problem Liverpool had last season was scoring goals, they may have hit the woodwork a record number of times but only five teams in the division scored fewer goals (two of which were relegated), ironic when you consider who the manager was. There's no doubt that Andy Carroll would have been expected to score more than nine goals from 47 appearances but many of those were as a late substitute, when he scored 11 in 19 Premier League games for Newcastle he was the main focus of all their attacks, the original Newcastle number nine. The back four and goalkeeper are as good as any in the league but in midfield they were deprived of the services of Lucas Leiva from the start of December and who would have ever thought they would miss him so much after his poor start at the club back in 2007. Assuming that Carroll and Suarez can hit it off it would seem that Liverpool really are only two or three quality players away from being a decent side, whether Downing, Henderson or Adam are those three only time will tell but if the club really are that close then why not give the job to Roberto Martinez. He may have been in charge of an apparently Championship bound club at Christmas but he changed tactics, got the best out of limited resources and Wigan survived - again!