Liverpool’s gain, Swansea’s loss with Rodgers departing
It was one year ago yesterday that Swansea won promotion to the Premier League. If compensation is agreed to, their manager Brendan Rodgers will become boss of Liverpool.
I started following Swansea City halfway through their last season in the Championship. I have cousins who live there and support the team and they told me of a club playing mesmerising football with a young ambitious coach.
I had always followed Liverpool, but I can honestly say following Swansea through their promotion campaign and then their first season in the Premier League has been a pleasure. I have fallen in love with their style of football and players.
In particular I have been intrigued by Brendan Rodgers, it is marvellous Liverpool have captured him, yet bitterly disappointing for Swansea City.
Rodgers, a former assistant and youth team coach at Chelsea under Jose Mourniho, has drawn praise from all corners of football in his first season in the top flight. Harry Redknapp is an advocate of his style of play and youth team philosophy.
He has structured the club to create players who pass the ball and defend in frenzy. He achieved with modest resources a great deal in getting Swansea to 11th in the Premier League, Redknapp believes Britain should take heed of the way he operates.
However we are now robbed of a chance to see what more he could achieve with limited resources, to see how far ‘pure football’ could go in the face of the Premier League’s money dominated landscape.
He had more to achieve in South Wales. They had just secured the services of Gylfi Sigurdsson; there mid season loan from Hoffenheim, which after a thunderous Premier League campaign, had attracted offers from big clubs. Moreover I wanted to see him continue to push his philosophy at Swansea.
A belief that intense zonal defensive pressure and perpetual ball movement is the way to play football. This article from The Guardian details his belief of how football should be played. Their whole club structure is modelled on that of Guardiola’s Barcelona. I believe a continuation of this set up would’ve rewarded Swansea with European football. If Stoke could make it, so can Swansea.
Liverpool, in my opinion, has pulled off a superb signing. A fresh, vibrant manager playing an attractive and modern style of football is what the club desperately needed. Dalglish, whilst sentimentally regarded, had zero tactical expertise given the way the team played this past season. Rodgers will pull Liverpool into the realm of 21st century European football. Rodgers has brought modern philosophical football into Britain. A place, which traditionally shuns this type of play.
He will make smart signings, like he did at Swansea. Players like Leon Britton, Neil Taylor and Joe Allen, pulled from nowhere have become Premier League stars. The aforementioned Gylfi Sigurdsson, was inspired, that the club have now signed him is a commendable legacy for Rodgers to leave.
Hopefully his legacy is more than this. The challenge for Swansea now, is to locate a coach similar to Rodgers, someone who can perpetuate this cosmopolitan footballing culture in this obscure and quiet corner of Britain.
Australia and the world can learn from Rodgers. A fresh and innovative structure of our football set up in a traditionally static one is needed here. Rodgers entered British football and challenged prevailing ideals pushing their game forward.
It is desperately sad that Swansea have lost their most revered figure. Reaction from fans will be interesting to gauge. Rodgers was worshipped like a god. Hopefully he doesn’t take any players with him and the club finds an able replacement. Equally so, I’m sure they wish him well at Liverpool. Can a Northern Irishman, from a Welsh club, be successful at Anfield?