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Moving Forward, Like It or Not

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henrywerner

New things are typically exciting. So that's something to look forward to. We wanted different, and now the summer promises to be full of them. There's uncertainty, but that doesn't necessarily mean a future full of doom and gloom. If this seems like forced optimism, that's because it is. We might have asked for change, and shouted about it in some cases, but the fact of the matter is that with Liverpool on the cusp of making absolutely momentous decisions, it's mostly just terrifying.

We haven't---or at least I haven't---made a secret of the fact that this is a conversation I'm not really fond of having. I understand the position that John Henry, Tom Werner, and Fenway Sports Group were in, and I understand that in a results-based business, the season gone by isn't nearly good enough. To be closer to relegation than the top tier of continental competition is not an acceptable output for a club with Liverpool's aspirations, particularly in a season during which the ownership group had earmarked Champions League football as a major goal.

I also understand the sentimental aspect, which has made this week much more of a challenge than the typical managerial dismissal and subsequent search. There is no separating Kenny Dalglish from Liverpool, even if we said some form of goodbye in the past 24 hours. It's not a goodbye when the man departing speaks of his love for the club, his respect for the owners, or his willingness to do whatever he can to help in the future. That doesn't make a goodbye difficult, it makes it impossible.

So regardless of your perspective, this process is going to be a pain in the ass. You'll feel that some of us are being too rational and objective, and others of us are being too emotional or tied up in the club's history. It pretty much guarantees that everyone will be right and everyone will be wrong, and at some point you'll have the urge to hit Caps Lock and headbutt the keyboard. And that's fine I suppose, but it's not going to change the fact that the next few days, weeks, and months are destined to be yet another difficult time in the history of Liverpool Football Club.

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The process of moving forward started in earnest yesterday morning, when Ian Ayre gave an interview to the official site about the reasons behind Kenny Dalglish's dismissal and how things would unfold from here:

"A few people have asked that question saying 'is this Liverpool in some form of disarray?' I'd actually say it's completely the opposite. There is a plan, there's been a plan over the last few months of 'what is the next step, how do we go forward, what is the right way forward for Liverpool Football Club?' Of course you don't go out and tell the world what that plan is, you just act upon it and as I said before, we often do these things behind closed doors."

That's been a major sticking point for many, as FSG aren't viewed as "football people" and haven't made all their motives known to the Liverpool supporting world. There was a time when they were celebrated for that, when John Henry was universally praised for keeping details of Kenny Dalglish's more permanent appointment last spring private, but that time has clearly passed, and now we're at the point where there's a distinct clamor for increased transparency in a method of operations that was once lauded as being in line with "the Liverpool Way."

Ayre didn't use the the specific phrasing (thanks Yann for, you know, actually watching), but he and certainly ticked all the boxes along the way to vaguely identifying what we could expect from here without actually giving us anything resembling information:

"I can understand absolutely why certain people might think (the club is in crisis) from the outside, but we internally and as a board, with the owners, have a very clear vision of where we want to go. As a business and as a board you have to develop that plan, you have to implement that plan and that doesn't always mean talking about it in the media or even talking about it to staff internally. It's about carrying that out in the right way and the right way is about finding the right people. Some people have left but some people will come, and that's really a process we'll manage in a proper way, in a dignified way and in a way that is right for the football club, but the solution will absolutely be the right one."

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Speaking of solutions always makes me wary. Roy Hodgson was the solution to the instability the club had experienced as the Rafa Benitez era drew to a stormy conclusion at the hands of Tom Hicks and George Gillette, and Kenny Dalglish was the solution to the dire straights Liverpool found themselves in as Hodgson dragged the club to suffocating mediocrity. As much as we may or may not have wanted either of those to work out, they didn't, and now Liverpool are again in search of a solution when nobody knows if that really exists.

That's not to say any of the rumored candidates couldn't lead Liverpool to the top of the Premier League if given enough time. Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers are young and positive if unproven, Andre Villas Boas showed signs of life before he overstayed his welcome at Chelsea, and any of the more proven Rafa Benitez, Pep Guardiola, or the litany of other experienced names connected---which includes Fabio Capello, Jurgen Klopp, and Didier Deschamps, among others---could have a stabilizing influence.

There's other roles to be filled as well, with a number of possible scenarios discussed for a new Director of Football or a complete overhaul of the organizational structure, and at one point yesterday it seemed as though Txiki Begiristain had all but been anointed as the subject of Liverpool's next big announcement. That hasn't quite come to fruition yet, and it might not, but it at least indicated that, despite the panic and fear-mongering, the folks in charge might not be running around with their hair on fire just yet.

If we're waiting for the perfect appointment, be it in the managerial role or otherwise, we're going to be waiting an awfully long time. That's just never going to happen, and it's certainly not going to happen in the days or weeks that follow the firing of arguably the club's most beloved figure. If that's our hope, we're destined for disappointment. What can happen, however, is a carefully thought-out and planned process, one in which those in charge select the person they think is right for the position. That's what we asked sixteen months ago when they appointed Kenny Dalglish, and that's what we ask now, even though it's a given that whoever's hired won't be afforded the same luxuries as the most recent manager.

Hope hasn't proven to be the most reliable thing in Liverpool's world of late, and it'd be hard to argue for hope and faith and trust when the club looks to be wandering into unknown territory yet again. There's few answers in times like these, though, and all that's really left to do is hope they get it right, and place faith and trust in those responsible for making the impossible decisions, as risky as that might seem.