When Liverpool and Kenny Dalglish parted ways at the end of the 2011-2012 season, supporters were told that there would always be a role for Kenny with the club whenever he felt ready to return. Having previously played an ambassadorial role prior to taking the management helm for the second time, many speculated that when — and it was always when, not if — the King returned it might be in a similar capacity.
Hot on the heels of announcing the return of Steve McManaman, Robbie Fowler, and Rob Jones into the club's warm embrace, Liverpool announced Kenny Dalglish as a non-executive member of the club's board of directors.
"It is an honour and privilege to be asked to return to Liverpool as a director of the club," Dalglish said on accepting the role. "I have always said if there is anything I could do to help this club I would make myself available - when the call came I had no hesitation.
"I am looking forward to working with the board of directors and contributing to the strategic issues that affect Liverpool Football Club. Liverpool has given me and my family so much since we came here just over 36 years ago and my priority is and will always be to have the club's best interests at heart."
The fact that your heart just grew three sizes, dear reader, is precisely the reason the club leadership, including owner John Henry and manager Brendan Rodgers, extended the offer to Dalglish. He's always had a particular affinity with the fans and an unquestionable loyalty to the club that is second to none.
"Kenny has a unique relationship with our supporters and embodies everything that is special about Liverpool," said John Henry. "We are thrilled that the club will benefit from his experience, and passion for the club and our supporters.
"Kenny has a unique insight on the values and traditions that helped to make Liverpool one of the greatest sporting institutions, not just in football, but in world sport. We are proud and honoured to have him back at the club he has represented with such distinction."
What Dalglish's precise function will be hasn't been revealed — "strategic issues" is a vague concept at best, although it suggests something more directly involved in the club's future growth than merely engaging in fan service and photo-ops with Mighty Red. Whether this is input on transfers — ha ha ha! — or more long term strategic planning, Brendan Rodgers is pleased to welcome someone back who has the same ambitions for the club that he does.
"When I met with Kenny to discuss this appointment," Rodgers explained, "I was struck by the passion and drive he still has in wanting to see Liverpool return to where it should be - one of the most successful clubs in the world.
"We are all together in that goal - owners and supporters, players and management and also icons such as Kenny Dalglish. I want people around us who have this club and what it stands for in their heart."
We're celebrating the King's return today, but we should also take a minute to acknowledge something that seems to be at the heart of Brendan Rodgers' operating principal. In a sport awash with managers drunk on their own egos, few seem to be as open as Rodgers is to making sure that he, and thus by extension the club, is surrounded by the best, brightest, and most passionate advocates for the club that he can find. There is no suspicion or jealousy here, only a drive to do what's best for Liverpool.
Now, about John Barnes...