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Rodgers: Club Legends to Play Bigger Role

Continuing with his season-long narrative revolving around looking to the club's roots with a view to the future, Brendan Rodgers hopes to bring on former LFC greats to work more directly within the club's setup.

Paul Gilham

There is a natural inclination to celebrate a hugely successful history when you're a club as storied as Liverpool FC. Providing the yardstick against which all future achievement is measured, the years of domestic and continental dominance have a tendency for some to create a nostalgia for glory days long past that leaves little room for forward thinking.

Brendan Rodgers is keen to preserve and even emphasize the club's roots, as he famously dug out the original "This Is Anfield" sign and had it returned to its rightful place above the stairwell down to the pitch. Red nets for each of the goals followed shortly thereafter. But it's not all easy cosmetic changes, and Rodgers' next initiative is to use some of the club's living history to connect the current batch of players at all levels to the success for which the club is known.

"This is a wonderful football club," Rodgers stated. "With the likes of Jamie Carragher moving on in the summer, I want to look around and see people with a link to the past.

"We will be looking to do that in a number of areas, whether that be through coaching or ambassadorial roles, but there’s nothing concrete at the moment. The most important thing for me is the club, not Brendan Rodgers."

There is already a small crop of former players taking on fan engagement roles with the club. Phil Thompson, Phil Neal, Jan Mølby, and John Aldridge all take part in the Legends version of the Anfield tour, while Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler followed the club on tour to North America last summer to do some work with the LFC Foundation.

Still, these are largely PR roles, and what Rodgers hopes to accomplish next season sounds like the forming of a deeper relationship between former players and the club that is more in line with Rodgers' holistic "one club" approach. Like anyone who knows that a good manager always tries to hire staff who are smarter or more talented than themselves, Rodgers isn't apprehensive about bringing on the very people who helped stock the LFC Museum with all its silverware.

"If I was only worried about myself then maybe having people around with great histories would worry me," Rodgers said. "But it doesn't one bit. I want to get people back involved in the club that supporters and kids have an identity with. That just can't be me.

"That doesn't intimidate me, I enjoy speaking with these people. It's very important that if we are one of the great football families in the world, then you have to have members of that family here."

A key patriarch in the Liverpool family is, of course, none other than Kenny Dalglish. After a year spent away from the club, the King met with owner John Henry earlier this week while the latter was in town for the Hillsborough memorial service. Discussions are still in their infancy as to what type of role Dalglish might take on — if not his previous ambassadorial role — but Rodgers' openness to his predecessor's return is at least a positive sign that Rodgers' values club cohesiveness over boot room drama.

Not all former players are necessarily the right fit for the kinds of roles Rodgers has in mind — aptitude on the pitch does not automatically translate to having excellent coaching or public speaking talents — but for those who possess the right skill set, they would bring to the club many qualities that you just cannot buy nor achieve through training. There are few clubs that can boast such a continuity of their club's philosophy through each successive generation of players, and a consistent attitude and approach to the game handed down from one group to the next can only serve to strengthen the club's mentality.

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