Stadium names is a bit of a touchy subject. Certainly, from a strictly financial perspective, it is understandable that club owners seek lucrative naming rights deals in order to generate revenue for their businesses. It is equally reasonable that fans who feel a connection to the club and its home arena are apprehensive about supporting their club at the Bet365 Stadium or the Komplett.no Arena.
Selling naming rights to individual stands inside the stadium has become a popular compromise, and one that Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group have previously stated they will be looking to explore, after discarding the idea of renaming Anfield. They made a statement of history over profits on Wednesday, however, with the announcement that the Centenary Stand will be renamed after the club's greatest player of all time.
“It is testament to Liverpool’s history and status that we are not lacking in truly great individuals, whose names could easily grace a stand at Anfield," John Wayne Henry said in a statement from FSG.
“But in Kenny Dalglish we have a person who carries such immense significance to the fabric of this club, so it feels somewhat incumbent on us to recognise this in a manner that is befitting to the man.
The Liverpool owner continued: “He is unique, not just to Liverpool, but to the game in England as a whole, having achieved greatness as a player and then enjoyed such success as a manager. His record and trophies won on both fronts speak for themselves.
“However, Kenny’s contribution to Liverpool goes beyond goals scored, points amassed and silverware placed in the cabinet. His values are Liverpool’s values – he represents what is best about this football club.
“The leadership and solace he gave to individuals, the club and city as it tried to come to terms with the trauma and tragedy of Hillsborough transcended sporting achievement.
“His name is synonymous with our club, with our home and the city of Liverpool. Now it will be as visible as it is palpable.”
There is a certain irony in that one of the humblest and least spotlight-hungry people to ever don the red shirt will be the first to have a stand named after him. Nonetheless, his accolades make him an obvious choice, with 515 apperances, 172 goals, eight league championships, three European Cups, two FA Cups, five League Cups and one UEFA Super Cup the sum total of his achievements as player and manager, over the course of 15 years at the club. That is without even mentioning his presence in the city off the pitch, where he has contributed in countless ways to the welfare of Liverpool's residents.
Whether this is a PR move designed to curry favour with fans before unveiling embarrassing sponsorship deals that will see supporters doing their singing and cheering from the Tescos Stand remains to be seen, but for now, it is nice to embrace and appreciate the gesture.