Roy Hodgson's time at Anfield now seems like a particularly bad dream. It's raw enough that you can close your eyes and recall that we were playing a 1970's style 4-4-2 with our entire attacking manifesto centred on hoofing it to "the big man" in the hope that he'd knock one in thereby allowing us to hang on grimly until the inevitable capitulation. Or something. It was an unmitigated disaster from beginning to end from which the only pleasure I could derive was the knowledge that I was right in being against Hodgson from day one.
At least that was until Saturday 8 January 2011 at about 11 am.
Before I go on I ought to give some background. I've supported Liverpool since 1979 when I was 5. I started supporting them mainly I guess because they were winning everything then but also because of Kenny Dalglish. I grew up in South West Scotland which is just outside Liverpool so I couldn't claim a local connection. I could however claim that the greatest British footballer of all time (then and now) was playing for Liverpool and that he was Scottish. From the age of 5 then Dalglish has been my hero. Everyone knows how good he was so I'm not going to waste valuable internet by going over that. He was just amazing and when he took over as player-manager after Uncle Joe left it seemed perfectly logicial. Success continued as it had as a player and Dalglish's teams produced some of the best football seen in Britain especially in the Barnes/Beardsley/Aldridge days. What that team would have achieved in Europe will only ever remain speculation - the matches against Milan of that era would have been special however.
Anyway, for reasons better explained and explored elsewhere, Kenny resigned in 1991. I was gutted and apparently didnt speak to anyone for 2 days, despite being old enough to know better at that stage. When Rafa brought him back to the club I was delighted even if he was only there in an ambassadorial role. He was back and that meant a lot. I never expected he'd become manager again however, not even after his declaration of intent last summer when Purslow decided to play Football Manager with a real club.
When I read on Twitter that he'd returned as manager I celebrated like a madman. My hero, every Liverpool fan's hero, was back in charge of the club. The sight of him with his boots on walking out at the second most succesful team in England's ground was frankly breathtaking. Dalglish was Liverpool manager once more. Yes we lost but we played just as well if not better than we had all season. Its easy to get blindly emotional about Dalglish's return but the Wolves games showed that progress is already being made and that after the 6 months of Hodgson is fantastic to see. Will he stay at the end of the season? Who knows. As Roy would say for many Liverpool fans it would be utopia but is it realistic?
Personally, I hope so. It's King Kenny after all.