Being: Brendan

Sebastian Coates and Pepe Reina stand in awe as Rodgers unfurls some of his motivational moves

Episode Four of Being: Liverpool, the fly-on-the-wall documentary of Liverpool FC filmed at the start of the season, includes a snippet of a Brendan Rodgers’ team talk where he informs the players and staff present that he has the names of three of them written inside separate envelopes (see video). The names are of those he believes will let the team down over the course of the season because “they fight everything”. Rodgers promises that those envelopes will be opened at the end of the season. It’s only a vignette, but David Brent, it seems, is a non-fiction character and can be found plying his trade on Merseyside.

As thrillers go, waiting for The Grand Openings is hardly Hitchcockian in its level of suspense. Indeed, if he identified back in July three people who would hinder the performance of the team, surely he has gotten rid of them by now? That logic leads one to instantly consider the high-profile Andy Carroll, now on a season-long loan at West Ham. But Rodgers has been on record praising the commitment and work rate of the otherwise-maligned Carroll. The issue he has with the leaden-footed striker is more based on his perceived inability to fit into the speedy, harrying style of the team.

Perhaps Rodgers is referring to players on the fringes of the first-team; Stewart Downing and Luis Enrique, for instance? There’s really not much point in speculating.

In terms of motivational techniques, it could prove effective. But it’s a world away from the “just fookin’ run abarrrt” style of the old school. What would Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley have made of it? After their worst start to a league season for 101 years, it may already be time to question the new-age management guru-style techniques of Rodgers.

In fact, I’m going to say it: he’s a rich (American) man’s Aidy Boothroyd.

2 thoughts on “Being: Brendan

  1. Great article (as ever) but harsh.

    I think it is sad that when a manager has a style of encouragement rather than the Breville E540 hairdryer, he is considered soft. Motivational theory will always show that you get further with a democratic approach than an autocratic one as staff usually respond better in the long run. There are obvious exceptions.

    The ‘family trees’ of managers is kind of interesting e.g. Bobby Robson – Jose Mourinho – AVB, Steve Clarke, Brendon Rodgers (I have missed a load off)

    SAF – Steve Bruce, Bryan Robson, Roy Keane, Steve McLaren, Carlos Queroz (I have missed a load off)

    Arsene Wenger – Ho hum (I havent missed any off)

    The fact is that each player will respond differently to different techniques. The criticism i would have of Rodgers is that he sticks to much to his philosophy (will is also admirable but self-defeating). How often would Jose take off a full back for a striker, play it hard and ugly but win. Winning does lead to being about to expand your playbook.

    With more information available to managers to analyse the game now, you will find more thinkers and motivators than hairdryers in the changing rooms. Is that a good thing? Mick McCarthy and Neil; Warnock really hope not

  2. Interesting to note that this motivational technique was ‘borrowed’ from SAF, who first employed it way back in the 80s. Only just heard about that. Not sure that Steve Bruce has ever used it though…

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