Liverpool owners will take advice over appointment of Kenny Dalglish successor

 

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre insists owners Fenway Sports Group are taking the advice of "pre-eminent people in football" in their quest to find the right man to replace Kenny Dalglish.

Questions began to be asked about the ability of the Americans, who have only 19 months' experience of the sport, to conduct a successful search for their next manager having dispensed with director of football Damien Comolli last month.

Having sacked a club icon in Dalglish yesterday principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner now have two major positions to fill but Ayre is confident they will get the decision-making right.

"There has been some talk around the idea of how qualified are the people at Liverpool who remain to make this decision because there isn't a director of football," he said.

"You don't need to think that hard to work out John and Tom don't make decisions in life without taking the best possible advice available.

"I can tell you absolutely we are getting the best advice possible from pre-eminent people in football that will bode well in making that decision - and that is what you would expect of people at this level.

"It will take as long as it takes. The most important part being we have to get the right man for the job and Liverpool.

"But we are also cognisant we are going into a busy summer transfer window period and players will come back for pre-season so you want it in place to service that.

"You are driven by some time pressure but you need to manage that with the need to find the right person."

Ayre also dismissed suggestions the club was in crisis having also parted company with their head of sports science and head of communications in the last month.

"This view that there is turmoil because people have left over the last couple of months is not our feeling," he said.

"They were decisions made because of this plan to go forward, because there was a belief those individuals weren't good enough to take it forward at that time.

"The idea that all these people are leaving and there is a crisis is nonsense."

Phone calls started arriving last night from managers expressing an interest but Ayre stressed they had not yet drawn up a short-list, although that would be done very quickly.

And when they did it would not be based exclusively on the results candidates had achieved.

"What we look for is someone who fits in that overall plan and structure we have developed," he added.

"John Henry has publicly said we have a five-year plan for the business and the structures are falling into place now.

"You draw up a criteria of the person you want to deliver that.

"It is easy to look at a team on a pitch and see that manager and what he has achieved and think he is the right guy.

"But you also need to know he fits in with everyone else and the structure.

"We have to go through a process where we assess them and understand more than what they have achieved on the pitch.

"What are their characteristics? How are they with players and all the different elements of a football club?

"It is not as simple as looking at an individual who has achieved something and say he is the right guy."

That would seem at odds with the rationale for dismissing Dalglish on the back of one poor season, which saw the team finish eighth and 17 points adrift of Champions League qualification but also brought a first trophy for six years.

But Ayre stressed, as with evaluating potential successors, results were only part of the consideration and there would be no pre-requisite for instant success written into the job description.

"The important thing will be to see progress and that means different things," he said.

"Everyone will want to see that we believe we are going in the right direction and are moving up the table, achieving more, playing the right sort of football.

"As long as you believe week-to-week, month-to-month, season-to-season you are building on something then people will be given time.

"There is a difference between that and feeling you are not moving forward.

"The manager coming in has an interesting time because he has a new structure, a good foundation, a good squad of players and an opportunity to build on that with the support of owners, which is quite important.

"This ownership group has consistently supported, invested and stood behind the team."

PA

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