What is the worst managerial reign we've had?

  • Don Welsh (51-56)
  • Graeme Souness (91-94)
  • Roy Evans/Gerard Houllier (98)
  • Roy Hodgson (10-11)
  • Brendan Rodgers (12-15)
  • Other - specify in comments

0 voters

Okay lads and lassies. There’s been a lot of negativity this season… so how about a bit more? If anything, it’s the type of negativity that gives us a bit of perspective on how excellent we’ve had it under Mr Klopp.

It’s probably arguable if all of these mangers were “bad” per se, particularly as we’re more blessed than most clubs in terms of our history, but what I’m looking for is to discuss which individual reign was the worst. I’ve left out the two wartime managers as that feels a bit unfair given what was going on. Matt McQueen also didn’t have the greatest win record, but he did win the league in 1923 (almost exactly 100 years ago)! I also left out King Kenny’s second reign - I just love the man too much to include him, even though our league form wasn’t exactly great under him. I’d argue he steadied the ship at an important time, which can’t be understated, and picked up a trophy along the way,

The case for each:

Don Welsh 1951-56
I appreciate virtually no one on this board will be old enough to remember Mr Welsh’s reign, but on paper he had the worst win percentage of all Liverpool managers. He was the first manager to guide Liverpool to relegation in half a century. After this, Liverpool would stay in the Second Division for eight more seasons. His successor Phil Taylor failed to promote Liverpool, but survives this list by virtue of not having relegated us.

Graeme Souness 1991-94
Case in favour: he presided over our decline after decades of dominance; he prematurely sold some of our best players and brought in some comically bad ones; he rushed to impose a new culture without full buy-in from the players; we sunk down to mid-table; and he gave an interview to the Scum on the anniversary of Hillsborough, which he later profusely apologised for but did illustrate his terrible judgement.

Case against: He won an FA Cup; he was right to try and improve diet and culture etc. as we moved into the PL era, particularly with an ageing squad; and we must also factor in his health problems at the time.

Roy Evans & Gerard Houllier 1998
For clarity, neither of them would be on this list for their individual terms. Roy Evans coached one of the most exciting attacking teams in England and renewed a lot of fans’ passion for the club after the Souness era. Houllier won multiple honours and brought the club into the 21st century.

But their joint reign - terrible. It lasted a few months and made such little sense, very few clubs have ever sought to replicate this model, with the club hierarchy ultimately admitting it didn’t work.

Roy Hodgson 2010-11
Woy may be lauded for his ability to fire-up mid-table fodder like Crystal Palace, and his international experience (the nations managed rather than his multilingual skills), but he really didn’t get Liverpool did he? An abysmal reign characterised by baffling signings, low ambition, an inability to manage Liverpool’s star talent and a poor relationship with the fans. He was sacked not long after leading us into a welegation [sic] scrap.

Brendan Rodgers 2012-15
On one hand, this guy arguably coached Liverpool to what was their closest title challenge in over two decades at the time. There’s no doubt he has some tactical acumen and the likes of Stevie G have commended his one-on-one management ability. But there was also something faintly comical about him, as illustrated in the David Brent-esque “Being Liverpool” documentary that aired early in his reign.

There was also the weird signings (with most accounts suggesting it was the controversial transfer committee that pushed for Sturridge and Coutinho, whereas Balotelli was all Brendan); and the odd soundbites ("You can live without water for many days, but you can’t live for a second without hope”). All in all, the biggest issue of all in the end was the results towards the end and the state he left the club in, which makes Klopp’s achievements all the more impressive.

Have at it…


This is not true. Brendan wanted nothing to do with Balotelli and said so publicly before the transfer was made. Now, Benteke on the other hand… And the Welsh Pirlo…

Well, at first, yes! But it was him who changed his mind after a five hour meeting (and turned down Samue Eto’o in favour, which made the thing even more depressing)

When Roy Evans got injured as a player, I think it was Shanks that asked him to come into the boot room set-up, and learn the training, coaching and management side of the club - In other words, he was being ear-marked to become LFC manager from an early age.
If he wasn’t such an all round nice guy, which in life is no bad thing, but had a more ruthless streak about him, similar to Paisley, he wouldn’t be appearing on any worse manager poll… More like one of our best - Houllier done for him
For me, hands down, has to be Souness, and his sidekick Boersma, as the worst management appointment. Although at the time, me included, there were not many that disagreed with him coming home to Anfield.

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Neil Jones has refuted the claim about Mario and Brendan numerous times saying its Brendan rewriting history.

Hodgson because it would have had a chance to get even worse.

The others had time to get to that position.


You would have saved time by starting a Roy Hodgson thread

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We’ve already got one

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To be fair it was a retiring thread that we’ve had to close twice.


We went from a top European manager to an English journeyman. He was never capable of handling the size of the job, nothing about his achievements or management style suggested he deserved such a big job.

Worse than that, though, he was a terrible custodian for the club. He was embarrassing to listen to and it felt like he never had the club’s back

Terrible manager, the only saving grace is the fact we didn’t waste a full season on him, and it was great fun for a bit when Kenny took over.


Well he did give us that ‘famous win’ at Bolton that lifted us to a lofty 12th place

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91st minute goal by Joe Cole.

It kind of summed up that period.

Hodgson without doubt for me. Going from Rafa to Roy was depressing. The football was dire, the signings void of imagination or inspiration and his connection with the fans was in negative equity within weeks of the season starting.

It was throwing diesel on already out of control wild fire.

“Some” of the best football we’ve ever played was under BR.

What about Kenny Dalglish as permanent manager in the FSG era?

I’ve been following Liverpool since winter 00/01, so the options are limited for me.

Has to be Roy.

But that is also linked with the general state the club was in at the time, for a few years actually.

That summer when the club parted ways with Rafa (was so sad to lose that Atletico semi, could’ve remained in the job if we won that) and Purslow was calling the shots was probably the lowest I felt as a Liverpool fan.

It felt like the club was so, so weak at the time. No leadership or knowledge. In no time we’ve gone from being highly competitive and on the verge of winning again to dropping a few levels very rapidly.

It’s easy to look back now, you always have a bit of hope in the present, etc. But dear me, we were in such a dark place.

And then who would’ve said that between the '06 FA Cup, one little success in the '12 League Cup, we’d have to wait until '19 CL for a return to a proper trophy and trophies in a row.

I’ve learned many lessons as a Liverpool fan so that’s why I’m not taking good times for granted.

In my lifetime it was Hodgson, without a shadow of a doubt.

That was full on rudderless, hopelessness and lots of chin rubbing

Same for me regarding those I’ve watched first hand, Uncle Woy takes that title hands down. Although I don’t rate him as a bad manager per se (he gave Switzerland supporters a lot of joy at the time!), he was probably the unfittest manager for this club. Like oil and water. g+h’s and Purslow’s only managerial appointment, but they got it really wrong, didn’t they?

However, in this list, and after having read Don Welsh’s short biography on Wikipedia, I had to vote for him. I’ll never understand how he got appointed in the first place, but how he then managed to stay in place during five long years is absolutely beyond me. The Liverpool board must have been one bunch of lazy numpties at the time… :see_no_evil:

You often hear pundits talk about managers fail on their step up because they didn’t appreciate the size of the club and how that changes the job. I don’t think there has ever been a case of that criticism so clearly demonstrated as his time with us.

People say he wasn’t given a fair go, but it was because of the way he conducted himself from the second he took the job. Sure, it was a challenging time to be at the club, and trying to win and be positive might have set himself up for failure, but that was the job. And if you don’t want to risk failure dont take the job. The fact that under Kenny our prorated total was good enough to have finished second over the season as an illustration of just how he made the situation worse than it needed to be with his negativity and lowering of expectations.

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