Belfast Telegraph

Brendan Rodgers Liverpool exit sees the ego land with a bump for flop of the Kop

One woman's view of how fame altered Anfield boss

By Suzanne Breen

Brendan Rodgers rightly got the boot from Liverpool because he failed to deliver on the pitch. But his performance as a man, as well as a manger, during his time at Anfield is nothing to be proud of.

Rodgers was keen to tell the media that he was a family man, big on the old-fashioned values on which he was reared in Carnlough. Then, once he landed a top job, he bought a bachelor pad, had his teeth whitened and dumped his partner of 23 years for a younger blonde model.

It was a shabby way to treat a woman who had supported him down the decades when he was a nobody, who reared their two children while he built his career, who loved him when he boasted no big bank balance or luxurious lifestyle.

In an interview with this newspaper in April 2012, when he was Swansea manager, Brendan sang Susan's praises and spoke of the superb support she offered him as he worked 16-hour days.

Susan wasn't a trophy wife. They'd met as teenagers when he was playing at Reading and stayed together through thick and thin.

Fast-forward two months after the Belfast Telegraph interview and Brendan was appointed Liverpool manager. The first signs that success had gone to his head came in a fly-on-the-wall documentary, Being Liverpool, broadcast that autumn.

It featured Brendan's new Porsche and mansion in which a huge portrait of himself hung under a purpose-built light. Big egos were evidently not just the prerogative of players. It looked as if Brendan thought he was already a Liverpool legend before he had achieved anything at the club.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with a manager enjoying the material rewards of the job. But there was a flashness here that was jarring. You couldn't picture the truly great managers - Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Jock Stein, Brian Clough or, in more recent times, Alex Ferguson - behaving in a similar fashion.

As one critic remarked: "Rodgers emerged from the driver's seat of a car that should have belonged to an American rap star. He lives in a house you'd expect JR Ewing to reside in. Rodgers must remember it's Southport he lives in, not Southfork."

Soon, Brendan had fled the family home, bought a £1.2m bachelor pad and a new wardrobe of clothes, and Susan was traded in for the younger, thinner Charlotte Searle, who worked for the Anfield club.

Whether she would have been interested in him had he been the groundsman, not the gaffer, is questionable.

But with Liverpool riding high in the Premiership, Rodgers was God. So long as the team was scoring, nobody cared what the married manager was up to. And rightly so.

Rodgers should be judged on his professional, not personal, failings. The only reason for even referring to his private life is because he himself had played the family man and traditional values card in the media.

As a manager, Rodgers was ridiculously pompous and verbose. Roy Keane loves to talk, but the difference is that what comes out of his mouth makes sense.

Rodgers' ramblings led to comparisons with The Office's David Brent and there were even newspaper quizzes as to who said various piles of piffle, Brenty or Brendy?

Liverpool's lack of success certainly isn't all down to Brendan Rodgers and he'll be back again in management.

But we learnt a lot about him during his time at Anfield. He's not all that we once thought he was. You can take the man out of Carnlough and, in his case, you can just as easily take Carnlough out of the man.

Belfast Telegraph


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