Belfast Telegraph

Time will be a great healer for hurt Brendan Rodgers after Anfield exit

By Mark Elliot

Being sacked is like an assault on the system, physically and mentally. Why an assault? Well, for Brendan Rodgers, being manager of Liverpool was not just a job, it was a way of life... a 24/7 life flat out. Now it's over. Bang.

There was no gradual reduction or adjustment.

He's now Mr Rodgers, the ex-manager and is no longer Mr Rodgers, manager of Liverpool FC. So, physically the impact will be that his appetite might go and he may have sleepless nights.

Mentally, the assault is on his identity and self esteem. It is a shattering of dreams now left unfulfilled and what I call the thud of the sack.

There can be a feeling of being lost and disbelief that it has happened and because the job has gone in a heartbeat it will be hard for him to take.

Up until that point, he would have believed he would survive and that the sack wouldn't come. That is a defence mechanism we all use.

He will now be feeling hard done by, that his axing has been unfair and premature. He may also feel angry. I would also think he would be ruminating on where it went wrong and may engage in some self blame.

In his own head, he would have believed that it was all going to work out and when that plan is cut short, it is difficult to take.

Publicly he has to present a certain way, so that perspective clubs do not see him as damaged goods, but privately he will have difficulty accepting what has just happened.

The tension in a mind and body is between the outward presentation and the inner turmoil.

Now, it is essential for him to find perspective. The begrudgers will say it should be easy when you are getting a big pay-off as Brendan is, but that's desperately unfair.

What those people are saying is if I was in that position I'd be happy, but put them in that scenario and they wouldn't be.

He needs to take a step back and see the big picture of his life and hopefully he has been wise to compartmentalise aspects of his life, be that family, work, friendships.

If he has done that, it will be easier for him to cope because he hasn't hung his hat totally on football.

If Brendan has defined himself as football manager only, he will not be happy until he is managing again, but if he realises he has several identities such as dad, partner, friend and brother, things will be easier to accept because life will go on.

If he can see getting the axe from Liverpool as more of a pothole on the road to future success elsewhere and not as a cul-de-sac, he will move forward.

A massive advantage for someone of Brendan's stature is the paradox of the managerial merry-go-round in that it is one of the few industries in which getting the sack is not seen as a black mark against you because so many managers can be back in jobs shortly after.

Brendan strikes me as a bright, sensible, strong man and I have no doubt other clubs will be looking for him and he will be a success elsewhere.

Benjamin Franklin said there is nothing certain in life except death and taxes. Perhaps he should have added 'and being sacked as a football manager'.

Brendan should take heart that all will be well with time.

Mark Elliott is a respected Northern Ireland Sports Psychologist

Belfast Telegraph


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