9.12.03

STOP PRESS !!!!

Liverpool Football Club have issued a thinly-veiled warning to their manager Gerard Houllier this morning(And it's about time!). Qualify for the Champions League or you're fired........................

OK, OK, it wasn't that blunt.

In Liverpool's annual report and accounts for the financial year, Chairman David Moores gave Gerard a stark warning, that stands little chance of being misinterpreted.

'Over the years I have repeatedly stated that the club's overriding objective is consistent qualification for the Champions League,' said Moores. 'While this remains the minimum acceptable target, the ambition is, and always has been, to win every competition we enter.

'Last year we finished fifth in the Premiership, and won the Worthington Cup, but failed in our target of qualification for the Champions League. By no means a write-off, the season must generally be viewed as disappointing, especially when compared to recent year-on-year progress. 'We must accept that the season-wide performance fell some way short of the high standards we set ourselves, and what our fans have come to expect.'

(Funny, nothing on this story on Liverpool's official website)

Liverpool's annual general meeting takes place on 5 January, two days after the potentially hazardous FA Cup third round tie at Yeovil. But will Gerard Houllier still be in charge by then??? On Sunday, he was quick to deny he was leaving the club to head Australia's new football academy. But if I were him, I'd take the job, especially now..........Less pressure, and he can live out the last days of his career, doing what he knows how to do, developing youngsters for the future, something he did for France, which culminated in them winning the World Cup in 1998, and the European cup in 2000.

Houllier's association with Anfield stems back to the late Sixties, when he was a teacher in Liverpool. He even stood on the famous Kop to watch the Merseyside club defeat Dundalk 10-0 in the European Fairs Cup in 1969. His career then took him back to France, where, as a 26-year-old, he became player-coach at Le Touquet. He has also managed Lens and PSG (where he won the French title in 1986).

Liverpool don't sack managers. They never have. But an underperforming manager is made to resign, ask Graeme Souness, Kenny Dalglish or even Roy Evans !! When Gerard Houllier was hired, he was made 'joint manager' with Roy Evans in June 1998. When Evans realised that he was no longer needed, he resigned, paving the way for Houllier to take full charge of the team in November 1998.

So Gerard, all I can say is YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE !!

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