Liverpool Football Club (LFC) has long enjoyed manic support from the terraces and I for one include myself in that tribe. It is a club with a rich heritage and traditions that evoke envy and admiration in equal measure. Yesterday I read of manager, Rafa Benitez’s departure, a turn that many have been waiting for as something that is needed to restore Liverpool to their rightful place amongst the premiership’s elite following the banana skin of the 2009/10 season. Of course time will be the judge of that belief.
However what was impressive in this newsworthy development was the statement put out by Benitez in response to the mutually agreed upon departure (read it here). He said:
“It is very sad for me to announce that I will no longer be manager of Liverpool FC. I would like to thank all of the staff and players for their efforts. I’ll always keep in my heart the good times I’ve had here, the strong and loyal support of the fans in the tough times and the love from Liverpool. I have no words to thank you enough for all these years and I am very proud to say that I was your manager. Thank you so much once more and always remember: You’ll never walk alone.”
It’s devoid of any trace of bitterness and went way beyond the usual political correctness associated with such announcements. Liverpool is not in the custom of changing managers like Chelsea score goals (a hurtful analogy I know – forgive me) but when they do, it seems they know how to do so. They have succeeded in creating yet another raving fan from their now ex-manager. It could all have been so different and usually is in the turnstile that is football management.
It is a lesson many companies should learn…especially when it comes to dealing with the emerging reality of their ‘Bright Young Things’ walking out the door as they are sure to do.