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Old 20th December 2013, 12:57   #1
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Default Brendan Rodgers glad he turned down Tottenham

Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers declined Tottenham job in 2012

• Decision to turn down Spurs approach 'a close shave'
• Cardiff owner 'a guy who knows nothing about football'

Andy Hunter
The Guardian, Friday 20 December 2013

Brendan Rodgers has claimed he had "a close shave" in rejecting the chance to manage Tottenham Hotspur as he launched an outspoken attack on the hierarchies at White Hart Lane and Cardiff City.

The Liverpool manager delivered his scathing assessment in response to André Villas-Boas' sacking by Spurs and Malky Mackay again being undermined at Cardiff by the owner, Vincent Tan. Rodgers was approached about replacing Harry Redknapp as Tottenham manager in 2012, only to cool on the vacancy once he studied the club's track record of hiring and firing managers. He was ultimately lured from Swansea City to Liverpool that summer while Villas-Boas succeeded the discarded Redknapp.

Rodgers' doubts about working for the Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, were reinforced on Monday when Villas-Boas' brief reign was ended after Liverpool's 5-0 rout of Tottenham's expensively assembled team the previous day. And he contrasted the lack of patience in north London, plus the interference in south Wales, with the support he has received from Liverpool's owners, Fenway Sports Group.

Asked how he now felt about Tottenham's approach in 2012, the Liverpool manager replied: "A close shave. They are a great club and one of the things I looked at was their history. They'd had 11 managers in 18 years there, so for someone like myself, who needed to create something, I needed to go to a club that was going to give us that opportunity."

Rodgers believes Spurs' decision to take a world-record transfer fee for Gareth Bale last summer, at a time when Liverpool refused to sanction the sale of Luis Suárez, was the cause of Villas-Boas' problems this season.

"It's difficult. They have had a good couple of years, they were up there under Harry Redknapp. Obviously there have been difficulties from Bale leaving," he said. "It shows you that when you have someone with that x-factor, sometimes eight, nine or 10 players can't replace that. That was why we fought like tigers to keep Luis Suárez here because he is a top player, he is a performer. There are many good players but very few who perform week in, week out to that level. I am more than happy with the choice I made to come here and hopefully in time it will prove to be the right one."

Liverpool host Cardiff in the Premier League on Saturday and Rodgers accused the City owner, Tan, of knowing "absolutely nothing about football" after the release of a statement that criticised Mackay's transfer business in the summer.

"I find all the talk about Malky incredible," said the Liverpool manager, a friend of the Scot's since their time together at Watford, speaking before it emerged that Mackay's time at Cardiff is up. "This a guy that when he walked into Cardiff, they had lost in the play-off semi-finals the year Swansea got promoted and waited two weeks to sack their manager, Dave Jones, on the day Swansea were in the final, which I found strange.

"Malky walked into a club that had given him 10 players that summer and he had to build a new team. They brought in someone who totally transformed the mentality and culture at the club. He took them to the Carling Cup final, to a play-off place and just lost out and the following season he took them out of the Championship and they became the second team from Wales to get into the Premier League. He is going to become a big manager at a top club and I find it astonishing that there is talk about him leaving. Absolutely astonishing.

"Iain Moody, who was released from his duties [as head of recruitment] at Cardiff, I worked with at Watford and he is one of the most authentic people you will ever meet. My only conclusion when I look from the outside is that you have a business guy operating the club who knows absolutely nothing about football. He has obviously been a very successful businessman in his life and congratulations but football is like no other business."

Rodgers said he "would fear for Cardiff" should Mackay leave and claimed there is a marked difference between Tan's and Fenway's stewardship of their respective clubs.

"They have a strategy," he said of the Liverpool owners. "They have a strategy and they have a vision of how they want it to work and they put someone in and put trust in them to deliver that. Never once have I ever felt under any pressure. If you are put under pressure in a short period of time it may affect your decision-making. I have never felt that even in the most difficult moments, the first five or six months here when there was the transition. They know where they want the club to go and are prepared to give it time to evolve."
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King
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