THE permanent appointment of Kenny Dalglish at Anfield is hugely symbolic. He’s the final piece in a jigsaw which has been steadily built since the takeover by Fenway Sports Group last October.
With Dalglish’s future confirmed following the promotion of lifelong Kopite Ian Ayre to managing director and Damien Comolli to director of football, there’s now a solid structure in place to take Liverpool forward.
No egos, no distrust, just a band of talented individuals with the full backing of their bosses working together for the collective cause.
The nightmare for Reds supporters is finally over. They have got their club back.
Dalglish will take a bow at Anfield tomorrow and the roof-raising reception he receives will be richly deserved.
He has provided unity and stability which were so sadly lacking prior to his arrival. There’s been a return to the cherished old values of dignity and class, lost during the crass and divisive reign of Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
Throughout the club people have been inspired by Dalglish’s presence and that’s reflected on the field where momentum is growing on the back of some eye-catching attacking football.
But at a time when plaudits are being dished out, the contribution made by the club’s diehard supporters shouldn’t be overlooked.
The fact is Liverpool wouldn’t be where they are today without the passion and dedication of their fanbase.
Wounded by the damage Hicks and Gillett were doing to a footballing institution they rose up against them. Early on some dismissed them as militant trouble makers or in the words of Hicks “internet terrorists”.
But criticism only strengthened their resolve and made them more determined to force out two absentee owners whose debts were bleeding their first love dry.
The ceaseless campaign of marches, banners and protests, instigated by Spirit of Shankly, had the desired effect and played a vital role in driving them out.
The landmark court triumph celebrated so wildly on the steps of the High Court was the supporters’ victory.
From the brink of administration they put their faith in Fenway Sports Group and seven months on they haven’t been let down.
Anfield is now a much brighter place.
John Henry and Tom Werner have bought into Liverpool’s history and tradition. Refreshingly, they don’t seek the limelight which was underlined by their absence from Dalglish’s unveiling on Thursday.
It’s still early days but the signs are promising. Supporters now have a voice where before they were ignored.
As well as being the architects in the downfall of Hicks and Gillett, it’s the fans whose relentless campaign belatedly restored Dalglish to his Anfield throne.
When Rafa Benitez left last summer, there was a groundswell of support to make Dalglish his successor. However, Christian Purslow had other ideas and in his attempts to “steady the ship” inadvertently sent Liverpool plumbing to greater depths by giving the job to Roy Hodgson.
When Dalglish’s name was chanted after the home defeat to Blackpool back in October Reds fans were accused in some quarters of being disloyal.
True, it was an unprecedented show of dissent at a club famous for backing its managers to the hilt. But the reason why those chants grew louder was because Kopites could see Hodgson’s negativity and lowering of expectations dragging Liverpool down by the week.
When the fans finally got their way at the start of January, some pundits scoffed at giving Dalglish the reins.
Those who championed his cause were accused of living in the past. Apparently he was too old and too out of touch with the modern game after a decade out of management.
But those who follow the club week in week out not only knew what Liverpool needed but that Dalglish would provide it.
The only regret is that the fans weren’t listened to sooner.
Liverpool’s supporters have been through a rollercoaster of emotions during a turbulent campaign.
Tomorrow will be a day to celebrate and as well saluting Dalglish they should raise a glass to toast the role they’ve played themselves in a remarkable revival.