“Seldom have I experienced a grimmer moment,” wrote architect Fritz Schumacher, on attending Nietzsche’s funeral service, adding, “Scholarship pursued this man to the grave. If he had revived he would have thrown the speaker out of the window and chased us out of the temple.”
The next day, Nietzsche was buried next to his parents in the graveyard of the church in Röcken, the same church where ironically his father had once been a pastor. As Meredith Hindley wrote for Humanities, “It was a Christian affair for a man who did not believe in God: the bells rang, a choir sang spirituals, and a silver cross lay on the coffin. In the running debate over religion between Förster-Nietzsche and her brother, she had the final word.”
Such is the tragedy of not being able to control one’s legacy. Others will twist words, revise or even delete history, and put whatever face on one’s life and body of work that best suits their contemporary ends (sometimes literally—a biographer of Nietzsche supposedly commissioned a death mask for the sullen-looking iconoclast).
Luckily for Kenny Dalglish, he’s still alive and sane (we assume). Unlike Nietzsche, he still has time to question the prevailing stories about his career—particularly those about his unceremonious departure from Liverpool at the end of last season, in which his club finished 8th (their worst showing since 1994). Strangely, however, the person who one might expect to do some historical revisionism of the shadow-casting variety, LFC owner John W. Henry, is instead filtering the story of sacking Dalglish through rose-tinted glasses.
Despite revealing that an FA Cup win would not have helped Dalglish’s case for remaining in the manager’s chair, Henry vaguely hinted that other factors possibly played a role, saying: “I don’t place the blame on Kenny and assistant Steve Clarke but I think it was obvious to every fan that something was wrong and something needed to be done.”
He doesn’t place the blame on Kenny? Am I reading that statement right? Is it just me, or does it strike anyone else as quite odd, if not duplicitous, to say that you sacked someone who wasn’t to blame?
I guess if anything this statement saves Dalglish the time of refuting the claims that he was the only or biggest problem at Liverpool (and not a large stretch without striker Luis Suarez, erratic performances from big-man Andy Carroll, and the huge waste of space and money that was Stewart Downing). Yes, the buck stops with the manager, and sacking Kenny is within the rights of the owners. But to sack him after one season, and then say two months later that you don’t blame him for the club’s second-half slump? That kind of talk just seems, as many people would say colloquially to refer to rudeness or stupidity, ignorant.
When Dalglish is in the grave (hopefully not for a long while), will they say he had a decent year at Liverpool in 2011/2012, was sacked, and then exonerated by the very person who signed his pink slip? Will the person, upon hearing this tale, be as confused as I am when I first heard it? I guess anything is better than saying, in hollow consolation, that “he left Liverpool a better place.”