Football boss Brendan Rodgers still has plenty to offer a top-flight side and deserves another break, the chairman of his boyhood amateur club believes.
The Carnlough man was sacked by Liverpool on Sunday following a 1-1 draw with neighbours Everton.
Carnlough Swifts chairman Martin McKinley has known Rodgers since he joined the club as a teenager, and remembers the 14-year-old’s enthusiasm for the game.
Mr McKinley has remained in contact with the highly regarded manager over the years and says his love of football is as strong as ever.
“I would like to see him stay in the Premiership because he has got a good feel for it over the last six years with Swansea and Liverpool,” he said.
“But there is a lot of talk about the politics within the Liverpool setting, saying he wasn’t getting the full responsibility of picking the players – that it was a selection committee type thing.
“He probably needed to start improving his results, and the next few weeks would have been crucial with [Manchester} United slipping and Man City slipping up the week before, but I thought he would have been given a bit more time.
“He has brought in a few good players, Benteke and Origi’s back and it was just a case of giving them time to gel.”
The Swifts’ stalwart, who has performed various roles for the Ballymena Saturday Morning League side over the last 30 years, said Rodgers has been a good friend to the club.
“Especially when he was at Swansea he would have been back and forward and would have come over to the boys training and had a look at them.
“When he went to Liverpool his time here was limited but I was over a few times and he gave us a bit of the VIP treatment.
“I was over at Swansea a few times and there was always a bit of chat about how the club was going. He said to me ‘next year get yourselves a couple of sets of jerseys and I’ll cover it,’ and he would do things like that.”
Commenting on what he thinks will happen next for Rodgers, Mr McKinley said: “He is total football, and his ethos will be to keep on doing what he was doing.
“Who knows, there is another club sitting near the bottom of the table looking for a manager, Sunderland, who might just gladly welcome him and he could turn their fortunes around.
“He has made his name in football and will continue to do so. He has always got the background from the time he spent coaching in Spain. Europe is basically his oyster.”
The Liverpool Echo reported on Monday that Rodgers, 42, intends taking a short break from football before returning to management.
Liverpool had won only one of the previous nine matches inside 90 minutes but were unbeaten in the last six.