Liverpool's former Director of Football feels that his work in the transfer market can't be judged unless the players involved are given more time, something that the Frenchman wasn't afforded when he left the club by mutual consent in April.
Damien Comolli will probably not be fondly remembered by many Liverpool fans, but around here his name will always bring about a small chuckle. Not because his tenure was one that causes spontaneous giggles due to how successful it was, of course, but because of his the Lecteresque poses in nearly every photograph he's ever taken, which combined with his affinity for signing young talent to enable Noel to create one of the site's most beloved photoshops:
To be fair, what inspired such brilliance was the signing of Jordon Ibe, who's been terrific since signing with Liverpool's youth ranks and joined what's becoming one of the country's most impressive Academy setups. Comolli was confident that, along with Kenny Dalglish, he was going to make Liverpool's future secure, strengthened by the high-profile signings of four British players in 2011 for sums of money that nearly nobody's mentioned. Seriously, can the totals be found anywhere, internet? It's been almost a full 24 hours since I've last seen them discussed.
Luis Suarez was his first, which we could probably agree was an okay bit of business, but what followed has developed into one of the more annoying acronyms in recent history--Andy Carroll, Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, and Stewart Downing have had mediocre to middling to downright miserable Liverpool careers, and two now ply their trade elsewhere with each of the other two strongly linked with moves away during the summer window and ahead of January.
There may yet be hope for Henderson and Downing, albeit very slim in the case of the latter, but there was none for Comolli, who left by the dreaded mutual consent on April 12th of this year. No tears were shed after what was deemed two of the worst transfer windows in the club's recent history, and his exit precipitated that of Dalglish, who took the lion's share of the responsibility for transfer targets despite the Frenchman doing similarly prior to his own departure.
We've heard bits and pieces from Dalglish, whose legacy in the eyes of Liverpool supporters will never change no matter how the last two years shook out. Unfortunately for Comolli it seems the same is true, as he's roundly viewed as one of the key reasons for Liverpool's lack of quality; he certainly wasn't alone and certainly wasn't the first to misfire, but the ripples of his impact are still being felt, and rightly or wrongly he's still blamed for the failings of a window during which he wasn't even around.
So it's not completely surprising to hear that he feels he got a raw deal, and, as much as it might be fun to poke and prod a man who's an easy enough target, cries for patience aren't necessarily out of line:
"We did 26 deals and to think we wouldn't make any mistakes in such a huge number of deals in and out would be totally unrealistic. I do not think we made any mistakes on the players going out and whether we made mistakes on the players who came in, time will tell. I am very uncomfortable for players to be judged after six, eight or even 12 months. Sometimes it takes two or three years.
"In two or three years you can say, ‘Damien and Kenny, you were wrong'. Or you can say, ‘They just needed time'."
I think we've all been a little guilty when it comes to being selective in who we dole out our patience to--I know I've got all the time in the world for Jordan Henderson and even Andy Carroll to come good, but when it comes to Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam, I was about ready for them to be gone a month or two into their Liverpool careers. That's the nature of being a supporter, though, and we can afford to be idiots because our opinions ultimately have little to do with what actually happens at the club we love. It's a luxury I comfortably enjoy.
Unfortunately Damien Comolli couldn't really afford such luxury. His opinions had everything to do with what happened at the club, and the cost, performances, and timing of his decisions proved catastrophic for his future with Liverpool. Like it or not, there seemed little other outcome than one last, lonely windowless van ride out of Merseyside.
At least the candy was free.