End of the season, not the end of the world

One of the worst seasons in Liverpool’s history off the field has now ended in pretty awful circumstances on it.

Liverpool’s last two league games make no difference to their position, which is stuck in fourth place as the team not quite up there with the top three, pretty much how it’s been for too long now.

One way or another the ownership situation needs to be resolved and Liverpool need to stop being in the headlines because of stupid spats and spin.

Liverpool went into this game knowing one goal from them would give them the confidence and sap Chelsea’s. Chelsea scored first in a first half that they’d dominated. But when Liverpool took over the second half and got an equaliser it looked like Liverpool could do it, could get a second goal and get through.

But it was Liverpool’s stuffing that got knocked out of them. Extra time came along and a Chelsea goal was disallowed, fairly, for offside. But seconds later Chelsea were in front. Hyypia brought down Ballack in the box, and with Frank Lampard on the field there weren’t going to be arguments between the German and Didier Drogba over who was going to take it. Lampard, still mourning his mother’s death sent Reina the wrong way.

Hyypia himself should have got a penalty. Replays showed him clearly brought down in the box, with the referee raising the whistle to mouth as if to award the penalty, before fulfilling Rafa’s prophecy about him being something of a homer.

When Drogba got his second it was all over. 3-1 on the night, 4-2 on aggregate, Liverpool couldn’t come back.

Ryan Babel’s goal three-and-a-half minutes from time raised faint hopes – at 4-3 a single goal from Liverpool would see them through – but Fernando Torres, scorer of Liverpool’s first, top scorer at the club in his first season, was on the bench.

The five minutes of stoppage time in the first game had ended with an own goal from Riise that made this tie have a different complexion to what it would have had, but there was no such length of time to be added onto any of the four halves played tonight.

A lot of fans were worried about trouble in Moscow had Liverpool got through to play there against their bitter rivals Manchester United, but none of those fans actually wanted their team not to get through. To picture “big ears” in the hands of Didier Drogba or Christiano Ronaldo isn’t something that sits easy in the mind in any way shape or form. Chelsea v Barcelona would have been far easier to watch.

Replays showed a player offside for Drogba’s opener, Sami Hyypia should have been given a penalty to make up for the one he gave away, but Liverpool know these things happen, they know they’ve got to find something to make up for nights where the referee and his officials make mistakes.

Bad luck played a part too in other ways. Martin Skrtel put a brilliant tackle in on Didier Drogba early in the game and didn’t recover. He was replaced by Hyypia, who wouldn’t have been on the pitch to give the penalty away otherwise. And using a sub early in the game limited Rafa’s options for tactical changes.

But Rafa’s choices with the options he had seemed strange to say the least.

With two subs left to make, and a need to score, Ryan Babel would have expected to be next on, but instead it was Jermaine Pennant, on for Yossi Benayoun who was one of Liverpool’s brightest players, and the provider of the Fernando Torres goal that finally broke that duck for Rafa’s sides at this ground.

It went to extra time, 1-1 the only score that could have made that happen, and Liverpool just needed one goal to surely put Chelsea out. At 2-1 to Liverpool Chelsea would have needed to score twice to knock the Reds out. Surely it was a good time to go for the jugular. But Rafa waited until Chelsea scored before making the change that everyone expected him to make well before the end of normal time. Or at least half of the change everyone expected.

Babel has pace, skill, and with 99 minutes less playing time on the night energy. Give him the ball, he causes chaos, and if he doesn’t score himself Torres is there to do it for him. Not from the bench he’s not.

Rafa may have a good reason for it, but injuries aside it’s difficult to work out what it was. None of the players tonight needed to worry about playing again for three weeks; they could give it their all and push themselves to the limits, anything to get us through. Instead none of our players now need worry about playing again – in a Liverpool shirt at least – until August.

The players worked hard and in the main played well. Carra had one of those European moments we love him for where he just throws everything into stopping an opponent score. Skrtel was doing well until that injury, and Hyypia, penalty apart, couldn’t be faulted. Arbeloa did as much as anyone could expect of him and Riise took a step or two towards making up for that gaffe last week.

Mascherano was immense as ever, and whether it was his outstanding display that made Alonso seem below par or not isn’t easy to see, not without looking back at the game again without the emotional mental blocks to seeing what really happened. And who wants to look back at the game again?

Dirk Kuyt worked hard, it would be cruel to fault him, and Yossi had a very good game, as he generally does for about half of the games he’s selected for. Torres kept going and going all night (until he was hooked off) and deserved that goal. Gerrard seemed to drift out of the game for long periods, but Gerrard drifting out of a game is still a very good player. Jermaine Pennant didn’t have the impact he’d had on Saturday; Babel’s time on the field was far too short to be enough. He was given 21 minutes out of 120 minutes, and scored after eighteen minutes of being on.

But to throw the book at Rafa now for some strange substitutions isn’t on.  A summer of recriminations over why he did what he did isn’t fair. This man got us to the semi-finals and this man will get us to many more if he’s given the almost unconditional support from the fans and the board that he deserves.

Forget the ownership mess – for now, you’ll soon be hearing little else again – and think about what Rafa has done this season with the players he had.

They are good players. The best goalkeeper in league, arguably. Three central midfielders that most other top flight clubs would fight hard to get. A forward who turns the rest of Europe green.

Failure to find top-class out-and-out wide players means Rafa’s 4-2-3-1 formation could be described as a forced decision as much as a masterstroke. But it’s worked, on the whole, and unless Rafa wants to vary the tactics over the course of next season maybe there’s no need to go looking for elusive wingers any more.

And varying the tactics is something Rafa needs to think carefully about. The rotation policy is often criticised far more than it should be, but Rafa seemed to admit to himself after the FA Cup exit that it wasn’t needed quite as much as he’d always thought.

Rumours of key players falling out with Rafa have surfaced over and over again through the course of the season, but as with most of the rumours that have plagued this season may well have been exaggerated. If Rafa’s staying, as seems certain, those players need to think about their futures. If they can’t work under Rafa, they need to find new clubs, however much of a wrench it might be. We do not want to go into a new season with any more backstabbing underhanded double-dealing at our club. We’re better off with the money their sales would attract, and a chance to build a strong squad that’s in unison with each other and with the coaches.

And after struggling to get his own way for four years Rafa has to decide if he’s got the control he wants as we go into the new season. He deserves far more control than he’s had, in terms of how his budget is handled.

Up until now, Rafa has never really had a budget as such. He’s not had a net spending figure thrown at him, leaving him to decide who to hire or fire.

Give Rafa an annual budget to spend on all the staff he needs to do his job. One big figure that covers all of his staff – playing or coaching. If he wants a winger and a full-back, and he can’t get the winger’s price down low enough to help him afford the full-back he has in mind then it should be up to him to decide what to do. Find a different winger, or a different full-back. Or sell a squad player to help him get both.

If he wants to sack a coach, but pay him gardening leave so he doesn’t go elsewhere, that should be his choice. It’s his budget and his decision on whether stopping the coach going to a rival is more important than spending that bit of the wage bill on a replacement.

And talking of budgets, Rafa needs to be clear that he’s happy with what he’s given. He needs to ensure whoever is in charge is giving him as much of what he needs as they can. And then he needs to be sure he’s not going to be grumbling in November about a lack of funds.

We start the season with a manager who has clear targets, targets clear to the fans too, and a manager who feels he has no excuse not to reach them.

At first glance we’ve not made progress at all this season. We will finish one place lower in the league, and we finished one stage further back in Europe. But in fact we’ve got two points more than we finished last season with, and with two games to go. We’re currently eleven points from the top compared to a gap of 21 points last season. And in the Champions League going out 4-3 on aggregate in extra time at the semi-final stage is as close as it gets to going into the final after a penalty shoot-out.

There can be no complaints about the Champions League run. The frustration comes from looking at the league table. Eleven points off the top, and some of the stupid points we dropped. In fact take Saturday’s draw into consideration with us using a low-strength side and we could argue we would be nine points off the top had it mattered.

We have drawn 13 games out of the 36 played so far. Manchester United have actually lost one game more than we have. Chelsea and Arsenal have only lost one game less than us.

We dropped three points at Reading because with George Gillett planning to wait in Marseille ready to give Rafa the push the manager sacrificed the points. Gillett went to Marseille, but we won, and the owners’ plan went on permanent hold. That was the first league defeat of the season, and to give Reading some credit they may still have won even if Rafa hadn’t been distracted, but it has to be seen as points dropped. The next league game was at home to Manchester United and a lacklustre side lost a lacklustre game, two league defeats in a row.

A good win over Portsmouth was soon forgotten as Liverpool scraped a 2-1 win over Derby. Derby have been so bad this season that they might break Premier League records for it, and we nearly dropped two points, a 90th minute goal sparing our blushes. But how we blushed after that. We drew, in successive games, against Manchester City, Wigan, Middlesbrough and Villa. Then we lost against West Ham. That run of four draws and a defeat alone cost us 11 points – the gap from us to the top. (In the middle of all of this was the revelation in the Echo from Tom Hicks about Jurgen Klinsmann.)

The next game saw us go 57 minutes at 0-0 against a team in the relegation zone at that time, before three goals flattered us and disappointed Sunderland.

The next game was a draw, but for once it was at least acceptable, 0-0 against Chelsea. It was just after this we went out of the FA Cup and Rafa pretty much ended his rotation for the season. Seven wins in a row in the League and Champions League followed, broken only by that 3-0 defeat to Steve Bennett.

The results from mid-December to mid-February were awful, and ended our chances of challenging for the league. It’s only now that we can see how close we could have been.

Rather than point the blame in one direction, everyone needs to look back and think what part they played in the slump.

Whether it’s new owners learning from other people’s mistakes or new owners learning from their own mistakes we can’t have another situation like the one that burst out in November. If you want to sack the manager, make sure it’s for the right reasons. If you can’t be honest with supporters about your reasons for sacking him then you probably shouldn’t be sacking him. If you can be honest, and you feel it’s justified – just get it done.

Don’t allow factions to develop at the club at any level. It isn’t just the playing squad that needs to work well together as a team. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion and it’s healthier for the club if some opinions do differ, but disagreeing shouldn’t mean major fall-outs. If you aren’t acting for the good of the club then you probably should leave, and that applies from top to bottom. We shouldn’t have a situation where the two halves of the one vote don’t get along at all, to the point of not speaking, ever again. 50:50 ownership has to be an experiment consigned to the club museum’s “failure” display, next to joint managers and a long list of players that aren’t worth mentioning in an article about the current squad.

Rafa isn’t immune from criticism, but it should be constructive. People certainly shouldn’t be suggesting in mid-March that the December to February run was a deliberate ploy on Rafa’s part to somehow get what he wanted from the ownership mess. He’s not as innocent as we’d like to think, but he’s not that bad.

Season 2008-09 should be subtitled “No excuses”. There better not be any, or a need for any.

Whoever is in control of the club better be there because they want silverware as well as pieces of silver. Whoever is managing the club should be doing so because they believe they have given us realistic expectations, expectations they endeavour to smash. All the players should be behind their manager 100% – if not they shouldn’t be there.

As close as we got to a having a memorable season for the right reasons, as much as we managed to make a slight improvement in the league, as close as we came to another Champions League final, we have to remember that those ahead of us won’t be standing still this summer. Get the ownership mess fixed now and make sure we’re not left to fall behind.

As bad as it feels tonight we’ve got a hell of a lot to look forward to, or at least a hell of a lot to try and look forward to.

Thanks to Rafa and his men for giving us some good times in amongst the depressingly bad. And here’s to more good times to come.

357 thoughts on “End of the season, not the end of the world”

  1. @Anthony Fakir: It could be innocent, I’ll let them explain.

    There’s three names in particular that have been here and backing each other up like relay runners. As I say, it could be for good reason. There’s also a fourth name tied up with them, but that was only used once.

    I’ll be able to tell if at least one of them has seen these comments. If I get no response then I’m not sure what to do just yet, whether to point out the linked names, or whether to point out the repeated IP addresses (going back some time).

    I doubt it’s a conspiracy theory though to be honest. But we’ll see.

  2. Interestingly enough, one of the “three” visited the site at 19:46. They looked at this post, and at the comments, including the question about the IP addresses. Then they left.

    It looks less innocent the longer they go without making what might be a simple (and verifiable) explanation.

  3. @Anthony Fakir: Yes, probably.

    I’ll put the names up later if “they” don’t have the guts to explain.

    Not sure whether to also mention where “they” work.

    And if they prefer, they can always email me using the contact form to explain what’s going on.

  4. Why not just name them so all the other posters on here would have some understanding of why they are doing it. If you don’t name them then we are left wondering if its true or not that some posters are infact one person. I don’t think its very fair on the genuine posters.

  5. @Fred: The only reason I’m not naming them straight away is to give them a reasonable chance to explain. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt, but given they’ve seen my post asking the question I don’t think I need to give them much more time.

    I’m just doing a bit more digging first.

  6. Jim – You also have a responsibility to the genuine posters who people may get suspicious about and they will infact be innocent.

  7. I look forward to you naming them. People who don’t live in Liverpool don’t have the chance to hear the views of the fans who go to the majority of the games ie the voices on the terraces so they use sites like this to get a feel of fellow fans views on whats going on but if we are having 1 person posting under different names with the same views it muddys the waters as to what other peoples views are.

  8. Jim, I’ve been out for a little while but have just come back and read these latest posts. Myself, Ellery and a third flatmate who is Anfielder all happen to be flatmates together in North London. We live in a house of 6 people, 4 of whom are Liverpool fans. Anfielder (who would prefer to remain anonymous) is one of the other two. I do hope we are allowed to discuss these issues and post our own posts on your website without being made to feel like some sort of conspiracist sect. If we were really doing something sinister then do you think we would really all use the same IP address ???

  9. “Dawg – You are talking about football in America, well my thjougths on football an America are that it is a no brainer. ”

    Anthony,

    No doubt football in America isn’t much, but look at the list of youth teams that played in the Dallas Cup that Liverpool won as well as some of the past champions. They represent some very well known clubs. The Dallas Cup just happens to be in the US. It’s dominated by international clubs though.

    And the US does have at least one promising young player right now in Jozy Altidore: http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2008/05/01/jozy-altidore-should-brush-up-his-spanish/

  10. @leanne hitchens: I did say that there might be some innocent reasons for it, some of which I can check out. You’ve changed IP address again, to one you’ve never used before.

    Who’s “Jimmy”?

    All of this can be pretty innocent, as I’ve said, but there’s a bit more to it than you’ve let on so far.

  11. Dawg – There are a number of American players in the UK, one of them used to play for Liverpool Brad Friedel. Some of them are fairly decent although they are not at the top of the tree but none the less they are still good players. As for the under 18’s well with the exception of this year they won the youth club they are a good team. Remember I told you that some of the youngsters at the club looked like they where going to be shithot.

  12. To be honest Jim their posts are all noise to me… Once, twice, three times a poster… all noise.

  13. Dawg – Correction:-

    As for the under 18’s well with the exception of this year they won the youth club they are a good team.

    Should read-

    As for the under 18’s well with the exception of this year they won the FA youth cup they are a good team.

    Thought you might like to know but one of them was involved in a car crash not far from Liverpool John Lennon Airport, two people died. The liverpool player is alive but had to have a kidney removed, he had other injuries to, don’t know whether he will play football again though.

  14. Anthony,

    I would love for football to become more popular in the US and for American youth with talent to be able to have the financial incentive to stick with football instead of moving to baseball or American football once they get to an age where they must choose their sport. I realize anti-Americanism is very popular here (just see ellery jackson’s posts, for example) and elsewhere right now, but fans of football should want the game to become more popular in any wealthy nation of 300 million people. That means higher salaries, more talent, more competition, etc. for football around the globe.

  15. Nah leave the yanks to their rounders and netball the rest of the world will carry on enjoying its football.

  16. ” Martin // May 3, 2008 at 8:52 pm
    To be honest Jim their posts are all noise to me… Once, twice, three times a poster… all noise. ”

    Jim – I agree the all seem to just be nit picking going around in circles with no real aim to their questions.

  17. Anfielder posted:
    “Leanne, you’re wasting your time expecting Jim to answer your questions because even if you do assume the absolute worst about DIC”

    Ellery Jackson posted:
    “No Leanne you’re definitely not alone if you consider Jim’s answer to your question piss poor.”

    But surely if you’re living together don’t need a forum to communicate amongst yourselves?????????

  18. Have you ever seen that film raising cain? Its got the man out of Third Rock From The Sun and Drew Barrymore out of ET. It might be the same person with multiple personallities.

  19. It is innocent Jim and you shouldn’t be trying to make it look sinister just because three people who live in the same house and don’t agree with you are prepared to all say so on your website at the same time. I can’t see why you would think theres anything “sinister” about four Liverpool supporting flatmates who all sit around and discuss LFC issues and some of us actively participating on your website. I am fairly sure the 4th Liverpool supporting flatmate has never posted on this site so I think you must be wrong about this although I will verify this for certain at the first available chance. Can you please tell me the username of the fourth person you refer to. I think you are wrong about this but I’m quite happy to check at the first available chance??

    You’ve asked who is “Jimmy”. Since you’ve already taken the liberty of breaching his privacy rights I don’t think Jimmy will now object to me telling you that he is Anfielder.

    Anthony you asked if we are students from Liverpool. We are not from Liverpool but we do try to get up there for games from time to time. We were students not long ago and three of us now work as solicitors in London which is how we met and decided to share a flat. One of us is from NZ but is a Liverpool fan through and through. I’ve previously stated on this site that I’m a lawyer and I’m pretty sure Anfielder (ie. Jimmy) has to.

    Jim I don’t see the relevance of me using a different IP address. I can’t always be in the same place while trying to keep in touch with debate on the site so I do resent you trying to imply someting sinister out of this.

  20. @leanne hitchens: Digging a hole I think Leanne.

    Mentioning the name “Jimmy” is hardly a breach of privacy. And “Jimmy” used a different email address to “Anfielder”.

    But I asked you where you all worked too. (Not the specific place, incidentally, I’m not asking you to breach your privacy).

  21. Edward the point of a website discussion is to put views and debate out there for public discussion. If Jimmy wanted to vocalize his support on the forum and provoke discussion of this issue then why shouldn’t he ??

  22. @leanne hitchens: The four usernames I’ve linked together so far are yours, “Jimmy”, “Anfielder”, and Ellery. Also one called “Redman”.

    If you’d been subjected to the witch hunt I’ve had from three or four angry people playing like a tag team you’d be suspicious too.

  23. Leanne,
    my point was simply that if I was living with someone, I’d say to them in person:

    “Leanne, you’re wasting your time expecting Jim to answer your questions because even if you do assume the absolute worst about DIC”
    or
    “No Leanne you’re definitely not alone if you consider Jim’s answer to your question piss poor.”

    Clearly if you’re living with Ellery, then he doesn’t have to reassure you on the forum that you’re ‘not alone’. You already know that, he’s your flatmate and you’ve had a conversation about it.

    I just find that a little strange that’s all?

    Given that you are always very forthright with your posts when bashing Jim (which is fine!) would you not say that it was a little deceptive?

  24. leanne hitchens – Whether you done it inocently or not the fact that you did not feel at liberty to tell other people that you where aquainted with three other posters on the site has not done you any favours. Jim has probably spent alot of time responding to your posts so I am not surprised that he is feeling a little pissed off. If you would have pointed out to Jim before hand then it would be a different story right now, but it looks like you have done it to just be quite annoying. There is nothing wrong in the principle of four people living together posting on the same forum, but as you are a solicitor I feel that you of all people should have known better and let it be known that you where aquainted with three other people. So on that point I think that you should understand it from Jim’s point of view better than anyone else.

  25. ” I can’t always be in the same place while trying to keep in touch with debate on the site so I do resent you trying to imply someting sinister out of this. ”

    leanne hitchens – As I said before as a solicitor you of all people should know exactly why Jim wants some answers. Like he said you dug your own grave.

  26. @Leanne, Ellery, et al.

    I think it is comical that in various posts there are examples of one of you seeking to concur with another one of you as if you are seperate entities, for example:

    “…but the fact remains that you are definitely not giving DIC a fair crack of the whip in comparison to Hicks. Ellery and others are absolutely right about this.

    You’ll have to admit that in light of the recent revelation that you all live together it does appear a tad contrived. HOWEVER, I can understand why you would post like this. I mean, you’re hardly going to go to great lengths to explain prior to posting that you all live together are you?! I guess a reference could have easily been made at some point though.

    I think the danger is that, although you are obviously enititled to your own opinion, there is the possiblity of your own views becoming distorted and instead of saying what you really think as individuals, what is put forward is actually the manifestation of a collective opinion.

    I’m sure you’ll argue that your unified negativity towards Jim is actually based on what you think as individuals, but I’d bet that the strength of your comments would be weaker had you all been based in different places and not shared opinion privately.

    I understand from your previous posts that you are Lawyers in profession, I believe therefore you will be familiar with the term ‘Group Polarization’?

    Anyway, keep on posting, you’re welcome in my opinion whether you live together or not.

    btw, I do not agree at all with the anti-Jim views you so purport, but that another debate.. (and a tired, protracted one at that!)

  27. Crikey, I feel like I’ve just walked into an online version of “Lord of the Flies.” I was under the impression that this was meant to be a forum for individuals to exchange ideas and opinions on both Jim’s articles and the current issues facing Liverpool Football Club. What possible difference does it make if leanne, anfielder, ellery and a fourth poster live in the same house? So what if they all have the same opinion on the current topic and they post this opinion individually? If they discuss a topic relating to LFC in their own time, are they then each forbidden from coming into the forum as individuals simply because they share a computer? Surely everyone is entitled to have their say, regardless of their living situation.

    None of us agree 100% with what each other is saying – that’s the point of having a debate. But I also don’t go along with attacking Jim for having an opinion different than my own. I may roll my eyes and curse loudly at some of the things he writes, and wonder to myself if he’s been into the cooking sherry, but it’s his prerogative to have his own perceptions of these strange, disturbing events afflicting OUR football club. Please, let’s hold on to the remembrance that we’re here and talking because we all care.

  28. Yeah Julie must admit I’m with you. I can see why Jim would be pissed off though, constantly having to justify and defend himself. I don’t agree with much of what Leanne, Ellery and to an extent Anfielder have to say lately but I’m sure their posting on this site is absolutely innocent. One of them probably stumbled across this site one day and told the other two. And it is a great site so not surprising they’ve all become active posters. Interesting to know they *are* flatmates though, lol.

    For the record I am from St. Helens, Merseyside but I now live in Melbourne Australia which explains why I tend to post when most of you are in bed. We are lucky enough over here to be able to watch almost every LFC game live, but I haven’t been to a game at Anfield since the mid-90s unfortunately. Maybe when the new stadium is open it’ll be easier to get a ticket when I come over.

    I’d just like to offer something else up. People keep saying why doesn’t Hicks end this, why doesn’t he come up with the money if he can, etc. But don’t forget it is Gillett who has stated the he will not sell to Hicks. How do we know that Hicks hasn’t made Gillett an offer? Okay it might not be anything formal, but it wouldn’t be until it was worth going through all the paperwork. All we’ve hard is that Gillett refuses to sell to Hicks. Apart from newspaper rumours from unnamed sources there’s been zero evidence I’m aware of that Hicks can’t afford LFC and needs to sell. In fact I think he’s given every indication he’s not interested in selling. And so it goes on.

  29. If there’s anything in the Abidal rumour I think he would be a sensational signing, just the sort of player we’re looking for if he can hack it in the Premiership. As for the other side, what’s the likelihood with all the turmoil at City that Micah Richards will fancy a move??

  30. Hop,

    Abidal? Well, admittedly I am basing this on one game, but I text messaged a fellow red in the middle of the Man U V Bacra game saying how I thought Abidal was awful and that he bore an uncanny resemblance in look and play to Djimi Traore. He text back saying he had just been thinking exactly the same! I thought he was really poor.

    This is on the back of me and the same mate discussing about 3 weeks ago how Gareth Barry is ok but overated!

    It would seem that whoever me and my friend decide to criticise, a week later we’ll be in for them, so I want to state for the record that Lionel Messi is the worst player I have ever seen! lol.

  31. Jim, my name is also Jim (sometimes Jimmy or James to be formal) and you’ll find this out if you check things out with Yahoo. I haven’t used the name Jimmy or Redman as a username before and I don’t recall seeing them but I do share a server with several other fairly hardcore Liverpool supporters at work and we do occasionlly talk about issues on your website and post. It was me who told Leanne and Ellery about Anfield Road initially and as far as I’m aware I participated on it before they did. I don’t see whats so sinister about any of this but you seem to be doing your utmost to put it across that way so thats what I know.

    There’s no point trying to cross examine Leanne about the name Jimmy. Knowing my Anfielder username (which doesn’t have Jim in it) Leanne assumed you had breached my privacy rights by stating my first name without permission. Thats all. She thought the 4th person you were referring to was one of our flatmates Edwin who is also a Liverpool fan.

    Edward, in response to your post. I wanted my support for Leanne’s post to be public on the forum. The purpose of publicly backing her wasn’t to reassure her but to publicly back her up and provoke further discussion from other users. What the hell difference does it make to this whether we know each other or not. I can imagine how practical it would be to have to restate every few posts “oh and by the way guys are you all aware that I know Leanne and Ellery” as if this has any relevance to the points under discussion. I’m quite willing to defend my posts and stand behind them based on their own merit but why should my opinions or my individuality be watered down just because I know Leanne or Ellery or vice versa. If you could hear us arguing among each other about LFC related issues you would realize there’s plenty we don’t agree on…..but Jim’s got the hump because yesterday at least we did all happen to passionately agree (broadly) on the particular issue under discussion.

    Jim, engaging more than one person in debate at the same time is not “subjecting them to a witchhunt” as you say. Rigorous discussion between a number of parties is exactly what this site is for. You’ve got every chance to defend yourself and expound your views (and indeed more chance because you have far more time available to do this than any of us) and seem more than capable of doing so. Time permitting, I’m more than happy to debate issues against more than one person (even if they all strongly disagree with me) and I’ll happily do this without complaining about being picked on.

    Martin you state “I think it is comical that in various posts there are examples of one of you seeking to concur with another one of you as if you are seperate entities”. We are separate entities !! The example you quoted is simply Leanne publicly saying she endorses Ellery’s comments. This hardly makes them one “entity”. Occasionally holding the same view as other people who live in the same flat or work together doesn’t make us one entity. If it did then Ken Livingstone would have received only one vote from our house instead of 5 with 1 for Boris Johnson. If you can’t see this then you’re missing a pretty basic tenet of free speech. Aside from our last few posts yesterday I don’t think there are many examples of us “seeking to concur with each other”. I certainly don’t remember doing it but if I did the concurrence was genuine and so I wouldn’t apologize for it.

    Jim, if we were trying to do something “sinister” as you suggest it would be easy enough to use different IP addresses. The reality is we’ve been openly using the same IP addresses for a longtime and you’ve had no problem with this until yesterday when we all got passionate about the same issue (adverse to you) at the same time. If people don’t agree with Ellery or Leanne they don’t have to so no-one’s arm is being twisted here.

    Hop, I’d love to see Micah Richards in a Pool shirt but realistically a young star like him is probably out of our price range with the way things are at the moment. If he does move it would more likely be to Chelsea, Man Yoo or maybe even Arsenal. Besides, unless Rafa planned to use him at full back he would be playing one of the positions (ie. centreback ) where we look fairly well supplied. Abidal looked okay for France at the World Cup but did you see his dodgy performance at OT the other night. Most of the broadsheets gave him the lowest rating of any player on the field. This may have been just a one-off bad game but it wasn’t pretty.

  32. @Anfielder. Fair enough mate. Like I said I wouldn’t have expected the lot of you to declare your living situation and like I also said I personally do not really care if you all live together, you are still of course absolutely enititled to your own opinions on this site or otherwise. That is stating the obvious though I realise.

    I guess the point I was making about ‘seperate entities’ is that although you are indeed ‘seperate entities’, the fact is you all live together, and thus I assume you discuss your opinions as they pertain to this site, together as a group. Psychologically, groups usually have a tendancy to merge opinion into a single collective. Therefore is it not possible that the negative opinion you have formed towards Jim as a group is more unified than it would have been had you not all lived together and never met before?

    Because your relationship is never alluded to, in fact quite the opposite, it seems concurrence is deceptively used to add weight to your respective arguments, it actually presents a false impression of your opinions as individuals.

    Anyway, apologies in advance for the over analytical approach and sorry if i’m boring people. You are still entitled to your opinion collective or otherwise.

  33. I said:

    “One quick question. It could be innocent. But would someone like to explain why three of the people speaking out most against me at the moment happen to all have the exact same IP address?”

    And:

    “I’ve a few ideas as to why this could be the case, and they aren’t all sinister, but I think it’s only fair the three of them come clean. I’m going to do a bit more digging in the meantime, just in case it is something sinister. I really hope not.”

    And (in answer to a question):

    “I doubt it’s a conspiracy theory though to be honest. But we’ll see.”

    I did point out that they’d seen my question:

    Interestingly enough, one of the “three” visited the site at 19:46. They looked at this post, and at the comments, including the question about the IP addresses. Then they left.

    It looks less innocent the longer they go without making what might be a simple (and verifiable) explanation.

    I was reluctant to say who they were, until they’d had an opportunity to explain:

    I’ll put the names up later if “they” don’t have the guts to explain. Not sure whether to also mention where “they” work. And if they prefer, they can always email me using the contact form to explain what’s going on.

    Nearly an hour after one of them had seen me ask the question about the IP address, Leanne had this to say, but not from the IP address they’d all been using that day:

    Jim, I’ve been out for a little while but have just come back and read these latest posts. Myself, Ellery and a third flatmate who is Anfielder all happen to be flatmates together in North London. We live in a house of 6 people, 4 of whom are Liverpool fans. Anfielder (who would prefer to remain anonymous) is one of the other two. I do hope we are allowed to discuss these issues and post our own posts on your website without being made to feel like some sort of conspiracist sect. If we were really doing something sinister then do you think we would really all use the same IP address ???

    In fact this was a completely different IP address, never used before, yet Leanne said she’d “just come back”, suggesting she was back home. But she clearly wasn’t in the same place. I would have expected a quicker reply given how simple the explanation was. An hour is a long time to come up with a reply for something as innocent as this. And it’s “Leanne” introducing the idea of there being a “conspiracist sect”.

    Then I said:

    I did say that there might be some innocent reasons for it, some of which I can check out. You’ve changed IP address again, to one you’ve never used before.

    Who’s “Jimmy”?

    All of this can be pretty innocent, as I’ve said, but there’s a bit more to it than you’ve let on so far.

    The “bit more” refers to the use of a business IP address for some of the posts.

    A little over another hour passed and “Leanne” was now back on the IP address used over the course of the day:

    It is innocent Jim and you shouldn’t be trying to make it look sinister just because three people who live in the same house and don’t agree with you are prepared to all say so on your website at the same time. I can’t see why you would think theres anything “sinister” about four Liverpool supporting flatmates who all sit around and discuss LFC issues and some of us actively participating on your website. I am fairly sure the 4th Liverpool supporting flatmate has never posted on this site so I think you must be wrong about this although I will verify this for certain at the first available chance. Can you please tell me the username of the fourth person you refer to. I think you are wrong about this but I’m quite happy to check at the first available chance??

    You’ve asked who is “Jimmy”. Since you’ve already taken the liberty of breaching his privacy rights I don’t think Jimmy will now object to me telling you that he is Anfielder.

    Anthony you asked if we are students from Liverpool. We are not from Liverpool but we do try to get up there for games from time to time. We were students not long ago and three of us now work as solicitors in London which is how we met and decided to share a flat. One of us is from NZ but is a Liverpool fan through and through. I’ve previously stated on this site that I’m a lawyer and I’m pretty sure Anfielder (ie. Jimmy) has to.

    Jim I don’t see the relevance of me using a different IP address. I can’t always be in the same place while trying to keep in touch with debate on the site so I do resent you trying to imply someting sinister out of this.

    Again it’s “Leanne” emphasising the possible sinister nature of this. I know from reading other websites that people share a flat or a house and it’s obvious from their ability to sometimes jump forward three steps at once in some kind of discussion that they’re discussing the issue verbally. That’s not an issue – although it’s easier to understand when you realise that they’ve probably been speaking to each other, because otherwise you’re left feeling you’ve missed a vital post somewhere on that site. Likewise anyone who uses certain LFC sites will be aware of a character using countless usernames, usually known by his oldest ones such as “Momo”, “Raddy”, “Cally”, “Blacky Grey” and so on. He’s actually been seen having arguments with himself on forums, never mind using multiple usernames to attack someone, before disappearing with another liver problem.

    I never felt it would be anything more sinister than one person trying to back up their own arguments with a couple of usernames. But sharing a house was my opinion on the most likely explanation, but for so many of them to work together was a little unusual – but again nothing much more than that.

    I think we all agree that asking who “Jimmy” was wasn’t breaching anyone’s privacy. And the option to discuss this by email was still there anyway.

    I think “Leanne” has stated she was a lawyer, I know “Anfielder” certainly has.

    The relevance of “Leanne” using a different IP address for this post was that she’d said she’d just got back, implying back home, but was using a different IP address. But it’s hardly a big deal.

    I then said:

    “…“Jimmy” used a different email address to “Anfielder”. But I asked you where you all worked too. (Not the specific place, incidentally, I’m not asking you to breach your privacy).”

    Leanne posted again, then I posted this at 10.01pm:

    The four usernames I’ve linked together so far are yours, “Jimmy”, “Anfielder”, and Ellery. Also one called “Redman”.

    If you’d been subjected to the witch hunt I’ve had from three or four angry people playing like a tag team you’d be suspicious too.

    I stand by the use of the phrase “witch hunt”, because “three or four angry people” were all making the same points and ignoring the same responses, and failing to answer the same questions I asked of them. I went to great lengths and considerable time to try and explain my thinking. Does it hurt to be polite?

    I’ve no problem with people disagreeing with me. It annoys me when people feel sufficiently insecure with their arguments that they have to imply I’m being paid to disagree with everyone else, and it annoys me yet more when people selectively ignore much of what I say in response to them, before accusing me of doing the same. But a hell of a lot of the subject we spend so much time arguing about is down to opinion, and degrees of opinion. We can all have vastly different opinions on – for example – Carra’s place in the pecking order next season without anyone assuming ulterior motives, or bias, but on the ownership situation it’s always got to have some other undertone. It’s unnecessary.

    (Julie, it’s a lack of cooking sherry that’s probably the cause of what leaves you rolling your eyes. I could do with sitting in a corner with a bottle or two today!)

    But after that 10pm post from Leanne there were no more posts left, but a lot of activity from that IP address. This post was being checked by the IP address from then up until about 11.30pm, then this IP address was reading a lot of old posts until almost 1am. Then a quick check of this post again at 1.30am. The post was checked again at around 9am, 9.30 and 10am.

    That’s when Anfielder left the comment below.

    It included this:

    “I don’t see whats so sinister about any of this but you seem to be doing your utmost to put it across that way so thats what I know.” Again, as with many posts from this house, reading more into what I said than is there, perhaps Ellery will be on soon to explain what this tactic is known as in US politics.

    Fair enough on why Leanne thought I’d breached privacy – as you know there’s no need to leave anything on this site when posting that actually identifies you by your real name, unless your real name’s in your email address.

    This is a little unfair too: “but Jim’s got the hump because yesterday at least we did all happen to passionately agree (broadly) on the particular issue under discussion.” I didn’t see any signs of anything other than 100% agreement between the three of you, and I’ve browsed previous comments and that’s pretty much been the norm. Not that this is a problem.

    Anfielder, I stopped replying to your posts some time ago after finding that not only were many of them abusive and full of full of unfounded allegations, more frustratingly you were uninterested in responding to what I said without first twisting it. Maybe that’s the lawyer in you! 😉 When three people posting from the same place are all using the same tactics and ignoring the same questions I’m asking back I think it’s fair to describe it as a “witch hunt”.

    Also this, again, comes across as twisting things:

    “(Anfielder) Jim, if we were trying to do something “sinister” as you suggest it would be easy enough to use different IP addresses. The reality is we’ve been openly using the same IP addresses for a longtime and you’ve had no problem with this until yesterday when we all got passionate about the same issue (adverse to you) at the same time. If people don’t agree with Ellery or Leanne they don’t have to so no-one’s arm is being twisted here.”

    I asked a question about why you all had the same IP address. The way you are repeatedly twisting a question I explicitly stated had likely got a simple answer smacks of being a little overprotective of your position. It happens in a lot of the angry posts against me on the ownership situation. Isn’t there a Shakespeare quote for such an approach? The reason I “had no problem” with the IP addresses is that I’ve never noticed the link before. I only noticed the link yesterday because by clicking on the email IP address in the control panel the software brings up just the comments from that source. I wanted to look at a couple of comments from one poster, Leanne I think, but I’m not sure. If I’d paged through the comments instead then I’d never have noticed. I’ve never been one of those who believes any of the sides in this mess pay people to post on websites for them. Although I know a lot of those involved read a lot of the LFC websites. I’ve rarely got a need to check IP addresses.

    Just to clarify for you over the “Jimmy” and “Redman” usernames, Leanne, Anfielder, Ellery, Jimmy and Redman have all posted from the same IP addresses. Jimmy has used two email addresses. One is the same as Anfielder’s, the other is the same as Redman’s. Both email addresses are at the same service provider (including country).

    But it doesn’t really matter. I’m happy enough to accept that at the very least Anfielder, Jimmy and Redman are probably one person, a person who seems to work at the same place as at least one of the others, and lives in the same place as all of them.

    Let’s leave it at that.

    Now I’d be much happier if Leanne went back to my reply to her questions including that link to RAWK or wherever it was. I’d like to hear her thoughts. And her answers to my questions.

  34. Interesting what you guys say about Abidal, I didn’t notice anything particularly either way in the game against ManU to be honest. But I do know he was very highly rated before he joined Barca. To be honest there must be something up if Barca would be willing to sell him, they only bought him a year ago if I remember rightly. And he’s got a history of being difficult too.

  35. Anfielder,
    fair enough! I don’t think anyone was taking it very seriously!
    More power to organised resistance!

  36. Anfielder – It was probably a mountain being made out of a mole hill. It was me that posed the idea that it was possibly a conspiracy but I only meant it to be taken with a pinch of salt. I only pointed out that Jim probably felt that somthing was dodgy as a knee jerk reaction when it appeared you where all using the same IP address, and Jim did say that it was probably innocent. For the record I am in Liverpool, in the south of the city to be precise.

    On a separate note if anyone to know a good link for a good sports radio show which features LFC heavily, but it also uses EFC then I recommend the football fans football phone in and the football football show. they are both on BBC radio merseyside on a Monday and Tuesday respectivaly between the hours of 7pm and 9pm. They are both interactive, you can either phone in, text or e-mail. I highly recommend these programs. Here is a link:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/liverpool/

  37. Anfielder – I was the person who mentioned that it could be a conspiracy but I only meant it to be taken with a pinch of salt. A mountain was being made out of a molehill. I only presumed that as Jim found out that the same IP address was being used then as a knee jerk reaction he may have thought that something fishy was going on. For the record I live in Liverpool in the south of the city to be precise.

    On a seperate note if anyone is interested I have the link to a good radio show which is devoted to LFC and unfortunatly EFC but I highkly recomend the two shows. They are the football fans football phone in and the football football show. They are both on Monday and Tuesday evening’s respectivaly between the hours of 7pm and 9pm, very good experts on hand to take your calls and respond to your texts and e-mails. Here’s the link:-
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/liverpool/local_radio/index.shtml

    Jim – Out of mourbid curiosity what did the individual who goes by the name of Momo, Raddy, Cally and Blacky Grey actually do on the other sites.

  38. Jim – I have posted twice and the post has gone into your spam folder I can’t be arsed typing them again som could you post them for me. It’s because they have a BBC link on them.

    Thanks.

  39. Martin, there may be an element of truth in what you say since we are mates and do debate these issues a fair bit but none of us is afraid to go our own way. For example someone (Julie I think) described Leanne as “anti-Jim” or a “Jim Basher”. You might be able to get away with calling me that on a bad day but certainly not Leanne. As far as I can see Leanne’s never said booh to Jim before yesterday and even then her remarks were pretty tame compared to how I would have put it. She seems to have agreed with Jim on plenty of occasions recently when I wouldn’t have given him the time of day.

    I guess if people think being housemates somehow detracts from points we make then they’ll just have to weight that up for themselves as they see fit.

    Jim, I’ve just read your latest War and Peace style epic. There are so many things wrong with it I would need at least a day to go through them all but I’m not prepared to waste even two more seconds on trying to convince you of anything. You’ll believe whatever you want to no matter what is said and you’re welcome to do so as far as I’m concerned. In case you hadn’t noticed my two sentence post from yesterday was my first one for sometime. The reason for this is because I gave up on you as a lost cause sometime ago. The reasons for this are set out in my previous posts and I stand by every word of those now more than ever. Even though those posts were critical of you plenty of people other than Ellery and Leanne found them a breath of fresh air and were happy to say so on your website. This is what you can’t stand. People who got to hear a robust exchange of arguments between us (instead of just yours) and were able to form their own opinions and not too many people seem to be siding with Tom Hicks despite your efforts.

    I would point out that despite again trying to portray yourself throughout your latest tirade as not being paranoid and not trying to impute the most sinister possible motives to us you’ve then spent what must have been hours upon hours selectively constructing a mish mash of bollocks designed to point only towards the one conclusion you say you you weren’t actually trying to reach. Give me a break. Your only objective in writing this tirade was precisely to make the case for the prosecution sound as bad as it possibly could and have other people accept the most sinister conclusions possible. Trying to suggest otherwise is about as disingenuous as it gets. If you’re trying to tell me that this Jimmy or Redman have either logged in or posted from this current IP address used by myself, Leanne and Ellery then I say you’re full of shit and it isn’t true. If it happened at work then there are a number of reasons why two different users logging on from the same PC might inadvertently have the same email address. For example we know that when users login (particularly close in time) the email address automatically defaults to that of the previous user. This means if the next user forgets to change it his post will incorrectly show the same email address as the previous user. Theres nothing sinister about this at all ………unless of course you’re desperately trying to find something sinister.

    Among other things you state that I’ve implied you’re on Hicks’s payroll. This is categorically false and I believe you know this. I haven’t said or implied ever that you are being paid by Hicks (others have but not me) and nor do I believe it. But I do think your pride is so wounded by your failure to win people over to Hicks that you’ve now turned it into a crusade and this has seriously clouded your judgment about a whole lot of things. This is just my opinion of course and other people are free to make up their own minds about it as they see fit.

    You finish up by saying you want Leanne to come back and answer your questions. Mate wake up !! Leanne, in the last 24 hours has gone from thinking you’re a tortured but basically decent soul who just needs help to open his eyes to thinking you’re Anthony Perkins’s character from “pscyho”. The mood she’s in now I wouldn’t hold your breath for a reply from her anytime soon. I’m sorry to all other users if this post seems excessively angry. I think on this occasion my anger towards Jim really has gotten the better of me. I’m going to go off now and watch endless replays of that 6 minutes from Istanbul and see if it does any good for me.

  40. Martin: if you truly are a sorcerer and can conjure up club pursuit of players simply by you slating them, I’ve got a list an arm long of players whom you could publicly declare to be worthless. Messi is a good start on your part, and seeing as his name has already come up, let’s add Micah Richards to that list. Rubbish! He’s absolute rubbish! Okay, can we have him now? And maybe Riberry and Clichy, too?

  41. anfielder: “For example someone (Julie I think) described Leanne as “anti-Jim” or a “Jim Basher”.”

    To set the record straight, I stated above that I don’t go in for attacking Jim for having an opinion different than my own – I didn’t single out Leanne or anyone else for that matter for being “anti-Jim” or a “Jim basher.” Rather an ironic observation on your part, considering my post was about recognising everyone’s right to have their own say regardless of whether or not it’s in agreement with Jim’s opinion.

  42. Julie, you’re right and I’m sorry if I misquoted you. I can’t remember who said it to be honest but I’m sure whoever did didn’t mean anything particularly bad by it. I was just using it to illustrate a point. I agree with your earlier post incidentally.

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