Reassuring words, but fans await action

John Henry from Liverpool’s new owners NESV sent the club’s official website some quotes earlier today. They were part of a concerted effort by the club to try and dampen down some of the speculation surrounding the future direction of the club.

Do NESV hear the concerns of the fans?He said “We have recently read stories about our intentions for the forthcoming January transfer window and have a sense of humour about this type of inevitable speculation.”

Word that NESV will look at transfer fees and contract costs in a different way to any of their predecessors was been taken by some sections of the media to mean they’ll not be spending any money. But with the Red Sox the second highest spenders in baseball’s equivalent of the transfer market that’s an assumption that isn’t being made by many supporters.

Nobody expects – and few fans wanted – Liverpool’s new owners to be sugar-daddies. What supporters want to see is a club that practically runs itself; generating its own income for transfers and player wages. We don’t want to find we’ve become reliant on money coming in from outside the club that could be taken away at any time.

Henry went on: “As everyone knows we are new to English football, but not to sport, and we are studying all options. Opportunities and value will drive spending in January and in the future.”

But it’s not really that side of the club’s future that has been the issue this week. Key players are reported to be unhappy with the tactics and coaching at the club; transfer budgets are less of a concern than who exactly will be allowed to spend that budget.

Whatever the true level of discontent is within the squad, fans are making it clear they’ve no confidence in him. Most feel he has to go, that he was a bad choice to start with and that whatever the transfer funding might be he will never be capable of bringing the big prizes to the club.

Excluding Roy’s allies in the media, and that’s a group rapidly shrinking in size, there is little faith in Roy’s abilities and it would be a surprise if NESV had let this go unnoticed. They claim they want the same as the fans: “Our clear focus from day one of our ownership has been – and will be – to improve the club and focus on what it will take to put Liverpool FC consistently in a position to challenge for trophies. We intend to build this club the right way.”

There seems to be a lot of effort going into playing down the strong claims that Torres and Reina are considering their next move. Even the new owner is trying: “Stories about our top players leaving are destructive and unwarranted but we realise that this kind of speculation is also common.”

Often we hear that the club can’t respond to every rumour that comes to prominence, which is of course a very good point. But if the new owner feels he has to issue statements to dampen this particular piece of speculation then why aren’t the club wheeling out some of the players named?

Nothing would kill the speculation off as effectively as Nando and Pepe sitting with Roy and being interviewed about how things are. Unless, of course, there is some truth in the speculation.

Perhaps it’s clutching at straws, but maybe Mr Henry has already realised a managerial change is needed: “We intend to build on the strength of the current squad, not undermine it.” Roy Hodgson has undermined his squad a few times this season.

Too much emphasis has been placed on the existence or otherwise of get-out clauses in players’ contracts. If a player is determined to leave a club it’s difficult to do anything about it, regardless of contracts. And with Liverpool far worse than last season, how can Torres be reassured that he’ll be playing in the Champions League again next season? And that’s without considering Manchester City’s windfall. If one of the top European sides gets word to Torres that they see him in their plans what can Liverpool do to keep him?

Henry said: “I can reassure our supporters that we have no intention of allowing the team to be weakened going forward.”

With Roy Hodgson as manager it’s hard to see any other outcome. Top players will want to leave and Liverpool will find it hard to attract replacements of anything like the same quality. Playing under Roy Hodgson in the Europa League – itself not guaranteed – isn’t going to be a great selling point.

The reassurance for fans for the time being is that NESV didn’t come to England, spending a third of a billion pounds, just to see their investment get washed down the drain. They want to bring some new ideas to the club, not rely on philosophies that stopped working 30 years ago.

These words are little more than holding statements, designed to bring a little bit of calm. Their actions, as they keep telling us, are far more important.

We’re looking forward to that.

20 thoughts on “Reassuring words, but fans await action”

  1. i thought it was really funny to see Roy sign the praises of Kyrgiakos to the high heavens. and then the next day say that there were more expensive flops than bargains in the squad.

    let me remind roy that rafa signed Kyrgiakos for 1.5m. and that roy signed two of the worst donkeys i have seen play for liverpool since the souness days for 10m- Paul Konchesky and Christian Poulsen. and they both had previously played for him, so if he didnt know that they werent LFC quality, how the heck would he be able to judge any other players?

    please resign roy.

  2. This supposed get out clause is just a spurious rumour started by a bored Daily Mirror hack. and is just a load of bollox.

  3. The same claim about get out clauses also appeared in the Guardian this
    morning, written by Andy Hunter, their Merseyside football correspondent.

    I’ve not heard a denial of their existence yet – although I also don’t think
    they’re all that important.

  4. You obviously don’t get to see that many games then Cory if they are the two worst players you’ve seen playing for LFC.

  5. The way Roy deals with the press is evidence enough that he had found his level at Fulham. For a man of over 30 years in management he sure shows a lack of know how when it comes to dealing with the press. He doesnt answer questions like he should at a club like Liverpool. Defending players, deflecting transfer speculation, inspiring confidence and countability, hes been woeful with them all.

    Time to go. I just hope John Henry realises as much.

  6. Most fans want to see Hodgson replaced by a more suitable candidate but even if the key people at NESV happen to agree, they won’t sack him any time soon.

    By their own admission, they are new to the world of soccer. They are intelligent enough to recognise they are entering an arena they don’t fully understand and I doubt that they have the confidence (and conviction) to sack a ‘widely respected football man’ so early in their tenure (and his).

    If the team remained in freefall they may be forced to act, but I expect Hodgson will pick up a few wins and this will stay their hand.

    They spoke extensively about wanting to ‘reassure and support’ the team when they took over.

    Tom Werner told Sportsweek that one of their objectives during their visit to Melwood was to show the players “we had confidence in Roy”

    He also said on Hodgson: “He needs to be given time. We have a lot of confidence in Roy.”

    “I think that the one prescription for disaster is to lurch to the left and lurch to the right and we see no reason why Roy can’t be our coach this year and in the future. But we’re certainly going to give him time.”

    Tom Werner said this only 12 days ago. (A 12 day period which included our best performance of the season.)

    Desite the wishes of a lot of LFC fans, Hodgson isn’t going any time soon.

  7. Just a link to the article in the Guardian:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/oct/28/roy-hodgson-jose-reina-manchester-united-arsenal

    Reina only signed a six-year deal with Liverpool in April while Torres, who is under contract until 2013, pledged to stay at Anfield following extensive talks with the club’s then managing director, Christian Purslow, in the summer.

    The pair have get-out clauses in their existing contracts but, although Reina and Torres are concerned over Liverpool’s ability to return to the Champions League, the club are unperturbed at claims the clauses could be invoked in January.

  8. So what, every time a rubbish tabloid writes, ‘[player] has secret clause and wants out’ then the player in question has to call a press conference and sit in front of the cameras to state that the rumours are not true?… wise up

  9. “None”,

    The Guardian’s a rubbish tabloid?

    And the point about wheeling players out was made in the context of these rumours being enough for the owner to go out of his way to comment on them.

  10. Dominic King said the existence of the release clauses was a revelation in his column today in the Echo. so i would think they exist.

  11. Juan
    2010/10/29 at 9:49 pm
    The way Roy deals with the press is evidence enough that he had found his level at Fulham. For a man of over 30 years in management he sure shows a lack of know how when it comes to dealing with the press. He doesnt answer questions like he should at a club like Liverpool. Defending players, deflecting transfer speculation, inspiring confidence and countability, hes been woeful with them all.

    Time to go. I just hope John Henry realises as much.

  12. Mike Kennedy
    microlfc.com
    2010/10/29 at 9:50 pm
    Most fans want to see Hodgson replaced by a more suitable candidate but even if the key people at NESV happen to agree, they won’t sack him any time soon.

    By their own admission, they are new to the world of soccer. They are intelligent enough to recognise they are entering an arena they don’t fully understand and I doubt that they have the confidence (and conviction) to sack a ‘widely respected football man’ so early in their tenure (and his).

    If the team remained in freefall they may be forced to act, but I expect Hodgson will pick up a few wins and this will stay their hand.

    They spoke extensively about wanting to ‘reassure and support’ the team when they took over.

    Tom Werner told Sportsweek that one of their objectives during their visit to Melwood was to show the players “we had confidence in Roy”

    He also said on Hodgson: “He needs to be given time. We have a lot of confidence in Roy.”

    “I think that the one prescription for disaster is to lurch to the left and lurch to the right and we see no reason why Roy can’t be our coach this year and in the future. But we’re certainly going to give him time.”

    Tom Werner said this only 12 days ago. (A 12 day period which included our best performance of the season.)

    Despite the wishes of a lot of LFC fans, Hodgson isn’t going any time soon.

  13. I gave up reading the Guardian last season, (after 35 years), because they had become as bad as the tabloids regarding the bilge and speculation they ran about LFC. Don’t give me that crap… ‘the Guardian, a rubbish tabloid? Duh???’…. They may as well be with the b****x they have been coming out with on their footy pages for the past 12 months or more, online or in paper.

Comments are closed.