Forget the good times, the picture has changed

When Liverpool supporters argued and debated about Rafael Benítez and whether he was the right man for the manager’s job,  there was an unspoken assumption that the arguing was all for football reasons and the good of the club.

Sadly, as time went on, fellow Liverpool supporters were starting to hate each other even more than the owners.

But Rafa’s sacking saw unity start to return. Supporters looked at the sacking of Benítez and the appointment of Roy Hodgson, including the contempt shown to supporters and the legend known as King Kenny. They realised that football had very little to do with those decisions.

The club is being run like an ailing supermarket chain, and that tends to get fans’ backs up.

Save for the bleating cynics who were on Rafa’s back the day they realised he was Spanish this club has a fan base with masses of respect for Benítez. All the more so when looking back to how it was before Christian Purslow arrived and made up new rules on transfer budgets and magical “player accounts”.

Benitez won the Champions League in his first season at the club; he turned Liverpool from a side worried about their opposition in Europe to a side respected once more in Europe. He won the FA Cup in his second season and came second in the league in his fifth season with a points total that would have won the league a year later. He brought us players we’ll always look back on with fondness, including Torres, Reina, Alonso and Mascherano not to mention key players who might not attract crazy bids from clubs with bottomless pits of money – but players like Dirk Kuyt, now a World Cup finalist, are worth more than money to a club like Liverpool FC.

But it will be Istanbul we remember Benitez for with most fondness, Istanbul we will forever feel indebted to him for. Istanbul is the yardstick for everything good that happens to Liverpool supporters these days – new fathers being some of the few that actually feel able to utter the phrase “better than Istanbul”.

He left with the genuine best wishes of large swathes of the support, but we move on; we’ve got a new manager now and new targets in mind. But if we do move on, does that mean we have to forget Benitez? Do we have to pretend Istanbul never happened?

Nobody expects Benitez to have gates named after him in the way the absolute legends like Shanks and Paisley have. Nobody really expects the club to allow him a Kop mosaic for the first home game.

But surely the night described as a miracle, the night he made possible, is a night we should always remember? We sing about it – do we have to stop? They’ve made films about it, written books about it, put plays on about it. When we’re in the Champions League again, if we get in again, we’ll wear a special badge on our sleeves that lets the world know we won it five times. Are we going to ditch that?

Of course not. Are we?

From what Anfield Road has been told, some figures at the club want to erase the memories of what Rafa and the team did in 2005. At Melwood, Liverpool’s training ground, there’s a big mural of Rafa Benítez and the lads in recognition of Istanbul. Or at least there was.

Anfield Road has been informed that Paul Tyrrell, recently installed as head of press and described by some as Christian Purslow’s attack dog, has ordered that the mural be ripped down. According to what Anfield Road was told, he was acting on the orders of Purslow.

Save for a new, improved, version going up in its place – and as far as we know there isn’t going to be – there is absolutely no reasonable excuse that comes to mind for doing this. Not without using words like “petty”.  Money’s tight of course, so it’s not like we can afford to go round having murals done on a whim. And with money tight, if it’s not being taken down out of pettiness is it being taken down so players and staff aren’t reminded of what we can no longer aspire to?

Is that it? The end of the Champions League years? Is that what the club meant when it slapped “the start of a new era” on the official website?

When we went to Athens in 2007 we were gutted not to win it – but we never felt we’d never get to the final again. In 2008 and 2009 we pushed hard and put in some memorable performances, pulled off some heroic victories. It feels arrogant to say it, but we should be proud – we were bloody good. Last season saw us go off the rails in that respect, is this an admission we’ll never get back on them?

If it isn’t an admission of sights being lowered then it really does smack of a petty desire to rewrite history by someone who had to fight to keep his own job after the absolute failure he made of his first year in the role.

Christian Purslow told us he was here to find £100m of investment. Yet he turned people with money away without even the courtesy of saying “thanks but no thanks”. He left the manager with the wrong impression of what his transfer budget would be last summer then spent the months that followed watching him like a hawk at press conferences just in case he decided to mention it.

It doesn’t take much imagination to work out how Benítez would feel to read in a national newspaper that he’d been warned to change his managerial style, or that he’d been given £20m net to spend on players when he’d actually brought more in than went out. Or how he felt to hear his boss had been talking to reporters about transfer discussions with Real Madrid that Rafa knew nothing about. This in a season when Purslow saw fit from time to time to invite select members of the press round for tea and biscuits.

When Martin Broughton was brought in as Chairman, above Christian Purslow, it ruffled the feathers of someone who acted like the club was his own personal empire. There was no point Rafa meeting Broughton, the would-be emperor said, because Broughton wasn’t here to deal with issues like that; he was only here to sell the club.

So the emperor kept the momentum against the manager going in the press. We saw leaks about cancelled meetings and unhappy players; he saw no problem in leaking that they were trying to ditch Rafa on the cheap before the deal was even struck – but when those leaks were later confirmed by an official announcement it would be his new boss’s name on the statement. Kenny Dalglish’s name was also on the statement – although we understand he wasn’t asked or told in advance.

When the new manager was officially appointed – after weeks of leaks claiming it was a done deal already – Purslow lurked out of sight of the press conference cameras. He left his new boss to introduce the new boss.

He doesn’t have the power all on his own to hire or fire a manager, even if he can push for the decision to be made. But he has got the power to move photos and paintings from the walls of Melwood. For “Cecil”, as he’s known to many fans these days, that’s an important responsibility. So down the mural came. A show of strength from the little man.

And anyway, it must be quite unnerving to have the eyes of the man you betrayed following you around the room every time you arrive at work.

70 thoughts on “Forget the good times, the picture has changed”

  1. Hi Martin.
    I didn’t miss a game all last year, son.
    nor the year before that.
    Like I said earlier, it is a shame you focus on spelling instead of content. Doesn’t really achieve anything, does it?
    I would be far more impressed if you countered my opinion by describing some of the outstanding goals that El Zhar or Ngog scored which proved their worth, and hence why I am wrong. But no, just name calling….
    Sad really.

  2. Hi Tom!

    The thing is I would’ve debated the content of your posts with you. I would’ve done this politely and I wouldn’t have resorted to the tone in my previous posts. I wouldn’t even of mentioned not knowing the name (not a spelling mistake) El Zhar, in spite of the fact you felt you had a valid opinion on him.

    The reason I did was because of, ironically, the name calling and tone of your first post. Calling people dumb, calling this site (that you felt was worthy enough to post on) silly, and calling the author a dolt… Did you really expect people not to retort in the same tone?

    According to the Urban Dictionary, a “dolt” is “A mental retard who is clueless not only about current events, but also has the IQ level of a rock.”

    Is the irony of you calling me sad for name calling not lost on you?

  3. Martin
    I figured you and Jim were related.
    Good to see it out in the open.

    You’re funny….

  4. Martin
    Sorry mate, my last post was written pretty quickly but I wanted to answer your ‘comments’ more fully.

    I didn’t realize that you were the censor of this site!! You, single handedly, determine which insults are too much, whose spelling is too bad, and begin to attack them personally. Moreover, if someone does not have the requisite educational background (as determined by you), their opinion becomes totally invalid! What a special person you are!!

    Would you agree that the purpose of communication is to transfer a thought or concept? If that is the case, then I managed to transfer my opinions on El Zhar quite well, even if I had typos in his name. Otherwise, how come you knew who I was talking about in your first post?? (… 3rd times a charm)

    SO, you did know who I was referring to, and therefore it really didn’t matter how I spelled his name after all, did it? You understood the message, but chose to ignore it, but instead sytematically attack me because of a few spelling errors. How smart you are!!!

    As for calling the author names, he clearly has a personal thing against Purslow, (not just my opinion – many, many references to this in many, many posts)and takes every opportunity to make everything Purslow’s fault. I think that is a pity, because Jim has some great things to say, but when someone is SO myoptic on one subject, it hurts their credibility in so many other areas. Additionally, when someone enters the media, (newpaper reporters for example), they must understand that their comments SHOULD drive controversy, and as such they should be open to criticism at all levels.

    I am not sure who you are, sir. Maybe Jim’s brother, maybe even Jim defending himself under a different name. Maybe you are El Zhar’s agent!!! I don’t know, but clearly my comments touched a cord, and isn’t that what this kind of site is all about?

    I hope Jim keeps up the good work, but I also hope he opens his mind a bit, and continues to accept criticism.

    Don’t want to keep you too long, you probably have some homework to mark.

  5. Hi Tom

    I’m as much the author of this site as you are Tom Hicks!

    I’ll be back to debate some of you points tomorrow since that’s what you want. You know the score – got homework to mark!…

  6. Hey Martin.
    Boy, you got it wrong. I don’t want to debate with you, all I ever wanted to do was discuss footy. In particular:
    1) Rafa might have a good football mind, but he is a lousy people manager, as can be seen by the exit of Yossi, Riera, and Alonso.
    2) Although he made some good buys (absolutely no question), he made some absolute howlers. His ability to write off some players is amazing also.
    3) He had a stubborn streak in him that had an absurd dedication to some players who, mediocre at best, don’t deserve to wear a Liverpool Shirt – Lucas, El Zhar, Ngog.
    4) Based on the fact LFC was the best represented team in the WC, perhaps we don’t need to buy more players, but use and manage those we have a little better to produce better results.
    5) Whatever you think of Rafa, it doesn’t matter. He is gone. Get behind the new coach with all your support in an attempt to get LFC back on track.
    6) It will be increasingly difficult in the next five years to keep up with the absurd spending power of Chelsea and Man City. I don’t want to go bankrupt chasing second place.
    7) Yes, the Yanks need to go, and yes, they have caused problems. But the concept of a free wheeling big spender buying LFC is unlikely (but it would be nice)

    But it seems all you want to talk about is my spelling.
    Oh well.

    PS, as for the comments about being the author, I was referring to the columnist, not the contributors. Perhaps you should look that up in your dictionary.

  7. @ Tom

    On some websites your comments would either never have appeared. Some sites would let them appear, but would then shoot them down before banning you and stopping you from adding anything else to it.

    We rarely remove any comments from this site, rarely block anything other than obvious spam. Sometimes comments go into a moderation queue and so there’s a delay in them appearing, on the whole this is something done by the anti-spam components of the site software. That will always happen if it’s a person’s first post for example.

    On the whole this policy works because often it’s those dishing out the abuse that look the silly ones by the end of it.

    By all means disagree with what’s written and try to persuade me and anyone else reading it that your opinion is worth listening to and might even be right. Most people on here are open-minded enough to accept they could actually be wrong, that the other person might have a point. In the long run that often results in everyone adjusting their opinions ever so slightly. Most people on here want Liverpool to be successful and to be able to be proud of their club in every possible way, and that’s why most of the time on here things can be pretty civil even when people’s views are the polar opposite.

    Tom, I’ve not looked to see when you first got pulled up on your spelling, but was it after making this amazing statement? “The point I am making with regards to our WC representation is that we DO have more than any other Premire league team…. Unfortunately some of those now representing their country in the WC could not get a space on the LFC team due to our ex-manager who favoured such international stars as Lucas, Ngog, and El Hazar.”

    A few things jumped out at me with that one. First of all, how many times did “El Hazar” play? Last season he appeared a massive total of SEVEN times for Liverpool. THREE league games. FOUR European games. He started ONE game – the last one of the season against Hull that made no difference to us whatsoever.

    Who did he replace when he came on as sub the six times? 1: Yossi (72) / 2: Kuyt (88) / 3: Gerrard (81 minutes, we were winning 3-0) / 4: Yossi (90 minutes) / 5: Yossi (83) / 6: Aquilani (90).

    So that’s Yossi 3 times – Yossi wasn’t at the World Cup. Aquilani once – also not at the world cup. Of those who were at the World Cup he replaced Kuyt once with 2 minutes left and Gerrard once with 9 minutes left and the victory well and truly in the bag.

    Which World Cup player found himself stuck on the bench or even stuck in the stands every time Lucas played a game? Likewise Ngog. Let me know, show me some examples.

    It’s that kind of throwaway comment that makes much of what you say seem a waste of time reading. The fact you couldn’t be bothered to even attempt to spell his name right just adds to it, but that’s not the main point being made as far as I can remember. And once people get to that point, then find that most of your responses seem to be full of little insults and digs, it’s no wonder you get that kind of reaction.

    It would be nice if you could try harder to be more constructive and maybe check some of those facts out first before stating them as such. As I say, I want to hear which World Cup stars were kept out of the team because Rafa preferred picking the players you mentioned instead.

  8. @ Tom again, giving you a bit more benefit of the doubt:

    1) Riera’s not gone yet despite allegedly punching a youth player – some clubs would have sacked him on the spot. Do some research on Yossi and his agent’s quotes for the past 3 years, he’s rarely ever been happy here. I’d be interested to hear exactly what your views were on why Alonso left, also why a host of other players were more than happy with Rafa and finally how you think Shanks, Paisley or Fagan might have dealt with Yossi and Riera.

    2) Which players that he “wrote off” turned out to be good after all? Keep in mind some players were sold to get funds in place for other players (Bellamy for example). He made mistakes, but I’d be interested in who these players were that were written off.

    3) I’ve just posted about those three and I’m really looking forward to the meat on the bones of that one.

    4) Which of our world cup players were poorly used then and how should they have been used?

    5) Do we have to get behind Purslow to get behind Hodgson? If Hodgson chose to sell Torres for £20m and replace him with Cisse and Zamora I think we’d have right to get on his back. If it turned out he was forced to sell Torres for £50m but only got to see £20m of it then who would get on Hodgson’s back? I wouldn’t. Not many would. Hodgson will be judged on what he does with the resources he’s got. You don’t even have the ability to judge players in that way, let alone the manager, so if he does have such problems you’ll be complaining about him in no time.

    6) If Purslow had been honest last summer and admitted that profits from player sales had gone on wages and pay rises because the club had made a loss and couldn’t divert any other income into the transfer kitty I think most fans would have been annoyed, but would have at least felt that Purslow was showing the fans some respect. It would also have corrected the expectations of all those supporters who assumed that Benitez had been given the players he’d asked for and didn’t lose out on others he’d got lined up. If Purslow had been honest with Rafa before he even started to go for players maybe Rafa’s purchases would have been prioritised differently – then again, maybe Rafa would have refused to let Xabi go, who knows? But whatever our financial state we need to start being honest about and working within our means – but not then coming out in the press and exaggerating our spending.

    7) It’s not just about the money, it’s the way they’ve run the club. Purslow has been running it for the past 15 months and he’s probably made it worse. Before that it was Parry trying to run it with one owner playing him off against the other. All clubs have problems but most clubs have people running the ship that all want to go in something like the same direction. LFC were heading for icebergs and instead of agreeing whether to head left or right to avoid them they’ve argued and argued until in the end we’ve just headed straight into the icebergs. We don’t just need owners with the money to rectify the mess, we need owners who can run the club in a far more responsible way – or put people in place to do it for them.

    As for who you were trying to make out Martin was: “I am not sure who you are, sir. Maybe Jim’s brother, maybe even Jim defending himself under a different name. ”

    He’s neither, and if you genuinely do think that there’s only me with similar views on Purslow, Benitez and the general state of this club then I suggest you open your own eyes and look around a bit more.

    Rafa’s gone, but whatever part of the problem Rafa was he wasn’t 100% of it. And Purslow being defended by people who can’t see anything beyond Rafa’s failings is exactly what Purslow would want. Rafa’s departure doesn’t fix all the problems from last year, it probably brings some new ones and also allows some of the others to go on unchecked. Or it would, if people who have their doubts about Purslow didn’t keep calling him to task.

    Seriously, I hope you keep contributing your comments but I hope you do it after at least trying to check some of the facts you come out with.

    And that goes for “GBH” too – if he’s wary of backing up his allegations on here perhaps he’ll drop us a line and explain what he meant off the record. I’ve a feeling I already know, but perhaps “GBH” will try to work out how he was told this, how those claims filtered down to him from the original source, and how impartial those people actually are about Christian Purslow and Rafa Benitez. I get the feeling he won’t, which is a pity because it would be interesting to hear that version.

  9. Jim needs to grow up and move on!

    Rafa has gone and LFC has a new Manager.

    Stop rangling over the past that will only create turmoil, what LFC needs most are fans who will get behind the Manager. Roy has a good CV and he has all the qualities to be a good man manager. (confidentlialy, he reminds me of Bob Paisly)

    So give up this nonsense and start surporting

  10. @Ken: Two words you’ve used there: “create turmoil”.

    Create turmoil?

    So we’ve not had turmoil for the past few years? It must just be me then.

    Either that was a slip of the keyboard or you’re completely incapable of seeing what’s going on at this club, in which case it’s probably best you avoid anything other than the official site (but not the official forums) because you might accidentally notice that this club has been in turmoil for some time. I actually commented to someone earlier today, “Do you ever wish you couldn’t see the mess the club was in, that you could put all our woes down to a manager who’s now gone?” It must be so blissful, that level of ignorance, I said.

    Rafa has gone, yes, those of us here in the real world already knew. But does it mean we can pin all our faults on him and put all our faith in Roy Hodgson?

    People expected the league last season; if Rafa was the only obstacle to that then we can expect it this season? Yes? Or was there more to it than that? Was it – think carefully – was it down in any way whatsoever to those above Rafa at the club?

    I will be behind the new manager as much as I can, and I will judge him on what he does with whatever resources he gets. If he’s given £50m to spend I’ll judge him on that. If he’s got to sell to buy and pay wages I’ll judge him on that. If injuries leave him short of players I’ll take that into account, like I will if the star players stop performing. If we get a dodgy ref, I’ll call the dodgy ref all the names going.

    If I feel he’s not been given the resources this club should be able to give him it won’t be the manager I criticise for that. If he gets lied to about his budget I won’t blame him for the consequences that brings.

    I am prepared to give Roy as much of that “hope in my heart” as I can find, whatever my head might be telling me. I can’t force myself to be more enthusiastic than I really am, but I’ll put a brave face on it and cross my fingers it all goes well.

    A lot of people won’t.

    As for Roy’s CV, it’s a long way short of being impressive if you look at certain sections of it, BUT – it’s also no longer important to us at all. You use a CV to help decide who you give the job to – once they’re in it goes in a file never to be looked at again. The day they get the job they’re judged on what they do for you, not what they did for anyone else.

    If you’re happy being blissfully unaware of the troubles at the club then that’s fine with me, I’m happy for you. If you aren’t then maybe it’s time to stop dishing out patronising comments like “grow up” to an old fart like me and learn how to separate the different problems facing this club.

    Rafa’s gone – but if people want to simplify last season’s troubles by – for example – claiming “El Hazar” kept out “World Cup Stars” when he didn’t, there’s no harm in correcting them.

    Sitting back and blaming the owners and MD for ALL our troubles on the field last season is wrong, but some people seem willing to ignore how much of a part they played in it, to the extent they’re going to make the same allowances towards the hierarchy as last time.

    Sad times.

  11. Jim
    Good to have you back. So much to respond to, and in the interest of the readers of this forum, I’ll not bother to respond to each and every comment. Not that I couldn’t, but email notes tend to get exponentially larger with each rebuttal, and frankly, I don’t have the time to write it, and I doubt you or your readers have time to read it. I will answer a few specific comments though.

    First let me deal with Martin. His philosophy was simple. Spelling error = dumb. Dumb = invalid opinion. In a world of blackberry’s, iphones, and various other hand held devices, unfortunately typos have become the norm, not the exception, and to classify everyone who makes a typo as dumb, is, well, dumb.

    Had Martin chosen to counter the content of my comments through a more logical process, as you have done above, the exchange would have been far more amicable. His main complaint, and what appeared to set him off, was comments I made about you, which is strange in itself as you didn’t appear to mind…. That is why I wondered if ‘Martin’ was your alter-ego.

    Now, on to your comments. I agree completely with your overall theme about making generalities, and having no data to go on, but isn’t that what opinions are? (Data + experience = opinion??) We all do it, even you. For example, you have made a few generalities in the past, which although you did not state as FACT, had the clear intention of driving a thought process within your readers. For example you responded to one of my criticisms of Rafa with a comment something like ‘what if he chose to give his ‘buy out’ cash to a charity or ……’ which was quickly snapped up by one of your readers to the effect ‘great idea, what a nice guy Rafa is’. You can see how this very quickly increases the believability of what was basically a throw away comment.

    Another would be ‘no matter how hard we try, we just don’t want Hogeson’. Is that FACT?? Do you speak on behalf of ALL fans as your headline would suggest, or is that just your opinion?? As with all other management appointments, (including Rafa and Houllier) I suspect there are three types of fans 1) don’t want him, 2) do want him, 3) will wait and see, and judge later. I doubt there is anything different about Roy, but to discredit the guy before he even gets into the job is, well, just not right. My opinion is that you are SO into hatred of Purslow, that NOTHING he does can have any merit, and so the appointment of Hogeson is a bad decision, and therefore you enter group 1). I am not sure that a columnist is best served by such an approach.

    Additionally, I made a comment about El Zhar, Ngog, and Lucas by which I stand. They are quite useless in my opinion and don’t deserve a red jersey. But you responded by outlining the number of times El Zhar played. What would have happened if you applied the same data analysis to the other two?? Perhaps my comments would have had more power?? (ps, I am really jealous of the data base you must have access to…. 🙂 But this a typical grammar school debate tactic… pick on the weak link, make it the rule, debate the new rule and use it to override the legitimacy of any and all other data.

    Now to respond specifically to a few of your questions, 1) It was my understanding that Alonso and Rafa fell out over the birth of Alonso’s first child. Alonso wanted to be with his wife, Rafa insisted he travel to a game. From that time on, the two of them have not gotten on at all well. In fact, I believe that Alonso sat on the bench for a few games right after that….
    2) Players who were written off?? How about Keane, Crouch, Alonso and Bellamy for starters. It is too easy to say each one HAD to be sold in order to make room for xxxxx player. If they were performing, why sell them to make room for anyone else?? That doesn’t make sense. The media rags were full of stories about Crouch being unhappy, Bellamy not being happy (who would be happy playing second fiddle to Ngog). Each of these players in turn has shown great value in their new clubs (except Keane of course, but why they bought him in the first place is beyond me) It is my understanding (but I don’t have the database to confirm) that at one time Crouch scored more goals per second on the pitch than any other Premier League player… perhaps you can confirm that?? But he rarely ever started, coming in second to lesser players.

    3) I have NEVER said that Rafa was THE problem, nor have I ever said that Purslow is perfectly clean (there is plenty of blame to go around), but I firmly believe that Rafa is a lousy people manager, as evidenced by his alienation of Riera (yes I know he hasn’t gone yet, but that doesn’t discredit my arguement – his fall out with LFC is irrevocable), Yossi, and Alonso. I honestly think that there are three major components to a good manager in todays game. 1) buying the right talent, 2) developing a great team to get everything possible out of them, and 3) managing their egos while they are sitting on the bench. Let me focus on 3) for a minute. The way Alex Fergusson handled Ronaldo’s petulance during his last season at MUFC was simply brilliant (‘The kid will sit on the bench all season if need be – I will be the one who determines when he leaves’) And see how Ronaldo turned around?? Mourinho is another one who is excellent at it. But without money, Jose is a wash… Why do you think he won’t take a National Team job??? You can’t ‘buy’ talent.

    Please do not compare me to GBH. You may not agree with my comments, but I would never make the kind of statements attributed to GBH.

    Finally, these are not just my comments. Read your other readers input carefully. Like everyone, we tend to take comments we agree with as coming from intelligent people, and simply brush aside as ‘ignorant’ comments which don’t support our view of the world. I believe your hatred of Purslow, and your admiration of Rafa is hurting your credibility, and effecting your decision making. Moreover, I believe that many of your readers are starting to see through it (but I could be wrong 🙂

    It is a great column, Jim, and I am glad you don’t censor dissenting articles (that would be disingenuous) but I would suggest that you not let your personal agenda get in the way of your opinions. It can be deadly for a columnist.

    Looking forward to the next article.

  12. Jim
    Just saw your last comment.
    Even now you are still trying to discount my input by attempting to humiliate me for spelling El Zhar, El Zahar. Don’t you see it yet? Your readers can.

    You totally disregarded your last readers input because he disagreed with you.

  13. Hi Tom

    I’m afraid you misunderstood me mate. What I actually meant was that I wanted to come back here tonight and discuss/debate the football issues you had previously raised. To get away from the issue of you not knowing the name of a player you had a firm opinion on. I’m willing to leave that issue alone if you’re willing to discuss football without being patronising and insulting?

    I also don’t get what you mean about contributors vs columnist? You said that maybe I’m Jim, I said I’m as much Jim as you are Tom Hicks, i.e, you’re not Tom Hicks.

    Anyway, once again, I’ll be back tomorrow to discuss those 7 points you raised tomorrow if you want me to? If not that’s really not a problem and I’m not being hostile here.

  14. One thing you’re right about Tom is that rebuttals do get bigger and bigger so I’ll quickly “correct” a few points, make some observations, whatever you want to call it.

    T: ‘no matter how hard we try, we just don’t want Hogeson’. Is that FACT?? Do you speak on behalf of ALL fans as your headline would suggest,
    J: Headlines have to be short otherwise they don’t fit on the page. “No matter how hard the majority of fans that the author has discussed the potential appointment of Roy Hodgson with try, and some try harder than others, that majority of fans are unable to say without any reservations whatsoever that Roy Hodgson is the manager they want” – doesn’t work. I’m not one to write headlines to deliberately deceive or to be vague enough to ensure people will read the story underneath. And it’s the story underneath you need to debate, not the headline, and the story underneath – written before Roy arrived – discussed how a lot of people felt that day. Put it this way – if Hodgson had ruled himself out that night there’d have been a massive sigh of relief from a lot of people. BUT – and this is why I closed the comments on that article – that was the view of fans prior to the appointment. Many of those people are now trying to get behind the manager they didn’t really want.

    You still haven’t told us which World Cup players Ngog, El Zhar and Lucas kept out of the team last season. It’s a massive accusation to make, yet you still haven’t told us who. That’s the question I want answering the most. Which World Cup stars did Rafa leave out in favour of those three? Why pick El Zhar’s stats? Because he’s the only one I needed to go and look up to see which World Cup star he might have kept out of the side. Lucas played most games last season and didn’t keep any World Cup star out of the side to my knowledge. Ngog played most – but not all – of the time when Torres was injured or too unfit to risk. Rafa never dropped a fit Torres for Ngog.

    I think the answer is “Tom got it wrong, those three didn’t keep any World Cup stars out of the side”.

    And the “database” I used for El Zhar is freely available to anyone –

    On Alonso – maybe that’s something for another day, but a lot of what you say is open to debate and well in the past.

    On Keane – if there was a mistake made in paying £19m to buy him, it was stroke of genius to get £16m back for him. Like scoring both goals in a 1-1 draw perhaps. Keane went on to mediocrity after we got rid of him. Crouch wanted more money and a regular starting place, and was a player a lot of people laid into Rafa over because they thought he was overpriced at £7m. We made a big profit on him, as we did the other one you name – Bellamy. Bellamy was well aware of how his fee (another profit) was being used to fund other transfers. Ngog wasn’t even at the club when Bellamy was sold, which again makes me wonder if you’re deliberately writing this stuff as wind-up or if you really mean it.

    On that note I’ll cut this reply short for now, other than to say “hatred” is a strong word and Purslow isn’t someone I’d personally use the word on.

  15. Actually Tom, just read your last posts, forget my last comments.

    Does a spelling error or typo lessen the content of a post? Of course not. In respect to me pulling you up on Riera and Yossi, I apologise.

    In respect to El Zhar though, I’m sorry, but you’re not getting off that by claiming it was a typo! El Zgar or El Zar is a typo, El Haza shows that you don’t even know the players name, despite watching them play every time they pulled on a shirt for the1st team apparently (which is hardly mitigating). I made a valid point but all you could retort was that I was focussing on spelling errors and that I “must be a teacher”.

    Why are you so intent on spelling mistakes Tom and not on the content of the post?

    Here’s my comment again, it relates to your opinion, not just your spelling:

    ” When you’re watching players play they normally have their names on the back of their shirts. And when you look at line ups they normally spell their names correctly. And commentators normally pronounce their name phonetically. To formulate an opinion on a particular player one would have to assume that it’s only fair that you watch them on at least a handful of occassions. I don’t see how you could meet that requisite requirement (and see said name on back of shirt and hear it) and come up with El Haza? The only plausible alternative is that you’re a bit stupid so if that’s the case then I apologise.”

    It’s really pretty simple for me. You made a comment about “El Haza’s” ability. I say what sort of dolt would begin to take your opinion seriously when you have no idea about the name of the player you are even talking about?

    Oh, ok, you never missed a game the last two seasons, we should never question your credentials should we Tom? So maybe it was the latter alternative, you clearly a bit dumb in which case I apologise.

  16. Tom, you need to lighten up a bit about the spelling digs. Your spelling is fine as far as I can tell, I’ve not looked that closely, but “El Hazar” is one that sticks in the mind. Don’t take it so seriously. An elderly relative recently referred to Wayne Rooney as “Wayne Maroony” and gets ribbed for it as a result – no harm meant to that person either.

  17. Martin
    Let me comment on the spelling bit for a final time.

    Somehow, you have been able to determine what I was thinking when I typed El Hazar. You catagorically state that it couldn’t possibly be a typo, and that I don’t know his name. Magic, pure magic. What a gift you have. You contend that El Zahar could not possibly be a typo for El Zhar. YET YOU KNEW WHO I WAS TALKING ABOUT…. So, clearly the spelling was close enough for you to get the message. The concept was transferred. Communication occured.

    Yes, my friend, I am sorry. I spelled his name wrong. Give me ten lashes in public. Maybe I phonetically prounce it wrong. Perhaps I have a lisp. Maybe I am ESL. What if I were from Japanese extraction?? Is that REALLY what this site is about?
    So, why not stop the symantic crap, and tell me what he has done to deserve a red jersey. That would be far more productive.

    Want to keep going on this one, or want to move on?

  18. Jim
    First of all, thanks for the stats page. It is amazing…
    Secondly, fairnuff about the comment ‘hatred’. I was getting a bit tired after a long typing session, and wasn’t sufficiently patient to pick a better word. Perhaps I should have said you have a grudge against him??

    Now that I have this awesome data base available to me, let me add to the list talent I believe Rafa dumped:
    (actually, I was a fan of JA Riiise aswell, one own goal does not a player make)
    Either dumped prematurely, or never given a chance.

    Now to answer which WC stars kept the bench warm while Lucas, Ngog or El Zhar played…..
    Surely you remember at the end of last season when Rafa substituted Ngog for Torres ? Remember the look on Torres face when he was pulled off?? I cannot remember the actual game, (and I haven’t mastered the database just yet) but it was a PL game right before a European game. The excuse given was that Torres was ‘exhausted’ but nobody, not Torres, not even the TV commentator bought that.
    Secondly, are you saying that Lucas never played at the expense of Mascherano or Alonso? That Babel, Ngog or El Hzar never played while Kuyt, Yossi or Maxi were keeping his seat warm? (I know Yossi didn’t play in the WC, but more about that later). The fact that I am unable to name the specific time and game does not mean that it didn’t occur.

    But more importantly, aren’t you taking my comment too literally?
    On July 8th, I said ‘Unfortunately some of those now representing their country in the WC could not get a space on the LFC team due to our ex-manager who favoured such international stars as Lucas, Ngog, and El Hazar.’ (sp) I really don’t agree with you that my comment was ‘a massive accusation to make’, but rather a general statement, which if read in context was designed to focus attention on the overall player selection of our previous manager, which left many LFC supporters shaking their heads in disbelief!!

    And to be exact, although Yossi Benayoun was not at the WC in S. Africa, as captain of Israel didn’t he play in the WC qualifying rounds? . But isn’t Yossi an international star? And did he not become a sub so the likes of Ngog and Babel could play? And do you think that insult might have led to his dissatisfaction and ultimate departure?

    And Aquilani – a 17,000,000.00 pound bench warmer while Babel, EL Hzar and Ngog play…. Again, not a WC player, not even an international…. good enough to spend 17M on, but not good enough to play?

    That was the basis of the comment, which I am sure you understood. Surely you are not so literal that you do not allow building of a concept? If you are, and that is what you expect of all your contributors, I will endeavour to keep future postings as exact as can be.
    I hope that answers your question

  19. i respect rafa for getting liverpool to 2 champions league finals and winning one. he was a great manager until last year though. i have absolutly no idea in the world why lucas plays every game. he might be okay at a club like Wigan, but he’s not a liverpool talented player. aqualani is amazing and he barely played. plus you need to have another striker on the team incase torres gets injured which happened last year and who was there to replace him…David N’gog. He’s not terrible, but again he’s not liverpool talent! Liverpool’s two striker were torres and n’gog. chelsea: didier drogba and florent malouda and nikolas anelka…enough said. and the recent years rafa got some bad signings and after 5 years it was time for him to go.

  20. You guys are like little girls crying after their first break up. Move on. Rafa is GONE.

    I for one will back Uncle Woy all through, till he somehow proves that he’s a crackhead by signing bad players and not playing the better players or some such. Sure his record in the PL has been eff-all, but he is OUR manager. I’d like to believe that he’s out there to do the best job he can with the club and deserves our support.

    Welcome Roy. YNWA

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