Get on with the takeover before we take over

Protests at Anfield

It’s depressing enough being a Liverpool fan just by looking at the league table or that big taxi-meter style counter totting up the ridiculous daily interest payments the club has to make. Then you find yourself trying to reason with people who have far more interest in seeing the manager replaced than finding ways of making the owners sell up more quickly. People who are so set on seeing that manager gone that they just won’t stop for a few minutes and consider that maybe, just maybe, it’s not all as simple as blaming one person for all the ills this club has to endure.

Then you realise that many of those people you’ve been trying to reason with haven’t got the courage to step away from the little group they’re in and actually think about things all by themselves, to make their own minds up, to question the joint opinion of their little group on all things LFC and to maybe even risk finding themselves drummed out of that little group. So, briefly, you wonder why you even bothered trying; they’ll not change their minds until one of their leaders or advisers tells them to.

That’s when you realise that you’re not talking to them, not really. They won’t change their minds in a hurry, but a lot of people listen in without getting involved. And they are the people you’re talking to really, people who will listen to all that is said and make their own minds up. People who don’t just follow their leader. People with the sense to see that people at the club are using fans for their own ends. Continue reading Get on with the takeover before we take over

What a difference 22 years makes

Liverpool Football Club lost their fourth game in a row on Tuesday night, for the first time in 22 years.

The snipers who’d gone into hiding when Liverpool thumped Manchester United 4-1 last season, staying there throughout the run that saw Liverpool finish second, seemed somehow glad to be able to show their faces again. More and more have come out of hiding as the season has gone from bad to worse.

As well as the snipers who only seem to appear during the bad times, seemingly unable to enjoy the good times, a lot of those fans who are there regardless of the results are starting to get restless. Somebody needs to be blamed for the problems, and for many of those now shouting about the situation the answer is as simple as swapping Rafael Benítez for another manager.

Ironically a lot of those who are recommending this ‘simple’ change justify it by comparing Rafa to his predecessor Gerard Houllier. But if swapping Houllier for Rafa hasn’t worked, why would swapping Rafa for the latest flavour of the month work? Especially if that flavour of the month finds he’s had to take a drop in his own wages to manage a club with expectations like Liverpool’s fans have – on a budget of a little less than nothing.

It’s understandable that people are looking at Rafa when they’re trying to find blame. Why is the Liverpool machine still not working like it used to? Is it as simple as swapping out that big component marked “manager” and installing a new one? Or should we first of all be looking at what is stopping that component from working as well as it did before it was installed here? Do we want to go the expense of changing it only to find the new version faces all the same problems and our machine still fails to work as well as we expect it to? Continue reading What a difference 22 years makes

Reds must win every game. Including mind games.

When Alex Ferguson was interviewed after seeing his side battered 4-1 by Liverpool, he claimed the best side lost. The best side lost 4-1? The manager of the winning side, Rafael Benítez, had listened to taunts from opposing fans for weeks: “Rafa’s cracking up.” Now here was Ferguson, trying to make out that somehow Liverpool’s demolition job was all down to luck.

But that wasn’t his only excuse.

The interview just mentioned had been to his club’s own TV channel

It was the only interview he gave. Reports on Monday suggested he had refused to speak to Sky because he was annoyed with the kick-off time. United had played a day later than Liverpool in the Champions League, but on top of that Sky’s coverage of this match saw it kick off in the earliest possible slot of the weekend.

The suggestion was that, on top of their luck, Liverpool had an even bigger advantage because of the fatigue that United’s players would be feeling.

But on this occasion Sky had no choice. Sky would always prefer a later kick-off, preferably 4pm on Sunday, but the police just don’t like the idea of all that extra pre-match drinking time. It had to be a lunchtime kick-off. And it couldn’t be a Sunday lunchtime kick-off because that slot was taken by Setanta’s coverage of Manchester City, who’d been playing in Europe on Thursday.

It had to be a Saturday lunchtime kick-off if it was to be televised live.

Of course the kick-off time applied to both teams. Even if it had kicked off at 4pm on Sunday, Liverpool would still have had 24 more hours to recover and prepare than their opponents. Maybe United would have been less tired – but Liverpool would have been even hungrier.

So if Ferguson wanted to blame the humiliating scoreline on the fact his players were tired that’s all well and good – but it really wasn’t Sky’s fault.  So why avoid their interviewer’s questions?

Away from the comfort of his club’s own reporters, would Ferguson have been spared a reminder of Rafa’s January comments? Would he still be able to suggest he’d need to use Freud to help him decipher them? Would he be able to use the word “disturbed”?

He could try. But he’d look rather silly.

Continue reading Reds must win every game. Including mind games.