Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saudi Prince to buy Stake in Liverpool?

I came across a forum that mentioned Prince Faisal Khaled is reportedly interested in buying a 25%-50% stake in LFC. Allegedly Saudi TV reported that the deal will be finalised at tonight's game. The prince owns the Sports Investment FX company or something. 

If anyone understands Arabic and can confirm whether it is really the Prince, please check out here: http://liverpoolfc.co.za/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/1126051643/m/302102294

A fan also mentioned that Hick was apparently in Saudi Arabia all week. Dunno whether I should be excited or just ignore it as one of the many rumours that have been circulating around.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Shock! Horror! Revealed: Liverpool is Screwed

Why am I not surprised reading about the leaked papers from LFC?

The documents concerned is apparently a prospectus published by investment banks Rothschild and Merrill Lynch which was released by Bloomberg News.

It reveals that the owners have capped the spending on new players and also any increase of wages to £20M. Oh, and it is for the next 5 years! This figure could only increase if there is an increase in the broadcasting revenue, something that does not happen often. Or if Rafa sells players to raise up funds.

The documents also revealed that the owners were seeking new loans to refinance existing loans and also almost increased the ticket price by 8%.

No wonder the fans are worried sick. Here were are with LFC ridden in huge debt as never before and a chance to become the new Leeds United if ever we do not qualify for the CL once. The sponsorship deal with Standard Chartered seems to have a clause that says we will only be paid if we qualify for the CL, or something like that. 

Equally, fans are worried for how long more Rafa is going to take this before he decides enough is enough and leaves us. And of course, with that much funds available, how are we going to compete with the likes of the Mancs, Citeh or Chelsea.

It is difficult to remain optimistic at this time. Until someone megarich comes to rescue us, it is the worrisome lane all the way for us.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dark and Gloom in the BPL but not at Liverpool FC

Since the Burnley game, LFC has played against Debrecen in the CL, West Ham in the league and Leeds last night in the Carling Cup. I did not get to catch the Debrecen game but, as with the other two games, LFC won not so 'comfortably too' I was told.

We are sitting 'comfortably' at third place in the league after the West Ham game when a few teams in the top five dropped points as expected. We are at the moment only one point worse compared to the same fixtures from last season. So all the dark and gloom in the few weeks after the season kicked off was just knee-jerk reactions from worried fans understandably. Third place at this time of the year is not so bad, and being 6 points off the league leader Chelsea is not a catastrophic situation. This could of course easily change soon if the likes of Arsenal, Man City and Villa win their game in hand.

The fans supporting the greatest team in the BPL if not the europe or the world, could be forgiven for having such high expectations. If we don't win by 8 goals margin, with 4 goals scored beautifully from 30 yards out before halftime in which the ref would need his arse pumped because he swallowed his whistle engraved with 'Mancs forever', then there will be some quarters who will ask for some heads to roll. Such are the expectations of some passionate fans.

There are so many issues being the talk of town at the moment. The positives of course include Torres' superb two goals against the Hammers, with the first being so awesome we will never forget it ever. His second goal won us the game. For a player who has 'lost his form and playing below his best', scoring 5 goals so far is not so bad. If Torres is not rated as the best striker in the world right now, then it is because of the biased media and pure jealousy. 

Another main issue that has been the talk of town is Carra's contributions to the team. Granted that he has made a few errors that could have cost us something, but one could expect these errors taking into account his age. To me, Carra should never be blamed totally just as we should not blame the zonal marking which has provided us such great defensive results in the past. I do not want to dwell in this topic so much but suffice to say his presence in the team is crucial because he marshals the others alongside him in defense so well.

This season, Rafa seems to have decided to go after the jugular of opponents, and rightly so since some of us fans used to criticise him and his defensive strategy in the past that we felt have cost us the premiership. It does look like we aim to win games nowadays rather than not lose with the defense playing higher up the pitch. This I am optimistic will pay its dividends at the end of the season.

Sometimes the players around do not heed Carra's callings, with Johnson still new to the system with Arbeola gone, and sometimes Carra comes against faster and better and younger players whom he could have unestimated. And sometimes players that score the goal against us should be given due credit for outwitting the defense, just like how we credit Torres for outjumping the opponents players to head in his goal or get past three players and toe-poke for a goal. But as long as we outscore our opponents, I am not duly worried.

Last night's game against Leeds saw our second stringers getting a chance to show their worth. Against a settled Leeds side that has won a string of games at home in the lower league, we should be happy with the 1-0 win. I am sure if our first team were playing, we would have won the game by at least a 4 goals margin. As it was, our second stringers guaranteed more games under their belt this season and more chances to prove themselves to Rafa for a place in the first eleven.

The biggest topic at the moment is of course the manner in which the Mancs beat ManCity, which was already weakened by the ejection of Adebayour who faced the FA music in such quick fashion. Especially when the winning goal was scored after the 6 minutes (yes! six minutes!) injury time was over. Justification for the added time was indeed lame. It is very appalling how some referees get away with these types of 'blunder'. A little bit of controversy is good for the game, but too much kills it.

A friend of mine screamed blood, as I am sure many other football fans from around the world did too, and suggested that we start to bombard those who are responsible via emails for destroying the game that we all love.

If this is not evidently a case of match-fixing, then I guess there are more blind people in the BPL as I would have thought. This is not the first time this has happened and will not be the last time too. Just like the new ruling imposed for next season that requires teams to register 7 players, if I am not wrong, who are under 21 and who have trained in England for at least 3 years. No sweat. Big teams will just start recruit younger players, not necessarily English, and make sure they get their minimum 3 years of training before being unleashed in the Premiership before they are twenty one.

I would not be surprised if soon we see the support for the BPL dwindle and football fans start to follow the Bundesliga. This, of course, on top of following the La Liga which is improving steadily every year. I would not also be surprised if the FAs from around the world think twice before sending their future coaches and referees to get their badges in England. After all, so much farce is being thrown about by the so-called experts of football. As the famous line says: May a thousand flies...

YNWA!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

£80M Marriage between LFC and Standard Chartered

It is now official that LFC has just signed a four-year shirt sponsorship deal with Standard Chartered worth £80M over four years. The deal, biggest in our history, starts at the start of next season and will see the end of the 17-year era of association with Carlsberg. Carslberg pays LFC £7M a year.

This is indeed a very good news, right after we beat Burnley 4-0 for a back-to-back win at Anfield. Association with Carlsberg has always brought on some issues with fans from around the world. Firstly because Carlsberg is a brand of a beer, and secondly muslim fans are not really comfortable with brandishing a name linked to beer on their chest.

There is talk of the power-that-be being uncomfortable with the idea of beer being associated with sports and might come up with new rulings to put a stop to it. So, this new deal is timely for the future if ever there is a new ruling. 

But most importantly, this new sponsorship will now be able to tap into the huge 'muslim' markets from around the world. There will be more fans who would at last be able to buy a genuine Liverpool merchandise without feeling guilty of brandishing something that is 'haram'.

All of my LFC jerseys bought during the Carlsberg era are from Golok without the Carlsberg logo but with the word 'Liverpool' designed to look like the Carlsberg logo. But starting next year, with Standard Chartered's logo, I would at last be able to buy an authentic LFC jersey which will ensure LFC receives the funds generated from the sale.

There is also some questions from fans on the subject of morality in which it is said that there is no difference between a beer and a bank. Both are put in the same boat with the word 'devil' written on its side. Well, fans can have their own personal arguments and make their decisions afterwards. As for me, I am just glad that LFC is at last making some efforts in realising its potential in the merchandise department. And at the same time, I am hoping that the £80M will not all go into the pockets of the americans.

(photo taken from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/leagues/premierleague/liverpool/6186690/Liverpool-agree-80-million-shirt-sponsorship-deal-with-Standard-Chartered-Bank.html)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

International Boredom of Football

I feel this is the first time I am glad that the international break arrived. Although it did come after our win against Bolton, but it was not the usual break that usually breaks our momentum of winning games. This time it feels like it is a timely break, much needed to tighten a screw here and a screw there in strengtening the team.

Not all fans around the world look forward to these international breaks. Especially when they don't have any team to support when their country is not involved.  This particular break, for two whole weeks, came just after four games in the BPL and I cannot recall if there was ever a time it was like this. I am one of those people who support the idea that FIFA should reshedule the untimely international breaks (that also unfortunately sometimes break a player until he can't perform for the club that pays his salary) so that they don't disrupt the leagues. 

It is already more than a week and tonight some of our players will be involved with their respective national team. I am keeping my fingers crossed that none of them gets injured in the games. It would be unthinkable to have the likes of Torres or Gerrard sidelined because of injuries. 

While we wait for the BPL game against Burnley this weekend, there have been stories of Babel and Reira wanting more games at Liverpool. Which is understandable since the World Cup is next year and these players are vying for a place in their national squad. 

In Babel's case, he is looking at a loan deal that would take him to Ajax in the January window to boost his chances in the Dutch national side. That's it if the news in the papers are to be believed. Apparently he complained of not getting enough games at LFC. After Rafa's response on the issue the other day, I don't think he is going anywhere if there is no replacement in our depleted squad. Rafa had thrown the gauntlet at the players to fight for a place in the starting eleven.

I feel that Rafa will give Babel the chance to change a game by coming in as a substitute, something which he did quite well when he first arrived. This after he was given a start in our first game against Spurs this season in which he did not really impress.

On top of this, I feel Rafa will give Babel the chance to proof himself in the Cup games because with the squad that we have at the moment, LFC is not really going to field its best in these competitions. Probably the young players will be given the nod ahead of the first eleven and if we do get far, let's say in the semis, maybe only then Rafa will field the likes of Torres and Gerrard.

We need to challenge for the Premiership without saying and definitely the CL since it is where the big money is. The cup competitions would be an added bonus if we were to go far in them. And I wouldn't be having sleepless nights if we were to falter in either or both of them, especially with a thin squad that we have at the moment. But these competition would be the best arenas for the fringe players we have to show what they are made of.

And who knows, a good run by Babel or any of the others in the competitions would eventually warrant a first eleven spot in our first team. Either that or at least come January, we will be able to get a higher price for their talents when they are offloaded. Fund, alas, which will be gobbled up by the two freaks. Sigh, it is indeed dark days ahead for us Liverpool fans.