Sunday, January 31, 2010

Reality Check Again.

As usual after each game, the internet would be brimming with opinions about our performance. A good thing, really. But depending on where you are coming from, some sites are more preferred than others.

I have tried to ignore the sites that spew only the negative about the team and the manager. I especially avoid the sites from the daily media because I do not see any proper journalism in them. Imagine reading about your team and you see the writer even gets the name of our players wrong!

There are a few sites that I frequent everyday because I see in them an avenue in which a healthy debate is always welcome. There I read different views, insights from those who are close to Anfield and have been to the games, and most importantly comments from people who really understand the game having played the game and coached at different levels. Some of the comments make us think really hard about the whole circumstances surrounding us at the moment, especially on the issue of Rafa Benitez.

These are just two examples:

No offence lads, none whatsoever. But I am getting bored of reading the same thing over and over again. I am boring myself with the same shit over and over every time a discussion about Rafa comes up either in the blog or in conversation with friends and colleagues. I even found myself on the phone to my Dad in Jamaica explaining why it’s not as simple as Rafa doing a poor job.

Arthur, some of the things FS says may seem like scare mongering and over the top. But I believe he is bloody well right when he says we run the risk of slipping into oblivion if Rafa loses his job while the club is in its current predicament. 

Before deciding if Rafa should stay or go I think it is important to understand the position the club is in. I believe a lot of people are not aware of the shit the club is in. Drawing 0-0 at Wolves and Rafa only making one sub is but a grain of sand in the desert compared to the fucking mess the club is actually in. But I digress.

I will try to put it in simple terms – it’s not that I think anyone reading this lacks intelligence its because once one forms a hard opinion it is very difficult – sometimes impossible to change it no matter how well or simply things are explained. I will try anyway.

In the opinion of FS, Keith, Aitch, Timmy, myself and a few others Rafa Benitez is the best manager the club can wish to have in its current predicament. The reason we think this way is this:

The club has no money for transfers. Clubs in this position find it very difficult to attract top managers to the job. The club does not have money to pay any compensation for a manager who is in a job. Clubs in this position have to wait for a manager to be out of work or free from a contract before they can get him. Unless of course we are talking about a manager who is at a small club where say a £1m pay off would suffice.
The most simple way I can put it is like this: LFC is a skint football club. Skint football clubs do not attract top quality established managers.

Forget Hiddink, Mourinho, Lippi, Capello or anyone of that ilk. As a matter of fact you can list the top 20 managers in football and I would be willing to bet my life that not one of them would touch LFC with a bargepole.

The likely scenario if we sacked Rafa would be that we get a manager from not the top shelf but the shelf where the likes of Mcleish, Allardyce, Mark Hughes, Steve Bruce, Roy Hogdson reside. Now imagine a manager in this mold with no money to spend on new players. Also imagine what the attitude of our current squad would be if such a manager replaced Rafa. Players like Reina, Torres, Masch, Gerrard – would they be looking to stay at the club long term playing for such a manager? Would they have the belief that the club is going forward? Or would they be looking towards La Liga in a hurry? In my opinion we’d have a number of players thinking about their futures and at the same time no money to add any quality to the squad. What you get in this scenario is a steady decline.

This decline happened at Newcastle after they sacked Bobby Robson. They fired a very good manager after they finished 5th. The club was also run poorly. They hired Souness and ended up 17th he then left. What happened after that was a succession of managers none of them as good as Robson. I am sure they would have loved to get Hiddink but I’m afraid with no real money to invest and a group of clowns in the boardroom they could only recruit mediocre managers. Players left to go to other clubs that semmingly had more ambition – poorer players replaced those. Newcastle slide down the league year on year until they get relegated.

The notion that top managers will be falling over themselves to manage our club once Rafa slings his hook is a fallacy, a pipe dream, a fantasy. It’s on the same level as saying we’ll be buying David Villa in the summer. There is no queue of investors falling over themselves to take over the club, no top manager itching to take the job and no super star world class player aching to come and put on the red shirt. This “we are Liverpool” is total bollocks. We’re skint. Time we start acting like it.

May I also point out that the club cannot afford to sack Rafa. You may think “oh it’s not right keeping a manager just coz we can’t afford to sack him – something is not right”. Damn right something is not right. Financially we are fucked. Wake up and smell the coffee. Realise the real life situation. The club can’t sack Rafa and it can’t recruit a top manager. It can’t fucking afford it.

Also realise this. No manager since Rafa’s arrival has been more successful on a smaller or similar budget. So when quoting Tomkins/soccernomics to suit your argument when we draw 0-0 with Wolves or lose to Reading remember the bigger picture. Which is this:

2005 – 5th in PL, Carling Cup final, CL win.
2006 – 3rd in PL, FA cup win, CL 2nd round. (our highest ever PL points tally)
2007 – 4th in PL, CL Final.
2008 – 3rd in PL, Semi final CL.
2009 – 2nd in PL, Quarter final CL. (our highest points tally in 21 years)

Reading, Wolves, Spurs, Arsenal, City, Villa have not been more successful than Rafa’s Liverpool. Only the mancs and chavs have and I think we are all intelligent enough to know why that is. The above has been achieved with a net spend of £16m per season. I think that deserves a pat on the back rather than ridicule. 

I don’t believe you sack the 3rd most successful manager in English football since 2004 due to one poor season. Especially when the likely-hood of getting a superior replacement is very slim.


And here’s the thing…

we simply must stop all this “anti-Rafa” “Rafa-Basher” vs “Rafa apologist” “Gag on Rafa’s Tackle Brigade” nonsense.

Coz that is what it is ultimately! Just fuckin nonsense!

And it desn’t matter which “side” you are on… you’ve been placed on that “side” in part, by media driven bullshit.

Rafa has lost the plot or Rafa is a Tactical Genius?

How about neither!

How about he’s just a man, doing a job to the best of his ability. (did that sound a bit too much like Julia Roberts… “I’m just a girl, standing across from a boy, asking him to love her.” … or is it just me?)

but I digress… An ability which outstrips the abilities of the majority of men doing the same job… worldwide!

“Anti-Rafa’s” love to suggest they are LFC fans, not Rafa fans… as though they have exclusivity on that right.

…believe me fellas, there isn’t a single lad in here, “supporting Rafa” who holds his allegiance to LFC second. For reasons repeatedly expressed, we just believe that the two are symbiotic at present. 

It is time the divisiveness and name calling stopped. 

If someone holds a different opinion, reason it out… or at least try to… not because you’re right and they are wrong.

Reason it out, becuase THAT is what “the most knowledgeable fans in the world” should be doing… leave the petty catfights to the rest of the league.
If that proves futile, then just ignore them.

I support Rafa not becuase I have some gay affinity for chubby Spanish blokes…
…or any gay affinity for that matter…
…quotations from a dodgy Hugh Grant Rom-Com as potential evidence to the contrary…
…and okay sure… there was that incident in my very late teens, when my mate walked in on me, to find me embarrassingly naked on the bed with a bowl of jello, watching a David Niven movie… but as I explained at the time, it was hot and I was hungry…
…but I support Rafa because judging him on his entire tenure, not one game, or one season…
…on all his successes AND failures…
….judguing him on his “his obvious” strengths and his “obvious” shortcomings…
… and taking into account the circumstances he finds himself in… at ownership level, at administrative level, at management level, at training and playing… and the way he conducts himself within these circumstances (especially in comparison to his contemporaries)
… I conclude he is the best man for the job at present.

And the job is running LFC… not an easy one, despite what some would have you believe.

look, you won’t get any arguments from me if you claim… Football is an easy game.

Too fuckin right it is. You trap the ball, you run with the ball, you pass the ball, you shoot the ball.
Easy peasy…

Managing 20 young millionaires who’ve never actually done a hard days work in their life, who live a rockstar life, driving cars that cost more than you or I make in 2-3 years of graft, living in big mansions (with hermetically sealed trophy rooms the size of your average UK workers home) (and yes, that’s a poke at Stevie G.), dating supermodels and popstars, adhored by milliones who chant their name and are managed by agents who overfeed such already over-inflated egos…

… with tens or even hundreds of millions at stake… in an industry where few, and I do mean few, of your contempporaries have held their current positions for more than 5 years…
… all while under the daily… no make that hourly… microscope of a sharkfeeding frenzy media, who “drive the story” rather than “report” it… and maybe… just maybe top-flight football management isn’t so easy.

Then again, its a simple game, so maybe I’m just making excuses?


Anonymous said...

The problem is our manager is too negative in approach, which is suicidal. We had to take more risks in order to win games. Arsenal weren't that good last night but still we didn't punish them enough. Rafa was merely hoping for a draw or a lucky win. Only after we trailed them, did we stepped up a gear but it was too late. Of course we can debate about Febregas' blatant handball. The point is we tend to be negative in our apporach which i believe is going to be Rafa's downfall.

Khan said...

Arsenal away is always a difficult task for any team. Correct me, the last time we won there was around 10 years ago? I would have been happy even if we had managed a draw, but alas..

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