Let me see, since the last time I blogged considerably about Liverpool Football Club we have new owners and have started off worse that we’ve ever started a league season since before Bill Shankly. I would not want to be Roy Hodgson with some of the grief he’s getting from Liverpool fans understandably irate not just with the start but also some of the performances although obviously back-to-back Premier League wins and moving from relegation trouble to mid-table mediocrity eases the criticism somewhat.
I could write for yonks on the situation – and this article was perhaps the straw that broke the camel’s back, but a summary of my views would be as follows.
Liverpool’s performances so far this season have not been up to scratch – anyone can see that. Yet it takes time for a new guy to get his message across and it’s far too early to suggest he be given his P45. Some of the comments I’ve read by other Liverpool fans has shown just how short-sighted and narrow-minded people can get when it comes to be realistic about the state of affairs in a football club that is not longer among the very cream of English football.
Criticism is everyone’s right and I can understand where some are coming from with their concerns about the new boss. I watched the matches against Manchester United and Everton and was intrigued with the difference between those performances and with the options open to the club. The Northampton result wasn’t clever and obviously the Blackpool result was particularly irksome especially as I recalled a conversationI had in May back before they had even got promoted. A Man Utd fan taunted me by saying that they would get promoted and then beat Liverpool at Anfield. I laughed him to scorn, such an occurrence would never happen. Who is laughing now?
For all that, I’m still a believer in giving people time. Got to give the new owners time, got to give the new manager time. It was time that told for, that Rafa simply wasn’t up to the job. It was time that told that Hicks and Gillett for the best will in the world despite the negative press, were also simply not up to the job. They all had their chance and they were found wanting. Part of the reason why they were found wanting was that it was evident that they didn’t grasp the importance of managing expectations and making the most of the resources they had available.
The excuse of Hodgson inheriting a squad of mediocrity is not a sufficient reason, because there is enough in the playing personnel to do a lot better than results and performances have shown. Yet there can be no doubt that Hodgson does have a job to turn what was left behind into the proper challengers for honours. I’m not saying a clean sweep. I believe if you get the right players in – just two or three – they can have a catalytic effect on the rest of the players there – especially if at the same time you shake things up by getting rid of some of the deadwood. Therein lies the challenge for Hodgson.
Likewise in terms of the transfer policy and short to mid term future of the club, I don’t want NESV to look to keep up with the Joneses and only get the club further in debt. Competing for the biggest names in Europe shouldn’t have to be a priority for Liverpool – getting the right players is far more important and that does not have to break the bank if you do your scouting job right. Far better to invest in quality in the youth set-up and engage in a scouting operation that would ensure we get the players who are right for whatever vision the manager has to provide success over time.
Of course football is not known for concepts such as wisdom, patience and prudence. People demand success (i.e. trophies) and they demand it yesterday and anything that doesn’t bring that is part of a ticking time-bomb for the poor suckers in charge – it’s obviously the manager’s fault or the owners for not pumping in hundreds of millions of pounds to ensure the success the club deserved yesterday. Yet with all the wrangling about the stadium situation and Liverpool’s existence, it might be time for some fans to try this course of action, at least until the end of the season and then reach a measured conclusion.