I’ve thought about a football blog before. Adding this page to the other more entertainment centric ones of old. After all I am an obsessive football fan, just one who keeps it quiet. There is nothing worse than one who lives his life by the referees whistle, it’s governed by such subjective laws after all. Anyway, I’ve never started it before because, basically, I’ve never been pissed off enough to start writing coherently in one direction about anything concerning football.
First off I should nail my colours to the broken down old shit deck and say that I’m a Liverpool fan (just like the Coral’s James Skelly, who I interviewed here). Tonight they lost to Wolverhampton Wanderers, which in itself is infuriating enough to make one rant and rave about any old pathetic, rambling nonsense but, no, Roy Hodgson’s inability to manage a relatively decent group of players, Fernando Torres’ apparent total disinterest in football or, indeed, Liverpool FC’s fast capitulation into the Newcastle of the North-East is not the source of my rage-ahol.
I was moved to pen such odious ramblings by Sky Sports and, in particular, Andy Gray and Alan Parry, who during the game said they felt sorry for poor Roy Hodgson for, after all, the club’s problems are not of his making but that terrifying foreigner Rafa Benitez. I’m not for a minute saying Gray or anyone at Sky are actually xenophobic but the shockingly one-sided dismissal of Rafa Benitez as the single reason Liverpool have capitulated this season (by large sections of the British media, not just Sky) is frankly a bit mental.
Facts are thus; Mick McCarthy went to Anfield with a team who in eight matches away from home this season had lost seven. SEVEN. They were bottom of the league and assumed relegation fodder. They were a team totally lacking in belief and confidence, whose own manager summed up their performance against West Ham by saying “we were shit”. Liverpool, on the other hand, featured eight of the 14 players who featured in the 4-0 defeat of Real Madrid two years ago, two members of the Spanish World Cup winning squad and two members of beaten finalist Holland’s squad. They also had 12 players playing in that competition, second only to Barcelona’s 13. Is anybody at Sky seriously suggesting that this group of players is simply not good enough to beat, up until today, the worst team in the PL this season?
Of course Sky Sports presentation of football has for years now verged on the orgasmic, with every imminent game, the BIGGEST OF THE YEAR, every loss a crisis and every win historic (which in a way is accurate, but is like describing every Wednesday as historic, simply because when it’s over it becomes history). I could go on about how truly awful the punditry is on Sky or the BBC, or ITV but that’s too easy – one thing though, when did Jamie Rednapp’s face become totally frozen. It’s like it has become an embodiment of his personality, utterly void of life.
Anyway, onto the football itself which, I suppose, is what a blog should be about. Liverpool are a shambles- what is the exact definition of shambles? A scene or condition of complete disorder or ruin – yep, that about sums it up. You can try to give a number of excuses for that performance, but really when it comes down to it there are few that really hold any sway what-so-ever.
The players have stopped playing for the manager, this much now seems obvious and thus the manager must go. Can you blame them? Players played out of position, absolutely no width, constant long balls to Fernando Torres and, most shockingly off all, applying little pressure on Wolves when they have the ball in their own half. Criticizing the fans afterwards was surely the sound of a condemned man knowing he’s on the way to the gallows and getting one last attack on his accusers, which incidentally is more fight than his team showed in the game.
He seems nice and is English, of course, which often helps in media terms, unless, oddly enough, you happen to be the England manager, then you start getting compared to a vegetable (Graham Taylor) or accused of being mental (Keegan, Hoddle) but there is now no hiding for Hodgson. His time is up as Liverpool manager, will it be tomorrow or in the next few weeks? Either way it seems unlikely, with the club three points away from the relegation zone, that he can survive till the summer.
The question then is who will replace him? The Kop made their answer clear after the Wolves goal with chants of “Dalglish”. If it were to happen, as now seems quite possible, it would be the football romantic’s dream and make those comparisons with Newcastle ever clearer.