In a bizarre twist of events our club finds itself on, what appears, a sound financial footing yet still tearing itself to pieces. Maybe that’s too strong a term, for what could well be the over exuberant and noisy minority? Although, it still appears there is this clique bitching about that clique, while frustration continues to surface. Maybe frustration will remain until performances match the very high expectations we demand (and the word is demand) from our club. Are we really only able to stand together when we are riding high or on the precipice of destruction?
The negative reaction to FSG’s swift culling of senior figures at the club seems to have come too early. Perhaps proving that the scars left by the club’s previous Amercian owners remain. Itching and irritating from time to time, making us sensitive and likely to react at the first signs of more pain. In fact, while I don’t agree with some decisions, I’d go as far to say that it’s refreshing to see such definite action delivered with respect. Who wouldn’t be up in arms had it transpired that FSG had talked to other managers over the past few months? They said that decisions would be made at the end of the season and that is what has happened. Their need to maintain the respect those senior individuals deserved (befitting of the Liverpool way of old) means that a delay will be incurred. This should be applauded rather than the frantic search for a panic button.
The key decision was clearly whether or not Dalglish should have survived to manage the club next season. Personally I think he’d done enough to warrant another season at the helm – but I don’t have millions (or tens of millions) of pounds resting on the finishing position of the club. There had been signs of the potential, which was simmering away, being delivered. But for every boiling point we mustered (usually against the bigger clubs) the old habit of going tepid against smaller sides continued to plague us.
So we have a fresh start from next season and maybe that’s what we really need after the past few seasons. Finally, in many different ways, a line can finally be drawn and we can turn a new page. Even the new retro warrior kit has a real ‘fresh’ feel to it (despite some mis-handling at launch). It can sometimes be the small changes which makethe difference, particularly when a cultural and/or structural change is required. Culture is a strange animal to manage in any organisation, never mind one where the culture is of such importance to all those connected to the club.
This fresh start is I assume one of the hurdles in seeing the return of Rafa Benitez to Anfield. The majority of the kop would back such a move from FSG, I feel. Elsewhere in the ground I’m sure an increasing number would still be holding their lack of faith in Benitez as a reason to express their dis-satisfaction. This would be despite Benitez’s success prior to and during his stay at Anfield.
In many ways I think what Benitez brings should fit FSG down to the ground. Despite the ludicrous levels of mis-information,which even persists today, he had a successful transfer record at Anfield. Not only in the way he took us so close to the title with financial restraints (compared to others) but also in the value he created from players he signed in terms of both performance while they played and cold hard cash once they left. Unless there is Man City type money locked in the Anfield safe we’re not being told about, then this type of value can play a pivotal role in club success.
Benitez’s ability to take players and improve them on a (generally) consistent basis is too often overlooked. Instead his detractors will point to players like Ryan Babel who never quite made the grade. Especially when other managers never got it wrong - Veron anyone? There is no point pulling out all the figures again. If you’re not convinced that Benitez’s signings made a profit overall for the club then you’ll never be convinced – black and white clearly not being black and white enough for you.
You can probably tell who I’d go for. That said I do accept that such a move could be seen as a backwards step; when the club is desperately trying to gain momentum moving forwards on all fronts. To some Benitez also became a divisive figure towards the end of his tenure; although his working conditions left him with an unfair and inhospitable environment within which to operate – and thus unfair to judge him on. To be fair I think he often got caught in the middle of things and became a focal point because of his love for the club. Is this a bad thing?
I suspect that Rafa won’t get another try, this time round. Indeed his next opportunity may only arrive at Anfield once he’s found success elsewhere. At which point I’m sure some will be banging on FSG’s email inbox asking why they didn’t take him when they had the chance.
Because, as in life, FSG (unless we have immediate success) will be damned whichever way they go. We’ve become very good at showing our dis-pleasure – perhaps a little too good? We can share views and opinions immediately and we can also shape opinions through the explosion of social media.
Personally I think it’s time to just let things crinkle out for a while and give FSG some breathing space to make decisions. We have after all only just finished the season.
I’ve seen that some individuals have been singled out for having direct contact with the club. I’m a little bemused as to why. I find it refreshing that views are being sought from outside the confines of the board room. Views which shouldn’t just be restricted to those delivered from the supporters committee – as good an idea as the committee is. I can only assume there is some dis-satisfaction with who is and (perhaps more importantly) isn’t being contacted. If I owned the club I’d want views from far and wide, but we all know I could never take on board views from everybody. I hope those who were singled out do not withdraw from any involvement (as minor as it may be) with the club. Then the majority lose out, for the sake of the few.
From a management perspective I see nothing to be worried about at this juncture. If we’re two weeks from the start of next season with key people missing then we can start to bang the drums. Let’s face it if the club announced all new appointments today we’d start shouting about them rushing things. Once, not so long ago, there was a time for action. That time has gone and hopefully will not return. Now there is a time for a more dignified unison from the club’s supporters. That time should start… now!
Coming soon… full review of 2011 LFC accounts (subscribe on the left to be notified once published)