Questions From Fans

Posted: January 14, 2010 by mcdonaldtaf in Manager Talk
Tags: , ,

Fans are often described as fickle and while I have been berated in the past for using that term, I think most level-headed people would agree that it’s often suitable. Despite years of progress and success, as well as amassing over 80 points the season before. In trying times, when a club needs support, these are some of the questions being asked from ‘fans’:

  • His judgment is failing. He used to see what was needed and buy top-class players. But he has allowed too many key players to leave and didn’t invest in proper replacements. Babel et al are not good enough, are they?
  • We’ve dropped so many points and he blames other teams for defending in numbers. It’s obvious how ‘lower’ teams are going to play, why can’t he change the style to suit the occasion?
  • He has allowed cliques in the dressing room. Our team spirit is nowhere near as good as Manchester United’s, is it?
  • Alex Ferguson changed his back-up team lots of time (Brian Kidd/Steve McClaren/Carlos Queiroz/Mike Phelan) but he has surely paid for sticking with Sammy Lee?
  • I’m still an ‘In Rafa We Trust’ but does all the booing show he’s lost the confidence of many supporters?
  • Hasn’t he been too happy to defend the board and the financing of the stadium as excuses for not competing with Chelsea and the like?
  • Chelsea were ruthless enough to get rid of Scolari – isn’t it time our board did the same? He can’t re-energise this team. The game must be up if they don’t qualify for the Champions League.

I’m sure some of you are nodding your heads and others are getting red in the face, ready to explode.

Well here’s the facts – I’m a dirty rotten, no good cheat! I changed some of the names from the questions, which I picked from an article from March 2009 – a Q&A session from Arsenal fans to Alan Smith. This time last year the papers were also full of headlines like:

  • Arsenal are in crisis, can Arsene Wenger weather the storm?
  • Arsene Wenger Waves Goodbye To The Big Four
  • Arsene Wenger frustrated at Arsenal injuries
  • Alan Smith: Should Arsene Wenger be sacked?
  • Arsene Wenger crucial to future, says new Arsenal chief executive
  • Arsene Wenger Glad To See The Back Of 2008

I searched for similar recent articles, while Arsenal ride high in the Premiership and other competitions (but surely they can’t be if they kept hold of Arsene). Funnily I found the headlines but the names had been changed to Liverpool and Rafael Benitez.

Fickleness is always worse when driven by media hype I always find!

One last positive, before I ‘sign off’, in these trying times. As Paul Tomkins reminded us last night – Valencia finished fifth with Rafa the season before they were crowned champions with Rafa.

Keep the Faith – You’ll Never Walk Alone

  1. RobboHuyton says:

    I’ve got to say some of the excuses are wearing thin for me. The Valencia example means little, different league, different circumstances.

    They might have had the might of Barcelona and Real to overcome but we’re looking weaker than Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City, Spurs and even Villa.

    I’m all for looking on the bright side but I’m finding it very difficult now – 6 wins in 20?

    Plus this Wenger example is coming up everywhere I turn. Fact is, he has a much better record at identifying low-cost signings that work than Rafa – Toure 150k, Fabregas free etc

    • mcdonaldtaf says:

      “circumstances” As a great man once said – nail on head. 🙂

      The circumstances surrounding this season having more to do with our success (or lack of). There has to be a line drawn between excuses and reasons. The circumstances and reasons surrounding this season’s failures to date cannot all lay at Rafa’s feet. Bad luck, injuries and poor form have conspired against us. Leaving us with a team bereft of confidence and it shows.

      From there pragmatically, after taking a step back, you have a short or long term option. Short could well see a bounce effect and this season turned around. But we’re so far behind I’m not convinced we’ll win anything. Longer term you fight on (finish fourth) and await a new season with new circumstances.

      RE: Wenger – yes he has an eye for talent, but no European titles. Swings and roundabouts? The similarities between this and last season cannot be denied.

  2. RobboHuyton says:

    Equally, some of it IS Rafa’s fault. As for swings and roundabouts, well Wenger’s won the league.

    Confidence is shot, there’s no creativity and we’re plodding through games. It’s safe to say some of Rafa’s biggest fans are turning now, too.

    Arsenal might have had, by their standards, a bad season. But they had a better squad and played better football.

    • mcdonaldtaf says:

      Yes I’ve seen the change amongst fans, and like you say even some of his biggest are starting to sway. We need a winning run but with the injury news this PM that looks difficult given the confidence issues.

      Maybe he’ll have to throw caution to the wind and try something different.

  3. daniel says:

    You are right about fan fickleness… Dont be taken aback by the fact that i am a Spurs fan (we are probably the most fickle fans!). But, more than anything, I am familiar with the Liverpool tradition, the club, style of play, the fans, etc. In my humble opinion, you guys need a change. Someone to inject a little bit of that something fresh and extra. Rafa has done great things in his time at Liverpool, but he can’t seem to take it to the next level, and I think there is too much to lose for Liverpool if this season is one without success…

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