Some things change, while others don’t

Posted: February 22, 2010 by mcdonaldtaf in Manager Talk, Team Talk
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m not naïve and I didn’t think it was going to go away. There is a rattle in the LFC dashboard though. They drive me mad, especially these types of rattles. We’re not doing badly enough for the rattle to get any worse so we can ‘locate and destroy’, but we’re not winning every game so it sorts itself out, or you can enjoy driving enough to ignore it. It’s so frustrating. Despite only losing once in the last 9 premiership games (to a title contender) the undercurrents remain within certain sections of our fan base. Some things don’t change… while others quite obviously do.

Before I was even two months old Frank McGhee of the Daily Mirror wrote “Liverpool won their ninth Fist Division championship -a record – the way all important titles should be decided: with skill and spirit and power and confidence.” There is your first change, this season we are nowhere near winning a new record breaking title. Your second change? Well spirit has certainly been observed but skill and power have been in short supply; confidence has been missing for most of the season.

Yet we were so close last season. This is certainly where the rattle started. Raised expectations left a gap for the rubbish to fill up and as the gap closes the vibrations cause a never ending chatter. So how did we end up so far off the mark and why couldn’t we deliver the fans’ expectations?

Well there are lots of reasons but only a few key ones. If you roll back time another ten years before my birth and Shankly was reaching the end of his foundation building, yet even after winning the championship in 1966 he was already targeting an additional three star players. “We want the best. I would like another three players. I know who they are and if they become available we will be in for them. When the big names come on the market, Liverpool will be ready to buy.” This was at a time when Shankly’s oldest star player was only 28 but he knew, to keep competing on all levels, he’d have to keep re-investing and freshening things up. One thing that hasn’t changed since then is that we were not considered as one of the money bag clubs. In the sixties this title was reserved for Arsenal, Everton, Spurs and Manchester United.

Fast forward to the end of last season and while we were approaching the pinnacle banks had started dictating our spending plans – oh how times have changed. Rafa himself has admitted that the summer was spent concentrating more on debts than player acquisitions. Then look at the deals which were done. Aquilani replaced Alonso, which was likely going to put our midfield back a step; this is not because Aquilani isn’t as good as Alonso but simply because players need time to settle. Thank god Lucas has stepped up his game. Johnson also came in for Arbeloa. Johnson brings a new attacking option for the right side but defensively – is he any better than what we had? Yes two players who wanted to leave (who are now holding their own amongst Real Madrid’s elite – another two of Rafa’s bad buys?) so we couldn’t keep, but the purse strings dictated the replacements. What’s more they determined that we could not bring in additional star players, just replacements.

If you want to rattle on about Rafa consider the conditions he works under. It is the board’s job, in any company, to ensure the managers have the tools they need. If you’re sitting waiting to pounce and complain consider that he, in all likelihood, wanted additional star players at the end of last season. He would have known we needed them for that final push – even without considering our injury crisis. We needed new players who would have made the difference. Had Rafa been provided with the tools to do the job and we were sat in the league where we are I think he would have lost the support of the majority by now, but then again – had he had the tools it is highly feasible that we’d be contending the title.

Someone referred to this money problem a few weeks back on twitter saying it was like trying to beat a new Ferrari with a Ford. That is a bit unfair as we have the key components within the team to beat anyone. We’re more like a second hand supercar on a tight budget. Yes we can rise to the occasion, but we’re a little more temperamental than a new supercar. We need more attention and when a part fails we’re forced into running repairs rather than replacement. Thank god we have a world class driver to keep us going though, he even puts up with the rattles.

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