The Same Christmas Message (But Different)

Posted: December 17, 2010 by mcdonaldtaf in Business, Finance, Liverpool FC, Manager Talk
Tags: , , , , , , ,


1. The liturgical period preceding Christmas,  beginning in Western churches on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and in Eastern churches in mid-November.
2. The coming or arrival, especially of something extremely important.


Such a fitting word for Liverpool fans isn’t it? Advent. We are currently in the 21st Christmas advent since our club last won the league title.  So for many of us it feels like we are in a continuing period of advent all year round, with no end in sight. Indeed some would question whether we have ever been further away from the league title, having come so close in the 2008/9 season. Others will try and point out that the core of that 2008/9 season squad is in tact; a new manager is all it will take they’ll tell you.

Maybe they’re right. To my mind though football has become more competitive, technical and complicated – against a backdrop of forever increasing transfer budgets for some managers. Can you buy guaranteed success? No. Are some teams at a clear advantage with their squad depths and deep pockets? Yes – no doubt. In time things will no doubt equalise themselves out. Albeit I think the tiers of teams will remain, and those tiers will be largely determined by either the financial prowess or power of the clubs in each tier.

Personally I have been through quite a journey over the short life of my blogging. I came to the blogging community in October last year as someone who promoted the idea that business had to play a key component in football, for the good of the sport. After a year of writing, researching and contemplating I have done a complete U-turn. I’m a realist and accept that to remain competitive we are now in a situation where business has to play a key role. That does not alter the fact though that business has also taken something from the game. It has come close to destroying some clubs and damaging those communities. Is it sport anymore?

David Conn has written far better than I will ever manage about football losing its soul (a book you really must read), but we really are dealing with commodities these days, aren’t we? Football is now in the realms of the butcher, baker or brewer who don’t make stuff for you because they like you, but because they want your money. It’s all about money these days I’m afraid and nothing to do with community or a sense of belonging. Which is a shame.

So where does this leave Liverpool FC? Perhaps in an even more prolonged period of advent. Some believe that replacing Roy Hodgson will see us catapulted back into the ‘big 4’. Although any replacement will be a key component, I’m to be convinced that is will be that simple. We will have to overcome both Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur to return to the ‘big 4’. Neither of those competitors should be taken lightly. Some have taken to talking about the ‘big 6’. I wonder if we’re just trying to placate ourselves?

The problem with waiting so long is that patience only ever seems to create impatience, understandably. As Manchester United look to put together a much improved title challenge from last season, another record looks set to be broken and the impatience steps up another notch. Meanwhile John Henry gets inundated with requests to replace Roy Hodgson, some polite – others not so polite.

Changing the manager is one component of delivering success, but an important one. Important decisions need to be given time, even more so when you don’t have the same levels of financial power as those around you. As a club we need to think and act differently to the competition. I always think of there being four key components to football success. Squad composition, financial ability, the manager and luck. The squad composition is not right and Damien Comolli has been brought in to (hopefully) deal with it. Our financial ability is much better than under the tenure of Hicks and Gillett, but not to the same standards as Chelsea or Manchester City. Luck we have no control over and the final key component is the manager. It is a critical decision and one which should be given time to get right. The next manager must be able to bridge the gap of our club’s finances to make us competitive again.

Last season I wrote a post about fans being more patient in relation to Benitez. This festive season it’s the same message but delivered from a completely different angle. I do not believe Hodgson is the right manager to take Liverpool forward. But I do believe the owners should be given time and patience to make the right decisions for the long term future of the club. The right decision may significantly reduce how long our period of Premiership advent is going to be. A rushed or wrong decision could see any premiership title postponed… indefinitely. Why rush such a critical decision? We’ve waited this long after all.

  1. Ed Margerum says:

    NESV are methodical. They’re not given to quick fixes. Removing Hodgson is only half the equation. NESV’s task is to find the right long term replacement. That’s the hard part. NESV tends to operate under the radar, but I’d be surprised if they sack Hodgson before they have full confidence in the man who will replace him. To me that seems most likely to happen after the season ends. By then, all LFC fans may have ulcers.

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