One of this site’s readers made a comment about how NESV (now FSG) have raised ticket prices tremendously at Fenway Park following their investments into the Red Sox’ infrastructure and team. I must confess it is an area that concerns me in regards to Liverpool Football Club. So I decided to take a look at what the situation was before and since NESV’s takeover. But before I continue let me provide two caveats:

1. I know very little of Major League Baseball (MLB). During my research I became aware of a fans’ index, run by a website, which provides financial data on the average costs of going to a game. In short they take the total cost of a family’s tickets, beverages and other costs for a single game every year. It is this ‘fan costs index’ I have used for my research and it is used in good faith.

2. I am not saying that what has happened in America will or will not happen at Liverpool FC. I am simply studying NESV’s methods stateside which may (or may not) provide an indicator as to how they operate in this sensitive area of the business.

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As I classed Andy Carroll as the marmite footballer, it would appear my last post was a marmite post. I believe it fell down 50/50 between those who agreed with what I was saying, and others who felt I was being overly negative. The most astounding responses I received though (on twitter mainly) were from people who were just happy we were ‘spending money again’. It would appear that to some, any climbing up the league table is secondary to ‘keeping up with the Joneses’. I find this mentality of ‘potentially wasting money being ok, as long as we’re spending it’ quite baffling to be honest.

I understand some of the logic behind it. Following the years of the ‘sell to buy’ and then ‘sell to survive’ policies of Hicks and Gillett it was indeed good to see the money coming in being used on the squad, and not interest payments. I was merely questioning the way in which the money was being used on a largely unproven striker. I also pointed out that I could well be proved wrong, but at this moment in time I do not see where the value is coming from. Andy Carroll was a risk and with risk comes the potential for reward or loss. Which way it falls is anyone’s guess at this moment in time.

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We can only assume the risks of keeping Fernando Torres outweighed the benefits. In today’s modern football it is after all the players who usually hold all the cards. Had Torres’ performances deteriorated further, beyond the lacklustre, then it is possible any momentum gained recently could have stalled. Personally, I always felt we should have negotiated a deal which would have seen him leave in the summer; with the fee agreed in advance. Not being privy to all of the facts though it’s hard to make any judgement, which I accept.

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Surprisingly, no one started a book on the first real challenge John Henry and co. would face at Liverpool Football Club.  The odds would have been very short on stadium funding, newly surfacing fan frustration or financing problems. None of these would have been too surprising, given the preceding three years under American ownership. Although tarring Fenway Sports Group with the same brush as Hicks and Gillett would have proved unfair, based on their performance to date.

Some may of course point to the Hodgson era, as short-lived as it was, being a big test. Realistically though it wasn’t. There was no battle in the face of such damning evidence. The troubles faced under Hodgson were always going to be easier to fix compared to the loss of our talisman. In fact the removal of Hodgson and appointment of Dalglish were very good reasons for the odds on any player slapping in a transfer request lengthening.

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Trust. Such an important word and yet so often trodden all over in the pursuit of personal interest or greed.

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Site Update – January 2011

Posted: January 18, 2011 by mcdonaldtaf in Site News
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The end of 2010 and early 2011 has been pretty special for Invincible Bastion and rewarding for me personally. The site, which attracted hundreds of visitors per article for most of 2010, now gets thousands of hits on most posts. Some still bomb out but I guess that comes with the territory. The end of 2010 was pretty crappy for me in other areas of my life so it was good to have such a positive end to the year (and start of this) for the site. What follows are some updates for 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

I never wanted this site to be about constantly defending the stakeholders of our club against media goons. I quite often sit there thinking ‘leave that bait alone’; but in the end I always cave.

Today’s words of wisdom are from David Maddock (again) here. Read the rest of this entry »

Cometh the hour…

Posted: January 9, 2011 by mcdonaldtaf in Manager Talk, Team Talk
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I could go and find the specific date, but if I’m honest I don’t remember it. I don’t remember the date. I do remember the day. I remember where I stood, who I was with and who told me that Kenny Dalglish had stepped down as manager of Liverpool Football Club. Rushing inside to a friend’s house, even before the days when 24 hour news coverage had taken over our TV’s, it was everywhere. There I stood – 14 years old, in the house of a family of Manchester United supporters feeling lost.

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Deeper Running Problems?

Posted: January 5, 2011 by mcdonaldtaf in Liverpool FC, Manager Talk, Team Talk
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One of the supposed benefits of Roy Hodgson’s arrival was his ability to get closer to players and re-invigorate their on the pitch performances. Despite what he has eluded to, or (some of) Fleet Street will spout, we do have  a squad of players and certainly a first XI which should be competing for fourth place – as a minimum.

Carragher, Gerrard and Torres

Data utilising TPI from Pay as you Play (Tomkins et al, 2010, GPRF Publishing) has shown that we still retain the fifth highest squad value (without taking account of free transfers such as Gerrard, Cole and Carragher). We’ve also utilised that squad to provide for the fourth most expensive team put out this season to date, on average. So the players have been at Roy’s disposal, which begs the question – what exactly is going wrong – to the extent that we are losing to minnows? Read the rest of this entry »

That fine purveyor of wind up Patrick Barclay was ‘at it’ again after the Wolves game. His tweet of “‘Hodgson for England’ is the new Kop wit. They might equally have tried a twist on the Brighton replay classic…” was followed by “”Stevie Gerrard, Stevie Gerrard, what a difference you have made, what a difference…”” There’s no doubting who Paddy thinks should shoulder the blame. Although it is fair to point out that he did acknowledge things hadn’t progressed as he expected under Hodgson and that Rafa was a good manager – SHOCK! There were little glimmers of sense until “But naturally I hope Roy survives. Good man, good manager. Gather he’s said sorry to fans. Tis the season for apologies, apparently.”

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