Watching Spain lose the other night to USA, and as a result fall just short of beating the longest ever unbeaten run for an international team, took me back to 1988 and when the same thing happened to us in the league. The team that stopped us? Everton with a 1-0 nil win at Goodison thanks to a Wayne Clark I seem to recall.
I guess Spain had to lose sometime and perhaps, as Liverpool fans, we should welcome it as it means that our players have a little more time to rest before pre season training? Torres has spoken about getting back fresh despite their involvement in the Confederations Cup but presumably Rafa will allow them a bit more leeway in July before they are required back at L4?
One of Spanish contingent who might not return is Alvaro Arbeloa who seems to be on his way to Real Madrid as we attempt to recoup some of the Glen Johnson outlay. An Arbeloa move has been on the cards for some time particularly since we’ve been linked with Johnson and I guess once he know Madrid were in for him that was that? I suppose you have to put yourself or Arbeloas’ shoes. If you were offered a chance to join one of the top sides in your own country and play alongside Kaka and the pouting, bronzed hell child what would you do? As a result we find ourselves bowing to the inevitable and all that remains is to agree the price? Whatever is agreed it will certainly exceed the £2.5m we shelled out for Arbeoa in 2007 so on the face of it looks like a good bit of business on Rafa’s part. One wonders if we will recoup, or exceed, the £7m we paid for Dossena should he go back to Italy?
On top of that is the proposed sale of Sebastian Leto to Panathinaikos for £3m – the bid has been accepted. Again this is hardly a surprise Leto has been on loan in Greece at Olympiakos for a year and he would be well down the pecking order should return to Anfield. Again the Leto deal represents good business for Rafa as we signed him for only £1.8m. So far so good and we’ve still managing to hang on to Alonso and Mascherano!
Meanwhile according to a report in yesterday’s Times we could be calling “time gentlemen please” on our shirt sponsorship with Carlsberg who we have been with since 1992. It looks like the star Spangled Duo, in keeping with their assertion that we have been underselling ourselves commercially, will be looking to attract bigger bucks from elsewhere. Apparently the Danes have offered around £40m over four years but this doesn’t compare favorably with the other sponsorship deals – for example at The Mancs deal with AIG is worth around £80m. Real ale drinkers will not doubt suggest that Carlsberg is not really worthy of this description I guess there is also the issue of advertising alcohol on shirts which presents problems in certain countries and certain markets.
I often wonder at the effect this sort of advertising has on punters. I drink lager but I’ve never actively sought out to buy Carlsberg only because we advertise it. I’ll just go for the best deal at the time or whatever the pub is selling. If anything it can work the other way? For example I would never buy anything made by Sharp or Vodafone when the Mancs had these firms on their shirts!
I realise that this is big money and is part and parcel of the club’s business plan and that a portion of this will eventually permeate down to Rafa’s transfer budget, that’s assuming it’s not all used to service our debts. I also realise that the club is probably involved with many good causes but it would be excellent gesture if we were to follow the example of Barcelona and Aston Villa and advertise a charity on our shirts. It would be a grand statement and send a message out that in football not everything is about money and commercial gain. Hell it might even give the owners some much need kudos. Above all it would also give us another reason to be proud of the club? However, such is the reality of life that I’ve more chance of scoring the winning goal in next year’s World Cup final then The Star Spangled Duo turning down the sort of money they would get from a renewed shirt deal.