As the season gets to the sharp end attentions always turn to how your club has done over the whole campaign?
Who played well? Who was a liability? How did the manger do? However, nowadays fans perhaps also pay attention to the “behind the scenes” details that perhaps a few decades ago they wouldn’t have given a toss about? No longer is failure necessarily the direct fault of the team or the manager. Fans now see the wider picture the owners are just as accountable re investment, in the team and the club in general, and the running of the club.
Liverpool know about this as much as any other team. After Hicks and Gillett’s folly we now talk about things such as “due diligence” how takeovers will be funded (borrowing against the club or otherwise) and how funds will be raised in the future. It’s a major turnaround but inevitable as a football has become more and more of a “real” business the related process’, which are linked to the team’s success, permeate to the fans. When it all goes wrong you have a situation that QPR find themselves in tonight, happy with securing promotion to the Premiership yet weary about a points deduction that could scupper this due to behind the scenes incompetence. Would this be news twenty or thirty years ago, or even detected, when the financial stakes weren’t so high?
Part of this increasing moneyed state of football is down to the cash injection of Sky TV which celebrates twenty years this month, and boy have they let us know about it! I was wondering if it was a coincidence that we are due to play Newcastle today? Sky are celebrating and looking back and one (may be two) of our 4-3 games against Newcastle have surely gone down as one the channels best sporting moments? Was the game deliberately scheduled for this time or is it coincidence? If it’s the former then it’s a sad indication of how fans have been marginalised in favour of those who seek to gain from football with scant regard for those who make it? Then I realised the game was on ESPN whilst Sky have Arsenal v the Mancs no room for sentiment then! Nonetheless the trend has been set and Newcastle fans will still have to satisfy TV requirements and trudge down to Anfield for a noon kick off when doubtless the railways will be full of bank holiday maintenance and diversions.
Sky will say the game has improved for their presence and their money and while this is true to a degree there is a price to be paid and as usual it is by those who are in the weakest position, the fans? Ironically however it is the same fans who subscribe to Sky and watch it the pubs up and down the land. It is a bizarre relationship but I guess at the end of the day something we as football lovers, who want to see their fair share of action, have to put up with?
Enough twaddle and to today’s game? Much attention in the media has been paid to Andy Carroll facing his old club for the first time, even though, as I write it, seems touch and go as to whether he‘ll play. Perhaps he is fit but it suites Carroll and Kenny to maintain the “air of doubt” to take the pressure off? Then again he just might not be ready and Carroll will have to wait to face his club next season? It will come and the Newcastle fans can then boo him then!
I understand how miffed Newcastle fans must feel about us taking Carroll. However, without being patronising, they always strike me as intelligent types but prone to irrational outbursts mainly governed by the understandable frustration that arises from being a passionate, well followed club that seems to be forever shooting itself in the foot through the boards lack of patience with managers and the fact that they haven’t won anything since school milk was given out for free! Surely when they calmed down they must see that every player has his price and Carroll is no exception. His £35m transfer was nothing more an example of the “footballing food chain”. Chelsea grab Torres so we grab Carroll and no doubt Newcastle, assuming their owner gives them a slice of transfer fee, will eventually p*ss off another club’s fans off by grabbing their star player? One exception to the rule is this rule is that Joey Barton may be heading our way. I’ll reserve judgment on this until it happen is as it’s an article in itself. That of course is assuming it does happen? If it doesn’t I’ll breath a sigh of relief and write about something else!
Team wise. Let’s not go there with Carroll we will know sooner or later but I’ve feeling he will what to play and Kenny being Kenny won’t deny him. The only other question seems to be if a fit again Glen Johnson will return for Jack Robinson? With due respect to Johnson I hope he doesn’t
Prediction? I don’t know what Newcastle fans think of Alan Pardew but I suspect they are more well disposed to him then perhaps they were when he joined the club? They appear to be on a more than even footballing keel now if only because they aren’t making the headlines! However, we are looking good with nine goals in three games. If Kenny perseveres with the youngsters then surely we will be spared a “going through the motions” end of season performance. Add to that Spurs’ defeat yesterday, together with us having to play them at Anfield, and fifth place becomes closer? In short everything to play for (assuming you love the Europa League!)
3-0 to us.
Other match reports of games against Newcastle since this blog began – click here