I started an interest in football when I was around eight years old. I used to enact games in my back garden. Liverpool were three nil down in a major final but would always, usually inspired by Kevin Keegan, come back to win the game.
It took around thirty years for that particular fantasy to become reality. In your mind at least, you felt that everything involving your team would go your way and they would never let you down, it would always be fine. It didn’t take long, even allowing for the sustained decades of success Liverpool had, for me to realise that was bullsh*t!
Why then do the media treat their “audience” as if they were eight years old? As if any deviation your team takes from the mythical “path of perfection” is news and therefore a case for speculation, crisis even? I believe that part of this is down to way coverage of football has ballooned since my back garden days. Then there was just the Radio Two and the three TV channels. There was no real competition however, now we’ve got umpteen channels of shit on the TV to choose from not to mention the internet.
So everyone is trying to make a story out of everything to make their version the version you should pick out from the mad throng jostling for your attention. Liverpool’s current bad form have just got a brief mention by Brain Moore on “On The Ball” or Sam Leach on “Football Focus” may have just mentioned that they are going through a bad run. Now of course it happens on internet forums, countless discussion programmes, it is dissected, analysed to the umpteen degree and by, it seems, everyone! “Pope gives Easter blessing, hopes for world peace and feels that Charlie Adam needs to regain his Blackpool form”!
As a result the margins get stretched. To say Liverpool are in crisis and that Kenny Dalglish is a dead man walking is just the sort of warped Frankenstein opinion that falls out of the crowded media frenzy we have now. Yes, things haven’t been good and, lets face, it the teams performance leaves a lot to be desired and we are at a stage, given the last few performances, were criticism is justified. However that doesn’t mean we want Stuart Downing dragged in chains along Lime Street or Andy Carroll hung drawn and quartered and his bits placed on gibbets along the Albert Dock. Not unless you write for the Daily Mail anyway!
To me, and at the risk of sounding like a stuck record, where we are in the league, with one piece of silverware in the cabinet and the chance of another does not constitute a crisis, far from it. Compare this to your club facing liquidation and a potential debt of £174m. Compare this to your club who, having won two European Cups, are now languishing near the bottom of the Championship. What about after a golden period in the seventies and being on the cusp of a Champions League final a few years back finding yourselves docked points and free falling into division one? What about being in the hands of hypocritical, bumbling exploitative American cowboys who, amid a plethora of broken promises, callously aim to use your club, like some piece of “meat” picked off the street, to further their own financial gain. That is (was?) a crisis.
Anyone who dredges up the tiresome argument about the way things are and the way they used to be when we were in our pomp I guess has a point, in their own mind and on their own planet! It is an attitude that is totally devoid of reality, a hankering for times that will never ever be bought back, even if we do improve. Have you switched over your TV to digital yet? Yes, we’re still seventh!
So if you’ll forgive me I’ll grumble and I’ll moan, I’ll approach the team and the game against Aston Villa with the attitude of a disgruntled parent who just discovered that their two sons have found a claw hammer in your tool box and hacked out great chucks of the lawn with it – thank you boys, Happy Easter! You feel annoyed with them and ultimately you know you’ll get over it because you still love them!
Prediction for today? A win of course and finally best wishes to Villa’s Stilian Petrov for a speedy recovery.