So international week is upon on us.
England played the mighty San Marino so we subjected to commentaries with not only gave the oppositions player’s names but also their occupation. “This is blah blah he plays left back and is a postman”, “This is so and so when he’s not keeping goal he’s a brain surgeon”. Quite why they have keep giving this additional information is beyond me you don’t get this elsewhere …. “this is John Terry and he’s a ****.”
This time there was an extra level of commentary which I found rather sinister and worrying as many seemed to agree with the argument. Across the medium there was the suggestion that because San Marino weren’t very good they had no right in playing mighty England and should be pushed into some holding group with all the other international minnows with, after they’ve played each other, only the best being selected to undergo ritual slaughter at the hands of the big teams. Quite what this does for the world game and its romanticism I don’t know. I suspect San Marino’s fans would have different view of this as would the FA who would no doubt say thanks very much to anyone regardless of skill level for turning up at Wembley on Friday and enabling them to trouser the receipts from the eighty odd thousand crowd.
It was good to see Jonjo Shelvey get his international spurs a just reward for this improved form this season. The result? England were on a hiding to nothing and nothing less than a big win would keep the vultures at bay perhaps however, they will have their day tonight in Warsaw? By the way the 5-0 defeat was the same margin that Ireland suffered against Germany (6-1) as we all know, the Irish took part in Euro 2012, so much for minnows and not being worthy?
As ever an international week is always a concern for those of us who put club before country. A few years ago Gerrard and Torres always seemed to return home to us with injuries. Of more immediate concern is the health of Luis Suarez after his travels particularly as Fabio Borini is out having broken a bone in his footy whilst duty with Italy. This of course leaves us with only one recognised striker Anyone with any modicum of common sense would have seen this coming. The fixture calendar is severe and inevitably players will break down however, no we shunt out Andy Carroll ignoring past trends and think it will be alright on the night!. When the news of Borini’s injury was announced I could almost heard the collective cries of “I told you so you” ringing around the country from exasperated Reds fans.
What are we doing about this? The recall of Andy Carroll isn’t on and reports over the weekend suggested we were lining up Darren Bent or Celtic’s Hooper as replacements in January. Too late? We will have played over a dozen games in the league (not to mention the cups) and there is a risk that the damage, if not done so already, will probably have been done. Nonetheless let’s be positive I guess every cloud has a silver lining and Borini’s loss is someone’s gain. Maybe someone like Adam Morgan or Danny Pacheco will get a chance to rise from the seconds and seize their moment? Another, more leftfield, consideration is to play Shelvey up front he played in a more advanced role when on loan at Blackpool and did well, why not give it a try?
What ever the case it makes some players talk about fourth place still being a possibility look a little thin. The owners clearly won’t be paying silly money for a replacement and the fact that they let players like Kuyt, Carroll go and still wouldn’t be strong armed in parting with the few extra millions that would have secured the services of Clint Dempsey suggests they can petty obstinate and hard faced when it comes to money regardless of the short term effect it has on the team?
Detractors will also point to today’s announcement of their decision to go for a cheaper option re the stadium problem. Redeveloping Anfield clearly appeals to those of use who value it’s history. Those who worry that by doing so we might not get the extra revenue other clubs such as Arsenal have benefited from by their move will surely be placated by the announcement that the capacity will increase to 60,000. Presumably the club will also benefit from the regeneration of the area which includes bolting a hotel onto the ground?
Once you’ve digested this and then looked at the practicalities of the project you begin to wonder just how long it will take. Anfield is surrounded by houses surely acquiring the extra land to extend the main stand and Anfield Road end (the parts of the ground ear marked for development) will be a long problematic task? Ian Ayre however remains optimistic
“LFC celebrated its 120th year in 2012 at Anfield and there is no doubt Anfield is the spiritual home of the club – our preference was always to remain at Anfield. This is a major step forward for the football club, but more importantly the residents. This is step one as there is land to acquire, plans to be approved etc, but this is a significant moment. Questions about capacity and cost are not for today – not until we have certainty.”
Reports also say that planning permission has still to be obtained suddenly it doesn’t look as imminent. There are no plans of what the redeveloped stadium will look like, all the club has really said is that they want to stay at Anfield, the real work has still to be done? The common theme with the owners is fast becoming “when”.