Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Kenny Dalglish? Whatever.

Hillsbrough is not going to have any impact on Liverpool climbing the Barclays Premier League table in 2011. It needs to be put this bluntly. It takes incredible patience or stupidity to watch and read about Dalglish and how he understands Liverpool, everyday. For instance, do the fans really believe that Rafa Benitez, who had never played or lived in England, understood Liverpool better than Roy Hodgson in his first four months at the club? I have become so sceptical that I'm sure if Liverpool do finish in the bottom half of the table, it will be Hodgson or the former owners who take the blame.

Imagine if Arsenal had demanded this ingredient: a sense of club history. For stylistic reasons alone, Wenger would never have come to England and pushed football forwards. Or, more importantly, consider Barcelona. In 1973, had a certain Dutchman decided Catalonia wasn't for him, we would not see Fabregas, Xavi, Iniesta or Messi in the same todaylight.

I would like to think Liverpool's genuine supporters (including many of my friends) are those who, despite being proud to sing on the Kop, recognise how boring and embarrassing the club's obsession with itself is. I love the flags, I love Xabi Alonso, I love Marcus Babbel. And I find it hard to watch documentaries about, and footage of, the tragedy without red eyes. But is there really any need for this reeking shit of media current? Am I really being harsh or am I even allowed to be harsh, in bringing up Hillsbrough? Or does the quality of the squad and its dumb tactical deployment over the past sixteen months have more to do with their league position than Lucas Leiva not being told what it means to wear the shirt?

When Spurs were in the relegation zone not so long ago, it was for footballing reasons. Pascal Chimbonda was standing at centre back while the porous pairing of Didier Zokora and Jermain Jenas couldn't distribute the ball in midfield. Our most talented players were either injured or off-form. Gareth Bale's career was being stultified since it was fashionable to describe him as a 'wing back' - dependable neither at left back nor left midfied. It is my opinion, and the opinion of many fans afraid to speak it, that stories about Walter Tull or John White, or even visits to terminally ill children in hospital, would not have addressed Zokora and Jenas's discipline or helped Gomes to settle. Nor would said emo strategy have eased the demands on Darren Bent, busily adapting to playing in a pair instead of as a lone striker. If our results had picked up after some kind of emotinal spa, this wouldn't mean anything anyway. The truth is always on the pitch, and the English Press, rather like Liverpool Football Club, has an unhealthy fascination with what happens away from it. Look no further than videos of David Beckham training at Spurs Lodge - a potential loan signing to inspire younger players, coming off the bench to improve Peter Crouch's statistics and Spurs' attacking set pieces. This almost-story should be worth a couple of hundred words in the Sport. Dalglish's, a little more.

There is no southern writer's bias going on here. I remember being surrounded by and joining in with Liverpool fans, jumping up and down, wearing a Carragher shirt and singing when they won the Champions League on the most powerful night in my football-life to date. (Admittedly, I probably went too far.) Liverpool are a club struggling to uphold a world famous legacy. They are carrying the burden of an inadequate stadium, an overrall dismal record this century with sponsors, and much disastrous business in the transfer market. What Kenny Dalglish has inherited, this time around, is a mid-table team. One that last season's most successful mid-table-team manager could do nothing to improve. Albeit in four months.

No comments:

Post a Comment