Well that was another debilitating result against Stoke. Like me, I’m sure many of you saw Stoke defender Robert Huth score that goal in slow-motion and like me I’m sure many of you felt a feeling of inevitability when that corner was wafted in to the back post and the ball knocked back across the goal. Then you all saw the ball clear the respective leaps of Jamie Carragher and Ricardo Fuller, and land happily at the feet of Huth who gladly obliged. Different day, same result. Not that the overall performance was that bad though. It wasn’t pretty, but it showed more fight and guts than say for example the Reading match.
For weeks now the ‘theory’ or ‘rumour’ as it should rightly be called, has been around (mostly by speculative fans on speculative forums) that Rafa has lost the dressing room. This probably stems from the fact that the players do not seem to be playing for anyone. But is this right? Can you rightly claim that just because a team is putting in badly, the manager has lost the dressing room?
Some of the criticism that Rafa has got is warranted. But to say he (and any manager who is in his position) has lost the team’s respect is just baseless rumour-mongering. You do get cases where players might come out and say something untoward about the manager, or if they start throwing strops when they get substituted but apart from a few misguided Tweets from Ryan Babel, the overall message that the team seems to be giving is that this problem is down to the whole team, and not one man. None of them appear to have broken ranks, which is exactly what we don’t need. Say what you want about Rafa but if someone does something that he doesn’t think is in the best interests of the team, that individual will be dealt with. In the same way that you can’t really imagine Fabio Capello loosing the faith of the players (well, maybe Antonio Cassano at Real Madrid but he was a bit of a headcase anyway), or Mourinho and the like. Rafa is, if anything strong-willed, and he would not let infighting and a sense of ‘mutiny’ befall the dressing room.
One of the main reasons why these rumours piss me off is that the people who spout them do not have a clue what goes on in the dressing room. How could they? How could we? Very little information about what the team feels is shared with the fans, and that perhaps is a good thing. Obviously I do not know what it is like in the dressing room as well, so you might think that for me to say that everything is sound in there is a but naive from me, but what evidence do we have to say otherwise? A poor season isn’t evidence enough for Rafa loosing the dressing room, and neither is body language or irate Twitter rants.
As I write this, a rumour has started on that great breeding-ground of rumours talkSPORT. But the ‘perpetrator’ of this rumour is Mickey Quinn, who would not start something like this unless he feels that there is some truth in it. He claims that the reason that Steven Gerrard was substituted against Reading was because of a dressing-room bust up at half-time. With who and what it was about is unclear, but the implications are dire. But I am inclined to wait for more news if it is forthcoming rather than jump to conclusions as it is still a rumour, and one without any actual evidence being put forward. The club has in fact categorically denied the rumour that Gerrard was involved in a dressing-room bust up, so we can just take the club at their word and put paid to that rather base-less claim.