Sometimes when I go into a shop I like to shout at the top of my voice just what it is exactly that I’m wanting to buy so that anyone else that might be perusing the aisles can show some interest and possibly purchase my desirable items before me.
I do it because I want to feel like Ian Ayre.
I don’t know the intricacies of how the transfer market works, or how you even go about buying a player, or how the discussions of wanting to buy a player might even begin, but I do know that if you’re looking at buying the last item in a shop, after which there is no more of said item to be found, or maybe buy that limited edition one-of-a-kind object that would really improve your life* (*for life see team), then you buy it quickly and with as many other potential buyers being kept in the dark as possible, to save you from being gazumped and left empty handed.
So at the moment when I see a news story that Liverpool Football Club have ‘focussed their attention on signing…’ or ‘are hopeful of buying…’ or ‘hoping to beat XYZ to the signature of…’ I don’t get excited or optimistic, I just get depressed and wait for the next lot of news stories that say ‘Liverpool beaten to signing of…’ or ‘Liverpool target rejects advances to sign for…’ or ‘Did you really think he was going to sign for Liverpool without their European football and no title challenge for the foreseeable future you gullible muppet?’
Despite the fact I’ve never heard of or seen 50% of these players before, I want them, I want them for my club, I want them with urgency, I want them right now, I want them because they’re better than the players we have – so I’ve been told – and they’re really good – so I’ve been told – and they want to come to Liverpool – so I’ve been told. So if I was running a football club and I wanted a player, you know what I’d do? I’d buy them. That wasn’t hard was it? I’d ask the other club how much they wanted, I’d try and get them down a little on the price (and they’ve probably asked for a lot more money than they really want anyway so my lower value is still probably a couple of million over the price they’d actually be happy with) and then I’d offer the player a contract and we’d negotiate and eventually have a deal signed, sealed and delivered. I reckon that’d take me all of about an hour. What do you mean it’s not that simple???
Really, what does Ian Ayre do, or any of these football money men, come to think about it? I know there’s all that talk of clubs having to line up replacements before agreeing to sell a player and all that, but again, going back to my way of doing a deal, we could probably have 8 transfers completed in a single working day and be down the boozer with a pint in hand toasting to another great day at the office by 6pm.
So what’s really going on? Who knows! I could be cynical and say that FSG are playing the same game with the Liverpool fans that I play with my wife when she tells me I need some new clothes. I take a walk into the high end stores on the high street, see something I like and then go and try to buy something very similar in Primark. Or actually buy nothing at all. And when my wife asks me why I’m still wearing those tattered old clothes and the shoes with the holes in, I can reply with the usual lines: ‘I looked for some new clothes, I really did, I almost bought something, but then I thought that everything was too expensive, or I wasn’t quite sure about something, and then when I decided I really wanted it someone had already been and bought it. Besides, these old loyal clothes still do a job anyway; they’re good for another year or two. You know, until I get desperate. When I really need to replace them or add to my wardrobe I’ll splash the cash, I promise.’ And then my wife replies: ‘It might be too late by then. The damage will be done. You’ll be walking around naked and everyone will have this opinion of you as some tight-fisted loser who no one wants to be seen with.’
Maybe that’s what FSG are doing. Or maybe the fault doesn’t lie with them at all. Maybe it’s something that I, and most Liverpool fans, don’t want to contemplate? That top players don’t actually want to sign for us anymore, that they are just looking to go to the club that pays the most money and plays in that dead good competition in Europe despite having hardly any trophies in the cabinet.
Maybe FSG know what they’re doing and it can never be as simple as we all think it could be.
Maybe we just need to get used to being just another club to top footballers these days and they’ll only join us if we’re offering them Champions League football.
Whatever it is I’m sure time will tell. It’s the waiting that kills us after all.
Ah well, I could write more about it, do some research, call some football agents and try to understand the complexities of the transfer market but I’m off out to buy some dinner – I’M GETTING THE LAST SIRLOIN STEAK LEFT IN THE SHOP!!!
I hope no one beats me to it.