Tony Evans is a famous, sometimes excellent, but controversial journalist. He’s Scouse through and through, and was present at Hillsborough 27 years ago. He’s covered Liverpool for countless outlets since, including a stint as the football editor of the Times. Evans now freelances for multiple publications.
In short, whether you like his opinion or not, we think he deserves to be listened to, but his article today for ESPN, on the back of Jurgen Klopp’s new contract, is going to rile the fanbase.
Evans, in short, has slaughtered FSG for their, in his mind, ridiculous decision to award the manager and his backroom staff new deals which will expire in 2022.
After all, Klopp had two years left on his previous deal with the option of another, on pretty extravagant £7m wages to boot.
Here’s a short extract of his piece:
“It is not going too far to say the owners are infatuated with the manager. Being in love with the German is fine on the Kop; in the boardroom, it’s more dangerous. Liverpool’s era of success was built on hard-eyed, sometimes brutal, footballing Darwinism. The new contract offer suggests accountability is no longer in vogue at Anfield.
“It is also a boneheaded business move. Klopp was already paid in the region of £7 million per year and the earliest negotiations for an extension would have taken place at most clubs would be next summer, when the German had a year left on his contract plus the option of another 12 months. That would have given the owners – and the manager – a chance to see whether there were real signs of progression and whether the honeymoon mood will continue.”
Essentially Evans is arguing that a new contract should have been awarded in 12 months’ time once we’d given Klopp the chance to work with a squad of his creation, following a full summer pre-season.
He cannot understand why following an eighth placed finish and two Cup Final defeats the decision to extend Klopp’s deal has already been made.
A small part of us understands his skepticism, but unlike Evans – we do not believe Klopp’s contract is a risk. He’s not the kind of manager who’ll sit around and take his wages home if it all goes turgid, for a start. The German would walk, like he did at Borussia Dortmund and Mainz previously.
Secondly, we’re entirely confident Klopp will succeed and if the cushion of a lengthy contract helps, then all the better. He’s united a fanbase, instilled a a club ethic and shown he can improve players tenfold; all this with an inherited squad and virtually no time on the training ground.
We encourage Evans to have faith and enjoy the Klopp ride – rather than scold FSG for aggressively backing a man with a proven track record.